40 Vintage Firetrucks
Firetrucks are not only super cool, they are necessary parts of life and driven/operated by courageous men and women. But the firetrucks we see today are borderline monster trucks, modded out to include any possible life-saving additions. But it hasn’t always been that way. Firetrucks used to be, well regular old trucks. This post is going to educate you on what a firetruck used to be. So enjoy the trip down memory lane!
40. 1936 Chevrolet Antique Firetruck
Here is a classic 1936 Chevrolet 1 Ton Firetruck, featuring a flathead 6 cylinder gas powered engine with a four-speed smooth manual tranny which shifts surprisingly smooth. You better hope it’s a small fire because this classic Chevy only seats two, but this thing is a beast! Chevy developed the OHV engine to compete with Dodge. They needed a workhorse that could get the job done. The “Cast-Iron Wonder” (as the engine was known) fit the bill. She could churn out 46 horsepower (194 cubic inches) and the overhead valve system supplied much greater power and torque than the previous 4 cylinder engine. This pumper truck is gorgeous!
39. 1937 Chevy Firetruck
Fast forward one year and not much changed with Chevy Firetrucks. This pumper truck has a 100-gallon tank and seats two just like its predecessor. Notice the light mounted just ahead of the driver’s side and siren directly across. The pump rests just behind the driver’s bench seat and all of the necessary components are stored there as well. The bed of the firetruck is wooden and features a rack perfect for stowing a wooden ladder. The idea behind this truck was performance and ease of access so firefighters had all of their equipment within easy reach. This one features a bell mounted just over the bed to signal an imminent approach.
38. 1937 Seagrave Pumper Firetruck
Seagrave stepped things up a bit with their 1937 pumper fire truck. For one thing, it had lots of power. The vintage fire truck is powered by a v12 engine and features a six-volt electrical system. Ladders could be mounted on the side for easy access and the massive hose was tucked under the rear. It’s a standard bench seat pumper with room for two. Hose couplers are mounted on the driver side leaving plenty of space for in the bed for other equipment. The 1937 Seagraves firetruck was a workhorse! They are considered highly collectible today, Many people buy them to use for parades or keep them as a unique piece of history,
37. 1940 American LaFrance Pumper
The 1940 American LaFrance Pumper truck 500 series featured a new enclosed streamlined design form 1938-1941. The 400 series featured a senior 1000, 1250, or 1500 pump-in-cowl design and was made from 1935-1940. The main difference between the two was the cab design. The 400 series featured an open cab design which meant exposure to the elements. The 500 series you see here had an enclosed design like standard automobiles of the day. And, since it was made in 1940, you can already see those art deco lines emerging. Beautiful.
36. 1940 Antique Pumper
This old pumper truck has seen better days but still looks incredible as a rust bucket. If it worked it would be powered by a v12. There’s one tucked underneath the hinged hood, you just can’t see it. This 1940 vintage fire truck was owned by Sioux City and was part of the Lakeport Road fire brigade. Sioux City has a rich fire department history. They keep several vintage fire trucks on display at local fire stations that match fire and rescue vehicles they have used over the years (dating back to 1918).
35. 1942 Mack Antique Engine
Vintage District Pumper Mack fire engines always look amazing. They are faster than most 2 ton firetrucks because these red screamers came with a 5-speed manual transmission and featured rear wheel drive. In addition, there is a separate engine for running the pump which means more power for fighting fires. The main fire engine itself is powered by a 6 cylinder gasoline engine. Mack also made a 4 cylinder at the time as well. This was one of the first fire trucks produced after fire apparatus operations moved from Allentown, Pennsylvania to Long Island City in Queens, New York.
