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03 April 2016
# 3128

  Owned by
Matt Droege
Bolter # 6585


1957 Chevy 10500 Fire Engine


More pictures of my old truck

Join the discussion about this truck



From Matt :

Here's some info on my 1957 Chevrolet fire truck. It is a 10500 series with the factory Buick 322 and a Waterous 750 GPM pump.

I bought the old truck about four years ago. It was down the road from the small city of Fossil, Oregon, where it last saw active service as a fire truck. This is a small town of 300!

The town sold it to a retired policeman who had a farm just north. He just needed something for to use for water. It's very dry over there and a lot of people have old fire trucks for fire suppression and irrigation.

I made the owner an offer over the phone and he took it. He said I could drive it home. It was five hours away so I didn't want to risk driving it home so I pulled it home on the gooseneck.


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.

It didn't need much mechanical work but it had an exhaust leak. I did some routine maintenance on it, and it was good to go.

This old fire truck was built by the Roney Apparatus Company in Portland, Oregon. A little history about Roney Fire Apparatus from Roney was a fire truck builder and equipment supplier owned and operated by Doug Roney. The first Roney fire trucks were built in Seattle, then sent to Portland for final assembly.

The Roney production facility was built in 1952, at which time all apparatus was built in house. Roney Fire Apparatus was in business until approximately 1960. Many Roney pumpers were sold throughout the NW, with some still in service. The trucks were all built on commercial chassis and utilized a simple but durable bolt together construction.

In 1961, Doug Roney made the decision to sell his fire apparatus business to the Convoy Company, a Portland based vehicle transport company. Convoy changed the apparatus name to Westland, and produced vehicles for approximately two years.

Westland produced the only fire trucks built on the Freightliner fire truck chassis, known as the Fireliner. Two pumpers and two Snorkels were built for the cities of Chehalis and Renton, both located in Washington.

In 1963, The Convoy Company decided building fire apparatus was not what they thought it would be, and found a wealthy California business man looking for a business his son could take over and make his own fortune. That business man was J.S. Durrell, who owned Western Steel Tank and Body Works, located in Berkeley, just outside Oakland. Mr. Durrell moved all the manufacturing to his plant and began producing Wesco Fire Apparatus.

Doug Roney operated as the selling dealer in the Northwest, while his oldest son Ken worked out of the factory as the Sales Manager. Wesco produced several pieces of apparatus that were delivered in the Northwest, as well as a substantial order built for the California Department of Forestry. Wesco operated until just after Mr. Durrell's son was killed in an auto accident in 1965. AS you look at the different brands, with the exception of the CDF trucks, all the bodies are all trademark Roney design, especially the pump panels. The trucks pretty much remained the same, despite being built in three different locations.

The nice part of this restoration was that Eastern Oregon is a great place to find trucks. My truck didn't have any rust in it. It had a little blistering in the paint which might have come after it was taken out of service. There are even some burn marks from fires where it had blistered the paint.

I did all the prep work and drove it to the place that painted it. (It was pink when I got it.) The mirrors were tied on. No front windshield.

I had a guy do a 9-11 commemorative tribute on the back (compartment door) of the truck. He did all the gold leaf, the doors and outlining. He had stripped it down and all the lettering and outlines were custom hand painted.

When they finished, I drove it back home. I spent a lot of time in the shop polishing and replacing stainless bolts and nuts. Everything bolted right on. The most fun I have had putting a truck back together.

The truck now has 15K miles on it and is restored. It's in almost show condition. I don't get out in the winter much.

I drive it around in our home town. I am the only fire truck in the hot rod car club.

I figured I'd get it out for the fire department events. The lights and siren work and I have shown it as far as the Oregon Coast so far. I like that it is a "Fossil."

Here is a picture of the 70 Mack CF 600 pumper I am the caregiver of (this is our own department truck). This was the Eugene Fire Departments 1st order of diesel powered engines. It has a Mack engine with a 5 speed manual and a 1000 gpm pump. This particular truck was involved in a fatal accident in the 1980’s but was repaired. The former retired Engineer who started in 1970 with this truck took care this truck for many years before he died of cancer this March.

The East coast has many more events for fire apparatus. We have people actively working on getting more events on the West coast. We have a few small shows started up. We have a good group on our Facebook site to talk fire apparatus. They are also members that run the Oregon Fire Service Museum and they are always looking to save old trucks.



Matt has some good pictures of how the truck looked when he got it in his Photobucket Album.

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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