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1943 Chevy Fire Truck

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Owned by Chase Curti
Bolter # 26667
Panama City, FL

Join the talk about this truck
in the DITY Gallery

11 April 2011
# 2885

More pictures of my old fire truck

From Chase :

This 1943 Chevy Fire Truck once belonged to a Florida native and prominent Orlando businessman / millionaire Kenneth P. Kirchman.

Mr. Kirchman died at his home in Winter Park on Tuesday, March 13, 2007. This Fire Truck then sat on the property known as “Lake X” inside his airplane hangar along with many other prized collections of his to include other antique vehicles, boats and engines.

In 2010 Goldman Sachs had an estate auction where all the items where to be sold because the land was going to be donated to the Florida Boy Scouts. A gentleman from Illinois won several of the vehicles unexpectedly from the auction. He had never even seen these items before except from cell phone photos.

All of the vehicles had to be removed from the property before a certain time, so whatever vehicles he couldn’t sell first had to be shipped to IL (a costly move all the way from Florida) so I was able to strike a great deal on this truck because of this and the fact that he knew no details of the condition.

No information was known on the full condition of the fire truck. I too, had only seen a picture taken from a cell phone. I had no info on the engine or if it ran or not. No info on the interior of the vehicle. No info on any tools, etc. I took a chance on knowing that who owned the truck that it had to be in decent shape.

To give you a little back ground info, Mr. Kirchman grew up in the Belle Glade area and has made Central Florida his home for more than 50 years. Mr. Kirchman founded Kirchman Corporation, a privately held banking software innovator. In 1968, he built the company into a multi-national corporation that served over 6,000 banking institutions around the world and employed hundreds of professionals in the Orlando area.

Kirchman Corporation was a leading provider of automation software and compliance services to the banking industry and was acquired in 2004 by Metavante Corporation. Kirchman banking software is still marketed and sold by Metavante under the Kirchman brand name. Mr. Kirchman started his business nearly 40 years ago in Altamonte Springs. He founded Florida Software in 1968 on a shoe string but with the big vision of providing advanced software that would automate the millions of transactions a commercial bank handles. He was regarded as a pioneer in this industry and his early efforts were instrumental in the development of the packaged banking software industry. Florida Software became Kirchman Corporation and today millions of people who write checks, or make deposits to their banks have their transactions handled at some point by software created by the Kirchman Corporation.

Though well-educated and world-traveled, Mr. Kirchman was known by friends and employees as the quintessential "Florida Cracker." He was an avid outdoorsman and participated regularly in international recreational shooting sports in Argentina, Denmark, England, Ireland, Scotland and Spain. He and wife Deanna spent much of their leisure time at Lake X, their 10,000-acre ranch, which is also a wildlife refuge, south of Orlando. During his years leading the Kirchman Corporation, he was well known for his popular annual company picnics held at Lake X, which was also home to Mercury's famous "secret" proving ground where new engines and hull designs were tested for nearly 40 years. He also hosted large user conferences in the Orlando area with noted key speakers such as Tom Peters ("In Search of Excellence") and entertainers such as Burt Bacharach and Dionne Warwick. Mr. Kirchman was known by many as a generous benefactor. In 1979, he contributed the Stetson University's first $1 million gift to establish the Kirchman Chair of Humanities. His active and committed interest in the community led him to serve on Stetson University's Board of Trustees and serve as President of the Alumni Association. He was also former Director of Public Radio and Television of Central Florida. He served on former Florida Governor Bob Graham's Economic Development Task Force and was a Trustee of Florida House in Washington, D.C. Mr. Kirchman attended university at Stetson where he earned a B.S. in Mathematics. He has a business degree from Harvard Business School. He was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Law (LLD) from Stetson. He served as a First Lieutenant in the Guided Missile Branch of the U.S. Army and, prior to founding Kirchman Corporation, held positions with Sperry Rand Corporation, The National Cash Register Company and General Computer Services.


I drove down from North Florida to trailer the truck back. When they opened the hangar doors, I was amazed. It was almost fully restored. Interior and exterior was perfect. It still had the original hard suction hoses and several cloth hoses.

I was able to trailer the vehicle back home where I then drained and replaced all the fluids, replaced the battery and cranked her right up. She purred like a kitten.

This old fire engine still has the original 216 in her. After I had it running for awhile, she would run hot so I ended up having to take out the radiator to clean it good and now it runs as good as new.

As far as the history, I hadn't traced down the background info yet and wasn't quite sure on how to. After some discussion in the Stovebolt Volunteer Firebolt Forum, Mikestem and the others Firebolters helped bridge that gap.

Turns out, this old fire truck is a Caysler Army Class 500 truck which served during the war. All the I.D. plates with all the numbers are still in place. It served at the Army Air Forces Convalescent Hospital, Plattsburgh Barracks, New York. It carried USA number 505118. It had a sister truck (#505117).

My truck is now on the Fire Trucks at War web site (under the new gallery). . I also have pictures of the truck back in 1943. Woo Hooo! If you guys ever need help hunting down info, these guys are a super great deal of help. They have lots of old records from the military fire trucks and pictures, too.

I have had to trace and replace fuses to get the lights and sirens working. I’m in the process now of furnishing it with the proper equipment. I have just recently got my Horseless Carriage tag and now I’m ready to hit to parades and car shows!

Some of the photos shown are of the Kirchman Estate (Lake X) that I took when I arrived to pick up my truck.

Thanks a lot,



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