“This is a dream come true. I have driven big rigs for more than 20 years, and I can honestly say that this is one of the highlights of my professional life. I look forward to taking my new truck to the road.” -Donald Wolford Jr. of Greencastle, Pa., about the $50,000 makeover he won from Castrol for his 1977 900-A Kenworth.
It‘s always gratifying to see a veteran truck driver win big - and Donald Wolford Jr. of Greencastle, Pa., has certainly done that, snagging the top prize in Castrol Tection Extra‘s Big Honkin‘ Truck Makeover contest. And it‘s no puff prize, either, as Wolford got a $50,000 total inside and outside makeover from the Chrome Shop Mafia and 4 State Trucks, Inc., in Joplin, Mo. - a group of craftsmen made famous by their stint on Country Music Television‘s series “Trick My Truck.”
[Wolford's re-done Kenworth in all of its glory.]
Wolford loves 1970s-era muscle cars, so the crew at 4 States - which have been providing quality new and used parts for the heavy-duty truck industry since 1979 - dreamed up a one-of-a-kind design based on the muscle car image. After dismantling the old rig and cleaning up more than 30 years of rust and wear, they gave Don‘s rig a custom paint job that featured racing stripes that extend from the hood to the fenders, with the hood extended more than eight inches to give it that “long and low” look.
[Just for fun, here‘s a clip of several Chrome Shop Mafia crewmembers - including Bryan “The Bossman” Martin - appearing live on the “Freewheelin‘ with Meredith & Chris T.” program on Sirius satellite radio‘s Road Dog Trucking network.]
Next came a range of accessories: stainless battery and tool boxes, 6-inch chrome exhaust pipes, a drop visor, along with a 22-inch chrome bumper and stainless air filters from sponsors Grote Industries and Your Truck Shop, with the Chrome Shop gang even fabricating some parts from scratch in the 4 State Trucks shop to give Wolford‘s truck a unique shape and feel.
[Wolford in front of his pride and joy.]
Continental Tire North America supplied new tires, wrapped around wheels from Alcoa Wheels, and it‘s an even more economical truck to operate, courtesy of Green Fuel Systems, which provided a hydrogen enrichment system to help decrease emissions while improving miles per gallon.
[Some of the Chrome Shop Mafia were on hand to help officially unveil Wolford's remade truck.]
“Originally I was going to rebuild the truck myself, but when I saw this contest, I had to enter,” said Wolford. “I could have never imagined doing the work that Chrome Shop Mafia did.” It also took a lot longer than he could‘ve managed on his own, as the Chrome Shop crew got started back in late March and only recently wrapped up work on Don‘s rig in early August.
Family is important to Wolford, whose rigorous short-haul trucking career has him pulling freight up and down the east coast, requiring him to be away from home a week at a time. That‘s why his wife Maria and his daughters Rachael and Christina worked hard to solicit votes for Don; contacting the local media and even making special T-shirts and pencils to spread the word about Don‘s desire to win.
[They even created a YouTube video to support their campaign, which you can see below:]
This is the third year Castrol has sponsored the Big Honkin‘ Truck Makeover and it looks like this might just become a regular annual event - not a bad way to salute the hardworking truck drivers delivering the freight that keeps the U.S. economy humming, according to Tracy Drelich, assistant promotions manager for BP Lubricants USA, Inc., which makes the Castrol brand of engine oil.
[A big crowd gathered to witness Castrol's unveiling of Wolford's truck makeover.]
“This contest lets the owner-operators of America know they are appreciated,” Drelich said. “This is a way for us to give something back to the independent truck drivers and help with the success of the important business they are a part of.”
Amen to that.