The Gallery

1952 Chevy 1700 3-Ton Firetruck

Firebolt Hoo-ya for ya



Owned by Dave Betker
Bolter # 13827
Richmond, British Columbia

Talking about this truck
at the Stovebolt Fire House

08 March 2010
# 2768

More pictures of my Firebolt

From Dave :

It's me again. I dragged home another Stovebolt. I guess visiting Stovebolt HQ and riding in (AND fixing) John's Firebolt lit a fire under me. Six months later, I am a new proud owner!

A little about me. I live in Richmond B.C. Canada It's an island on the middle of the mouth of the Fraser River. A lot like Holland -- surrounded by dykes, ditches are tidal, level goes up and down with the tides.

The first Stovebolt I bought for a bottle of whiskey in 1993. It was a 1958 GMC 9310. Seventeen years later, it's finished.

My second Stovebolt is a parts truck -- a 1958 GMC 9310.

My third Stovebolt is a 1956 Chevy 1500 ton and a half Dumptruck.

Now, my fourth Stovebolt is a 1952 1700 (3 ton Firetruck).

The fifth Stovebolt I bought with firetruck. It is a 1952 3-ton parts truck. (Sense a theme going on???? )

The Firebolt is Fire engine red (duh!) powered by a GMC 270 CID inline 6 cyl, 4 speed standard trans, two speed rear end. Top speed is 50 mph ..... down hill with a tailwind! She's what you call a basement truck. By the time she get's to the fire, everything's in the basement!

History. The truck was originally a Butler Bros. Gravel truck until the Central Sannich Fire Department got hold of her and converted her to a firetruck. It has a front-mounted Barton American U-50 crankshaft driven pump.

This fire truck served with the Sannich FD til 1977. She then went to Willis Point VFD and served there 'til 1992-1993. She was retired due to rotten water tanks. Unknown history until 1995 when the next owner got her. He rebuilt the head, brakes and put new tires on her and used her for parade duty.

I caught wind of her via the Stovebolt eBay and craigslist posting by Bubzilla. I looked at the ad and told the wife ... ROADTRIP!!!!!

We got up at an ungodly hour to catch the first ferry to Vancouver Island and drove an hour to Metchosin -- a little town between Victoria and Sooke.

The first look I had of her was love at first sight! She'd been sitting a while. There was a birds nest on the front pump transmission, green algae and moss, and 2" Maple trees were growing on top. We hooked up the 6 volt, primed the carb and she fired right up!

We went for a road test. It took a couple of miles for the squareness to round off on the bias ply's. The siren and beacon work nicely!

The drive home was an adventure! First hill I came to I neglected to take a run at. I quickly rowed thru the gears, quickly running out of them til I crested the hill doing 10 mph in second. Hmmm, this isn't my Father's Oldsmobile.

The gas gauge didn't work but was sure she had close to a full tank. We stopped at the first gas station and it took $45 to fill. Me thinks she was closer to empty than full!

The fire truck has a 40' double wide aluminum ladder on top, a 16' on the side, tire chains, wheel chocks, a couple of hard line suction hoses, two rolls of worn out hose, beer cans, and miscellaneous debris in the compartments. The truck had a Motorola alternator and external regulator, the wrong sized belt -- too long and too narrow -- resulting in a TOO LOUD SCREECHING NOISE when the rev's go over 2100 rpm. It was so loud it drowned out the SIREN!!!! I'm still half deaf after 50 miles of highway driving!

The dash lamps don't work. The vacuum wipers work great at idle; next to non-existent at highway speeds even with Rain-X!

Talk about a chick magnet !!?? It gets plenty of attention. Cars would pull out to pass the lumbering beast and then slow to take a closer look! At the ferry terminal, People were constantly stopping and asking questions! Gotta love it!

It took three hours to wash it! Next time, I'm gonna Inflict despair on the next school/ team car wash I see!!!! ( I have an evil mind .... and the courage to follow up on crazy ideas!)

My two kids (ages 6 and 7) didn't know about it. They were surprised and love it! We had to go around the block the next day ..... light's and siren on, of course. I wouldn't have it any other way!

Dave "1958GMCNut" Betker


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Here's a line-up of Dave's Stovebolts in the Gallery: a 1958 GMC Pickup Truck, a 1956 Chevy 1500 Hydraulic Dump Truck (along with the story of a big 1967 Case Backhoe that he restored), and a 1952 Chevy 1700 3-Ton Firetruck.