This 1956 advertisement for the CJ-3B Jeep Fire Engine is from the Kaiser-Frazer Company of Israel, listing addresses in Tel Aviv and Haifa. The text in Hebrew reads:
A Fire Truck by Willys
Contains equipment for:
The illustration is clearly a Factory Fire Engine as produced by Howe Fire Apparatus, with the bump on the hood to allow room for the pump governor under the carburetor. So although some 2,100 CJ-3B's were assembled in Israel (see Israel Jeeps on The CJ3B Page,) it seems likely the fire engines were imported complete from the U.S. (Many Jeeps on the Howe Fire Apparatus Production List are identified as having been sold by Willys Overland Export Corp., without an indication of where they were shipped.)
Jeeps built in France by Hotchkiss were popular command cars in the French fire service in the 1950's and 60's. This example still in use in the city of Orleans is a Hotchkiss JH102, the slightly modified CJ-3B produced beginning in 1960, which can be easily identified by its small headlights.
Davy Husson took this great photo of the Jeep taking part in a parade on 8 May 2012, with les pompiers in dress uniforms. The parade celebrated the anniversary of the liberation of the city from the English by Joan of Arc on 8 May 1429 (see Siege of Orleans at Wikipedia) as well as the anniversary of the World War II armistice in 1945.
Hotchkiss Jeeps were also converted into fully-equipped little pumpers aimed mainly at brushfire use. On The CJ3B Page see a Pompe Guinard "Forest Fire Truck" and some Hotchkiss "Light Tank Trucks" built by Maheu-Labrosse Co.
Below are some more examples of high-hood Jeeps used as command and utility vehicles in France:
The "Defensa Contra Incendios" version of the Willys-Viasa CJ-3B built by VIASA in Spain, was unusual in having a rear-mounted pump driven by the PTO, making it feasible to operate the pump while in motion as well as when standing still. This rear pump eliminated the hose storage space typically found in the rear of North American fire Jeep designs, but the VIASA rig was intended to operate as a unit with a 1,000 liter (250 gal.) water trailer which also carried a 30m. (100 ft.) reel of rubber hose, and two 4m. (13 ft.) lengths of suction hose.
According to the black & white advertising brochure, the Jeep was painted fire red, with canvas top. Thanks to Sergio Lwoff for the brochure.
This photo, source unknown, confirms the natural color of the canvas top of the VIASA fire Jeep, identified here as "Servicio de Incendios." A bit of a mystery is the function of the fitting that's sticking up in front of the windshield, which is not present in a front view photo from the brochure (200K JPEG.)
The brochure doesn't include a close look at the pump, but I'm guessing that a CJ-3B with pump and hose reel, in use in Africa (70K JPEG) seen in Jeep 1942-86, by Walter Zeichner, is perhaps a surplus Willys-Viasa.
A Spanish comic book called "Chiqui," drawn by Roberto Flores includes a scene with los Bomberos and their CJ-3B Fire Engine (230K JPEG). (Note that the story is a cautionary tale about Internet usage.)
Used by the fire brigade at Svenska Flygmotor Aktiebolaget ("Swedish Aeroengine Company" or SAAB) since 1954, this Jeep was sold in 1991 with less than 5000 kilometers on the odometer, to Leif Lindstrom of Rackstad, Sweden who restored it. Known in Sweden as the Willys CJ3B HL, these elongated Jeeps were modified by importer Scania-Vabis when they were brought from the U.S. (Similar modifications were done by Willys Motors Australia.)
This photo comes from Issue 45 of Jeepbladet, the magazine of the Jeep Klubb of Sweden. See the full article in CJ-3B Magazine Articles.
Stig Edqvist's book The Jeep in Sweden includes a couple of interesting 3B's in the Swedish fire service. This 1953 Willys CJ-3BH (modified in Sweden for heavier duty and extended length) is seen in use by the Habo fire department. According to Edqvist's book, the cab of a BMC Mini was added after many years of service.
The caption for this photo in The Jeep in Sweden reads, "This Willys CJ-3B from 1953 has served as hose tender for the Norberg fire department since 1955. The Ruberg front pump has a capacity of 240 GPM."
See also a more comfortable Willys Hose Car built in Sweden in the 1950's.
Perhaps the most elaborate fire Jeep ever manufactured was this Mitsubishi J32F fire engine, produced by Mitsubishi Motors of Japan in the 1960's and 70's. The J32 was a long wheelbase, soft top version of the CJ-3B design, and used the JH4, 2.2 liter gasoline engine, the Japanese version of the F-head Hurricane 4. It was one of the first of the Mitsubishi Jeeps to add the diagonal "dog ears" on the front fenders.
The Mitsubishi fire engine had distinctive doors (open to the floor) and rear fenders, as well as a host of special accessories, but did not have the front-mounted PTO-driven pump found on most of the U.S.-made fire Jeeps. Although the exact arrangement is not visible in the picture, apparently the additional length of the vehicle has allowed a mid-mount pump; note the pre-connected suction line.
This factory photo of a 1965 version of the J32F, gives a better view of the pump controls. This version of the little fire truck also boasts a larger hose rack and revised bodywork.
Thanks to Adriaan Kriek and Brian Gough. Also Bart McNeil, Stig Edqvist and Roger Bensgård for the Swedish material. -- Derek Redmond
See also CJ-3B fire Jeeps in Portugal: a Willys factory fire engine and a chief's car with an unusual spare tire.
Return to Fire Service Jeeps on The CJ3B Page.
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