Sunday, August 18, 2013

The Motorized Fire Engine: A 55 Year Celebration!

August 16th marked the 55th Anniversary of the introduction of the Motorized Fire Engine to the Main Street, U.S.A. fleet of vehicles. Today's post is a tribute to this venerable mode of transportation, which still carries guests from Town Square to Central Plaza. According to the Disney publicity machine, Walt Disney loved to drive it around the park in the morning before opening.

Its design was inspired by a 1916 hose-carrying fire engine. The primary change we made was to place seats where the hose was carried. The Studio men designed a chassis, then pored through standard catalogues for unlikely, but practical equipment – a jeep rear axel, a three-speed truck transmission, the power plant of a small pick-up truck and standard drive-line parts. The bell and siren are authentic, purchased after considerable search. At the turn of the century, gas-driven cars were considered a novelty—and a hazard—lacking the reliability of a horse.

Here's one of Richard Nixon driving his family around Town Square during a 1961 visit:

The Eisenhower Family 1961:

A September 1965 shot of the Fire Engine parked in front of City Hall:

Zooming in for a closeup of the vehicle and its signage:

From March 1968:

It has often been used in parades, as seen in these July 15, 1968 FauxD© images:

How about this batch of Disney Legends, from a ceremony commemorating the 40th Anniversary of Pirates of the Caribbean, March 18, 2007? Alice Davis, X. Atencio, Harriet Burns, Blaine Gibson, and Bob Gurr:

A contemporary close-up of the Fire Engine #1 lettering:

Thanks for the many trips up and down Main Street, U.S.A.; here's to another 55 years of trusty service!

See more vintage & current Disneyland Main Street, U.S.A. photos on my Main Street, U.S.A. web pages.


K. Martinez said...

Nice Fire Engine pics. Every vacation at Disneyland I try to ride all four Main Street vehicle types. I'm usually successful.

What I like most about the Fire Engine is the openness when riding it that the other vehicles don't have. Love the close-up photo.

CoxPilot said...

They used to park it out under the cover for the Busses near the locker rooms when the rains came. I understand that the timing on the engine was greatly retarded to give it that putt-putt sound. Nice to see it again.

CoxPilot said...

Check out OC History Blog for a comparison of the real thing.