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1941 Chevrolet 1.5-Ton Fire Engine

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Owned by Michael Stemmler
Bolter # 1458
St. Louis, Missouri

01 September 2009
# 2661

More truck pictures in Me Gallery!

From Mike :

Rosie is a 1941 Chevrolet 1.5-ton chassis fire engine, with a front-mount pump and fire body built by American Fire Apparatus, formerly of Battle Creek, Michigan.  Rosie served the Rose City, Michigan Fire Department for about 20 years, before being relegated to the street department. She was finally auctioned off some years later to raise money for the Fire Department.  I haven’t yet learned how Rosie made it to St. Louis, Missouri.

In about 2002, I was driving with my wife and three year old son to Sam’s. We passed a lot with Rosie sitting in there, with For Sale signs in the windows.  Well, it’s a good thing my son was with us, or I don’t think my wife would have been keen on my stopping and writing down the phone number.  A down payment and test drive later, Rosie was mine.

To say I was green when I bought this truck would be an understatement.  The previous owner told me it was an eight speed transmission, and the linkage on the shifter switched from high to low gear.  So one of the first things I learned (other than “buyer beware”!) was about the reverse lock-out. 

The second thing I learned was double-clutching. 

Rosie leaked more fluids than I could count, not the least of which was brake fluid.  So there I was, driving this old fire truck home, double-clutching with my left foot, and double-pumping the brake pedal with my right!

Truth be told, it’s been a great trip, and I’ve never looked back.  I was more interested in old fire trucks than I was in Chevrolets, but I’ve become a true fan of both.

Rosie became part of the family and the first step in my Stovebolt education. My goal has always been to restore Rosie to “in-service condition.” I had the brass fire hose couplings polished and mounted on new, cotton double-jacketed hose, and I’m slowly finding and installing the rest of the equipment the truck would have had in 1941.

Now, thanks to the incredible people of the Stovebolt web site, I’ve been able to remove the engine, tear it down, get it rebuilt, put it back together, and refurbish the rest of the truck (mostly!).  Soon, Rosie will also have a rebuilt fire pump, and I’ll be back to playin’ and sprayin’.  

A big “shout-out” to all the members of the Stovebolt web site, who by-and-large represent the better aspects of mankind, and who, honestly, help dreams come true. I’m always happy to discuss old trucks, especially FireBolts, and eager to help in whatever way I can!

-Michael Stemmler,
Proud Member of the Stovebolt Volunteer Fire Department

It's always fun to see a steady stream of Firebolts coming into the Gallery. Michael even sent us in a great saga on his recent success (and challenges) on a 450 mile road trip he took from St. Louis to Indianapolis in Rosie. His hope is this saga may inspire others to get out on the open roads! ~ Editor


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