MAY 24, 2015 (JUNE 2015): ’47 WILLYS JEEP-A FULLY FUNCTIONING SMALL TOWN FIRE TRUCK

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Willys Jeeps have a cult following that would rival the VW Beetle.

 

People migrate to these little workhorses like moths to a light because they look cool and they’re so functional.

 

There are few Willys Jeeps more functional than one built for a fire department.

 

 

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This 1947 Willys Jeep was the pride of the Wilcox, Saskatchewan Fire Department for many years from new until 1972 when it was taken off the active roster of the WFD.

 

Glenn Fry is the current owner of this historical Jeep and he knows how lucky he was to actually own this classic because they are incredibly rare.

 

Glenn’s Jeep fire truck was built in Stirling, Ontario and he explained how it was outfitted with “genuine Willys Jeep approved equipment” at the time.

 

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According to Glenn’s information there are only five left in Canada and they are all owned by fire departments across the country. This is the only one in civilian hands because Glenn is very persistent and patient.

 

Glenn found out about the old Jeep and called the shop boys in Wilcox to try and pry this out of the town’s hands. There was a significant amount of resistance from the town and the Fire Chief to sell the Jeep so Glenn was turned down every year for three and half years.

 

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His patience paid off a few months ago after Glenn made his routine call and asked his standard question, “I’d like to look at it and should I bring a trailer and he said yes”.

 

Glenn believes his timing was good because the town “needed the money” so the Jeep fire truck finally went to a new home after sixty eight years with the Wilcox Fire Department. The truck has 3200 original miles and it actually wears the original tires from factory back in 1947.

 

This Willys may look like a specialty parade vehicle but it was built to be a fully functional fire truck. Glenn explained how it was their first water truck because before that they used to push a cart to the fire.

 

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Glenn’s Jeep is rigged out to pump water at 400 gallons per minute at a 150 PSI so it can actually douse a fire from quite a distance.

 

There is an intake for the Jeep and a fairly significant tank built into the vehicle so it packs quite a punch for a lightweight. The Jeep has all the bells and whistles including the retro siren and lights so it’s a rock star at a car show when Glenn lights it up.

 

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Willys Jeeps have a notoriously leisurely top speed but fortunately Wilcox was a pretty small community back in ’47 so the fire department could get easily get to a fire in this beauty. Glenn is well aware of the top end too and he admits it’s about 45 miles per hour—standard for a Jeep of this vintage.

 

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Glenn is extremely proud of his unique ’47 Willys Jeep and he’s humbled to own such a rare piece of firefighting equipment. He’s happy to enjoy it now and is adamant that it’s not for sale and he’s clear about the future of this Jeep because he says, “it’s probably going to end up in a museum”.

 

Or it could go back to active duty as a small town fire truck.

 

Jerry Sutherland

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