|This is the very first Crown Firecoach built, serial number F1001. This rig began as a concept in 1949 and was constructed over several years being completed in 1951. It was first registered in 1951 prior to primer being applied to its bare metal. Its appearance is based on Crowns 1950 re-design of their school busses. She was first painted red and from 1951 through 1954 was used as a demonstrator being driven up and down the state of California by Red Wilmore, head salesman for Crown and fire apparatus proponent.
In 1954 the city of West Covina bought the red engine and had the monitor removed, adding two hose reels in its place. A red Federal rotating light was added above the windshield, and turn indicators were later added to the front panels.
In 1965, West Covina had Crown add rear side compartments, diamond plating above the rear running boards and paint the engine Dupont Chrome Yellow (commonly known as West Covina Yellow) and remove the warning light and add a Federal red gumball warning light in its place.
Some time afterwards, West Covina cut off the front suction and some of its plumbing, removed hard suction hoses and trays and added a baby Bangor ladder in its place, replaced the yellow fog lights with clear modern headlights, and mounted a 35 foot extention ladder above the hose bed. A rag top was mounted on the engine and later a fiberglass roof was mounted in its place.
West Covina used the engine at each of its stations during its lifespan, last serving at Station 4 prior to going to reserve status. When a noise accentuated from the transmission, they took it apart for evaluation and elected to strike it from service leaving all the parts in a can on the tail-board. The engine was stored in the city yard for a few years, exposing the engine to the elements and the paint began to fade.
My brother, father, and I purchased the engine in August of 1980 and towed it to my house, where we began polishing the engine, bringing back the Chrome in the Yellow....removed the 35' extention ladder rack, the fiberglass roof, and replaced the trays and hard suction hoses back to their rightful place. We had Crown rebuild the transmission and pump transmission and mounted them back in the engine in my driveway, only to remove it again to have Crown correct a reversed gear, and then remount it again. Then came new tires all around and a garage (station) to put it in with all the frills.
She is powered by her original Hall-Scott 935 gasoline engine with a 5-speed manual transmission and fitted with a 1,250gpm Waterous pump and 350 gallon water tank.
|Very special thanks to Chris Arnold for sharing this information and photos with us!|
|The above photo is from eBay and shows F1001 as she appeared in service for West Covina.|
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West Covina Fire Department