On August 20, 2004, 83 tow trucks roll through the streets of Wenatchee, Washington, in an event arranged by the Washington Tow Truck Association (WTTA). “The Guinness Book of World Records” dubbed it the world’s largest parade of tow trucks.
According to the International Towing and Recovery Hall of Fame and Museum in Chattanooga, Tennessee, the first tow truck was the invention of a Chattanooga native named Ernest Holmes, who helped his friend retrieve his Model T Ford after the car slid into a creek. Holmes had previously assembled a system consisting of three poles, a pulley and a chain, all connected to the frame of a 1913 Cadillac. Holmes soon patented his invention, and began manufacturing the equipment to sell to garages and other interested customers out of a small shop on Chattanooga’s Market Street. The Holmes brand went on to earn an international reputation for quality in the towing industry.
On September 20, 2008, the Metropolitan New York Towing Association threw its own hat into the ring. Two hundred and ninety-two tow trucks, including flatbeds, wreckers and 50-ton rotators, left Shea Stadium in Queens (previously the home of the New York Mets, the baseball park has since been demolished to make way for the Mets’ new Citi Field) and traveled along the Van Wyck Expressway and the Belt Parkway before ending up at an abandoned airport tarmac at Floyd Bennett Field in Brooklyn. There, the trucks parked in a formation that spelled out the words “New York.”