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Custom-painting a wrecker is a many-layered process; and this seminar will cover the differences in custom-painting versus wrapping, the costs involved and the different values of both processes. It’s led by Cecil Burrowes of Cecil Customs, whose tow truck artwork has garnered many wrecker pageant awards nationwide. Don’t miss his “Custom Painting vs. Wrap” seminar next Sunday during the American Towman Exposition, November 17-19, at the Baltimore Convention Center in Baltimore, Maryland.

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American Towman Magazine Presents the Week in TowingNovember 22 - November 28, 2017
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Creative Rundown, Rusted-Out Wrap

0 359faBy George L. Nitti

When it comes to creativity, sometimes a great idea is hard to come by. This was the case for Bruce Johnson, owner of Johnson's Heavy Towing in Flagstaff, Ariz., when trying to find the perfect graphic design for his 2017 Kenworth T880/Century 5130.

It took awhile for him to find the direction he wanted to go.

"A couple of years ago, I was introduced to wraps at one of the tow shows I attended," Johnson said. "A wrap really appealed to me as I saw that they can put a nice finish on a truck for a lot less than custom paint.

"When I bought the truck, I wanted to put a fancy wrap on it, but was never really satisfied with the designs I was seeing. So I left our truck unwrapped for almost a year."

He had some ideas about things he liked, such as old rat rods he had seen on his way home from work. Then he started working with a graphic designer that he found online who helped channel this artistic vision.

Another source of inspiration was the famous and historic Route 66, a tourist destination where one will find special events, hot rod shows, vintage vehicles and old shutdown truck stops along the way.

There is something unique in the rundown and rusted-out; in this special wrap, that vision is captured. The core background is of a vintage truck in patina covered in rivets. The metal of the unit appears as rusting and in some places cut out, and flaking terribly.

On the side of the unit, the washed-out company name is written in aqua wedged between an old antique arrow sign.

"This is one of those vehicles you need to see up close," Johnson said. "That way you can see the burned-out and smoking light bulbs of the sign. The details are great."

The driver of the truck, Joseph "Jody" Cowsert, concurred about the slow process it took for the design to come together.

"Johnson wanted something unique and different," Cowsert said.

Cowsert also played a creative role in the design process, contributing the copper plating found on the grill, the shields on the exhaust, the wheel simulators and the bezels that go around the lights.

"[Johnson] called me one day and told me were going to offset in copper. With the copper plating it adds a whole lot more to it," Cowsert said.

"Every time we take it anywhere, there are 30 to 50 people taking pictures of it," Johnson proudly said.

Brag @ TIW! 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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