Crown Social Networking

Besides the Crown Firecoach related websites on the LINKS PAGE, here are some photo sharing/discussion groups where you can post and interact with others who share your addition. (Click on the logos)

Crown Firecoach Fire Apparatus on Facebook This is our Blog - the place to see great photos of Crowns and ask questions and get answers about Crown Firecoaches, from knowledgable CFE members (incluidng the webmaster of this website)

Crown Fire Apparatus Photos on Flickr

Crowns in the Fire Engine Photos Images Library (run by fans in the UK and Europe)

-Resources for Club Members

Privately owned fire apparatus operated at Crown Firecoach Enthusiast club sponsored events must abide by National SPAAMFAA rules outlined in the Safety Manual

Click here to view & print out the club safety manual

(Requires Adobe Reader)

Adobe Reader is used to view downloaded PDF files




CFE has a new vendor for shirts, hats, etc., with the official CFE logo on them.

The Fire Connection is now ready to accept orders from CFE members.

Click here to go to their website.



Long-time CFE member Chuck Madderom is the author of this excellent Iconographix photograhic history of the Crown Firecoach from its beginnings in 1951 until the company ceased building fire rigs in 1983. Photographs show a coss section of the full line of Crown Firecoaches, including pumpers, aerials, Snorkels and more. Click on the photo of the book for purchasing information.



Coach Glass, an Oregon company which specializes in glass for many types of vehicles, including buses and fire apparatus, now has windshields for Crown Firecoaches, including both narrow body and wide body models. Windshields are $265 for each side, crate $75, freight $90 (shipping prices may vary depending on destination). Compared to the prices that some individuals and salvage companies have been asking for used windshields, this is very reasonable. For more information, visit the Coach Glass website, or call them at 800-714-7171.





This site created and maintained entirely by CFE members and volunteers.

Click here to contact the Webmaster

The Crown Firecoach Entusiasts, Inc. is a California non-profit 501 (C) 3 organization.

The National SPAAMFAA and Crown logos are registered trademarks and used by permission.

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All rights reserved.
All images, media and written material remain the copyright of their respective owners.

Material from this website may be downloaded for private use only. Sale, duplication or other transfer of this material is strictly prohibited without expressed prior permission. Cropping or digital removal of watermarks and copyrights from images transferred from this site is considered willful intent to violate these terms.


Last update: 2015-04-29

COMING SOON - AN ALL NEW CFE Website (watch this space!)

For the most current Crown Firecoach Information and discussions, click the logo to go to the Crown Firecoach Fire Apparatus page on Facebook:


CFE Board and General Membership Meeting

MAY 2, 2015

Fallbrook, CA

Our next Board and general meeting is at the Fallbrook History Museum, 1730 S. Hill Street, Fallbrook, CA 92028.  The board meeting begins at 9:30. After an hour or so break for lunch, We will have a tour of the museum starting at 1 p.m.  The San Diego Chapter of the ATHS has also been invited to participate with their rigs, en route to the Perris ATHS Show the following day.  There is plenty of room if anyone wants to bring a rig. The parking lot should be open between 8 and 8:30 for rig staging. For directions and more information go to the Calendar page.

The Return of the CFE Pump-In!

Pumping and Drafting!

In Southern California!

In the Summer!


June 27, 2015

Pala, CA

9:00 am to 4:00 pm at the Pala Lakes in Pala, CA, 10421 State Highway 76 (about 1.5 miles west of the Pala Casino).  Thanks to the Pala Band of Mission Indians for allowing us the use of their lakes (a former sand and gravel quarry) for our pump-in.  We have also invited the surrounding agencies that have Water Tenders to the event so they can practice their drafting capabilities.  We don't get the opportunity to pump very often, so bring your rig and pump from a real lake. For directions and more information go to the Calendar page.

Celebrating 25 Years of the Crown Firecoach Enthusiasts Club

1989 2014


CFE members who attended the February 2, 2014 Meeting in Ontario gathered afterward for a group photo on the occassion of the 25th Anniversary year of the founding of the club. We posed in front of member Mike McDonald's newly restored 1973 International/Van Pelt Pumper, ex Fallbrook, CA. (Click on photo for a larger version).

CFE Mourns the Passing of Member Bill Speeg

We are saddened at the passing of Crown Firecoach Enthusiast member Bill Speeg of Valley Center, CA, who died of a heart attack on February 12, 2014, while training for the Oceanside Ironman triathlon. Bill was the owner of a 1966 Crown pumper, F1450, ex Orange County FD, pictured below at the CFE Pump-In in 2003. Bill was a past Regional Director of the All-American Soap Box Derby, a member of the Antique Motorcycle Club of America and the Indian Motorcycle Club, and a Amateur Radio Operator (KJ6AUX). Services for Bill were held on Friday, February 22, 2014 in Oceanside, CA. Bill Speeg's brother-in-Law is Brad Stump (owner of F1348, 1964 ex Montebello/x-Apple Valley Crown pumper and F1508, 1969, ex-Compton, CA Crown/Snorkel). Click here to read Bill's complete obituary and visit a memorial page.

