HFEM Story of The 1976 Fire Engine

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This engine, as well as others, were built by Hillsborough Fire Department shop. The County would buy the chassis. Ross Macaluso, Chief Mechanic, would then build the chassis into a fire engine with 1000 gallons of water and a Hale 500 GPM skid mount pump. This type of unit was then put into operation and served the county and various Volunteer Fire Department communities for many years.

In June 2017, a group of individuals bought the 1976 C700 Ford Class B fire engine from the Tampa Machinery Auction. The unit was then gifted to the Hillsborough Fire Museum Foundation, Inc. Following the purchase in June 2017, the engine was towed to the Hillsborough County Firefighters Union Hall. On December 15, 2017, a work team did a thorough cleaning on the truck. Then, a team lead by Ross Macaluso began the unit’s rehabilitation by disconnected wires, hoses, belts, bolts, linkage, driveshaft, exhaust, etc. in preparation for restoration.

Thank you to the Macaluso Family for their continued support.

Unnamed 1
On December 26, 2017, the motor and transmission were removed and taken to member’s home to dismantle the motor, as the motor was seized up and its transmission was full of water. Due to water throughout the motor, only the block, crank, and heads were salvageable. Many thanks to the United Speed World who provided the motor rebuild, and it is ready to go in the truck.

The truck’s transmission was taken to Reliable Transmission in Tampa and due to water inside, it was unusable. Reliable Transmission provided a brand new transmission for the truck.

The engine’s Hale pump is a 225 slant six Chrysler powered 500 GPM. This motor had a bad ring gear on the flywheel which entailed complete removal of the pump to gain access. We traveled to Hale Pump in Ocala for their guidance, and during those visits, were able to obtain copies of the original Purchase Order and pump specifications. 

In April 2018, the truck was moved by Stepp’s Towing to a member’s home to start major body restoration and fabrication. The roof was removed, the rain gutters had rusted away and there were holes from rust all over the cab.

The Captain’s side front corner was damaged from a crash and twisted the cab, which has now been straightened. All rusted areas have been removed and replaced with metal.

Fire Engine Restoration Gallery...

Some images provided by the Woody Harris Collection