For owner operators, your truck is your business card, and what customers see before they even see you. If you take pride in your truck, it gives off a positive outlook of who you are and what kind of professionalism you carry with you every mile. This is no different for Tony Ortega of Ynot Transportation, Inc., with his drive to keep his truck on-point to reflect who he is and to leave good first impressions wherever he goes.
Tony grew up in the San Fernando Valley and has remained in California all his life, until recently, this year, when he relocated to Phoenix, AZ. Growing up from little on, he was riding in a truck whenever he could – whether that was with his father, older brothers or cousins. As part of the second generation of drivers in his family, he began driving at 18, driving team to the Pacific Northwest with his cousins, to gain the experience he needed to venture out on his own. As most know, two years of verifiable experience is required before almost any trucking company will hire you.
In November 2013, Tony married his girlfriend Crystal and, together, they take care in raising his 11-year-old daughter, Isabel. Fast forward, after years of driving for other companies, the right time presented itself in 2017, and Tony ventured out on his own to start his own company and, with that, purchase his own truck. Tony’s good friend Tom Eaton didn’t want to sell his black 379 but patience paid off when he decided to ask Tony if he wanted to buy it.
Tony’s friend Tom moved from California to Arizona and, after several conversations, Tony and his family also decided that a move to Arizona would be beneficial for them. According to Tony, the move had a lot to do with the fact that he owned an older truck, which cannot be registered in California anymore.
The pictured black truck is a 1998 Peterbilt 379 with a Caterpillar 3406E under the hood, 13-speed transmission, 3.42 gear ratio and a 272” wheelbase. What may seem like just another 379 will make you want to take a closer look, because this truck sports plenty of extras, including a Valley Chrome visor and bumper, 8-inch Dynaflex stacks, and Hogebuilt half fenders. The truck also has custom single round JW Speaker headlights, custom air ride by Arroyo Custom Rigs out of Merced, CA, and automatic snow chains by On Spot.
Checking out the inside of the truck, it has a custom interior by Angel’s Custom Interior out of Downey, CA and a custom sound system by Tony’s friends at Professional Car Audio out of Visalia, CA. Two years ago, the engine received an out-of-frame rebuild by the CAT Doctor out of Fontana, CA. Little by little, Tony is getting his truck uniquely customized for his liking. His end goal is to get the truck to exactly the way he wants it and then start attending more truck shows outside of California.
It is not only about washing your truck, according to Tony, but also in the detailing and polishing, too. His truck is always polished at the end of winter by Marco Bolanos of Clean Culture MDS out of Riverside, CA. This may happen at the end of every winter, but he usually has Marco polish it periodically throughout the year. Tony recommends the upkeep of the polishing he gets done to keep that shine all year long, including washing, waxing, and hand polishing. He also says to make sure you use good products for the best results. His go-to is the Zero Water Waterless Wash and Rebel Spray Wax by Renegade Products. Unless Mother Nature is having a bad day, you will always see Tony’s black beauty pressed-out and dialed in.
Tony is part of a group of drivers who call themselves The Unit. This group is made up of approximately 30 like-minded drivers spread across the country who believe in a camaraderie and brotherhood of helping each other out. Most have all known each other since childhood or since getting into the trucking industry, but one thing is for certain, they all consider each other friends and family. Tony said it is great to know there are other drivers you can count on if you need help, and he is just as happy to be able to help someone else when it is needed, too. Everyone in The Unit looks out for each other.
Today, with Tony turning 39 on May 4th, he continues to stay busy with his business. He rotates between his two trailers depending on the season. He is currently running a 2016 Great Dane refrigerated trailer hauling produce, and when he isn’t doing that, he is pulling a 2002 Transcraft 45-foot spread-axle flatbed trailer, hauling lumber and metal panels. Tony said as long as the money is good, he will haul wherever and in any kind of weather, but mostly he runs throughout Nevada, Washington, Oregon and California.
Special thanks from Tony goes out to his wife for the love and support, his family for the guidance and care, and to all the members of The Unit for the encouragement, help, and brotherhood. Tony was taught by his father, uncles, brothers, and cousins on what it means to keep a clean truck. A clean truck is a representation of who you are and how you work, and it leaves great first impressions with those who you come in contact with.
EDITOR’S NOTE: This article was brought to you by the fine folks at Renegade Products, manufacturers of detailing and metal polishing products for the trucking industry and beyond. For available products and uses, see your local retailer or visit them online at www.renegadeproductsusa.com.