- Changes in CFE Board of Directors -

At the November, 2013 CFE Meeting, CFE President Birtt announced that after reviewing the club Bylaws, and discussion with both Ron Dierkens and Don Beckwith, Ron has assumed the role of Past President. Don Beckwith had been acting as the Past President, although he was actually the "previous" past president. However, the bylaws only provide for the "immediate" past president to be a member of the board. This change removed Don Beckwith as a votiing member of the CFE Board. Also at the November meeting, Don Croucher stepped down as both a Director and CFE Historian/Archivist. Don also stepped down as President of the California Fire Museum. Don will remain active in both organizations (he is a life-member of CFE) but in less time-consuming roles as he and wife Cindi prepare to move to a smaller home and spend more time enjoying retirement. President Britt then appointed Don Beckwith to the Director position left vacant by Don Croucher, returning Beckwith to a voting position on the board. At the same time Beckwith was appointed to the postion of Meeting Coordinator, a task he has actually been doing in an unofficial capacity for several years.

Following the conclusion of the February, 2014 CFE meeting, David Stienitz stepped down from his postion as a Director at Large on the CFE board. David currently spends much time on the east coast due to his job and his capacity as a board memebr of a fire museum in Maryland and is unable to attend a majority of CFE meetings as a result. He remains an active CFE member. President Britt has appointed Terri Conrad to fill out the Director at Large postion previously held by Stienitz.

In November of 2014, elections will be held for all six Director postions on the CFE Board, including the two mid-term replacements mentioned above.

Photos from the Sept. 14, 2013 CFE Meeting in Idyllwild, CA

Click on the photo above to see images of the rigs at Idyllwild FPD on 14 Sept 2013

Thanks to the Idyllwild Fire Protection Distric and Fire Chief Reitz for allowing our group to meet at their fire station and having thier rigs on display. Special thanks to Hewy Wick and Kevin Johnson for setting up this great meeting location. And thanks to Hewy and Ruth Wick for bringing their ex LAFD Mack Heavy Utility, Dodge squad and ALF ladder truck for static display, playing host and making arrangements for a great lunch after the meeting! The weather was great, the food was great and the people were great too!

Special 2013 Summer Board Meeting Results

On August 25, 2013, members of the CFE board, along with several general club members, met in Ontario, CA, to discuss two matters regarding CFE club owned apparatus. One was a request by club member Mike McDonald to have legal ownership of the NCF 1971 Crown pumper transferred to him. The second was a request by the California Fire Museum to transfer caretakership of the 1963 Crown Snorkel to them.

On the matter of the NCF Crown, all votes were in favor of transfering ownership of the NCF Crown to Mike McDonald. This will allow fullfillment of the original terms of the donation agreement by North County Fire District (Fallbrook, CA), which require that the Crown be repainted and restored, which is not in the CFE budget. Also, it has been costing the club approx $900/yr in storage fees, which is a big drain on our budget. These costs and liabilities will now be assumed by Mr. McDonald who hopes to have restoration of this Crown completed before the end of the year.

On the matter of T46, all votes were in favor of Doug Hammer remaining as the caretaker of T46. It was found that CFE is currently and has always been in compliance with all terms of the 1998 OCFA donation agreement and the current caretaker is doing an excellent job.

In addition to T46, the Crown Firebus is the only other apparatus now owned by CFE.

Crown Firecoach Rescue & Salvage Squads

From the 1950s to the 1970s, Crown made a dozen utility and squad vehicles classified as rescue, heavy rescue, salvage or heavy utility units. They included squad boxes mounted to conventional chassis and custom Firecoach buildups. Pictured above is Firecoach serial number F1099, which was a 1957 GMC which ran as Squad 2 with the Orange City Fire Department in California. Click on the phto to see the full article about the Squads produced by Crown.

In Memorium

Mike Adams - 1947-2013

Former CFE member, Mike Adams, of Burt, MI, has passed away.  Mike was a member of more than one chapter of SPAAMFAA.  He was the President of Saginaw Valley Antique Fire Apparatus Association and Curator of the Dobson Fire House Museum and a past Albee Township (MI) Fire Chief, Trustee and Clerk.  In 1993 he purchased a yellow 1961 Crown Firecoach pumper (F1265, originally from Covina, CA) and owned it for a number of years before selling it to current owner Dave Getschman also of MI, who was a good friend of Mike Adams.  The Crown (seen below) is well known and recognized in the muster circuit and parades in the Great Lakes region. You can read Mike's obituary here.

