Willys fire Jeeps were given their own series of serial numbers starting in 1955, when both a CJ-3B Fire Engine and a CJ-5 Fire Engine (50K GIF) were offered. A handful of each were produced every year until 1961, when a record 65 CJ-3B units were built. A total of 102 CJ-3B factory fire engines were produced in those seven years (see Willys-Overland Production Figures for details). It's not clear how or if that 57048-01 series differed from other units built by Howe or Boyer on a CJ-3B chassis and also sold through Willys dealers.
Skagway, Alaska has a Howe CJ-3B Fire Engine still in operation. Thanks to Kurt Pherzog for this 2012 parade photo. The only vehicle in our Howe Fire Apparatus Production List designated as going to Alaska is Howe serial number 10737 in 1960, but it's not clear whether it's the same unit.
This 1954 CJ-3B built for Willys by Howe Fire Apparatus was stripped of its pump and most of its racks and equipment after being retired by Western Electric in North Carolina. It was brought back to life by Jim and Kristi Rorah of Northstar Willys in Minnesota in 2006. See a page of photos of this Howe CJ-3B Fire Engine: When a High Hood Isn't High Enough.
The Howe Fire Apparatus Production List shows a large number of Jeeps sold through Willys-Overland Export Corporation during the 1950's, and now we know what happened to at least one of them. This factory fire engine is owned by the city of Castelo Branco, Portugal and was photographed by J.M. Tomàs for Historical Fire Engines Europe.
The pump appears to be set up for operation from the cab, and the Jeep has been restored with a livery including white paint on the fenders and the distinctive bump on the hood (which provides clearance for a pressure-activated pump governor below the carb.)
Steve Hagy photographed this Howe CJ-3B in service in Onsted, Michigan in 1988. The 1954 Jeep has a 400 GPM pump, 80-gal. tank, and Howe S.N. 9424. See also a front view (60K JPEG) and side view (70K JPEG) taken by Jim Allen when this Jeep was retired and on display at Chrysler's "Camp Jeep" a few years ago.
The photo above, hand retouched by Willys to accentuate all the details, is from the CJ-3B Fire Engine Brochure
The photo at right shows the Willys Motors Inc. F.D. at the Toledo factory. It's one of the few photos showing a canvas top installed on a factory fire Jeep. Also unusual are the booster reel, and the fender-mounted CO2 extinguisher and hand lantern. Date and publication are unknown.
The factory photo below is one of several CJ-3B fire Jeeps in the late-1950's Willys booklet Jeep Vehicles in Public Service. The bump on the hood may have been removed in the retouching of the photo. See a larger copy of the photo (70K JPEG).
In an action photo from the same publication, a CJ-3B lays down water through a fog nozzle (50K JPEG). Another photo shows a CJ-3B airport crash wagon carrying 850 cubic feet of foam and 90 pounds of carbon dioxide gas (50K JPEG).
Thanks to Dale Jonas, Jim Allen, Luis Mariano Paz, Adriaan Kriek and Brian Gough. -- Derek Redmond
See CJ-3B Fire Engine Close Up and 1950's Jeep Fire Engine Specifications.
Return to Fire Service Jeeps on The CJ3B Page.
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