Jeep FC Fire Engines Around the World


Jeep Forward Control cab-over-engine trucks built by Kaiser-Willys from 1957-65 were the basis for a number of fire apparatus conversions around the world, quite different from those seen in North America.


United ManufacturingI ran across this photo advertising United Manufacturing Co. of India, makers of fire apparatus. This fire engine is based on a Forward Control Jeep chassis (210K JPEG) also built in India, by Mahindra & Mahindra.


GendtJan Scheele took this photo of a 1964 FC-170 beautifully preserved by the community ("gemeente") of Gendt, south of Arnhem. Designed for equipment and personnel transport, the truck was never equipped with a pump, but can be seen here pulling a pump and hose trailer.


Q VanKnown as the Res-Q-Van or simply "Q Van", this 1961 Willys FC-170 was the first dedicated rescue unit in Australia. It served with the St. George-Sutherland District of Sydney, and has now been restored and preserved as part of the New South Wales Ambulancehistorical collection. See more photos and details of the The Q Van.

Presha light tenderThe "Presha" Airfield Light Rescue Tender was a conversion by Presha Engineering of Melbourne, of some of the 126 Jeep FC-170 Forward Control trucks built by Willys Australia. Although Presha aimed their vehicles at Asian markets, this photo indicates that the light tender was also sold to Australian airports.

The truck carried a 175-lb. (80kg) dry chemical extinguishing system with two 100-ft. hoses, as well as a portable 20-lb. dry powder extinguisher. Its primary role was to get people out of airplanes; it powered two high-speed rescue saws and two 11-inch searchlights, and carried other rescue equipment including hydraulics. See a brochure for the Presha rescue tenders (160K JPEG).

Sutherland refuelling unitMartyn Kiellor, Inspector with the Sutherland Rural Fire Service, says this FC used by his department "started life as a Presha LRT with the Australian Department of Aviation, Airport Rescue Firefighting Service, at Sydney (Kingsford Smith) Airport. The vehicle had a PTO-powered generator, and CO2-propelled dry chemical fire fighting powder set on the rear. It was decommissioned and purchased by the Sutherland Bushfire Service, and utilised as a mobile refuelling unit carrying various fuels and parts by the Heathcote Brigade." (See also a photo with the compartments closed, 30K JPEG.)

"The vehicle was a LH to RH-drive conversion, which resulted in the steering wheel having a nasty offset (35K JPEG) in relation to the seating position, and had been re-powered with a Holden motor of 202 cu.in. displacement. The vehicle was retired as a result of changing regulations that rendered the carriage of bulk fuel impractical."

The truck had its custom rear body removed for a second career following its retirement from the fire service. It is now fully retired, and was bought in 1999 by Ted Robinette of the Willys Overland Club of Victoria, Australia. It has two data plates: Willys Motors Australia data plate no. FC170-1017, and Willys Jeep data plate no. 61568-21928. See a front view photo (32K JPEG) showing the roof-mounted spotlight.


SwitzerlandSwitzerland is home to a distinctive style of fully-enclosed fire engine built on an FC170 chassis.

This FC was used in Glattbrugg, a suburb of Zurich, to carry equipment for closing down streets in case of an emergency, and was in service from the 1960s through the 1980's. Thanks to Richard Jud and Craig Brockhaus for the photo.

SwitzerlandHere's another example, configured slightly differently, but clearly from the same builder -- Hanni Co. of Zurich, Switzerland.

The volunteer fire department in Regensdorf, another suburb of Zurich, has been restoring this FC-170. See also a rear view (30K JPEG) and right side view (50K JPEG).

Dry chemicalHere's something different, from the town of Hinwil, also near Zurich: a truck with a 750kg dry chemical tank and two 30-meter hoses. Thanks to The FC Connection for the photo.

VordemwaldA little further south of Zurich is Vordemwald whose Feuerwehr ("Fire Department" in German) takes their FC to shows like Jeeptreffen 2005 (60K JPEG) at Rothrist, on a regular basis.

LadderThis photo comes from Swiss Firefighters, and the truck appears to belong to the Service du Feu ("Fire Service" in French) of Vallorbe, north of Lausanne in western Switzerland.

Thanks to Ted Robinette, Martyn Kiellor, Vaughn Becker and fire literature collector J-C Guerry in France for the information on the Presha. Also to Stephan Meyer in Switzerland. -- Derek Redmond

Also on CJ3B.info, see more Forward Control Fire Engines.

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Last updated 27 June 2014 by Derek Redmond redmond@cj3b.info
All content not credited and previously copyright, is copyright Derek Redmond