SOHS Volunteers Restore 1946 Fire Engine

This blog will document the progress of the rehabilitation and preservation of a 1946 Ford Fire Engine once owned by the Ashland Oregon Fire Department. The Fire Engine was donated to the Southern Oregon Historical Society in May 2017.
History of the Amphibious Fire Engine
Mar 14 2018 - 3:48pm

6 new tires and powder painted wheels were delivered today courtesy of TP Trucking and Craig Turner.
Mar 14 2018 - 3:43pm
Retired Ashland Firefighter Sandy Bennett and his wife Judy visited the workshop today.
He may be the oldest surviving  firefighter who was in the Ashland Fire Department before
the Fire Engine was sold as surplus in the mid- 1970’s.  We now know of 3 firefighters currently in the Rogue Valley who have served on our vehicle.
Mar 14 2018 - 3:36pm

Jim Missildine offered to restore our steering wheel … and he delivered it today!  It’s as good as new now.

Jan 31 2018 - 10:20am

Volunteer Phil Kessler designed and constructed a 4-passenger bench for the rear of our fire engine. Now we will be able to transport passengers safely during parades.

Jan 2 2018 - 7:59am

KOBI-5 aired our story (all 60 seconds of it):

Jan 1 2018 - 2:05pm

I got a call on Tuesday from Jack Sutherland of Ashland.  He asked if he could come see the Fire Engine.  He explained that he was a fireman in Ashland from 1961-1964 and rode on the vehicle many times.   I was happy to give him a VIP tour.  He and his wife Sandy enjoyed seeing the truck again after so many years.

I received the first WWII Battle Lantern that was missing from the rear sides of our Fire Engine - I found it on eBay and purchased it from a contribution by Clair Thorne of Phoenix (another old car guy).  The lantern is in great shape but will need an “overhaul” to convert it from battleship gray to fire engine red.   We’ll also have to modify the mount on the back side to fit our Fire Engine instead of the walls of a battleship. I’m hoping that Lee Newton can help figure this out.

  • We received the rest of the wiring harnesses - one to connect the dash harness to the headlights and horn and the other to connect the side and rear instrument and compartment lights to the battery.  Those were made by Bauer Electronics in Bend - the same people who manufactured the other harnesses we’ve already installed.
  • “Steering Wheel Jim” has our steering wheel that Glenn Amsberry was kind enough to bead blast and Jim will begin working on it next week for us.  Jim drives for FedEx and comes by the workshop from time to time.
  • Mike Stitt has our generator and is going to replace the brushes and “tune it up” for us.
  • Rick is searching for a new top to our rebuilt carburetor, which has a crack in the top that has been repaired but should be replaced.
  • Phil is working on a design for bench seating in the rear compartment to allow us to transport VIPs in comfort.  

Thanks to all of you who have volunteered to work on this project.  We’ve come a long way in just 7 months.  I hope that we’ll have this baby on the road in 2018 for some parade and promotion duty.

Next Tuesday is a “bye” week for us - enjoy an extended New Years weekend and we’ll reconvene at the Workshop on Tuesday January 9


Nov 8 2017 - 1:25pm

Mike is rebuilding the windshield wiper while Norma paints the inside of the truck bed.

Oct 19 2017 - 3:45pm

Volunteer Phil Kessler milled the lumber and fabricated new floors for the back of the fire engine.  We just brought them over to the workshop this morning.   What a difference!

Oct 11 2017 - 9:02am
We’re making progress on the Fire Engine.

Brakes have been overhauled.  Radiator has been re-cored and ready to be mounted once we get the motor running.  We have poured some “Marvel Mystery Oil” in the engine and cleaned and gapped the spark plugs.  In mid-October, we’ll mend some old wiring under the hood and begin the process of getting the motor running again. 

The Voget family donated a glove box door that was missing and the paint matches almost perfectly! Many volunteers have been busy rubbing out the paint, and the fire engine is starting to look pretty good

Donations haven’t been coming in fast, but we have been fortunate to get some great ones.  Donations have reached $4000.  We still have a long way to go, so we’re still needing additional donations.

Several companies have donated parts to the project.  Sasco Fasteners donated the dozens of brass wood screws to remake the slat floors in the back.  Model A owner Phil Kessler donated the oak to remake the wood slat floors, Interstate donated a battery.  Skip Geear (of Wood House fame) found and donated a Motorola radio that was missing from the right running board.  Another Model A’er Eric Engelmann rebuilt the wood frame for the seat.   And Farrell’s Glass reproduced a missing beveled glass lens in one of the large gauges.  Many others have donated parts and labor.

To see our progress, take a look at the photos showing the fire engine when it arrived in May and how it appears now.We are documenting this journey on the SOHS website at  Please check there frequently for updates.    And please feel free to share this with others. 

Rick Black—541-499-1356

Ben Truwe—541-773-8369