Another Great CFE Banquet!

We had a good turnout for the 2013 CFE banquet on Saturday March 2, held at the Claim Jumper restaurant in Rancho Cucamonga, CA. The food and service were excellent! President Britt presented a slide show of all the Crowns he had located "South of the border" from Mexico to Argentina. Our guest speaker, retired Crown Coach engineer Frank Bertholet presented an interesting talk about his life coming to the United States as a Dutch immigrant after WWII and working at Crown Coach, both on buses and on Firecoaches. For those who could not attend, we made a video and are working on an edited digital version which we hope can be shared here soon. After the banquet we held a raffle and some members took home some very nice "loot."

Results of CFE Election held November 3, 2012

The election for the Directors at Large postions on the CFE Board were held at the November, 2012 membership meeting in Escondido, CA. Incumbant Board Members Mark Bramm, Don Croucher, Mike McDonald and David Stienitz were re-elected to their Director positions, and we would like to welcome newly elected board members Brian Grimes and Kevin Johnson. The new directors take office January 1, 2013, and all six directors serve a two year term (2013-2014).

CFE Mourns the Passing of three of our charter members in 2012: Larry Arnold (January), Mike Palmer (July) and Ray Chambers (August)

In Memorium

Ray Chamber, Charter Member of the Crown Firecoach Enthusiasts

We are sad to announce the passing on 8 August 2012 of Ray Chambers. Ray was a founding member of CFE and long-time member of the Box 15 Club of Los Angeles, IFBA, and the Long Beach Fire Museum. His wife Shirley tells us Ray passed away after a short stay at a care home in La Mirada.

Ray was a passionate fire buff and apparatus photographer for many decades. The helmet collection and badge collections on display at the Long Beach FD Museum came from Ray's very large personal collection. The Crown Firecoach lists you see in books and on the web have Ray partly to thank for their existence, because he was the first one to organize info from the Crown factory as well as from several well-known fire apparauts photographers and put it all on a computer and cross reference the data and put it all together in the "Crown Bible" that we use in the archives to quickly look up specs on any Crown.

Services for Ray Chambers were held on Thursday Aug. 16, 2012, at Rose Hills memorial Park. Don Croucher spoke at the service and several CFE members were in attendance.

In Memorium

Mike Palmer, CDF and OCFD, ret. and CFE Member

We are sad to announce the passing on 25 July 2012 of retired Riverside County Volunteer FF and Orange County Fire Department Fire Captain Mike Palmer. Mike was a long time member of the Crown Firecoach Enthusiasts club/Southern California Chapter of SPAAMFAA.

Mike had been in poor health recently and succumbed to his serious illnesses this morning, according to an email sent out by Riverside County FD/CALFIRE Riverside Unit Fire Chief John R. Hawkins

Mike started his Fire Service career as a Seasonal Firefighter for CDF in the San Diego Unit at the Warner Springs Station promoting through the ranks to Captain with the Orange County Fire Department (pre-OCFA). At the time of his retirement he was captain of ORC E6 at the old OCFD South Laguna station. Mike was extremely active in the El Cariso Community, and a volunteer for RVC Station 51, as well as working in many aspects with the Fire Service Community, and the Forest Service Community. Among his many contributions, he worked teaching firefighting skills to at risk/incarcerated youth at the Joplin Boy's Ranch and was involved in the California Wildland Firefighter Memorial, serving on the Board of Directors. He was the proud owner of more than one Crown Firecoach pumper which he restored to show status and also used on more than one occasion to protect his and neighbors properties from wildland fires in his remote canyon home.

Please keep Mike's family in your thoughts and prayers at this difficult time. Services are pending and will be announced when we have the details. For the latest info, follow us on Facebook at Crown Firecoach Fire Appratus, or check this website.

Mike was a tremendous individual, and a long CFE supporter, coordinating and working many of our early Pump-Ins at the Orange Empire Railway Museum. He will be greatly missed.

Services for Mike Palmer were held on Friday, August 17th at the California Wildland Firefighters’ Memorial, on the Ortega Highway above Lake Elsionre, near El Cariso. Don Croucher spoke at the service and several CFE members were in attendance.

- Change in CFE Board of Directors -

On June 29, 2012, Ron Dierkens announced his resignation as President of the Crown Firecoach Enthusiasts, effective July 1, 2012. Then Vice President Mike Britt has assumed the position of President. CFE member Jim Conrad has been appointed to fill the position of Vice President, confirmed by an email vote of the board, since this occurred between regular board meetings. The current term of the executive officers of the CFE Board of Directors ends on December 31, 2013. The election for the Directors will be held at the November, 2012, with nominations open at the September meeting.

