Car of the Week: 1923 REO fire truck

By Joe McCarthy
Franconia, N.H.

This old REO has been in our family for about 75 Years. It is a 1923 Speedwagon with a Foamite Childs fire apparatus body and a Northern Rotary fire pump. The original owners were the Randolph Vermont fire department. The old photo (below) was sent to us from the current Randolph Village Fire Chief, Jay Collete. This photo was taken in downtown Randolph in the later 1920s or later ’30s. Grandfather Ed Mckenzie purchased the fire truck in the late 1930s. The family owned Mckenzie’s Inn in Franconia, N.H., located in the White Mountains. Ed bought the truck to water the golf course at the Inn. They would put ½ gallon of gas in the truck start it up and leave it, pumping water out of the river. When the truck ran out of gas it would stop watering the golf course. The truck has been stored in a barn ever since and used for parades.

The truck runs good, but needs exhaust work and a water pump resealing. It starts and idles good; drives and stops fine. It is all original and complete. We don’t know about the pump. We haven’t tried to pump water for a while, but it’s all there. The body has only surface rust, no holes anywhere. All of the wood is good, except for one running board. We fixed one flat tire and the wheel came apart easily, wood spoke wheels are very clean.

We are looking for a new home for the truck.

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