Spotting Features
I will identify some simple ways to help you identify Crown fire apparatus without having to refer to
the serial number.  These spotting features will at the very least narrow down the time period the rig
was built and whether or not it had been rebuilt when working with photos.
In 1954, the first year of Firecoach production, Crown
used a chrome trim ring around the gauges on the pump
panel.  1954 is the only year that this feature was known
to be used.
The notched or angled cab doors were something found
on Crown apparatus starting with F1001 in 1951
through 1961.  The year 1961 was a year of transition
and brought cabs that were slightly extended which
brought squared off cab doors.  Angled cab doors were
still available in 1961 but were completely discontinued
by 1962.
Early Firecoaches had a chrome trim ring around the
windshield available as an option.  This practice was
discontinued in 1961.
This rear marker light was located just to the back of the
rear axle.  It was found on Firecoaches through 1968
when it began to be phased out in favor of the ICC
mandated light package which was to be in place on all
new vehicles by 1970.
The ICC mandated light package began appearing on
Firecoaches in 1968.  It included marker lights at the top
of the cab, marker lights on all four corners of the
apparatus as well as a light in the center if it exceeded 30
feet in length.  Also a row of 3 lights was found on the
back of the apparatus in addition to the tail lights.
It should be noted that these lights were also fitted to
many older Crowns as the years went by.
Crown added a ripple textured stainless steel kick plate
underneath the cab doors starting in late 1969.  This
feature was something that was added to earlier
Firecoaches as well, generally when they were
refurbished.
In 1977, Crown developed a new full width cab for use
on its Firecoach line.  These new spacious cabs spanned
the full 96 inch width of the apparatus and featured taller
windshields.  The cab doors were squared off and
battery boxes were relocated behind panels behind the
cab entry steps.
On its early Firecoaches, Crown used a painted
aluminum bezel to stand off the Guide R853 turn signals
used on the front of the rigs.  The practice was
discontinued towards the end of 1961.
Towards the end of 1961, Crown began using aluminum
bezels in a natural finish behind the Guide R853 turn
signals.  Like the earlier painted bezels, these were
angled back about 30 degrees from the front of the rig.  
This practice was continued through the beginning of
1968.  An exception to this was apparatus ordered by
the County of Los Angeles which preferred to use round
recessed turn signals on the front of its Firecoaches.
Beginning in 1968, Crown changed the design slightly of
the turn signal bezels.  Although very similar in style, the
new bezels were considerably larger in size and brought
the turn signal lens even with the front of the rig with no
angle to them.  This practice was continued, with the
exception of Los Angeles County, through the very end
of Firecoach production.
An easy feature to use to distinguish Crown 3 axle
apparatus with Crown built bodies is the sheet metal trim
between the rear wheels is trimmed flat.
An easy feature to use to distinguish Crown 3 axle
apparatus with P
ierce built bodies is the sheet metal trim
between the rear wheels is b
rought to a point.  Another
item to note is the lack of traditional Crown corners at
the rear of the body.