Special Feature

The Crowns of TVs "Rescue 911"

© By Mike Britt, CFE President & Webmaster

Rescue 911 was an informational reality-based TV series that aired from April, 1989 to August, 1996. The series was hosted by actor William Shatner and featured reenactments (and occasionally real footage) of emergency situations that involved phone calls to 9-1-1.

The location for the filming of most of Shatner's introduction to each episode segment was the Central Net Training Center and adjacent Huntington Beach (CA) Fire Department Gothard Station. At the time of the series, this was also the location of the Central Net (originally known as Net 6) Dispatch Center, and about half of Shatner's introductory scenes were filmed inside the main dispatch room. Other segments were filmed inside or outside the rear of the fire station or FD maintenance shop, around the drill tower, and in the adjacent Huntington Beach P.D. air operations division, where a PD helicopter was rolled out on a dolly for the filming.

For the main backdrops, the producers staged reserve Crown pumpers, reserve medic vans, reserve BC Suburbans, police cars and even ambulances from the former Med Trans Ambulance Company. To minimize interference with the center's daily operations, the Shatner segments were filmed in the evening, at dusk or after dark. Sometimes the firefighters would wash down the "set" so the wet pavement would produce deep reflections of the units with their code 3 lights on. During one season late in the series, the rear of Glendale (CA) FDs Headquarters station was used to film some of Shatner Introductions. These shots also featured a Crown, Glendale's 1979, 50-ft Telesqurt, serial number F1803.

The two Crowns used in the introduction segments filmed in Huntington Beach were sister 1967 Firecoach pumpers, F1496 and F1497, which at that time were reserve rigs for the department. Most often seen was F1497, which early in the series ran as "HE 58" which stood for "Huntington Engine 58," the designator for Central Net's old Computer-Aided-Dispatch software. This engine became "HTB E245" when the department adopted "HTB," its official ICS (Incident Command System) designator developed by California FIRESCOPE for the statewide fire and rescue mutual aid system.

One interesting thing to observe in the segments where the Crowns and other apparatus appear in the background is the various efforts used to cover up the names of the cities and FD emblems on the doors of the rigs, especially in close up shots. Large prop magnetic sheets were used to cover the HB logo on the doors. These read 'Emergency 9-1-1 Fire Rescue Police." They were patterned after the actual 9-1-1- placards used on emergency vehicles at the time, but custom made in large oval shapes for the show for the purpose of covering apparatus doors. However, these could not cover the name "Huntington Beach" so various methods of applying black tape to cover the gold lettering were used, sometimes covering the entire top of the top, sometimes just in strips, and sometimes just covering sleeted letters of the name.

(A complete photo album of Crowns in RESCUE 911 will be added shortly)

- Recent Club News -

Photos from the May 2012 CFE Meeting

at the Fire Memories Museum in Beaumont, CA

Photos from the 2012 CFE Pump-In

Photos from the January 2012 CFE Meeting

at the L.A.F.D. Museum in Hollywood, CA

Our first meeting of 2012 was held at the Los Angeles Fire Department Historical Soceity's Hollywood Museum at old Fire Station 27, home of many antique former L.A.F.D. fire apparatus.The LAFD Hollywood Museum is home to W17 (below), Crown S/N F1338, LAFD shop #60157, a unique 1963, 2000 gpm high pressure manifold wagon. Click on the photo of W17 to see more photos from the LAFD Station 27 Museum and the CFE meeting.

For the CFE meeting, club member Randy Simon brought Crown Firecoach S/N F-1671, a 1972 triple-combination pumper, former LAFD shop 60264, which once served as P27. It is shown below in-service as P27 parked in front of old L.A.F.D. Fire Station 27, which is now the L.A.F.D. Hollywood Museum (Photo by CFE member Chuck Madderom). At least eight different Crowns were assigned to Station 27 over the years. Click on the photo of P27 below to see more of Station 27's Crowns.

LAFD Station 27 as well as the first Crown to be assigned as P27 (a 1955 Firecoach, LAFD Shop 757), are featured in a 1966 Beach Boys Promotional Film for the band's hit song "Good Vibrations." The video is from The Beach Boys "Pet Sounds" 40th Anniversary DVD and can be seen on YouTube by clicking on the photo below. The Crown is first seen at 1 min 30 sec into the video.

In Memorium

Lawrence W. Arnold - 1924-2012

Larry Arnold, a Charter Member of the Crown Firecoach Enthusiasts, died of pancreatic cancer on Monday, January 16, at home with his family. In addition to CFE, Larry was a long-time member of the Box 15 Club of Los Angeles, the California Chapter of SPAAMFAA, national SPAAMFA and numerous other fire service and historical groups. He was an avid fire apparatus photographer and fire apparatus enthusiast and with his sons Chris and Rick, owned and restored the first Crown Firecoach ever built, F-1001, from West Covina F.D.

