The Week's Features
Towman hit on I-41 in Ashwaubenon, Wisconsin, Jan. 11.
Homemade wrecker promotes pride of ownership
Dual operating box, other features standout on new carrier
Author of book on towman highway memorials up for Viola Award
Tractor-trailer with an 80,000-lbs. concrete beam rolled-over
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American Towman Magazine Presents the Week in TowingJanuary 16 - January 22, 2019
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TowCasso

0-towcasso5 copy 98312By George L. Nitti

Tow truck restoration rarely crosses the threshold of functionality into the realm of abstract art. However, a vintage restoration eight years ago by Herrera's Towing and Recovery of Vidor, Texas, does just that: going beyond the conventional into the truly idiosyncratic.

Their 1962 Chevrolet pick-up with a homemade wrecker body built in-house, was a first-place winner at the Tow Expo-Dallas in August, and could be characterized as a work of art.

Owner Ronnie Herrera said, "It's called the 'Rat Wrecker' or 'Rat Rod'. It's like a Picasso. My daughter calls it TowCasso."

The unique design was inspired by Herrera's long-abiding interest in hot rods and antique restoration.

At its core is what Herrera said are "pieces here and pieces there and a lot of little bitty things."

Many of the pieces are welded on and comprise a hodgepodge of memorabilia and other assorted oddities.

Being a Texas-bred tow company, the longhorns, plow and sombrero are some of the symbols on the hood and front of the unit that stand out.

The restoration also contains a stainless-steel crowbar that holds ample lighting. It includes a couple of fire engine lights and a megaphone. In another broad stroke of creativity and eccentricity, the hood is glued to the back of the wrecker body while a beer cake serves as the fuel tank.

"It's old school, vintage-type stuff," Herrera said. "It's not something we use, but it's operable. If I had to pick something up, I could--but I wouldn't want to."

The restoration is custom-painted in black and blue, coated with an old-style brush stroke called patina, giving it an effect of fading and aging. Colorful pin stripes add accent around the bright orange "Herrera" name standing out on the side.

Part marketing, part fun, it is frequently entered in car shows and parades and wows audiences with its spectacle of outlandishness.

"I enjoyed watching the responses of people who saw it at the tow show and scratched their heads and went 'Huh?'," Herrera stated. "My grandkids love to ride in it. They have a blast."

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