TRUCKING: THE COLORS OF MONEY

A TEXAS TAX WRITE-OFF HAS BECOME AN INTERSTATE MONEYMAKER ON THE DEREGULATED HIGHWAY SYSTEM

In 1980, Roderick Bell, an Ohio state dropout turned businessman, bought two trucks as a tax write-off. Today Bell's firm, Texas American Express, shelters mainly profit. Sales are heading toward $12 million, and 80 freight trucks--whose colors range from salmon to emerald green to pink because employees can pick the shades they please--ply the roads from its modest base in Dallas to the Northeast and the West Coast. Bell is a success--and he has to work harder than ever to stay that way.

"We wouldn't be in this business if it weren't for deregulation," says Bell, who treats Texas American as...

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