Willys Fire Trucks Around the World


Most Willys fire trucks in North America were open-body designs based on the Willys pickup or built on a cab and chassis from Willys. Fire departments in Europe have always tended to prefer fully-enclosed fire apparatus, so it's not surprising they often made use of the Willys Jeep Station Wagon, both as a utility vehicle and a basis for modification into a pumper.


EglisauSome Willys trucks released by the factory as "stripped chassis" versions (see Willys-Overland Production Figures) also made their way overseas for conversion into fire trucks. In service from 1959 to 1981 in Eglisau, north of Zurich, this truck is a nice example of elegant Swiss coachwork. It carried up to 7 firefighters of Feuerwehr Eglisau.

This body style reminds me of the Willys Economy Delivery truck built in the US, although the Economy Delivery had more headroom.

Amsterdam, 2014 Apparently from the same Swiss coach builder, this 1961 Willys was photographed in Amsterdam in 2014 by Sander Toonen on Flickr. The truck had been modified with an 8-cylinder engine running on LPG, and was being used to promote a wine and food business.

I haven't been able to identify the coat of arms (10K JPEG) on the door of the truck.

OldiesNeuenhof, northwest of Zurich has two "oldtimers" -- a 1960 Willys makes a great partner for the department's 1957 Volkswagen panel delivery microbus. The Willys also appears to have originally been a panel delivery model, and according to Feuerwehr Neuenhof the body modifications were done by Hüppi in Switzerland.

Kitzbuhel 2008This 6-226 4WD cab and chassis has Willys serial number 55168 11908, indicating a 1955 model. According to the Oldtimer Club of Feuerwehr Adliswil who restored this truck, it was originally delivered from the U.S. with bodywork only back to the firewall. The new high-clearance rear body is reminiscent of The Jeep "Economy Delivery".

This photo was taken on the way to a fire apparatus show in Kitzbühel, Switzerland in May, 2008.

Jeeptreffen 2008The beautiful and functional body, including tall cab doors and roll-up compartment doors, was built in Switzerland. The truck spent its entire service life with Feuerwehr Adliswil in a suburb of Zurich.

This picture from the 2008 Jeeptreffen (Jeep show) in Rothrist is courtesy of Pro-Automobil.ch.

Jeeptreffen2008Another photo from the 2008 Jeeptreffen in Rothrist, courtesy of Pro-Automobil.ch shows a Willys wagon relatively unmodified except for the front bumper, pulling a pump trailer. We don't know who owns this one; anybody recognize the crest with a rooster above crossed fire axes?

See also a Willys wagon in Nyon, Switzerland, made famous worldwide by its appearance as The Fire Truck in the Tin Tin Book.


ModumThis pumper built by Sørholtes Verksted in Stange, Norway, displays craftsmanship on the same level as the Swiss apparatus, although in a more utilitarian or military design style. The 1957 4-wheel drive Willys 6-226 was in service in Modum, Norway until 1985 when it was sold. It was bought back again in 2005 and fully restored.

Although seen here pulling a gasoline-powered pump, the truck has a front-mounted Champion 1500 liter/min. pump, and a 600-liter water tank.

Beautiful photos by Jan Scheele -- see also the left side view (280K JPEG) with a J-20 Gladiator in the background.

FordeAt the same display, Jan photographed this restored pumper based on a 1956 Willys 6-226 truck. It was also built by Sørholtes Verksted, with a Champion pump and 400-liter tank, and served Førde, Norway until 1970. "Brannvesen" or "brannvern" are Norwegian for "fire department."

See also a right side view (160K JPEG).

NorwayHans from the Netherlands found an unrestored panel delivery in storage on a visit to Norway. The front grille design indicates a 1950-53 model, and it has controls above the grille for a front-mounted pump.

See also the cab interior, a rear view, and the name "Øymark-Rødenes Brannvesen" painted on the side panel (80K JPEGs). Øymark and Rødenes are two lakes southwest of Oslo.

Jan Scheele also sent an older photo he took in Kristiansund in the 1970's, of a similar but more complete panel delivery with front-mounted pump (90K JPEG) which has since been restored.


Tollarps frontThis enclosed light pumper was built in the 1950s by Tollarps in Sweden, and as of 2001 was being restored by the Royal Institute of Technology Motor Club. See Willys Hose Car in Sweden for more photos and information from Lars Wallentin, who says these enclosed "hose cars" were common in Sweden.

Thanks to all the contributors. -- Derek Redmond

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Last updated 17 October 2018 by Derek Redmond redmond@cj3b.info
All content not credited and previously copyright, is copyright Derek Redmond