The visual magic of hydro-dipped accents, with the custom 2020 Freightliner Cascadia of Dawson Taylor

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Updated Nov 18, 2021

Owner-operator Dawson Taylor’s “Roll of the Dice” 2020 Freightliner Cascadia’s numerous custom touches – interior upholstery work, paint, stainless accents, among others – include serious use of a technique I previously encountered on the dash panels of the Dustbusters company's 1980 Kenworth W900A custom roll-back, earlier this year.

Dawson Taylor’s “Roll of the Dice” 2020 Freightliner CascadiaMartin Herman, part of the build team for that 1980 W900A, explained in the video I put together detailing the custom resto that the skull design you see here on the dash panel was the result of hydro-dipped black-and-gray graphics laid over the painted dash, a motif repeated in other areas around the interior.

On owner-operator Taylor's 2020 Freightliner, that use of so-called "hydrographics" -- or "hydro dipping" -- was taken to another level entirely. Taylor added various graphics to trim pieces on the cab doors, on the APU the rig's outfitted with on the exterior, and all around the rig, really. 

Dawson Taylor’s “Roll of the Dice” 2020 Freightliner CascadiaThis picture shows hydro-dipped paneling up top and accenting areas all along the dash near the bottom.

The owner-operator came to the technique after frustrations with the scarcity of made-to-order custom chrome and other parts for the Cascadia -- certainly compared to other Pete and Kenworth models -- led him to detailed paint and other work on the inside and out of the rig. He used the hydro-dip technique on a variety of pieces of both the interior and exterior of the Cascadia, with a motif befitting his big-gamble theme and its dice.

Dawson TaylorTaylor's hydro-dipping brought him a 3rd overall in the summer 2021 Super Trucks competition of the Walcott Truckers Jamboree at the Iowa 80 Truck Stop in Walcott, Iowa. There, the rig also took a 1st in its bobtail class.

Dawson Taylor’s “Roll of the Dice” 2020 Freightliner CascadiaThe rig also bagged a 1st in OEM sleeper at Walcott for its luxe interior upholstery work and other touches.

Taylor hauls leased to Pro Transport of Grand Forks, North Dakota, in a system where he's compensation on percentage of the load. He hails company owner Art Bakken as the kind of no-nonsense business owner he appreciates in this day and age.

"He reminds me of my dad," said Taylor, who's dedicated the rig to Bakken as well as James Taylor Senior (his father) and brother James Taylor Junior, who taught Dawson how to drive a truck. He credits and thanks all three for their military service whenever he shows the truck.

Both family members, Dawson said, have passed on. "I miss both of them." 

Dawson Taylor’s “Roll of the Dice” 2020 Freightliner CascadiaDawson Taylor's 2020 Freightliner Cascadia

Hydro-dip tutorials abound on Youtube, if you've never tried it yourself. If by chance you've mastered the technique yourself, how did you learn it? Drop a comment here with any and all suggestions.

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