Forward Control Fire Trucks


The Jeep Forward Control 4x4 cab-over-engine truck built by Kaiser-Willys from 1957-65, was a natural platform for conversion to a small fire engine, and a number of apparatus builders took advantage of the opportunity.

Companies are listed here alphabetically. For trucks converted by local departments or unknown builders, see More Forward Control Fire Trucks.

American LaFrance

Middletown American LaFrance in Elmira NY did not build a lot of Jeeps, but it did build some interesting ones, from a brush truck using a stock Jeep body, to a rescue truck with a huge enclosed body, and this squad seemingly based on the Howe front-pump FC design. It had a portable gas pump, and belonged to Rescue Hose Co. No. 3 in Middletown PA. See more details in Jeep FC Fire Trucks by American LaFrance.

Ansul Chemical

AnsulHere's an FC-170 with a dry chemical tank from Ansul Chemical of Marinette, Wisconsin, being delivered to a Willys dealer. See more FCs in Ansul Chemical Crash Trucks and in Airfield Crash Rescue Jeeps.

John Bean Co.

John BeanAnother midwest apparatus manufacturer who delivered Forward Control Jeeps was John Bean of Lansing, Michigan. Their trucks can often be identified by distinctive covered booster reels (30K JPEG). This 1963 FC-170 Bean Piston Pumper was originally built for McGuire Air Force Base, then later sold to the Berkeley Heights, New Jersey F.D.

See John Bean Co. Fire Jeeps for more photos of both FC-150 and FC-170 models.

Boyer Fire Apparatus

FC150One of the rarer FC fire engines is this Boyer unit built on a short FC-150DRW chassis, after Boyer's corporate restructuring as "Universal Fire Apparatus."

See Boyer Jeep FC Fire Engines for more photos and details of this unit and a few larger FC-170s built by Universal.

W.S. Darley Co.

W.S. DarleyAside from their connection with Valley Fire Trucks (see below), the Darley Company in Chicago also built similar FC pumpers under their own name. The 1959 FC-170 in this builder's photo from Steve Hagy's collection has a 60 GPM high-pressure pump, and 200 gallon tank. This rig was delivered to Inland Steel Company of East Chicago, Indiana.

W.S. Darley The truck at Inland Steel survived, as did the steel mill itself despite the decline of the American steel industry after 1970. The mill is now owned by Cleveland-Cliffs, and the '59 Darley FC-170 is owned by the Northwest Indiana Steel Heritage Project, and has about 3,000 miles on the odometer. Thanks to Robert Meyer.

Diamond T Motors

Tri-State Very stylish body and front bumper on this FC-170, manufactured by the Diamond T Motor Company in Chicago, who built fire apparatus based on their own trucks and apparently on the Jeep FC as well. It was sold to the Tri-State Fire Department in Hinsdale, Illinois, and was well-equipped, with front winch, bumper nozzles, turret gun, portable lighting and two-way radio.

Thanks to Craig Brockhaus at The FC Connection for the photo.

Hahn Fire Apparatus

Hahn Motors Hahn Fire Apparatus, also known as Hahn Motors, manufactured apparatus in Hamburg, Pennsylvania from 1916 until 1989. This FC-170 was custom built in 1964 for the nearby Reiffton Fire Co. Designed by Fire Chief Jack H. Gechter, the FC's low-profile body and pair of inboard booster reels were very distinctive. It carried 230 gallons of water plus hard suction hose, 600 feet of 1-1/2" hose, four backpack pumps and a 16-foot aluminum ladder.

Hahn Motors In service, the Reiffton FC carried an auxiliary pump at least some of the time, possibly set up for drafting with the hard suction hose and supplying a higher volume of water than a high pressure pump would be capable of.

As mentioned in an article (200K JPEG) in the March 1960 issue of Jeep News, Reiffton already owned a CJ-2A, and as of 2023 still have a CJ-5 and CJ-8 in service, under their new name Exeter Township VFD.