Larry is survived by his wife of 63 years, Ruth; their sons Christopher (Annamarie) and Richard (Dawn), Granddaughters Maureen (Richard) and Jennifer; and Grandsons Stephen, Daniel (Katie), Michael, Kenneth, and John. A memorial service was held on Monday, January 23 at the San Gabriel First United Methodist Church, with interment at Rose Hills Memorial Park in Whittier.

Larry Arnold (center) with sons Rick (L) and Chris (R) with F1001 in 1984.


At the November 20, 2011 CFE meeting, held at Culver City Fire Station 3, elections were held for the officer positions of President, Vice President, Recording Secretary, Treasurer and Membership Secretary. (The six "Director at Large" positions on the CFE board will be up for relection at the end of 2012).

The incumbant officers were all re-elected, with the exception of Mike Britt, who was elected as the new Vice President in place of Doug Hammer who requested to step down from his executive officer position due to his increased responsibilities as President of the Fire Memories Museum. However, Doug agreed to stay on the board in a lessor role, and so after the results of the election were made official, CFE President Ron Dierkens appointed Doug Hammer to fill out the remainder of Mike Britt's term as a Director at Large (which he vacated to become Vice President). The new positions became effective on January 1, 2012. Click here for a list of the current (2010) CFE board of directors.


60th Anniversary of the Firecoach

2011 marks 60 years since the Crown Coach Corporation of Los Angeles, CA, embarked on the construction of fire apparatus. The first Crown "Firecoach," seen above, was a demonstrator assigned serial number F-1001 (The F stood for "Firecoach"). Yes, this rig was saved and recently celebrated another anniversary, 30 years of being owned by the Arnold family, who are founding members of the Crown Firecaoch Enthusiasts. Click on the photo above for more photos and history of Crown's (and CFE's) number 1 Firecoach.

For those who don't know, Crown was the premier maker of school buses on the west coast and took a risk by entering the fire apparatus market, but it was a risk that paid off for over 30 years. Crown sought to build a custom fire engine held to the company's high standards of quality and craftsmanship, and which was designed to meet the needs of the firefighters who actually used the apparatus. To that end, Crown engineers went out and talked not only to fire chiefs, but fire apparatus engineers who sat behind the wheel and who operated the pump. While P.E. Van Pelt and others were building fire engines on commercial chasis at the time, no west coast company had ever built a custom apparatus from the frame up that offered flexibility, high visibility, manuverability and dependability - and local factory service right in Los Angeles. As a result, the Crown Firecoach became an unmatched symbol of high quality fire apparatus and in fact for many years the picture of what a Los Angeles fire engine looked like. The Crown Firecoach became so well regarded that even today it is spoken of very highly by those firefighters who had the privilage to work on them, as well as those who admired them from a far (or for some of us who now own one, admired them from close up from the time we were young). That respect is why this organization exists and why so many Crown Firecoaches have been saved by our membership. There is a UK based website that mentions "its believed there are still around 20 Crown fire apparatus in preservation..." No, try several hundred of them. They are such good rigs that many are still in the fire service in second or third careers with volunteer departments all across the U.S., and over 50 remain in service in Mexico, Central and South America and several other countries around the globe. And as many are in private hands among CFE and SPAAMFAA members in several U.S. states. So thanks to CFE members Larry and Chris Arnold for getting the ball rolling back in 1980 and saving F1001. - Mike Britt

LAFD's 1967 Crown Heavy Utility

Not a fire engine converted into a tow truck -- It was a Crown Firecoach Original!

This unique Crown Firecoach was delivered to the Los Angeles City Fire Department in 1967. It is Firecoach serial number F1494, given LAFD shop number 60220, and first assigned as HU6. Equipped with twin Holmes 850, 20-ton booms, it was first powered by a Hall-Scott 1091 gasoline engine and Allison automatic transmission, and repowered in 1978 with a CAT diesel. It was among a few special purpose LAFD apparatus to be painted chrome yellow but was later repainted white over red, as seen above.  According to the LAFD, the "Heavy U", as it was dubbed by firemen, was used for a wide variety of unusual needs, including at the scene of fires for lifting extremely heavy objects and pulling down unstable remains of burned out buildings. Because of the special equipment on the Heavy Utility, it also responded to rescues such as cave-ins, large automobile wrecks, train wrecks and aircraft crashes. It was also used for towing wrecked or disabled fire apparatus. It is now owned by CFE member Bill Dundas, who restored it to its in-service appearance and displayed it at the 2009 Winter SPAAMFAA Conference in Pomona, CA, hosted by CFE. Read more about this Crown and see photos from throughout its service with the LAFD by clicking on the image above. 

