Tuesday, November 9, 2010

FWD Trucks (Part 1)

The Four Wheel Drive Auto Company was founded 100 years ago, initially to build cars, but they also turned their hands to trucks. The US Army used FWD trucks in 1912 to chase Pancho Villa in Mexico and the trucks were a great success. The army didn't catch Pancho, but they caught on to the FWD truck and used large numbers in the First World War. FWD became synonymous with tough, go anywhere trucks.
Snow plows, and utility vehicles were big sellers, but they also produced highway tractors and perhaps surprisingly, fire apparatus chassis.
In 1963, FWD sought to expand this business and purchased Seagrave Corp of Columbus, OH and moved it to FWD headquarters in Clintonville, WI. They also purchased Baker Aerialscope, and mounted these devices on FWD chassis, and branded the apparatus as FWD. They also purchased Almonte, a Canadian fire apparatus manufacturer.
Gradually FWD was absorbed within the growing Seagrave operation and by 1974 FWD had largely disappeared. A later re-organization, saw Seagrave as the lead company and the elimination of the FWD name and brand.

1. Valley Kemptown District Fire Brigade restored this 1957 FWD/ Thibault to first class operational use.

2. The pumper was built originally for government use, and the brigade's own members did all the work themselves . Note the use of the International R series cab, typical of FWDs of the era. February 5, 1984.

3. This unhappy fire department had an FWD with the Budd built cab used by Ford for its C series. It was likely built as an airport fuel tanker (the forward exhaust is a clue) and was likely a government vehicle. December 28, 1983, Truro, NS.

4. Fraser Paper had this FWD as an inhouse fire engine based in Edmunston, NB. FWD built their own cabs until the mid 50s. However, based on the grille on this one, it might be a late 1940s model. The paint job is probably not original. Edmunston, NB September 20, 1995.

5. FWD cab and chassis, aerial ladder, of about 1959, vintage. The cowl mounted siren and rad mounted spotlight are distinctive features. The black over red Chicago style paint job, and gold leaf pinstriping make for a handsome truck. Thibault's used truck yard, Pierreville, QC, September 19, 1986.

6. FWD 6X6, 2000 gallon tanker. Built for airport duty, it also has a foam cannon. FWD had their own unique COE cab for a variety of different vehicles. Rogersville, NB September 6, 2004.

7. Those industrious Valley Kemptown volunteers converted this former military fueler into a magnificent tanker. August 9, 1990.

8. This shot at Valley, NS shows the truck before they started work on it, April 4, 1984.

9. Perhaps the same truck, but certainly one of the same class, in military service as a fueler, Pleasant Street, near the Shearwater Air Base, Dartmouth, NS October 13, 1980.
More FWD models and types to follow.

1 comment:

  1. The refueller in picture #8 was in CFB Chatham. I remember it because the plate numbers were in order, 291, 292, 293 etc.