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VINTAGRAPH • WPA • WWII • LAKE GARDA, ITALY

Hot Truck: 1967

Hot Truck: 1967

Admit it: you want one. At the very least you want to drive it. Play with the siren and red lights. Wait -- OMG! Is that a water cannon?!?!?

Larkspur (California) Fire Department Engine No. 7, vintage 1964 Van Pelt/GMC, seen here leading the 1967 Fourth of July Parade, driven by Fire Captain (later Chief 1968-82) Craig Shurtz. This is the 300 block of Magnolia Avenue, just down the hill from our house. Kodachrome slide by me. View full size.

Home-brew Armor-All

Back in the early '70s my brother taught me a neat trick that always made our dad's car look clean with really nicely black tires: a mixture of equal parts water and glycerine, applied to the rubber surfaces with a paintbrush, and then finished with a damp cloth. Very inexpensive. Made the tires look as if they had been covered in today's Armor-All -- for a couple of hours, at least.

Later in that decade, some entrepreneurial guy came with the idea of selling "tire paint," which was pretty much a mixture of glycerine and black paint that you applied directly to the rubber. Those had two rather odd consequences: your tires actually *shone* under the light, and the paint tended to create small cracks on the rubber surface over time. Think of it as the kind of liquid shoe polish they sell (or sold?) for when you're in a hurry.

re: Toyopet Dealership

Yep, that's the one, and the used car lot is the same one in this shot.

Regarding Armor-All, as a kid I always wondered how that dealer got the tires on his used cars so black and shiny, this back in the 50s. I thought it looked so cool. Armor-All apparently didn't come around until 1962, so there must have been something else he used.

A little unfortunate history about this truck, or its duplicate the Department acquired in 1967. See the guy hanging onto the bar in the back? Sometime in the early 70s, this or the other truck, while responding to a call, glanced against a curb while speeding down Magnolia Ave. and it rolled, killing one of the volunteers so positioned. After that, they were forbidden from riding like that.

Adios, Pontiac

On the first day that the Pontiac brand is officially dead, a tip of the hat to the little Tempest convertible at far left.

Did Armor-All for tires exist back then?

Toyopet Dealership

So that would be the street view for the place where you got the pic of the red Toyopet, seen in this photo?

So clean!

I had something similar in 1967 (I was 5, smaller size obviously). And they're white and yellow now? Still red here in the UK.

Black Plate Special

California license plates were black with yellow letters and numbers up until 1970, when the black turned blue. It was right around this time that personalized plates first became available. Nowadays, they're just boring white with black fonts.

Red is best

Now the trucks are white with a yellow stripe. Boring! I liked the red ones with real chrome much better.

Mine has a full cab!

What a surprise to see the same base frame fire truck I bought just this last June!! 1967 GMC 9500 series with a American Fire Apparatus ladder body on it. 65 foot Grove Ladder truck with a duel stage Barton pump. 637 CI gas V-8 and a five speed transmission. Hope this link works to show you a picture. Thanks Shorpy, this is a great thing that you do!!

Water Cannon

The "water cannon" is called a monitor. They're handy for fast delivery of water without having to lay hose, or after all the hose is already stretched. And yes, driving or riding the fire truck to a fire with lights and siren on is a total rush. I did it for eleven years. The men and women I worked with were the salt of the earth, and some of the finest people I have ever known. And we were very, very proud of our equipment. I spent many a Saturday morning washing our trucks even though my poor wife couldn't bestir me to wash our own cars or cut the grass.

Shorpy Fire Brigade

Classic fire-fighting apparatus are a wonderful sub-genre of Shorpy. Thanks to tterrace for sharing this Kodachrome image of a 1964 Van Pelt/GMC in our new favorite small-town, Larkspur, CA!

A few previous posts of Shorpy Fire Engines.

Oyota

I see you could have crossed the street to see some exotic little Toyotas, too.

I wonder what became of this classic firetruck. I haven't seen an open-cab unit in many decades.

Topless

Lousy truck to drive in a rainstorm.

 
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Shorpy.com | History in HD is a vintage photo blog featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1950s. The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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