1949 GMC 300 Firetruck
From Brett :
I am currently a volunteer firefighter and, quite honestly, have no mechanical abilities. I believe my GT score from when I enlisted in the Army right out of high school speaks to that as well as the recruiter when he told me you can be whatever you want in the military except work on vehicles. I settled for an oxy moron and chose a career in Military Intelligence.
Having said all that, I suppose no real story ever starts with the thought, "I was looking to buy a fire truck." I know mine does not. A friend at work kept telling me about this fire truck about 45 minutes from where I live. He was adamant that I at least go see it and so I did. The for sale signs numbers had faded out but I attempted to call several times ... with no answer at the other end.
To say I instantly had to have it when I saw it in person is an understatement. The photo above was taken when I first saw it. A beautiful site, if I do say so myself.
In today's fast world of texting, I reached out to my friend from work and inquired if he knew who owned it or had a good phone number to call. He suggested that I just call the Post Office -- the lady that answers will have it.
Oh, did I mention Harper, Oregon has a population of less than 100 and yes, it still has a Post Office?
Anyway the lady that answered at the Post Office had all the pertinent info and I called the owner, George.
George gave me lots of info on the truck and told me where he got it from. It was built in March of 1949 by the NEEP Equipment Company in Portland, Oregon for the Sunnyside FD. I am still attempting to verify that as Sunnyside is now just a US census part of Portland.
As I spoke to George, I grew more excited. I then knew I had to seal the deal with my wife. She is supportive of my insanity usually and in this case did not disappoint.
A week after I talked to George the first time, we met up and I took possession of the truck. Now to get it home!
My Father-in-law is a retired farmer who can tinker with about anything and get it working, at least temporarily. So one afternoon, we set out to retrieve the truck. It took us about 15 minutes to get her to start. and, as many on this website can attest to I'm sure, hearing her running was to say the least EXCITING!
My Father in-law drove it a block or so and realized the first issue was no brakes. Fortunately, there wasn't much traffic in town except for some guy riding a quad and two people on horseback.
Downshifting did wonders for our situation and all ended good. We initially loaded her up on a trailer that we severely underestimated would handle the weight. I have a video of that .... good times.
We ended up parking it on a dirt berm on someone else's property in town and a few days later returned with a tractor trailer equipped for the job. We made it safely home, got her unloaded and put her in her resting spot until next spring. I don't have a heated shop so this will definitely be spring / summer project for me.
I will keep you all updated as to the progress. I'm just happy to have the opportunity to save this gem.
There's many questions to be answered like do I convert from 6v to 12v? Upgrade the brakes? I know right away it won't be a frame off restoration so I will be happy with it running and stopping. As for the pump, I was told it worked three years ago but again that will be answered next spring after the motor is solid.
This will be a huge learning experience for me and I am looking forward to gaining the correct knowledge to be safe and get this baby in some local parades.
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