Tavo’s ‘Workhorse’


Back in 1968, Gustavo “Tavo” Jimenez Sr. operated Jimenez Garage with four of his sons. Tavo’s reputation rapidly grew because of his willingness to help anyone, anywhere, anytime. His customer base grew and so did the business. His son Gustavo “Tavo” Jimenez Jr. established Tavo’s Automotive in 1974 in Crystal City, Texas, as a repair shop with towing services before passing the business to his son Gustavo “Tavo” Jimenez III.

In 2007, Tavo III took over operation; in January 2011, after being a light-duty towing company for 27 years, Tavo’s Automotive made the decision to jump into the heavy-duty towing arena.

“We cover four counties in the southwest Texas region, which is larger than some of the smaller states in the U.S.,” Tavo III said. “We are truly blessed to have established good working relationships with most companies and have several companies we assist in heavy-duty recoveries. On the light-duty side, we sometimes sub out work to other companies that are closer to our customer providing a better ETA.”

“We now have four rollbacks, a 12-ton wrecker on our light-duty side and four heavy-duty wreckers which include our most recent addition, a 2017 Peterbilt tri-axle Century 9055 50-ton,” said Tavo III. Featured here, though, is the company’s first heavy, a 2007 Kenworth T300 single-axle Jerr-Dan 25-ton unit that Tavo III said they found with 30,000 miles on it.

“After operating our transport business in the red for most of 2010 plus being hit with rising fuel prices, we decided to sell our transport equipment,” he said. “We managed to pay off past due balances with our fuel company and other vendors. We took a risk and invested the rest of our money as a down payment for the 2007 Kenworth T300.”

At first, they didn’t get much work for the Kenworth/Jerr-Dan (Unit 107) they’ve dubbed “Workhorse.”

“Fortunately, word about us having a heavy-duty unit spread quickly and companies started calling for more work than we could handle,” Tavo III said. By January 2012, they’d added a 2008 Kenworth tandem-axle Jerr-Dan 25-ton tandem and a 2007 Peterbilt tri-axle Century 50-ton.

An ISC Cummins 260-hp engine mated to an Eaton Fuller 10-speed transmission powers Workhorse. The wrecker features two DP 25-ton planetary winches.

“Rick Gallegos of Crystal City Motors (our sister company) did the paint job and it took two days to complete. All of our fleet features white trucks with red fenders. The color red serves as a reminder of the blood shed by our Lord Jesus Christ. That is what inspired the paint job.”

Tavo III admits they’ve probably taxed Workhorse to its limits on a few jobs.

“It has tested our creativity and strategies when rigging up to get the job done. Unit 107 is so versatile; it allows us into locations our larger trucks wouldn’t be able to get into. It allows us to position perpendicular for recoveries on small caliche roads used by the oil field industry to access well pads.

“This truck is the workhorse of the fleet,” Tavo said. “Although, we now have bigger recovery equipment, we could not have gotten to where we are today if it wasn’t for this truck.”

Jim “Buck” Sorrenti, a longtime editor of American Towman, has been our field editor for the past few years. He is a freelance writer and photographer with more than 40 years of experience covering motorcycle, hot rod, truck and towing culture. He writes weekly for

Tech Highlights

Name: “Workhorse.” Chassis: 2007 Kenworth T300 single axle. Wrecker: Jerr-Dan 25-ton. Engine: ISC Cummins 260 hp. Trans: Eaton Fuller 10-speed. Winches: Two DP 25-ton planetary. Paint: Rick Gallegos, Crystal City Motors.