Bronze beauty

Having sponsors already lined up helped Thomas get this new Volvo VNL 780 ready at the last minute for the 2005 Pride & Polish. It is parked at the Dallas City Hall plaza.

Men’s Wearhouse driver James Thomas doesn’t let lack of ownership get in the way of winning Pride & Polish awards. A professional driver for 19 years, he had his first taste of victory in 2001, winning First in 2000 and Newer Combination. He returned in 2002 for another First, this one in Fleet Combination. A 2000 Freightliner Century Class won both awards.

He didn’t place in 2003, skipped the 2004 competition and tied for First, Fleet-owned Bobtail in 2005. Thomas barely made the 2005 competition, getting the keys to a 2006 Volvo VNL 780 that he says “rides like a Cadillac” only a week before the show.

While waiting five months for the truck, he collected most of the parts he wanted to add. “For some of the chrome, I spent $300 to $400,” Thomas says. On top of that, he lined up two sponsors: Ryder of Houston, which leases the truck to Men’s Wearhouse and mounts the accessories, and Sweeten Volvo of Houston.

When not driving or preparing for Pride & Polish shows, Thomas paints and repairs houses. But his heart is for the road. “I breathe diesel smoke,” he says.

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