Once again, Plumbing & Mechanical's 2003 Best-Looking Truck Contest had a large number of exceptional entries, making the selection of winners extremely difficult. And, as in previous years, the Box Truck Category drew the most entries. We added a new category this year, Best Inside, to showcase how our readers organize their trucks.

Our judges this year again came from Creative Elements Inc., Frankfort, Ill., an ad agency representing such clients as Chicago Faucets and Halsey Taylor. The panel included Mike Deam, Joe Flaherty and Scott Hammond, owners of Creative Elements; Corrie Krippel, Scott Sriver and Hilary Vonesh, graphic designers at Creative Elements; and Shirley Pirko, Creative Elements' administrative assistant.

The judges initially selected a small group of finalists for each of the four categories, and from that point chose the following winners. (If your truck didn't win, don't worry; you may still see it in the pages of this magazine as a Truck Of The Month in future issues.)

Best-Looking Box Truck

Meridian Plumbing • East Lansing, Mich.

The results from the judges in this very competitive category were extremely close among several entries! After careful deliberation (and a couple of recounts), the ultimate winner was the classy-looking Meridian Plumbing truck submitted by Aaron VanHalst. The unique black and red logo looks striking against the truck's attractive gray color, and the phone number and Web site really stand out. The additional placement of the Web site across the front of the windshield is an especially nice touch, as is the invitation to “Come See Our Showroom.”

Box Truck First Runner-Up

Royal Flush Plumbing Services of Northwest Florida Inc. • Panama City Beach, Fla.

The company's catchy name and clever slogan (“Why Gamble With Anyone Else”) combines with clean and simple graphics for a first-class look.

Box Truck Honorable Mentions

Heritage Heating & Plumbing, Stoneham, Mass. -- An old ambulance with a new life. What a great idea!

Louisiana Plumbing LLC, Bossier City, La. - Eye-catching graphics ... and we love the fact “You Know The Price Before We Start.”

John C. Etter Plumbing, Monterey, Calif. - A real classy-looking truck.

Brothers Plumbing & Heating, Northglenn, Colo. - An extremely nice-looking truck. (Note: This company had great entries in the van and pick-up truck categories as well, and was the winner in the pick-up truck category. Their overall “fleet” is very impressive.)

Best-Looking Panel Van

Thos. R. Birnie & Sons Ltd. • Hamilton, Ontario

This eye-catching van depicts that this company enjoys its line of work and has a sense of humor. And the phone number and Web site (both 5Stinky) are certainly easy to remember!

Panel Van First Runner-Up

O'Connor Plumbing, Heating & Cooling Inc. • Hastings, Minn.

This excellent entry features the same unusual shape as the winner (they have a fleet of 7) and some really great graphics. The inside was also very impressive.

Panel Van Honorable Mentions

Heritage Plumbing & Drain, Broken Arrow, Okla. - The American Flag on the back of the van is a real attention-getter.

Caswell Plumbing & Heating Inc., Toms River, N.J. - Nice van. And the slogan on the back (“If It Wasn't For Plumbers You Wouldn't Have Any Place To Go”) is a humorous way to draw attention to their business.

Best-Looking Pick-Up Truck

Brothers Plumbing & Heating • Northglenn, Colo.

There were not as many entries in this category; however, there were several really good-looking pick-ups! The winner (Brothers Plumbing) also had top-notch entries in the Box and Van category, and if there was an award for the best overall fleet, it would go to this firm. Its attractive logo treatment pops off its white trucks, while the other elements (phone number, Web site, etc.) are easy to read for a clean, classy and consistent design.

Pick-Up Truck First Runner-Up

The Lone Rooter Plumbing • Carlsbad, Calif.

Wow! A custom-built 1955 Chevy that's used as a daily work truck. Very impressive ... and very cool

Pick-Up Truck Honorable Mention

Mahoney Plumbing Inc., Highwood, Ill. - A sleek-looking and attractive vehicle. Love the color.

Best-Looking Inside

A.C.M. Appliance Repair Service • Binghamton, N.Y.

This new category drew a lot of interest. One thing we noticed is that a good-looking truck on the outside usually means a good-looking truck on the inside (a large number of contractors entered both). In a very close decision, A.C.M. prevailed with a great bin system, a nice open entry and what appears to be a convenient and roomy counter area/work station.

Inside First Runner-Up

Don Lewis Plumbing • Eugene, Ore.

Don's nice, clean look on the outside carried over into the inside. Very impressive.

Inside Honorable Mention

Archer Plumbing, Old Bridge, N.J. - Maximizes available space for inventory/materials/supplies while leaving plenty of cargo room.

Special Mention

Bratschi Plumbing Co. Inc. • Winnetka, Ill.

Also worthy of an all-around special mention is Bratschi Plumbing Co. Inc., Winnetka, Ill., who sent in photos of a beautifully restored, antique 1951 Chevy pick-up truck. While this “attention getter” is ideal for promotional events, open houses, parades, etc., it is not used in day-to-day business, so we didn't include it among our winners. However, it is a beautiful-looking truck and this company obviously takes great pride in its image and its work, so we felt it was worthy of a mention.