The Week's Features
“If it’s not old, it’s not any good!”
Texas towman assists two troopers, then collapses
There’s something very calming about a crisp uniform
Forks come in three versions: short, medium, tall
Drives off from tow yard in repossessed Hyundai Elantra
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American Towman Magazine Presents the Week in TowingJanuary 16 - January 22, 2019

Putting Service First

ill.12.18.130By GEORGE L. NITTI

This year at the American Wrecker Pageant, Dallas Horton, owner of Horton's Wrecker Services in Virginia, displayed their newest wrecker, a 2014 Ford F-450 with a Vulcan 807R wrecker. It won second place for Light Duty 2012 and newer.

Their new truck gives tribute to military service and the fallen soldiers of the U.S. Marine Corps.

"One of my employees whose name is Mike is a veteran of the Marines and served in Iraq and Afghanistan. He lost many of his friends in the war," Dallas said.

Since purchasing it from Matheny Motors and having the wrap done by Rock Star Wraps, both also located in Virginia, Horton's has been donating portions of their proceeds from the use of this truck to benefit families of wounded and fallen Marines. They have also used it for Toys for Tots, Veteran's Day, blood drives and a Marine's dinner.

The truck is one complete wrap; nothing on the truck is painted. The hood is covered with silver military stars against a blue backdrop that you might similarly find the Dallas Cowboys wearing on their uniform and helmets. Their logo, "Horton's Wrecker Services" is front and center and sits on a yellow ribbon.

The driver's side features the familiar image of a rifle turned upside down sitting inside a soldier's boots while a helmet is tucked over the top of the rifle, dog tags dangling. Also on the driver's side, just on the body of the wrecker, is a compelling graphic of five Marines positioned in battle. Horton's logo, in large lettering, is on the driver's door as is a smaller logo on the body of the wrecker, sitting atop a smaller yellow ribbon.

Dallas learned from his father, Danny Horton, that "the customer always comes first, whether in the office or on the road," and takes that lesson seriously.

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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Wheelie Wizardry

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By George L. Nitti

There's a long-standing creed at Chelsea Wrecker Service in Chelsea, Oklahoma: "If it's not old, it's not any good!" Roger Melson owned Chelsea for 29 years before retiring; his passion was collecting, restoring and retrofitting antique cars, hot rods and tow trucks.

One of his restorations included a red 1949 International KB7 tow truck with two Ramsey electric winches.

"I was nicknamed 'The Wizard,' " Melson said. "I built racecars and fast cars. You name it. My daddy was chief of police and used to borrow this truck in 1959 to sell watermelons. I was five years old then. I had no idea that I would own it. I traded for it about 20 years ago and fixed it up. It could pull anything out of a lake, and a house if it needed to be moved."

The wrecker is still in working shape. It operates with many of its components like the suspension springs, pedals, steering wheel, dashboard, original headlights and more.

Melson claims to have had the oldest tow trucks in Oklahoma's history.

"I wanted to go to work in an antique truck every day," he said, "and I did not want to spend a whole lot of money on new tow trucks because it's a small town where some days you make money and some days you don't. I didn't want a struggle. I think it helped my business. Nobody ever rode in a '30 or '40 model (truck)."

Part of the retrofitting included shortening the frame, putting a back seat in, adding a swiveling bed and most extraordinarily, a heavy winch box that has enabled it to do wheelies.

"The winch box added about 5,500 pounds of weight," Melson said. "You can put it in different positions and wheelie down the road. It's very forgiving and goes straight."

At that vantage point, the wrecker is clearly eye catching, even drawing the interest of kids.

"I had a mouth that bolts on front with teeth. I put that on the truck for a show. The kids think that it is 'Tow Mater.' I tell them that it is Mater's father," he said, referring to another classic tow truck he owned that resembled "Tow Mater" from the hit "Cars" movie franchise.

On the front, under its right standard headlight, are the words "Cheapers Greapers."

"If people remember the movie, it was an old truck running people off the road," Melson 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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