- More Club News -


For those who own diesel powered fire engines that are currently registered as Historic Vehicles (HV) in the state of California, the HV registration makes your truck exempt from the new California Air Resources Board (CARB) diesel particulate emissions rules for trucks and buses which began going into effect this year. However, if you are the owner of a fire engine registered with a commercial license, you may have already received notice that you are required to comply with the new rules. In addition, the CARB has a new grant program offering funds to California fire departments to replace older diesel powered fire apparatus, which requires the older fire apparatus be DESTROYED.

Webmaster Mike Britt has researched all the new CARB legislation and offers details as well as links to PDFs of the actual regulations here.


CFE Vice President Doug Hammer and his 1940 United/Kenworth are the subject of a nice wirte-up (with lots of photos) in the Banning-Beaumont Patch News. The headline reads "WWII-Era Beverly Hills Fire Engine 8 Turns Heads in the San Gorgonio Pass" and a caption under a photo of the rig states "Doug Hammer of Banning says the 1940 United Kenworth engine looked like "a dipsy dumpster" when he bought it in 2005 for $4,000. Today he says it is one-of-a-kind." Read the entire article here.


Louk Markham, who is among our sisters and brothers who are Crown bus fans, is out with a new book "Crown Coach Corp.—School Buses, Fire Trucks and Custom Coaches" which is now available for order from Iconographix ( and on (usually cheaper). The synopsis reads:

"The informative story of Crown’s various endeavors from 1900s horse-drawn
wagons through early 1990s alternative fueled buses is chronicled here and
highlighted with vintage photographs and factory memorabilia including advertising
items, coach emblems, and production statistics. Not left out are custom built coaches like Lockheed's mobile missile tracking station, Art Linkletter mobile video coaches, and the first air conditioned tour coach in Hawaii. The company built one of the largest fleets of fire trucks in the nation for the Los Angeles City and County fire departments and other agencies, and sent high quality custom built vehicles as far away as places like Juneau, Alaska, South America and the Middle East.


The Annual CFE Banquet was held on Sunday March 13 at the El Torito Grill in Brea, CA, with over 30 members and their guests in attendance enjoying good food and fellowship. Guest speaker Lou Farah presented a program on the history of EMS in Los Angeles. Lou has 35 years experience as a firefighter/paramedic, ambulance paramedic, and air rescue paramedic. He is the executive director of a national professional car club and he is a member of CFE. There also was a great raffle with many attendees walking away winners. Click on the image above to see more photos.


At the November 20, 2010 CFE meeting, held at the Ontario F.D. Training Center, elections were held for the six "Director at Large" positions on the CFE board. (The officer positions of President, Vice President, Recording Secretary, Treasurer and Membership Secretary will be up for relection at the end of 2011).

The six winners were Mark Bramm, Mike Britt, Don Croucher, Mike McDonald, Don Pogue and Dave Steinitz. These six Director at Large positions become effective on January 1, 2011. Click here for a list of the current (2010) CFE board of directors.


Matt Branley was presented with the 13th Annual Brian Dierkens Memorial Award and a Check from CFE for $500.00 at the Valley Center Fire Protection District (VCFPD) Board Meeting held on June 18, 2010. Matt is a Volunteer Firefighter with the Palomar Mountain VFD where CFE Member George Lucia, Sr. is Chief. George is also the Fire Marshall for the VCFPD and nominated Matt. Matt is taking Paramedic Courses at Palomar Junior College in San Marcos and was previously an Explorer at the Vista Fire Dept when he lived there.  Shown in the picture above are (L to R) CFE Board Member Mike McDonald, Matt Branley and Chief Lucia. Mike went over all the previous award winners and told them who they were with and what they were doing now as best he knew. Matt was very grateful for the honor and check that will help him with his studies.... just driving to San Marcos everyday from Palomar Mtn is quite a gas expense! Click here for more information about the Brian Dierkens Memorial Award and a list of past recipients.


Our own CFE Director and Club Historian/Archivist Don Croucher is featured in an article entitled "An Interview with Firefighting Memorabilia Collector Don Croucher," in Collector's Weekly, where he "talks about firefighting collectibles, from department badges to actual fire trucks. Croucher, who retired in 2001 after 35 years in the fire service, also discusses such major fire apparatus manufacturers as Crown and Seagrave and a project to establish the California Fire Museum." The nine page article includes a number of photos.
To view the article go to:


Long-time member Joe Ortiz was interviewed for an article in 2009 in the Contra Costa County Times. Joe supplies fire and emergency vehicles for many movies, TV shows and commericals (if "54" is in the unit, it is one of Joe's rigs). The article, "Collecting Fire trucks Becomes Carrer For Joe Ortiz," includes photos and can be found at:


