1958 Chevy Spartan 100 Fire Truck
From Larry :
This is my 1958 Chevrolet fire truck. It was built by Oren in Roanoke, Virginia and has a 500 GPM Centrifugal Pump. It will pump 250 lbs. pressure @ 2350 rpm engine speed. It has a 500 gallon tank. It has a Federal 66L siren and a Federal Beaconray M17 beacon.
When bad things happen to good trucks
In the middle of the night around the first of April, a four foot diameter Maple tree came crashing down onto our shop out back [ see image ] . The tree was in full bloom and probably top-heavy. The inside was rotten. So, when a puff of wind came along, down she split.
I was asleep at the time and my wife was watching television. She didn't hear anything but she saw a flash of blue light. The tree hit the power lines of the house as it came down, knocking out our power. That was a blessing -- if it hadn't, we may have had an electrical fire on our hands.
The next morning, when we saw the extent of the damage, we were devastated [ see image ] . The tree crushed the shop and damaged the fire truck. But no one was injured ... another blessing. My son had been working in the shop almost every night until 10 or 11, making moldings for his house. He was not there that night.
The work shop was torn up bad. The house had a little damage where the electrical wires had been pulled out. The fire truck had several thousand dollars of damage.
Well ... about 60 days prior to this, I had changed insurance companies for the fire truck. So, when this happened so soon after, they weren't real happy. But they did pay the claim for the repairs. And surprisingly, they renewed my insurance and didn't raise my rate. No complaints there.
C&D Truck and Trailer Repair in Salem, Virginia did the repairs on the truck. It took a while for them to get to it. They were working my truck in between other projects. I took it in to them in May and didn't get it back until August. The owner is an interesting guy. He races at Bonneville, so I know that was another distraction for him.
They bought a hard suction rack new that just wasn't going to work. It was blocking my view in the rear view mirror. So, B & B took it back and actually made one from scratch. That one worked out real well.
Friends and neighbors came and helped us put up another building. It's better than the last ... even has room for the tractor.
We hope to get a picture of the truck back at the Greenbriar Hotel [ see image ] , where it originated, for The Old Dominion Historical Fire Society, Inc.
The picture taken above is at the Humpback Bridge (covered bridge) at Wayside Park in Covington, Virginia. It's only about 15 miles from us and is a beautiful place. The bridge is still open to foot traffic but no longer is safe for vehicles.
We're not too far from Stovebolt Headquarters. We sure hope we can make it to Homecoming in 2010!Larry
Larry - glad to see all came out okay in this story. And we sure hope you can make it up here, too. The Homecoming is a lot of fun. ~ Editor
21 May 2007 Update
From Larry :
Here are some additional pictures of the Spartan. This one is a black and white photo of the truck taken in 1967 when it was in service at the Greenbrier Hotel.
For those asking about the pump, I finally had a chance to check it out. It seems to be a Centrifugal pump. The rating had three different sets of numbers. I am sending a few pictures. One is the original state inspection 1957-1958 and the other is Oren plate and pumping plate information.
Sorry I missed the Winchester, Virginia event. Hope to catch up with everyone at some point!
As I get older I don’t know which I miss more, my mind or my knees!
11 April 2007
From Larry :
My son and I recently bought a 1958 Chevrolet Spartan 100. It is a 500 gpm fire truck made by Oren in Roanoke, Virginia. It was originally purchased by the Greenbrier Hotel in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia. After 20 years of service it was acquired by Sweet Springs West Virginia rescue squad where it sat in their garage for 28 years without being used.
This truck is a very low mileage vehicle with only 5289 miles when we purchased it. It came with a 348 cid engine with 4 barrel carburetor.
We cleaned out the gas tank, fuel lines and replaced the filter and fuel pump. The engine started and runs very smooth. The truck itself does not run very smooth as the tires must have flat places. New tires are probably in order before any parades.
We had tried to buy this truck for several years. Then last fall they put it up for sealed bids. We bid enough and maybe too much but just had to have it! No regrets.
A few tales of the truck. One just about scared me to death and the other I am kind of ashamed of! On the day I was supposed to pay for the truck and get the title, I decided to make sure the engine was not stuck. I hooked jumper cables from a pickup to the fire truck. When I stretched up to hook the last cable, all of the red lights and the siren came on. This old heart was definitely stressed!!!
Another time we had cleaned the gas tank and replaced the fuel filter. My son had gone to make up a fuel line for the fuel pump. I wondered if I could blow into the gas tank and force gas thru the filter. I came to three conclusions. No 1, yes, this can be done. No 2, the gas will continue to siphon. No 3, ten gallons of gas is not good on the floor under a truck even if it is a fire truck. My wife was kind enough to lay on the floor and hold her finger over the end of the line while I unhooked the line from top of tank and broke the vacuum. We limited it to maybe a gallon and had it cleaned up before our son returned. Pshew!
My earliest memories of Stovebolts were when I was very small riding in my Dads 1945 Chevrolet dump truck. I would stand in front of my Mother with my fingers locked in the defroster slot and nose as close to the windshield so as not to miss anything. He later had a 1948 with a flat dump.
Thanks for your tireless efforts with the web site. It has provided me with many hours of enjoyment.