56 Tow Tips

Choos­ing a tow-biz pro­fes­sional

Street Rodder - - Contents - By “Rot­ten” Rod­ney Bau­man Pho­tog­ra­phy by the Au­thor ■ ■

Choos­ing a tow-biz pro­fes­sional

You know how it goes. Ev­ery now ’n’ then, poop hap­pens. If and when it does we might find our­selves far away from our own trail­ers in need of road­side as­sis­tance. If by chance you’re a card-car­ry­ing mem­ber of a road­side-as­sis­tance in­sur­ance com­pany, think twice or more be­fore plac­ing your trust—and your pride and joy—in the hands of the first driver your “club” dis­patches. Those driv­ers are on ro­ta­tion, mean­ing which­ever tow­ing com­pany is up next is the one that gets the call—and some of those driv­ers are rough. If it’s your daily door-slam­mer, fine. If it’s your pride and joy hot rod, street rod, cus­tom rod, call the shots and call a tow­ing pro­fes­sional you’re com­fort­able with. Granted, that’s only pos­si­ble where we know the play­ers—like close to home, but, sta­tis­ti­cally, close to home is usu­ally where poop hap­pens any­way.

Now, I don’t ex­actly re­call men­tion­ing this here be­fore, but years ago I was a tow-biz pro­fes­sional my­self. With that bit of ex­pe­ri­ence I solidly be­lieve that I know what to look for at tow time. If it’s painted, plated, and/ or pol­ished, it doesn’t have to take a beat­ing from a reck­less slob with greasy J-hooks and a big ol’ paint-scratchin’ ring of keys hangin’ from a belt loop.

Around the tow yard and out on the streets we see dan­ger­ously sloppy per­for­mances by Brand-X tow ser­vices. Think­ing back, one of the worst load­ing pro­ce­dures I’ve per­son­ally wit­nessed in­volved a guy many of us know. When his Model A coupe cracked an axle hous­ing, a call went out to his tow­ing in­surer. As re­quested, a driver ar­rived with a roll­back, but his bed was coated with mo­tor oil and an­tifreeze with a sprin­kling of bro­ken glass. I watched in hor­ror as that driver low­ered his bed to the asphalt and in­structed the car’s owner to drive it up onto the truck. That’s nuts! A qual­i­fied driver would never re­lin­quish con­trol. From here let’s switch to pos­i­tive; take a deep breath and re­lax as we watch a true tow pro in ac­tion.

For the pur­pose of il­lus­tra­tion, let’s raise the hood of a car that’s not re­ally bro­ken down. Then let’s search for a pay phone. Then let’s search for a pay phone that works and call a tow­ing com­pany owned and op­er­ated by real hot-rod­din’ car guys who get it. Yes, qual­i­fied tow truck driv­ers are out there—per­haps in your area too. Just a lit­tle home­work, just ahead of tow time, can save you some grief. On that note, let’s be­gin with our drama­ti­za­tion. Granted, ev­ery sit­u­a­tion is dif­fer­ent. Granted, there’s more than one way to load a hot rod, but for the job at hand, this is how we do it in the city of River­side, Cal­i­for­nia.

For the dig­i­tal ex­pe­ri­ence: https://bit.ly/2Oy3fgK

■ In­evitably, when it hap­pens, it’ll be in some scary place. Sure enough, this time it’s right here at home. At times like these it’s good to know who to call. In this in­stance it’s my tow-truckin’ friend who’d pre­fer to re­main anony­mous, Gary “Wizbang” Es­tee.1

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