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American Towman Magazine Presents the Week in TowingJanuary 16 - January 22, 2019

Tauber's 1963 'Showboat'

0 f9e16By George L. Nitti

In the age of rotators, classic tow trucks bring us back to simpler, more nostalgic times.

Mike Tauber of Tauber's Towing in Linthicum, Maryland, fondly recalls his early experiences working for his father as a nine-year old.

"From an early age I was hanging around tow trucks and riding out on tow jobs, like tractor-trailer accidents," Tauber said. "That's why I got into this business."

The company, started around 1930 by his grandfather and great uncle, began as an Amoco Service Station. But it was the early '60s that Tauber remembers fondly. Some 50 years later, he would give tribute to an era he loved, restoring a 1963 Dodge D550 power wagon with a '68 Holmes 600, which won best of vintage class at last year's American Towman Exposition.

"We took it down to bare metal," Tauber said. "We took every bit of paint off of it and restored it. The frame is brand new."

Along with customized hand-painted white lettering touting the Tauber name backed by a bright orange custom paint, it's the era-correct accessories that make this classic stand out.

The accessories include a snatch box, the original crank case of the Holmes with winches and booms, scotch blocks, original chains, beacon lights and pristine 20" Firestone tires. It also has steel reflectors that unfold and are mounted inside the unit.

"The wheels and lug nuts were hand-painted silver around the blue hub caps," Tauber said. "I remember doing that when I was nine years old."

Another distinct accessory is the front winch mount, which is a 250' line that works off of the front transmission and is capable of pulling 20,000 lbs.

Just in front of the front winch line is a classic stainless steel front bumper that juts out for added protection.

On the side doors is the classic Amoco Service Station logo conveying an era of days gone by.

The restoration of the unit took approximately two years, starting around the time his father passed away in 2015 at the age of 91.

"Back in the day this truck would have been considered a heavy-duty," Tauber said. "Things just keep getting bigger and bigger. Everybody's got a 60-foot rotator now. There is a lot of showboating going on.

"We didn't get our first hydraulic unit until 1985," he said. "Today, many towers don't know how to tow a truck with an under-reach. Back then we did a lot more rigging. I have a lot of respect for that tradition. My showboat is my '63 Dodge."

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