Winners from three categories of this year's contest.

We always get a great selection of photos when we run our truck contest. This time around, we decided to break up the contest into three categories:
  • Box Truck
  • Panel Van
  • Pick-Up
To help us judge the contest, we turned to Creative Elements, Mokena, Ill., an ad agency representing such clients as Chicago Faucet and Halsey Taylor. Agency owners Mike Deam, Joe Flaherty and Scott Hammond, as well as graphic designer, Hilary Vonesh picked the winners. (For the record, we didn't even open the envelopes.)

In addition to our three categories, the Creative Elements crew also picked two very, very late model trucks, restored as good as new. The photos included in this article are just a fraction of the entries we received. We saved the others and plan on including those in our regular Truck Of The Month.

The following comments in italics are the judges'.

Herb Zieger Plumbing & Heating Co.

Box Truck
First Place
Herb Zieger Plumbing & Heating Co.
Lincoln Park, N.J.

Now here's a truck that's a two-time winner. Herb Zieger Jr. has been driving our award-winner for a couple of years. The design and color combination is the result of his wife's inspiration and a graphic designer's final output. After the job was completed, the designer entered his work in a signage trade magazine, and won first place.

The truck is a real head-turner even on the inside, too. Zieger takes 100 percent of the credit for designing the inside.

"About 95 percent of the material I need for any service work is right here on the truck," he says.

While selecting just one winner in this very competitive category was tough. Herb Zieger's truck immediately caught every judge's eye. Striking both inside and out, Herb points out in his accompanying letter: "I think my truck is a good indicator of the quality of my work. I have received numerous jobs from people seeing my truck and asking for my business card." That says it all Herb!

M. Monteiro & Sons Inc.

First Runner-Up
M. Monteiro and Sons Inc.
Danbury, Conn.

This clean and simple truck stood out among the large number of white trucks that were entered.

Honorable Mention
Heine Plumbing & Heating Inc., Newton, N.J.
Their new "millennium look" is a winner!

Aiello Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning, Windsor, Conn.
An eye-catching red beauty.

Carter Service Co., Greenwood, Ind.A great presentation of what this compact truck can hold.

Ultimate Plumbing, Brick, N.J., and Marino Plumbing, Hershey, Pa.
Very nice looking . . . and the Web sites on the trucks really impressed us.

Marlin Mechanical Corp.

Panel Van
First Place
Marlin Mechanical Corp.
Phoenix, Ariz.

Marlin Mechanical was "fishing" around for a new look for its trucks a few years ago. After reviewing a couple of concepts with graphic designers, the mechanical contractors were "hooked" on this one.

The company uses the same design for not only its vans, but also its fleet of box trucks and pickups.

"The panel was an experiment," Mark Larson says. "We needed a vehicle that could specialize in one particular type of job, and be easy to drive around the city - and get good gas mileage."

Narrowing this category down to a few finalists was difficult. Choosing a winner was even more difficult. Marlin prevailed due to the clean, professional image conveyed by their van. (Note: They also have an impressive fleet of box trucks incorporating these same original graphics.)

Pat Dolan Plumbing

First Runner-Up
Pat Dolan Plumbing
Massapequa, N.Y.

We particularly like Pat's "No Overtime Charge . . . " message.

Honorable Mentions
Mako Plumbing & Heating Inc., North Valley Stream, N.J.
Nice and clean.

John Heyrick Inc., Montclair, N.J.
Sometimes less is more.

Voelker's Plumbing & Heating, Larksville, Pa.
Most humorous (and very attending getting).

Gilchrist Mechanical Inc.

Pick-Up Truck
First Place
Gilchrist Mechanical Inc.
Atlanta, Mich.

There were not as many entries in this category, however, there were several really good-looking pick-ups. We chose Mike Sarkozi's truck as the winner. Simple and colorful, this blue pick-up is a definite head-turner.

Custom Comfort

First Runner-up
Custom Comfort
Anchorage, Alaska

This little truck has minimal graphics, but maximum curb appeal.

Honorable Mention
Orv's Plumbing & Heating, Ellsworth, Minn.
Very sleek-looking vehicle.

Coppell Plumbing, Coppell, Texas
Eye-catching, fun design.

Special Mention

While the following two trucks didn't exactly fit the contest's three categories, these beautifully restored antique panel trucks are ideal for promotional events, trade shows, parades or just cruising. Incidentally, both contractors also sent in photos or terrific-looking modern day box trucks, too.

Loranger and Sons Inc.
Pompton Lakes, N.J.

Mike Bachman Plumbing
Ogden, Utah.