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 13 - September 19, 2017

Wrecker with Western Aura

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By George L. Nitti

If you look at some tow trucks long enough, you may make all kinds of associations. A&D Towing's 50-ton wrecker reminds me of a stagecoach pulled by a powerful team of horses.

A&D, located in Jersey City and Little Ferry, N.J., has been around since the early '70s, when owner Don Francis started working with his father and then later added his first tow truck sometime around '79 or '80.

"I sold my '76 Cadillac Coupe Deville for $2,800," Francis said, "and bought a tow truck with the money. My father was in the gas station business and I started towing with him, doing motor clubs."

Perhaps it's the classic Peterbilt design that gives this truck, a 2010 Peterbilt with a Vulcan V-100 50-ton integrated, its Western aura.

"Its three-stage boom is not typical," said Francis' son Ryan. "I use it to do recovery work in a tight spot. It's a great truck if you need extra reach."

The graphic design on this unit, like the others in their fleet, stands out for its excellence and uniformity.

"This truck was custom painted and lettered by Carcraft Truck Works in Staten Island," said Ryan.

Several areas of this unit are noteworthy, such as how well the graphic work is integrated, creating interesting contrast from colors to lettering.

The primary colors of the truck itself, red, yellow and robin blue, all hand-painted and then clear-coated. On top of those primary colors sit the large superb logo, consisting of modern lettering and a much different color schematic: a gradation of browns, chrome and blues. They integrate and blend well with the primary colors of the truck.

"Our logo A&D is meant to look like chrome. It was an old-school way of painting chrome," said Ryan.

Of primary consideration for the company is that their simple and clear lettering can be seen while they are driving 65 mph on the road.

"Our big thing," said Ryan, "is that less is more. We don't want anything on the truck that will detract from that objective."

On the boom are the words: "We Tow the Line."

"That was an expression my father used back in the day," said Ryan.

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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!

The Airbrush Touch

0 0c2d7By George L. Nitti

John Riccio, owner of Max Custom Truck Lettering in Huntington, N.Y., has been putting his personal touch on tow trucks since 1970, with his airbrushing and custom paint skills.

"I'm holding out and don't want to do wraps at this stage in my life," Riccio said. "Vinyl is tough on the body. I have fun painting. It's therapeutic."

It's his customers who keep him in business, those who don't want "a clean sheet of vinyl" to wash and wax; but would rather have the "real deal."

"People really appreciate good custom work."

Tip Top Autobody, located in New Hyde, is one such recipient who has maintained their loyalty to Riccio. They used him to airbrush flames on their units including their newest one, a 2015 Kenworth T370/Jerr-Dan 25-ton wrecker.

According to owner Pat Fanning, Riccio's work is well known in the area.

"He's always painted flames for us," said Fanning. "I've liked the look of motorcycle flames, and went with his design on our trucks. To me, wraps are not as classy. Airbrushing gives it more of an authentic look."

The orange-infused flames at the front of the truck flow along the Jerr-Dan body's bright red background.

"I really like the new aluminum body of the Jerr-Dan. They have come a long way," Fanning said. "They are well-built and don't give you the corrosion problem, and you can easily transfer the body to another truck."

The name of the company, Tip Top, is airbrushed large in a clean, modern style with a complementary color scheme of chrome-silver accentuated with a blue shadow. Just under the company name is "Autobody."

Fanning said, "Although we have five tow trucks, our primary business is auto body and we wanted to advertise that."

At the back of the unit is white pinstriping, adding that special personal touch from Riccio.

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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