An American LaFrance pumper achieves a state of toothsome decay

Fire trucks are outside my area of expertise, but one with an expressive face and protruding forehead caught my attention. It’s an American LaFrance. To find out more about it, a websearch was necessary. A specialist website called gives us this much:

In 1964, to bridge a growing price gap between its commercial-chassis fire apparatus and premium-priced 900 Series Customs, American LaFrance came out with a new economy model, entry-level cab-forward custom called the Pioneer I. The new lowline custom utilized a slab-sided, flat-faced canopy style cab purchased from Truck Cab Manufacturers (TCM) of Cincinnati, Ohio. Standard engine in the Pioneer was a 413 cubic inch, 256 horsepower Chrysler V8, which drove a 750 gpm ALF Twinflow pump. Later the trucks were equipped with 6V-53N 216 hp engines. Initially offered only as a bare-bones, plain-Jane pumper, the Pioneer product range was eventually expanded to include straight-frame and rearmount service aerials and even tractor-drawn aerial ladder trucks.

Another source tells us: “The American LaFrance Pioneer is a custom chassis built by American LaFrance. The Pioneer came in three models (I, II and III) and was produced from 1964 to 1978.”

Distinctions between series are as follows:

  • The Pioneer I has only one headlight on each side.
  • The Pioneer II has two headlights on both sides.
  • The Pioneer III has a shelf across the front under the windshield giving more leg room in the cab.

Our present subject is Engine No. 2, San Juan County Emergency Services, and stands at the station in Bluff, Utah.

Somebody needs to light a fire under somebody to get this handsome original into a restoration program.

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