The Week's Features
Tow Expo Dallas' winning trucks are highlighted
Towman Scott Shover is being called "a guardian angel"
Redi-Letters' lighted signs easily mount on wreckers
Suspending auto repos of clients impacted by Hurricane Harvey
Or, do government controls actually work?
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American Towman Magazine Presents the Week in TowingSeptember 20 - September 26, 2017

Retro Style Design Marks Flatbed

0 3b2a5By George L. Nitti

One of the most basic elements of graphic design is that the lettering be clearly legible; a fact sometimes overlooked.

According to Dino Lawrence of Carolina Signworks in Rockingham, N.C., he often sees trucks compromised with lettering that can't be read.

"The whole point of lettering is that you are able to read it," said Lawrence. "That's one of the problems of many of the wrapped trucks that I see. You can't read the lettering."

With nearly 50 years as an experienced signmaker, his art and craft has evolved, as found on Rockingham Towing's 1996 International T444E with a Champion 19' flatbed.
"They came to me for original work and effects," Lawrence said. "Creative sign men are proficient at hand lettering."

The lettering on this unit clearly stands out as an example of originality, rooted in a form of art called "Jersey-style," popularized in the '60s and '70s.

"This style took off when California drag racers brought their race cars to the East Coast, where they were worked on in shops," Lawrence said. "They picked up on the lettering and it took off."

Lawrence described his own work on the International/Champion unit.

"The font is hand drawn and then worked on in Photoshop, where it is further developed through hours of editing and airbrushing," he said. "Today, too many of the fonts I see come out of font libraries, making everything look the same."

The finished lettering is then printed on top of reflective Scotchcal striping tape, and blends together with other elements of the unit's design; most notably the glossy warm yellow, orange, pink, blue and candy apple colors that are applied to the unit.

To create this, Lawrence draws on the House of Kolor pearl and candy effects that add depth and dimension.

"Using transparent inks on top of Scotch reflective tape mimics House of Kolor pearl and candy apple paint. Over the years my tools have expanded, blending techniques to make for a completely original design," Lawrence said.

The tribal flames on the front side of the unit further add to this retro theme while the fabricated hood—with the hot rod-like projectile—solidifies this compelling vintage design.

Brag @ TIW! Should your truck be featured here? Send a few pics and your contact information to the editor at You might even be selected to go in print, too, in American Towman magazine!

Preserving Towing History

0 b96c6By George L. Nitti

It's not unusual to find restored classic tow trucks in the towing industry, but it is rare to find a tow company that has collected and restored more than a dozen of the antiques.

"My father, Mark Storer, began collecting them 10 years after starting the company in 1988," said Jared Storer, VP of Airport Towing in Seattle and Burien, Washington. "He and my brother died in a plane crash in 2008. We've kept the collection as a tribute."

Among the seven vintage units they recently showcased at the Pacific Northwest Tow Show in Tacoma, their 1929 Ford Model AA with a Weaver 3-ton auto crane won first prize in the Best of Antique class, which comprised all units before 1966.

This Ford model came into style when the Model T became obsolete after 1925 and was upgraded to the more powerful Model AA. At the time, towing was a newer concept and Weaver's 3-ton crane was a competitor to Holmes.

"When we bought it, it was in decent shape," Storer said. "It used to be painted yellow. My father, after doing research, had the lettering done according to the time period."

Indeed, specific features of the lettering stand out, particularly because it draws on the vernacular of the day.

For example, the words "Day and Night Service" are written simply on a curved line, which today would be "24/7" service. On the back of the unit, "Affordable Towing" advertises what today would be lower rates and competitive pricing. On this piece of lettering, Ford's modern logo fills in to complete the design.

The phone number, written on the side of the unit, is also distinctive of the period with the first two numbers actually letters, common to telephone nomenclature back in the day.

Outside of entering their antique tow vehicles in tow shows, Airport's vintage class can be found appearing in local car shows and parades.

"I take pride in a well-run business," Storer said.

"These antique vehicles show our pride in the industry and interest in preserving history."

Brag @ TIW!
Should your truck be featured here? Send a few pics and your contact information to the editor at You might even be selected to go in print, too, in American Towman magazine!
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