Yes, in addition to doing this website and writing the "Blast form the Past" articles in the CFE newsletter, I'm involved in a lot of other things, some fire apparatus related and some not. And the fire appartus stuff extends far beyond Crowns, especially to Seagraves and ALFs from the 20s (these major project restorations are thankfully somebody else's checkbook - I just help out). And I'm always up for going out to look at an old rig found on some property somewhere. Often I take loads of photos and then go back and research the rig to discover it's history. Last year, this led to a discovery of a very unique rig which was the first motorized fire engine in the town of Mandan, ND. Since that time I've been working with thier historical society which is hoping to return and restore the rig. It was interesting to me, but I had no idea that it was big news there...
To view the article go to:


The Crown Coach Historical Soceity <> is a website dedicated to the history of the Crown Coach Corporation. The impressive site was recently started by the granddaughter of company founder M. M. Brockway. It includes articles and photos about both Crown buses and fire apparatus, and links to other Crown sites on the web.

The Hall Scott Motor Car, Truck & Engine Company <> was recently formed by a three partners who decided to buy all the rights and trademark for Hall-Scott. They are currently working on developing a Hall Scott CNG engine with plans to make the group a resource for Hall Scott engine rebuilds, repairs, parts and service. The group now includes several CFE members including David Cox ( a director with the LAFD Historical Society), Ron Debiasi (who is running Thom-Son Trucking Lines since Art Thomson died), Chris Coven (a Capt. in the Logansport, IN, F.D. and owner of F1035, a1955 Crown, ex LAFD P3), Craig Smith (from Campo, CA) and Tom Shafer (from Los Gatos, CA).  Besides the web site they are also currently restoring a the last(out of nine made) 1929 ALF type 285 pumper, from LAFD, a 1930 ALF chain drive 200 series, and a 1936 400 series ALF Metropolitan.

In addition to the above websites, a number of CFE members now have some great websites, a list of which you can find on the new LINKS page.

"CROWN" Mold Reacquired for Front Steps and Tailboards

If anybody's Crown has a damaged or missing corner on a front step or tailboard, Darrell Gilbert, who operates, has re-acquired the orignal factory mold to cast the rounded corner "Crown" lettering. Contact Darrell at for more info. He also has the molds for the "Crown" and "Firecoach" emblems, as well as discharge caps - all of which are for sale on the website.


Four working fire engines are needed to volunteer to test a new Hydro Turbine invented by legendary Engineer Joe Holden. The pumping test will be held at a lake, location to be determined.  They need 200 PSI, 1150 GPM, and 3” hose to be connected to the Hydro Turbine.  The turbine produces clean and safe renewable power. For more information, contact Mark November at 818-470-8453 or

Joe Holden's Background: Invented the first “Afterburner” for jet airplanes when he was only 18.  The afterburner technology which Joe invented for Rolls Royce is still standard technology on aircraft used worldwide; Invented the first ball and socket “CV Joint”, which is standard on every front-wheel drive car.  Land Rover was the first to adopt Joe’s invention; Invented the first “Air Slats” which are on almost every airplane.  It’s when a portion of the front of the winds extends down before landing and it allows the plane to reduce its speed before landing the plane;  
Invented the first “Thrust Tubes” which is standard on most supersonic jets: Joe’s inventions were also key for some of the early “Hovercrafts” and also for the “Harrier Jet.”; Invented a classified “Chase Boat” for the U.S. Customs Department, which was among the fastest boats on the planet; Joe was the one who parachuted into North Korea and “stole a Russian MIG” and flew it back to the West.  His bravery helped the West during the Cold War years; Joe flew a “Concorde Jet” (classified version) into sub-space; Joe was a “Top Gun pilot” who flew his own classified airplane designs: Joe led “17 Missions” into Vietnam to rescue over 500 POWs.

Volunteer the use of your pumping rig and help Joe change the planet!

- Recent 2010 Events -

9th Annual Wings, Wheels and Rotors Expo

October 24, 2010

This annual event is held at the Los Alamitos Joint Forces Reserve Center. The displays included military and civilian aircraft and helicopters and a car show. CFE members who brought rigs were: the Bramm family with their Seagrave; Mike Briel with his Texaco Crown and Jim Koenekamp with his 4x4 Crown. Click on the image above to see more photos.

Loma Linda Community Parade

October 17, 2010

Six CFE members participated in this 47th annual parade: Brian Grimes - 1967 Ford/Van Pelt pumper ; Carl Lucey - 1976 Ford/Van Pelt pumper; Jim Conrad - 1967 Crown pumper Mike Britt - 1970 Crown pumper; and Bruce Vanderhorst and Bruce Vanderhorst Jr. - 1968 Crown, 100 ft TDA ladder truck. Click on the image above to see more photos.

