Tower builds full-size Tonka “Mighty Wrecker”

By Sanam Yar

This life-size reproduction of  Tonka's "Mighty Wrecker" is completely street legal, but it won't be towing many cars. It features a hand-cranked winch for complete accuracy.
This life-size reproduction of Tonka’s “Mighty Wrecker” is completely street legal, but it won’t be towing many cars. It features a hand-cranked winch for complete accuracy.

Memomonie, Wisconsin — July 29, 2013 — There’s no question that Tonka’s “Mighty Wrecker” toy truck makes many people nostalgic. The iconic toy was the inspiration for Brad Doane from Menomonie, Wisc., who built a full-size version. His Mighty Wrecker is 16 ft. long, 10 ft. tall and weighs two tons.

It all started when Doane’s mother brought home a toy Tonka tow truck she bought at a charity auction. Doane, whose family has been in the tow truck business for the past 66 years, then decided to create a life-size replica. Doane is a towing operator himself, working for Irvington Garage Towing.

After purchasing a 1984 Chevy pickup for $700, Doane spent a year cutting, welding , lengthening, and shaping parts to duplicate the original Tonka.
Despite the truck being fully functional and a registered vehicle, it will not be towing too many actual vehicles any time soon. Like the toy it’s based on, it has a hand crank instead of a mechanical winch.

Doane plans to use the truck in community parades and festivals. His dream came full circle when he had the opportunity to drive in the Spirit of the Lakes parade in Mound, Minn., where Tonka Toys originated.

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