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Tow Mater Replica #2 - January 2014

The first Tow Mater replica we built was a huge success everywhere it went, and it now resides in Galena, Kansas at a restored gas station, next to the truck that was the original inspiration for Tow Mater. Well, we had to do another - but better, so we searched and found this old oilfield boom truck. Watch as it's tranformed into the most recognized tow truck in the world...

First order of business is losing the boom and bed, then shortening the frame 3 feet.

This truck originally had a 265 V8 with a huge 4-speed manual transmission. That was all junked (it was junk anyway), while a 350 chevy smallblock with a 350 automatic trans was put back in. A new fuel tank was located behind the cab, as Mater has a fuel filler on the side of the tow bed, rather than on the cab itself. To keep things clean, the battery was relocated into the cab, and a floor shifter was added.

Now the fun begins - changing the body. It starts by cutting off the front end so the new "mouth" can be constructed..

Next is building the tow bed - from scratch!!!

Most hot rods with modified roofs get a chop, but Mater gets a lift. the roof was cut off, cut in half, tilted and welded back together.

The bed detail is pretty dead-on using a real Tulsa Winch company winch from the 50s to activate the hook. If the mechanism was present to run the pull cables going down through the bed, the boom would raise and lower just like a real one.

On to the most difficult part - the face!!! First challenge was recreating the headlights - changing the shape of each one. Next the lower corners of each front fender were lowered 7 inches to provide more room for the big-toothed grin...

 

Now the hardest part of all - the mouth and bumper- gotta get it right, and I think we did!!

Now Mater can't be toothless, so a full set of dentures is being carved out, along with a tongue (complete with taste buds)...

Took a break from the mouth to finish up the side-view mirrors so Mater can drive backwards!!!

 

Nobody knows what engine Mater has, so we'll keep the mystery alive with a full engine cover to hide his secrets...

Now to finishing paint and decals...

FINISHED!!! Mater was born on a snowy day in December, but handled it quite well.

Mater now lives in Branson, Missouri at the Celebrity Car Museum; where he parks himself right out front everyday to greet visitors...