NZ Transport Imaging Awards

 
Big bright green rescue machine

Big bright green rescue machine

NZ Transport Imaging Awards

 June 2021   

When towing company boss Brooke Bartle decided he needed a new colour scheme for his towtrucks, he had to do it quickly: His next truck was already in the paint shop!

It was five years ago – and Bartle, managing director of Rotorua Towing Services, Big Rig Rescue and Taupo Towing Company, had just sold his interest in Auckland-based Ace Towing to brother Che.

The Bartle family originally started out with just Rotorua Towing, running blue trucks. However, they’d subsequently bought Ace….which had yellow and white trucks – so the Rotorua Towing trucks (and the Taupo Towing trucks) were switched to the same branding.

On selling out of Ace, Brooke decided to change the Rotorua and Taupo operations’ livery “to something else” – and as an interim measure (to avoid a complete repaint of the whole fleet) he initially tried to achieve a point of difference simply by adding a black stripe.


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When towing company boss Brooke Bartle decided he needed a new colour scheme for his towtrucks, he had to do it quickly: His next truck was already in the paint shop!

It was five years ago – and Bartle, managing director of Rotorua Towing Services, Big Rig Rescue and Taupo Towing Company, had just sold his interest in Auckland-based Ace Towing to brother Che.

The Bartle family originally started out with just Rotorua Towing, running blue trucks. However, they’d subsequently bought Ace….which had yellow and white trucks – so the Rotorua Towing trucks (and the Taupo Towing trucks) were switched to the same branding.

On selling out of Ace, Brooke decided to change the Rotorua and Taupo operations’ livery “to something else” – and as an interim measure (to avoid a complete repaint of the whole fleet) he initially tried to achieve a point of difference simply by adding a black stripe.

Soon after though, he built a brand-new UD NK250 towtruck and the white truck was already in a Brokers New Zealand paint shop ready for its yellow paint when the thought occurred: “Why am I painting it yellow?” 

He says he told “the guy from Brokers…. ‘hang on, we’re going to change the colour.’ I thought, ‘I don’t actually want to paint it yellow – I want to change it to something else.’ That was the catalyst of it all.” 

So then came the problem: What colour? He had to find an answer quickly – and soon realised that so many colours are already associated with other fleets: “It was one of those things – when you start thinking about ‘oh I need to change from a certain colour that I’ve always had,’ you actually start thinking about your normal colours: Your reds and your blues. 

“But you think ‘well such and such is red, and such and such is blue.’ 

“So I thought ‘well, what’s a different colour that stands out?’ I’d seen a lime-green colour on muscle cars: Dodge Challengers used to have a crazy plum/purple and the lime green with the black. It works well together and is quite eyecatching. 

“So that’s what I based it off: I saw a picture of a car like that and went to the paintshop and came up with the colour.”

He says that he’s not really a muscle car fanatic – it was just a matter of liking the lime green and black combination.

The process wasn’t without its nervous moments: “If you’re going to the expense of rebranding a whole fleet – 15 trucks in total – it’s quite an investment. 

“So I was trying to get it right in the first instance: There’s nothing worse than painting one or two trucks and going ‘actually, I don’t really like that…’ ”

And he reckons that the lime green was initially a pretty scary sight: “They paint all the green first and when you get it back….it’s far too much green. It actually doesn’t look right. 

“I was like, ‘shit, is that too much green!’ Then you put the black stripe on it and it looks better – but it’s not until the silver signwriting goes on that ties it all together. Then it’s quite cool actually.” 

Since that first truck most of the fleet has been rebranded in the colour scheme borrowed from the Dodge Challenger – with Brokers painting the trucks and Darren Caulfield of Caulfield Signs doing “a great job” on the signwriting and striping.

“About 13 have been painted up at the moment….They’re not all big trucks – they’re your Mitsi Fighters. Flatbed towtrucks.”

But the latest addition to the fleet – and to the lime green and black branding – is a 2008 Kenworth K108, repainted from its former owner’s blue colour scheme and added to Bartle’s Big Rig Rescue operation. 

“We’ve just put it on the road and based it out of Taupo. The towing gear that’s on the back was on another old truck – and that was all yellow, so we needed to paint it green.”

That leaves just two more to be rebranded – another Big Rig Rescue heavy-duty recovery unit (a Volvo) and a smaller 8x4 flatdeck towtruck. 

Bartle is happy that the livery change has worked well: “It’s been really effective – everyone comments on the colour because it’s a bit more in your face (but not too much in your face).

“I just like good-looking trucks: No point in rolling around in a shitty-looking truck is there. They definitely get a lot of comments – even from the first one we did, way back five years ago. And this last big one – everyone sort of says ‘wow! It looks awesome.’ ”

About six months ago, Bartle bought Rowe Motors in Tauranga – but says that the heavy-duty recovery, towtruck and heavy transporter operation’s distinctive red and white colour scheme won’t be rebranded…nor renamed.

“They’ve been a Tauranga icon towing company since well before I was born, so it would be silly to change those colours. They’ll remain as they are.”  

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