J.T BakerHahn used its own chassis for many of its fire engines, but they had previously had experience with a FC-170 cab and chassis in 1963 for the J.T. Baker Chemical Company in Phillipsburg NJ. Equipped with a 500 GPM pump, 200-gallon tank and 60-pound Purple-K system, this custom truck is now owned by a collector in Texas. Thanks to Jack Calderone for the photo.

See much more on the restoration of this Hahn Motors FC-170 Fire Engine.

H & H Apparatus

H & H ApparatusLocated in Jersey City, NJ, this company's claim to fame was building the three 1964 New York World's Fair fire engines. But those were clearly not the only Forward Control trucks they converted; this Dual Rear Wheels FC-170 carries less equipment but has some features very similar to the World's Fair units. It passed through several owners before being bought by the Bruno, Minnesota FD. See also a front view (60K JPEG), rear view (70K JPEG), the enclosed booster reel (80K JPEG) and the pump panel (180K JPEG). Thanks to Shad and Wenda for the photos.

Harwick Mfg.

Norriton PA Possibly the only Jeep built by Harwick Manufacturing Co. in West Point PA, a suburb of Philadelphia, this FC-170 was delivered to the Norriton Fire Engine Company in nearby East Norriton Township. The low profile body and twin booster reels suggest it was primarily a brush truck, but it also has plenty of storage compartments (see also the left side, 170K JPEG.) Harwick took advantage of the big front bumper, extended for a winch, to mount the huge Federal siren.

Harwick Harwick Manufacturing was located in the former trolley car barn in West Point. (As of 2023 the same building is used by Colorcon Inc. to make pharmaceutical products.) In business from 1949-63, Harwick built over 100 pieces of fire apparatus on various commercial truck chassis. Thanks to Frank Boyd, Chuck Morris Jr. and the late George Benigno for details on Harwick.

Howe Fire Apparatus

New York Howe Fire Apparatus in Indiana was probably the largest manufacturer of fire service Jeep conversions, including many Forward Controls. This 1964 500 GPM pumper was purchased new by the Edgewater Park Volunteer FD in the Bronx in New York City, and was in service until 2003.

For more photos of the large variety of trucks built by the company, see Howe Jeep FC Fire Engines.

Finished Howe was the only company that regularly put front-mount pumps on Forward Control fire engines. They also used some dual rear wheels models.

This 1964 Howe FC-170 DRW was built for the U.S. Department of the Interior and delivered to the Hungry Horse Dam in Montana. It has an overhead ladder rack not typically found on the Howe FCs. See a detailed look at this FC in Fully Equipped and Fully Restored.

Oren Roanoke

Oren Another apparatus manufacturer located outside the midwestern states where most Jeep apparatus was built, was Oren Roanoke Corp. of Roanoke, Virginia, and this 1959 FC-170 is the only example I have seen of an Oren FC. Sandy Spring, Maryland used it primarily for brush fires, although it had more of a standard mini-pumper configuration, with a 250 gallon tank and 200 GPM Hale pump. See a factory photo of the right side (60K JPEG) from Stacey Stone.

Oren The truck was sold to Winfield Community VFD in Carroll County MD, where it was repainted. Oren historian Thomas Herman has it listed as Oren serial no. 1660, originally delivered 14 October 1959, and says it is the only Oren FC he is aware of. Its fate is currently unknown.

Reading Truck Body

Rescue truck Need a little more capacity? This Ed Effron photo of another unusual and possibly unique rescue squad, was found by Steve Hagy. Clearcreek Township at Springboro, Ohio (just south of Dayton) purchased this DRW truck built by Reading Truck Body in Pennsylvania, around 1960. In addition to the large equipment storage area, the rig had a small-capacity front-mount booster pump.

Oaklyn NJ The Welcome Volunteer Fire Co. of the Borough of Oaklyn NJ purchased a new FC-170 in 1958. Asst. Chief Joe Dooley Sr. designed a rescue body, and Reading built it to his specs. It had a removable rack for the company's boat, and to clear the way there was an early Whelen Rota-Beam beacon (180K JPEG) with a pair of little Federal sirens flanking it.

