1933 Chevrolet Fire Truck

With Boyer Body

The AW 1933 Chevrolet Fire Truck. Just one of 9 fire trucks in the AW collection.


     This is a 1933  Chevrolet Fire Truck.  It was first acquired by Greg Rhomberg when he was just 14 years old.  Since Greg was young and didn't have enough money to purchase the truck, he decided to trade his father’s spare riding lawn mower for the truck.  While the Antique Warehouse did not exist when he acquired his first truck, Greg most likely didn't realize that this truck would be just the first of nine fire trucks he would eventually own. 

     The truck was popular at family picnics and useful for hauling tomatoes and produce from the field to Greg’s road side stand and to haul trash and debris.

     It wasn’t until a radiator failure the night of Greg’s high school graduation party that he realized the truck was in need of restoration. The following week the front end was removed and by Sunday night the entire truck was disassembled. Joe Wibbenmeyer, Greg’s friend since the 5th grade, lead the frame-off restoration along with the help of family and friends.

     This open cab truck is built on a 1933 Chevrolet chassis.  Boyer was an outfitter of trucks, meaning they would take the engine and chassis from a truck manufacturer, such as Chevrolet, and outfit the truck with their components.  This truck was outfitted with a 500 gallon per minute front mounted pump and a booster tank, complete with a hose reel.  A hose bed with ladder racks is situated behind the water tank.

     The Boyer Fire Apparatus Company started out as The Obenchain-Boyer Co. Manufacturers in 1899.  Based in Logansport, Indiana, the O-B Co. started off as a manufacturer of chemical tanks, and built their business around them.  However, after the passing of both John Obenchain (1907) and his son Mathew (1915), Stephen Boyer, who originally founded the company with John, knew that the growth and stability of the company would come from motorized pumpers. 

     Having been the secretary of his local volunteer fire company, Boyer knew fire apparatus and what improvements could be made to existing fire apparatus.  "The Boyer fire engine of the 1920s was an economical workhorse."  Boyer decided to stick with chassis builders for which he knew every fire department could easy find parts and service.  Some of the main chassis lines offered came from: Ford, REO, Graham, International and Chevrolet.  After the death of Stephen Boyer in 1925, the Boyer Fire Apparatus Company did experiment with custom chassis.  It was also in 1925 that the Obenchain name was dropped, creating the new name, the Boyer Fire Apparatus Company.

Some of the information used to compile this article came from A Pictoral History of the Fire Engine.

Below are a few images of the 1933 Chevrolet Fire Truck, part of the Antique Warehouse collection, click on any of them to learn more about this truck.

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