34. 1946 Chevrolet Pumper
Classic fire trucks usually turn into great collectibles. And they aren’t as expensive as you might think. Take this 1946 vintage Chevy fire truck. It’s a rear wheel drive 2-ton wonder with a 6 cylinder engine and manual transmission. The look is iconic. Because of the year, this vintage fire engine has art deco written all over it. So how much does one cost? You can get parade used running models for as little as $6,900. One as spiffy as this could run you double that amount. If the pump works, that could drive the price a bit higher. Yet, all things considered, you should still be able to find one for under $20k. What a steal for a piece of history.
33. 1946 Ford Antique Ladder
Many of these fire trucks came equipped with a workhorse v8 and piston style pump. More than likely, any 1940s firetruck that rolled off the assembly line was touched by Howe Fire Apparatus in some way. Founded in 1872, they were a solid manufacturer of fire equipment for American fire trucks and invented the first piston style pump for horse-drawn engines. Later, they would outfit firetrucks with the same type of technology. These old fire engines featured wooden ladders, screaming sirens and a spotlight for fighting fires at night. You can score one cheap if you’re willing to do a little restoration or deal with imperfections. Often, deals can be found for less than $10,000!
32. 1946 Ford Antique Pumper
Seeing one of these restored is amazing. This vintage fire truck still has some life left but has definitely seen better days. Original specs for this beast are as follows. She was equipped with a V-8 engine capable of producing 87 horsepower at 3500 RPM. Total vehicle weight was 14,500 lbs. That’s where the good stopped (besides the transmission). Vintage fire trucks were usually equipped by some other fire apparatus manufacturer. We mentioned Howe previously. Another apparatus company was FMC, They made pumps, hoses, and extinguishers so automobile companies could focus on making the fire engine itself. This made fire trucks like the Model 698T some of the best during that time period.
31. 1947 American LaFrance 700 Series Pumper
The 700 series America LaFrance vintage firetruck featured cab-ahead-of-engine-aerial. This was actually introduced with the previous model and carried certain advantages for the driver. The biggest, perhaps, was improved visibility since the cab was extended over the engine and wheels. Also, the truck was shortened to improve handling and speed. The other improvement involved the ladder system. The 700 series featured a hydraulic system for raising and lowering the ladder. COmpany records indicate about 100 of these vintage fire trucks were produced from 19038-1947.
30. 1947 Mack Pumper
In 1940, Mack introduced the L Model truck. It would find production until 1952. If it looks familiar there is a good reason. Mack had a military contract during World War II. They produced many of these vehicles for British and French Allies. After the War, the focus shifted to domestic production. The L series served as the basis for many types of vehicles, including classic firetrucks. A new model would debut in 1950 (the A Model). If you look closely, this is why it seems like these vintage fire trucks are stuck in time. The A Model had cleaner lines but was only produced from 1950-1953. The fire engine you see here was auctioned off after being in storage for 10+ years. It still looks fantastic!
29. 1948 International Antique Pumper
International brought the same dependability they used for tractors and implemented it with their fire engines. This 1948 vintage fire engine features a six-cylinder workhorse engine mated to a manual transmission. If you look close you’ll notice the wheelbase is short. This was a “bare bones” fire engine designed to deliver basic necessities on the scene as quick as possible. It features a flat wooden bed for storing other equipment and was equipped to hold a 500-gallon tank. It may not look like the Farmall tractors we are used to seeing from International Harvest, but this classic fire engine is a jewel. It’s cheap too. You can own her for less than $4,000.
28. 1949 Chevy Antique Pumper
This 1949 Chevrolet 6400 features a straight 6 cylinder gas powered engine with manual transmission. However, the list of equipment is almost more impressive. Onboard you will find wooden ladders, 2 reels of soft hoses, hard hose connectors, 4 heavy duty nozzles, extensive fire hoses, 2 Portable extinguishers, full pump equipment, pumped water filter, emergency lights, emergency sirens, and completely functional gauges. This 1947 antique pumper stands 9’5″ tall, is 8′ wide and 22′ long! You can almost hear it coming to the rescue, the old-timey siren giving off its signature warbly wah sound. This is how a vintage fire truck should be!