See also a photo of the rescue truck with the company's 1952 and 1963 Ford/Great Eastern pumpers (280K JPEG) and on parade duty (270K JPEG).

Welcome VFC merged with the Oaklyn Fire Co. in 1976 to become the Oaklyn Fire Department.

Trenton National Trailer

Mantoloking NJ Trenton National Trailer (TNT) was a small company in Trenton NJ which built fire apparatus and ambulances on various truck platforms from the 1950s through at least the 1970's. This FC-170 went to Mantoloking NJ, and was later sold to Beachwood NJ.

Since 1992 it has belonged to Victor Booth of Marathon NY, who sent a nice photo (240K JPEG) and said, "It is 1964 s/n 61568-13 10974 with a T98 4-speed transmission. It has a generator for lights, a 250-gallon booster tank, and crew seats in the rear." See also the right side (140K JPEG) with a second booster reel.

A photo of the pump control panel also shows the Trenton builder's plate. Thanks to Bob Ellis for the photo.

Victor added, "The fire company I got it from thought it had been at the NY Worlds Fair, but some things don't add up, like the different builder. It does have a little blue on one of the reel motors. The truck weighs 8500 lbs. in the picture and would be around 12000 lbs. with water, equipment and crew. Good downhill truck if you don't have to stop."

Trenton National Trailer Trenton National truck bodies were also sold under the brand name "Kutz," and they built "Huntco" apparatus for the James B. Hunt Mfg. Co. This large, dual-booster-reel Kutz FC-170 pumper from 1959 appears to have been designed for an urban department. See the hose bed, cab interior, rear lamps and builder's plate (100K JPEGs).

Valley Fire Truck

Valley Valley Fire Truck of Bay City, Michigan apparently built only a small number of FC conversions, with 500 GPM pumps and 200-gallon tanks. This factory photo was used in some of their advertising (150K JPEG). See also the rear view (70K JPEG).

A brief article (220K JPEG) in the March 1960 Jeep News says the truck was designed for Williamsburg, Virginia by Glocksine Motors of Bay City, without mentioning Valley Fire Truck.

Valley I don't know the background of this one, which belongs to a private collector. Dual booster reels, a Darley midship pump and for some reason a big front platform. See some detail photos at the FC Connection.

Valley This 1965 Valley FC-170, reportedly the last FC built by the company, was originally sold to Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, for access through narrow streets.

See more photos and details of Wilkes-Barre Pumper 4 on CJ3B.info.


Berwyn PA Belonging to Berwyn Fire Company in Chester County, Pennsylvania, this 1958 FC-150 brush truck had a midship pump installed, but retained the stock rear bodywork. And it's another truck with an early Whelen Rota-Beam (180K JPEG) Model RB11 on top.

According to Jeff Stauffer and Bruce Anderson this truck was probably built by L. Wiggins, a local body shop in West Chester PA who delivered about 20 trucks in the early to late 1950s, mostly in the metropolitan Philadelphia area. This one was replaced by 1965 with a Hahn/Dodge Power Wagon. Did Berwyn not like the truck, or could it have been burned in a wildfire?

Unionville PA Also in Chester County PA, this FC-170 served with the Po-Mar-Lin Fire Company from 1958 until 1985. Po-Mar-Lin is named for the towns of Pocopson, Marlborough and Newlin, and their Chester County Fire Station 36 is located in Unionville.

With a similar design based on the standard FC rear body, although with a portable pump, this truck may also be a conversion by Wiggins. See the right side (110K JPEG).

Thanks to Gary Dreyer, Craig Brockhaus, Ken Buchanan, Stuart Warner, Andrew Harvey, Steve Hagy, Jim Allen and Shad Seibert. -- Derek Redmond

For more about Jeep Forward Control trucks, see Brooks Stevens' Forward Vision on CJ3B.info.

See more FC fire trucks in Fire Service Jeeps on CJ3B.info.

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Last updated 2 April 2024 by Derek Redmond redmond@cj3b.info
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