J-20 Fire Trucks in New Zealand


Kaiser Jeep didn't have much success selling their Gladiator truck for fire apparatus conversions. After American Motors took over the Jeep line in 1970, they dropped the Gladiator name, but the three-quarter ton version now known as the J-20 saw a little more popularity as a fire truck, mostly outside North America.

On the website 111 Emergency I discovered that the J-20 platform was popular in New Zealand. Apparently Mills-Tui Fire Apparatus of Rotorua NZ converted a number of the AMC trucks in the early 1980's. Here are some examples of their J-20's, which would serve well as brushfire units, as well as rescue trucks and first-response pumpers for rural areas.

This 1980 Jeep J-20 was photographed in service with the New Brighton Volunteer Fire Brigade by David Miller, and is now at Ferrymead Heritage Park in Christchurch NZ.

Different examples of the New Zealand J-20 have different features; a rear view of New Brighton 1451 shows the large booster reel and plenty of storage space.

Unit 2810 was photographed by Daryl Sayer at Sumner, a coastal suburb of Christchurch. Also a 1980 Jeep, it's fitted out more for brushfire service, with portable pump, brush bar and winch.

This colorful 1981 J-20 was the first truck for the Makarora Rural Fire Force, in the mountains of the South Island. Photo by Derek Quinn.

This photo by Elton Smith shows a pair of 1980 Jeeps at Blackmount, near the southern tip of New Zealand.

Ashburton 1331 looks like it may be set up as a rescue truck, with storage space in place of pump and hose.

A similar example is Balclutha Unit 4625. The bodywork carries a Mills-Tui Trailers badge and a hitch for pulling a search and rescue boat. Photo by Derek Quinn.

Woodend 7710, a 1984 J-20, is equipped with a portable pump as well as a large Darley pump. Photo by David Miller.

The S.N. plate from Mills-Tui Fire Apparatus of Rotorua NZ shows a delivery date of 1982 for Woodend 7710.

The midship pump was imported from W.S. Darley of Melrose Park, Illinois.

Muriwai Volunteer Fire Service 132, a 1981 J-20, was given a different body configuration by Mills-Tui.

The truck appears to carry lots of water and a central booster reel, although only a portable pump.

Thanks to Derek Quinn of 111 Emergency for collecting these photos. -- Derek Redmond

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Last updated 8 December 2015 by Derek Redmond redmond@cj3b.info
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