27. 1949 Mack Pumper 1000-200
This old vintage fire truck has been fully restored and garage kept! This 1949 Mack Pumper features an open cab design which was popular for its day. Ladders mount on the side and the pump housing is enclosed. Other accessories mount on the side (like the axe and ash bucket). However, you can see modernity in its design. This was a forward-thinking fire engine, but the most modern concept can’t be seen. This red wonder features an automatic transmission!
26. 1950 Mack 75′ Ladder Truck
It’s rare to find a 1950s fire truck with all of its pieces and parts in the original order. It’s even rarer to find one like this will all of the original build papers! When this vintage ladder truck went up for sale she had all of the original blueprints and progress papers from her build! She is a three-seater and has all of her original ladders, pike poles and extinguishers on board. The vintage fire truck stands 9 feet tall and is 8 feet wide, but more than makes up for it in the length department at an impressive 43 feet!
25. 1951 International Fire Pumper
What’s different about this 1951 International fire engine than those we’ve seen in our list? Look at the coupling hose, to begin with. Is it coming out of the front? Looks like it. The dome light on top is not as robust as those we are accustomed to seeing either. The build looks like it almost has a uni-body design scheme which gives it a beefy look. However, the most interesting thing about this truck is unseen. It’s diesel… which should come as no surprise since it’s an International Harvester, but should because it’s a vintage fire engine!
24. 1951 Pirsch Pumper
Peter Pirsch and Sons are responsible for the open cab design you see here. The company was founded in 1900. He went to work for him when he was 14 and subsequently started his own business specializing in fire apparatus. Initially, he created standard fire truck designs based on his father’s carriage company. Later, he progressed to modern automobile styles switching to cab over design in 1961. The model you see here is a mix of carriage design and automobile progress. You can see the driver would be exposed to the elements.
23. 1952 Ford Fire Truck
Sometimes the best vintage fire trucks are those who look a bit worn and tired. This truck has obviously seen a lot of action and is ready for a new owner. In fact, that’s just what the current owners would like. Located in West Virginia, they are looking for someone who can view in person, make an offer, and haul it home. The dome light on top of the cab itself would be worth the trip. This was a “Big Job” firetruck with 9,692 miles on the odometer, a V8 Cargo King gas engine, four-speed manual transmission, 750-gallon tank, engine driven pump, and front hose reel. Hopefully, it will find a new home.
22. 1953 American LaFrance Engine
Though they went out of business in 2014 as a fire apparatus manufacturer, American LaFrance is still known for some of the most beautiful vintage fire engines ever made. This 700 series is spectacular. It features a 512ci V12 engine and 4-speed manual transmission even though she looks a little worse for wear. Yet, in its day, the 700 series was a beast! It featured a 1,000 gallon per minute two-stage “Triple flow” centrifugal fire pump alongside a 200-gallon booster tank to go along with the 215 horsepower generated by the engine. Nice!
21. 1953 Ford F600 Antique Pumper
You could own this classic fire truck for just $12,500. Not bad for driving home your own piece of history! This 1953 Ford F600 vintage fire truck runs great and is ready for a new life. The engine only has 95,000 miles and you can fit up to two more buddies inside since there’s room for three! The small block v8 is mated to a manual transmission for dependable performance over uneven terrain or steep grades. Need a vehicle for a parade route? This is the answer. With a dome light mounted on the cab and siren on the driver’s fender, it doesn’t get any more authentic. This is a true vintage fire truck craftsmanship.
20. 1953 Maxim Antique Pumper
This 1953 Maxim Antique Pumper firetruck is in excellent condition. It’s a Ford F 600 base with a small block V-8 mated to a manual transmission and seats three. Notice the siren mounted on the driver side as well as the dome light on top signaling cars and pedestrians to move over as it goes screaming by. All pump components are mounted behind the cab and driven by a separate motor. This one actually went up for sale after undergoing a complete restoration. For $12,500, you can own a true vintage fire truck with only 95,000 miles. Nice!
