Starting in 1955, Willys dealers marketed a fire engine version of the 4WD Jeep truck with the 6-226 Super-Hurricane engine, with its own series of serial numbers with the prefix 55068-05 (see Willys-Overland Production Figures.) Less than a dozen were produced in the late 1950s, but there was a run of 83 built in 1960.
See More Jeep Fire Equipment Literature for all four pages of the brochure whose cover is seen here, including a set of sketches of the truck in action, and an extensive list of specifications.
The truck was available with closed or open cab, and was soon dubbed the "Commando" (a name later recycled by Kaiser Jeep for the 1966-1973 Jeepster Commando.) The name was probably adopted to help distinguish it from the smaller "Jeep Fire Engine" built on the Universal Jeep platform.
Features included a Waterous 500 GPM pump, heat exchanger to cool the engine during continuous pumping, 150-gallon baffled tank, and booster reel with 150 feet of hose.
Advertised as the Willys Commando, and marketed through Willys dealers, the rear body and the equipment on these "factory" fire trucks was actually installed by one of several fire apparatus manufacturers including Howe Fire Apparatus and General Fire Truck Company.
Although the body extended well back of the 118-inch wheelbase, the 18-foor extension ladder and the supports for the two 10-foot lengths of suction hose still projected several feet beyond the body.
This early-60s hardtop Commando built by Howe in Anderson, Indiana, was photographed by Jolly Goodfellow in Utah.
See more photos and details of Howe 6-226 Willys Fire Trucks.
This similar but earlier Commando built by the General Fire Truck Co. of Detroit in 1954, served the city of Grandville, Michigan from 1955 until 1976. It now belongs to Gary Dreyer.
See more photos and details of the trucks from General Fire Truck Co.
Thanks to Jolly Goodfellow and Gary Dreyer. -- Derek Redmond
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