This month’s cool creation was built for Curt Smith of Timm’s Auto Salvage in St. Charles, MN. Along with their subsidiary company, Midwest Equipment, there are three partners – Dean Bockenhauer and Tim Pasche run the equipment side and Curt runs the scrap and trucking side. Timm’s Auto specializes in auto salvage and parts, and Midwest Equipment is a dealer of used and refurbished wheel loaders, construction and ag equipment, dismantled machines, construction and ag attachments, trucks and trailers.
With a total of 56 employees, Timm’s Auto has three locations in two states and Midwest Equipment has grown to be one of the largest dealers of used heavy machinery in the Midwest. Timm’s Auto was originally started by a guy named Allan Timm, but in the mid-1970’s he sold it to Dean and Tim. Curt, who is a truck nut, joined the team later as a worker in the yard and scrap hauler, eventually becoming a partner.
Curt has an interesting story. The son of Norman and Barb Smith from Rochester, MN, his dad drove a cab for 40 years and his mom was a bartender. One of four children, Curt left home at the age of 13 and joined a traveling carnival. It sounds crazy, but eventually all four of the kids wound up at the carnival – they were “carny brats” as he put it. Touring from town to town each weekend, the carnival was like a big family that looked out for each other. Curt worked with two different carnivals over a ten-year period.
At one carnival in Bethany, MO, Curt was “introduced” to trucking at the early age of 14. One of the truck drivers had broken two shifter cables in two weeks, and the mechanic wasn’t going to fix it again just so he could break that one, too. Curt was just standing there and the mechanic turned to him and asked, “Can you drive this truck?” Without hesitation, having never driven a truck before, Curt said, “Sure, I grew up on a farm, so I can drive anything.” Figuring things out fast, he drove that Cracker Box Jimmy with a 6V71 all the way to Texarkana, hammer down, with flames coming out the stacks! Besides driving, he also got “on the job training” for wrenching, welding and rebuilding equipment while working at the carnivals.
Timm’s Auto has many trucks, roll-backs, car haulers, bailers, scrap handlers and crushers. They had a lot of cool trucks over the years, and were notorious for having big, painted stacks on their trucks. About a year ago they bought a super-low 1999 Peterbilt from Steve Moss but it wasn’t really equipped properly, so they decided to order a new one, built specifically to handle the work they do in the scrap yards, to replace it. Of course, they still wanted it to uphold their image, and that is when they called Clint.
The truck is a 2014 Peterbilt 389 with a 63” HR sleeper, a 270” WB, Low Air-Leaf suspension, an air-ride front axle, and 11R22.5 rubber on Dura-Bright wheels. Curt and his driver Charlie picked out the metallic blue paint and then found a matching non-metallic blue for the frame. Fitted with a Platinum interior package, the cab and sleeper are full of extra gauges and goodies.
When the truck came in, the guys in the shop painted lots of stuff including the battery boxes, fuel tanks, breathers, mirror brackets, breather light panels, and one of Clint’s visors. They also installed stacks, a flush and painted deck plate with a recessed connection box, flush load lights in the back of the sleeper, and a visor over the back window to match the front one. The truck also got painted cab and sleeper skirts, flush cab lights and extra grill bars.
Having to use this truck in messy locations every day, they opted for blue plastic bicycle-style fenders over the drive tires. Hey, looks are very important, but who wants to repaint fenders every week? Clint also made some cool custom brackets to hold the inexpensive fenders that could also be used as steps. And, to make them look even better, he added polished stainless steel strips into the grooves on each fender.
The dash plaque on this one says “Custom Built for Good Times” and that is what Curt is having – a good time! Pulling an end dump and hauling scrap is what this truck does, and Clint and Curt wanted to be sure it could still do that well, even after all of the modifications. This truck may not have oversized painted stacks, but we think it still lives up to the reputation of a truck owned by Timm’s Auto Salvage. And, for sure, it will turn heads and provide years of “good times” for Curt and his drivers.