19. 1953 White WC20 Antique Fire Truck 500
What a fine specimen of a vintage firetruck we have here. This classic white WC20 seats three and has a 500 gallon per minute pump attached. In addition, the antique pumper truck is equipped with a white 340 engine (which would later be replaced by the 360 during the 70s) and is joined to a five-speed manual transmission. With only 11,500 miles, it’s a steal at under $13,000. Plus, look at all of the other neat components you get with this 24 foot long, 7-foot wide antique firetruck. It’s enough to bring out the kid in anyone!
18. 1954 Seagrave Antique Firetruck
This vintage fire engine was a real beast in its day. The 1954 Seagrave pumper truck was capable of seating 15. That’s right, this fire engine was made to bring the whole crew to the scene. Unique features (read, add-ons and mods) about this truck include a PA system, 12 seats with seatbelts and an engine upgrade. The original V10 was replaced with an Indy Chevy 427. Also, she has an automatic transmission and separate engine for powering the 500 gallons per minute pump. What a great piece of history!
17. 1954 Thibault Pumper -800
Thibault pumper trucks were made to last. Most of them are equipped with a 760-gallon pump and were used not only in the United States but Canada as well. Many northern cities used these types of antique fire trucks since their proximity to the Canadian border made import access easier. In time, upgrades would see these classic fire engines equipped with pumps capable of 1250 gallons per minute, and ultimately, 1500 gallons per minute. Scoring a Thibault is gaining a true piece of fire engine history!
16. 1955 Howe Pumper
This Old Howe fire engine can be a bit misleading. It’s actually equipped with a Dodge V8. In fact, you can see the Dodge badge clearly on the front of the hood. So where does the name Howe Come into play? It’s the chassis. Those were manufactured by the Howe fire apparatus company and used as a core component of the build. The engine would be dropped in later as an independent feature. Notice this firetruck has two sets of lights on each fender, two floods over the cab and a nice dome light to boot. If anything, you would always recognize a Howe racing down the street. They were made to be noticed.
15. 1955 International Harvester
This old 1955 International Harvester classic fire engine has seen better days. It looks odd too. We’re not used to seeing an open cab design with such a long front end. This is because the entire vehicle is powered by a V-8 engine made for the new R series truck line, yet maintained an older body style. Mounted behind the driver, there are several badges listed above the pump. You can also spy an old hose reel camping out in the bed. Judging by the concrete block in front of the tire, we would save this one needs a complete overhaul. Yet, the good news is it’s an International Harvester so the engine should be solid!
14. 1958 Mack Antique Fire Truck
13. 1958 Seagrave Engine
It’s ironic, Seagrave Fire Apparatus is one of the longest-running manufacturers in America. They specialize in pump and rescue units, as well as aerial towers. Founded in 1881, they would later join forces with a Canadian manufacturer (hence, the ironic part) around 1900 to be assembled in Woodstock, Ontario. This old fire engine is a classic featuring an exposed cab design with hooks for mounting the ladders on the side. He’s a bit rusty, but a little bit of elbow grease could bring him back to life.
12. 1959 Ford F600
Many towns and municipalities love to take old fire engines like this 1959 Ford F 600 and use them to honor past fire brigades or as the centerpiece of a parade. Such is the case with Elgin, Indiana when they bought their own 1959 firetruck to use as an icon. Savannah, Georgia does the same, only with police cars. It’s good to see old trucks like these find new life while also honoring the past courageous firefighters who have gone before.
11. 1961 FWD 4×4 Fire Truck
Classic firetrucks like this 1961 Front wheel drive pumper truck are not just pieces of history. They are diverse too. This V8, gas-powered classic firetruck hooks to a manual five-speed transmission and has 4 x 4 capabilities. Often times, they are taken and re-purposed for parade routes. This one was repurposed to be used as a balloon chase vehicle. What a great rebirth for a vintage fire truck!
