Wednesday, October 3, 2012

5k: 1974 Chevy G30 Fire Chief's Van, 8k Original Miles

 As a race support vehicle, an American full-size van is pretty ideal and hard to beat, unless you'd rather step up to the big leagues and convert an old box truck, that is. For those of you who need something to tow the rally car or haul a dirt bike without the need for the extra seating and luxury of an SUV, but need a more protected cargo compartment than a pickup, this minty clean 2-owner 1974 Chevrolet G30 Fire Chief's van might just be the perfect solution! It's offered here on ebay in Milwaukee, Wisconsin with the auction ending tonight, and reserve not yet met near $3k.

We love the fact that this atomic yellow slab of margarine is 38 years old, yet looks like it was just purchased for the Hagerstown, Indiana Fire Chief a few months ago. All of the original sirens and lights are intact including the boss hoss red light bar and quadruple roof-mounted spotlights, two facing front, and two in the rear. That would make late-night trailer and hitch checks pretty easy - no flashlight necessary.

The gold-leaf lettering is a throwback, although we've noticed many fire departments still use this style on their newer vehicles. If this were ours, we'd leave the exterior paint, markings and lights exactly how they are. Instant 24 Hours of LeMons theme - just build a Ford Pinto racecar with BBQ decorations and you've got the perfect fireball / firefighter vehicle combo! Another option would be a '30s - '50s Buick powered by the "Fireball" straight eight engine - or any other vehicle with a straight eight engine swap for that matter. We can guarantee that the LeMons judges would give a penalty-free pass to anyone who showed up with a running I-8 making less than 200hp and weighing close to 1/2 ton - just the engine alone has to be pushing a grand. But the van can tow it!

Inside the van we see classic '70s brown vinyl on the seats and hard plastic on the dash, all in great shape. As a bonus it seems to come complete with several different radios; we can tell that the white/black handset on the back of the center hump is a Motorola unit but we're not sure whether this is a CB, UHF, HAM...or what. Perhaps an amateur radio expert can chime in and educate us on the finer points of pre-cell phone wireless communication hardware?

Looking over our shoulder from the passenger's seat we can see that there are some built-in plywood cabinets which would probably be very handy for transporting tools and parts in the van's new life as a race support truck. There even look to be mounts for large gas cylinders bolted to the wall which we'd adapt to hold oxygen/acetylene welding tanks or perhaps a nitrogen canister for instant tire filling and pneumatic tool pressure supply. One word of warning though, with very little insulating material (carpets, plastic, vinyl, fabric, etc) in the rear compartment, this G30 is likely to be a squeaky and rattly ride. We could live with some noise for all of the other benefits, and with less than 8,000 miles we're sure the sheetmetal spot welds aren't all broken yet. The back is also a perfect place to catch a few winks before your 2:00AM driving stint at the next "true 24" LeMons race.

The seller says it rides "like a 1 ton van" and that the original tires are "hard as a rock" so we would look into some new rubber for this hauler since 38 year old tires are not safe to use regularly on the highway. That and a tow hitch install and she should be all set, aside from the minor tune-up needed as recommended by the seller. With multiple hundreds of  pounds of tools, giant inflatable fire extinguishers, pit bikes, camping gear, coolers, ice, dry ice, wheels, tires and a few spare Buick Fireball crankshafts in the back, the ride should soften up - like pickups, these heavy duty vans were designed to drive best with a full load.

With the trusty 350-cid (5.7L) Small Block Chevy V8 and Turbo-Hydramatic auto trans, this van should be a capable highway cruiser and with such low mileage it should be a fantastic value. DT is tempted to add this to our fleet, so snatch it up before we do - please!

Find a hotter fire van with more bang for the buck? Email us here:


  1. Sounds like a flipper - doesn't seem like he's had it for very long, or knows that much about it. It could be 107,948 miles. Regardless, it appears to be in fantastic condition, and if the only issues are really a tune-up and new tires, it would make a great hauler or service vehicle show car (truck). Just wear a helmet when driving it - you don't want to get rear-ended with that plywood cabinet right behind your head.

    If it is being flipped, the reserve is probably unreasonably high. At least that's what I'm going to tell myself over and over again so I don't get too upset about not bidding on it myself...

  2. One thing is that fire departments tend to maintain their vehicles at a very high level. The radio is probably on the 800-900 Mhz bands used by police and fire departments. The one box on the dash controls the lights and siren and the other is probably a box where you can select from the several radio channels available.

    I was going to be a foreman but I could not pass the test...didn't know how to play pinochle.

  3. Just 2,000 of these departments have a 100% full time paid staff. תקנים גילוי אש


Commenting Commandments:
I. Thou Shalt Not write anything your mother would not appreciate reading.
II. Thou Shalt Not post as anonymous unless you are posting from mobile and have technical issues. Use name/url when posting and pick something Urazmus B Jokin, Ben Dover. Sir Edmund Hillary Clint don't matter. Just pick a nom de plume and stick with it.
III. Honor thy own links by using <a href ="http://www.linkgoeshere"> description of your link </a>
IV. Remember the formatting tricks <i>italics</i> and <b> bold </b>
V. Thou Shalt Not commit spam.
VI. To embed images: use [image src="" width="400px"/]. Limit images to no wider than 400 pixels in width. No more than one image per comment please.