Progress Report – Amphibious Fire Engine

In August, 2017, Ashland’s “Amphibious Fire Engine” was donated to the Southern Oregon Historical Society. Since then, the all-volunteer fire engine rehabilitation team has been hard at work bringing this historic machine closer to operational order. With any 70+ year old vehicle that has been out of service for many years, we discovered many things that had deteriorated and were difficult to fix or replace due to the scarcity of parts.

There have been a lot of tasks that we have taken on and completed, including: locating a replacement for the missing two-way radio that would have been under the box on the right running board, along with another “head unit” that mounts under the dash, enabling us to restore our existing one. The Voget family donated a glove box door from their 1942 Ford truck to replace our missing one; Farrell’s Glass made a new lens for one of the pump gauges; the broken non-original tail lights were replaced with nice reproductions; the inside of the fire engine bed was cleaned and painted; new wire to replace the wiring under the dash was ordered; and the horn button and wiring was removed. It took 3 weeks to remove the “stubborn steering wheel. It took all [the volunteers] to finally get it loose!”

And progress continues: the windshield wiper has been refurbished; arrangements were made with a classic instruments company in Arkansas to restore the instrument panel; the red fire extinguisher mounted on the left running board has been restored; the carburetor was rebuilt by Richard Craft in Grants Pass; and the steering wheel was finally removed and bead-blasted clean and is now being restored. 

We still need to replace all six of the tires and tubes on our fire engine. Does anyone have an “in” with one of the big tire companies in the Rogue Valley? If so, let us know!

It’s a slow process to bring this vehicle back to operational condition, but with the help of our dedicated volunteers, the fire engine will be back on the road in 2018 and ready to participate in parades and community events to bring enjoyment to the people of the Rogue Valley!

Finally, we have many volunteers to thank: our Tuesday-crew, Ben Truwe, Jim Martin, Mike & Norma Trump, Rick Black and Lee Newton. And a dozen others who have lent a hand from time-to-time, including Skip Geear, Glenn Amsberry, Phil Kessler, Greg Applen, and many others. 

For more information, to make a donation, or to volunteer to help with restoration, visit:; OR contact Project Manager Rick Black at 541-499-1356; Lee Newton at 541-840-5568; George Kramer at 541-482-9504; or Ben Truwe at 541-773-8369.

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