10. 1962 Ford Hahn
The 60s saw a rebirth of firetrucks into what we commonly think of when we hear the word today. The cabs got more square and featured new designs, like over cab. The trucks got a bit wider too, and wheelbases stretched out. Essentially, all the classic images of firetrucks that come to mind can be credited with the Hahn chassis design. While it would take a few years for everything to solidify, that classic box shape can be attributed to Ford Hahn collaboration.
9. 1962 Van Pelt
8. 1963 Ford F-750 ALF Pumper
Here’s a rare look at the combination of two beautiful things. This is a 1963 Ford American LaFrance pumper truck. It’s gas powered with a five-speed manual transmission and can accommodate up to three firefighters. It features a 500 gallon per minute American LaFrance pump and is a grand total of 22 feet long. The beautiful part is the vehicle features the bones and structure Ford F7 50s are known for wow built with the quality and expertise American LaFrance maintains. This is a true quality piece of craftsmanship and design. We would expect nothing less from vintage ALF firetrucks.
7. 1963-1993 ALF Pumper 1000-500
This old American LaFrance pumper was completely refurbished in 1993. That’s why it’s titled as a 1963/1993. A few details about this amazing vintage firetruck. First, it features a Detroit diesel engine and automatic transmission. The ALF pumper truck can seat six and also contains a 3500 Honda the generator for all Electrical components. There are various letters and other common fire accessories, but you better bring your a game if you plan on driving it. This beast is 28 feet long and 8 feet wide. Yep, this is the type a firetruck we know and love today.
6. 1964 Seagrave Pumper
5. 1967 Chevrolet Pumper
This 1967 Chevy pumper truck features a sloped windshield. The design was thought to make the truck more aerodynamic. If nothing else, it provided the driver with better visibility because the older style glass had a tendency to flow over time. This created a warble effect when looking through the window. You find this a lot with antique windows in old houses. Angling the glass slowed the process and made for a safer driving experience.
4. 1967 Seagrave Antique Pumper
What a gem of a vintage fire truck! The 1967 Seagrave Pumper was iconic for its large chrome bumper. It actually served as a step for firefighters to use as they connected pump components, or if they needed to snag a quick ride to the next fire destination. This particular pumper features a repowered in 1980 by Crown Coach Cummins VT903 Diesel and boasts to have never seen salt. This means no rust, a rarity for vintage fire engines!
3. 1971 Ford Thibault 560-500
The 1970s saw a reduction in everything. While the ’60s were known for muscle and brawn, the ’70s were known for refined muscle and brawn. This meant fire engines have smaller lights, sirens and multiple pump components for ease of use and efficiency. This 1971 Ford Thibault is a gas automatic that seats six. it is outfitted with a 560 gallon per minute pump and has a 500-gallon steel tank (there’s the refined part showing up in the details). Notice there is more room behind the cab and pump for firefighters to maneuver. It also gave them quick access if they were on the opposite side of the truck.
2. 1976 American LaFrance
American LaFrance has changed hands a few times while making the vintage fire trucks we know and love. In 2005, they transferred to Freightliner which made sense to many. The chassis design and engine components were already part of the big rig’s DNA. Yet, they changed hands again in 2018. Currently, they are owned by Patriarch Partners LLC, a New York investment firm. This 1976 American LaFrance fire engine is ready to go with a diesel engine, automatic transmission, ladders, poles, and hoses. It even has an on-board generator for all weather access.
1. 1979 Ford Pumper
While it may look yellow, this 1979 vintage Ford pumper truck is actually lime green, it’s just a bit faded. She is a gas powered manual that seats two and features a 1,000 water tank. Ironically, that’s what the current owner bought the firetruck for. They needed something to use on the farm to water crops and animal watering areas. Hey, if the 1979 Ford fire truck fits, use it! This one is fully operational and had many components updated or replaced in 2016. What a great vintage fire engine!