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Visit the Stovebolt Virtual Firehouse in the forums, if you are interested in pre-1973 GM fire apparatus.

 
03 April 2016
# 3129

 
Owned by
Matt Droege
"tri5trucking"
Bolter # 6585
Oregon
 

 

1953 GMC 450 Pumper Tender

 

More pictures of my old truck

Join the discussion about this truck

 

From Matt :

I have to get this 1953 GMC sent in because it is sure a rare sight. It is a 450 series, factory tandem axle.

There was a big fire at a huge mill in Springfield and it was sending out a lot of spot grass fires all around. So, our department answered the call to one of the grass fires in a hazelnut orchard. The truck was sitting outside a small farm (see actual picture with smoke in background). I swore I would come back some day and take some pictures and find out who the apparatus manufacturer was.

I finally made it back and the owner happened to be home at the time. The owner had a logging company and he used the pumper for that. He eventually transitioned to using bulldozers for fire fighting (which many small companies were). So, he wasn't using the truck any more. Logging companies can use anything that works to fight fires. The government now has rules for the contract fire fighters -- truck has to hold a certain amount of water; can't be a 50 year old truck (not sure of the cut-off date but it has to be fairly new). For a while, anyone was showing up with any beat-up old fire apparatus, hoping it would hold together to fight a fire.

 

Restoring / Equipping a Firebolt

We have a fun and informative Tech Tip by the Stovebolt Volunteer Fire Department.

Besides some of the facts associated with a fire truck, fire engine, brush truck, and all those other names, there are some neat pictures of the apparatus that has been featured in the Stovebolt Gallery.

There's a long list of basic tools, general items, and the different pumps and their locations on the truck.

Wrap it all up with what was then (2009) "additional reading" about fire apparatus.

So the owner said the old fire truck just sat outside for the last couple years. He said it would run and I should buy it.

I thought, “Right. I’m not doing another fire truck.” But it was a deal I couldn’t refuse. I have always been more into the Task Force years but there is something about this old tandem that I really liked. And he was practically giving it to me!

This fire truck was so unique. You hardly see tandem axle fire apparatus and this was in the best shape of one I have ever seen.

The truck has the 302 In-line 6 and only 6,000 miles on it. The apparatus manufacture was the Howard Cooper Company, formerly of Portland, Oregon. It has a 1,000 gallon tank and a 500 gpm pump. It was last in service for Mapleton, Oregon..

I had it towed down on a lowboy and had it running that day. There was not too much to do on it. I had to replace the fuel tank. When driving it, I had a gas can tied on my front bumper. I'll chip away on the mechanical side and eventually paint it.

A tree branch had fallen across the hood and it was pretty damaged along with the siren. I found a replacement for both.

The brakes will be the next thing and that will be a big job with that tandem axle. After that and some wiring on the turn signal, I can take it on the road. I want it to pump really well.

The re-build on this truck will be slower and I really like the history of the truck. I had bad luck dealing with other departments in trying to find the the history of the trucks I've gotten.

Once we get it in some shape, we have a friend who ha just opened up a brewery called "Old 99" -- this would be the ultimate, "Old "99" fire truck. We'll put a bunch of kegs in it and use it for tailgating.

Thanks,

Matt

 

Matt has had quite a few Bolts. Added to the Gallery in 2016: a 1953 GMC 450 Pumper Tender; a 1957 Chevy 10500 Fire Engine; a 1957 Chevy 10700 Tandem Short Logger. In his collection: a 1955 Second Series Chevy 1/2-Ton Short Box; a 1955 3100 Second Series Stepside; a 1955 Chevy 6500; a 1956 Chevy 6500; a 1957 Chevy 3100 Shortbox; a 1957 Chevy 6500 Dump Truck; a 1957 Chevy 3800 1-ton and "lots of part trucks." A few he has let go (but they are still in our Gallery): a 1955 Chevy 3100 4 x 4 (sold to a good friend); a 1955 Chevy 4400 (sold and dismantled); a 1956 Chevy 3100 Shortbox (sold); a 1956 Chevy 4400 1.5-Ton Napco (sold)

Matt is 6'7" and wants to "fit comfortably in the cab." Matt says "They each have their own personalities. Even the worn out '55 6500 just keeps plugging along. I guess that's why I enjoy collecting them. I like a truck with a little history, and I know most of these trucks histories. It would be hard to call any my favorite" .~~ Editor

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