Boyer Fire Apparatus of Logansport, Indiana built many Jeep Fire Engines in the late 1940s (see Boyer Jeep Fire Engine Production List) but their relationship with Willys apparently ended in 1950. Later, after a 1950s corporate restructuring as "Universal Fire Apparatus," they built four units on the Jeep Forward Control platform during 1958-61.
Rodger Birchfield found this photo of an unusual Boyer FC-150 dual-rear-wheels Forward Control fire engine built in 1958 by Universal.
Roger comments, "It was delivered to Eli Lilly & Co. in Indianapolis, and later went to Madison Township Fire Department in Morgan County south of Indianapolis. Madison Twp. sold it to nearby Brooklyn IN and they eventually sold to it a truck repair garage near Martinsville. The garage removed the fire equipment and used the Jeep for a flatbed truck."
The no-nonsense little truck had a Hale pump and the dual rear wheels allowed it to include a 150-gallon water tank (compared to the 200-250 gallon capacity of the longer-wheelbase DRW trucks.) It's surprising that the FC-150 platform was not used more often by apparatus manufacturers, as an alternative to the Universal Jeeps with their more limited rear capacity.
Universal also built three Boyer FC-170 fire engines with Hale pumps, for Wonder Lake, Palatine and Waukegan, all in Illinois. The Palatine FC-170DRW as seen in this builder's photo has yet to be outfitted with any brushfire gear.
A 1959 ad for the range of Boyer apparatus from Universal, shows the above photo representing their brush trucks. However, after 1961, Boyer once again stopped using Jeeps, and went back to cab-forward trucks from Ford, GMC and International.
The Waukegan FC-170 from 1960 has backpack tanks on board for brushfire work, and a front-mounted winch. The turret gun, however, suggests that brushfire duty was seen as only part of its function when it was originally outfitted. The pump is configured slightly differently from the Palatine truck, perhaps because of the turret gun.
The rear body was replaced with a flatbed after the truck was sold by the Waukegan FD. I don't know where it or the 1961 Wonder Lake truck are located now.
Spencer Landers in Arkansas now owns the Palatine FC-170, which has also long since lost its apparatus body and pump. As of 2018 he is planning a restoration with a flatbed.
Spencer was able to bring the original paint back to an impressive shine. He first realized he had one of the Boyer FCs after noticing the four tiny pinstripes between the slots of the front grille, which can be most clearly seen in the factory photo of the Waukegan truck above. He then confirmed that his serial number matched the Palatine truck in the Boyer Jeep Fire Engine Production List.
The cab interior looks like it will also clean up quite nicely. Thanks to Spencer for the photos.
Thanks to Rodger Birchfield for the photos from his article "Jeep Fire Apparatus" in issue 2000-2 of Enjine Enjine, the magazine of SPAAMFAA. -- Derek Redmond
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