Crusin' For A Cure

September 25, 2010 - Costa Mesa, CA

Over 3,500 hot rods, customs, classics cars and trucks take part in this one day charity event each year at the Orange County Fairgrounds in Costa Mesa, CA. The event benefits finding a cure for prostate cancer. Click on the image above to see more photos.

Banning Stagecoach Days Parade

and 9-11 display by CFE members rigs

September 11, 2010

Several CFE members participated with their rigs in the Banning Stagecoach Days parade the morning of 9-11-10. In the afternoon, CFE members Monte Hammer, Doug Hammer, Brad Hammer, Mike Britt, Hewy and Ruth Wick, and thier friends and family members, set up a large 9-11 memorial display of many American flags on the San Gorgonio bridge overpass of Interstate 10 in Banning. Click on the image above to read details and see more photos.

Enderle Center Car Show

August 22, 2010 Tustin, CA

CFE members brought four rigs to the 2010 Enderle Center Car Show which benefits the Boys and Girls Club of Tustin. (L to R): 1954 GMC-Van Pelt, Randy Marsile; 1967 Crown, Randy Marsile/OCFSA; 1970 Seagrave, the Bramm Family; 1979 Crown, Don Pogue. Click on the image above to see more photos.

CFE Members at Redlands Professional Firefighter's Annual Car Show

CFE member Mike Britt brought his 1966 Crown and CFE members Carl Lucey brought his 1975 Ford/Van Pelt to display at the Redlands Firefighter's 14th Annual Car Show held in downtown Redlands on May 16, 2010. Also on display were the Redlands Professional Firefigter Association's restored 1920 Seagrave pumper and the city's 1969 Crown pumper (restored to an open cab and now used as a parade rig). Click on the image above to see more photos.

CFE Members at Costa Mesa FD Safety Expo

CFE member Don Pogue brought his 1979 Crown and CFE members Mark and Mike Bramm brought their 1970 Seagrave to display at Costa Mesa FD's annual safety expo held May 16 for the local communiuty at fire station 4, featuring fire suppression and rescue demonstrations.

Large Turn Out of CFE Rigs Helps make Monrovia F.D. Centennial Parade and Show a Success

Many CFE members and area fire departments brought out apparatus both new and old on May 15, 2010, to help the Monrovia Fire Department celebrate 100 years of service to the community. The highlight was a fire apparatus parade through the downtown business district, followed by a static display of the rigs on the blocked-off streets. The event included a chili-cook-off, safety expo for the kids, live band, and awards for the best apparatus of different eras. Winners included CFE members Dave Hubert (for the CSFA Steamer) and Carl Lucey (for his 1975 Ford/Van Pelt).

Click on the image above to see lots of photos of this great event.

- Articles and Video Links -

Former Orange County, California Crowns still providing fire protection in three very different locations

Shown above is Crown Firecoach S/N F1372, a 1965 pumper that originally served Orange County, CA, and is presently a first-out pumper in Firmat, Argentina. Read more about the history and journey of this rig and two other former Orange County Crowns by clicking on the photo.


Crown Videos on the web

JCFE member Bill Hoeft is featured behind the wheel of his 1970 Crown (S/N F1643, ex-Mt. View, CA) rolling Code 3 in a Denver Post video called "Fun at the Firehouse," an event recently held to celebrate the 100th anniversary of old Denver Fire Station 1, now home of the Denver Firefighters Museum. Bill restored this Crown to look like a Vernon FD Crown, where his dad served. To watch the video, click on the photo above. To see what the exterior of F1643 looks like, click here and then click on the top left photo.

JA YouTube video posted August 10, 2009, shows a firefighter turning on the lights on this Crown at a recent emergency services display in Scotland. Yes, that's Scotland in the U.K. The notes with the video state "1967 Crown Fire Engine doing a light test, note the lights arent very effective on this appliance as it is about 40 year old." (Actually, it is exactly 40 years old since it is a 1969, not a 1967). For those unfamiliar with the story, in 1996, Pleasanton, CA donated Firecoach S/N F1579 to its sister city, Blairgowrie, Scotland, who maintains it as a parade "appliance." For veteran club members, see the 1997-3 newsletter. To see the video, click on the photo above.

JYet another YouTube video now online which features a Crown pumper is the unsold pilot for a 1959 TV show called 'Where There's Smokey," starring Soupy Sales as a bumbling but good-hearted fireman and Gale Gordon as his brother-in-law and the fire chief. You only need to watch part I of the 3 parts posted on YouTube to see the Crown. If you watch all three parts of this Desilu Production, you will realize why it never sold. It really has nothing to do with the fire service, that is just a setting for this sitcom.

Richard Yokely brought this to our attention and after carefully examining the footage, Don Croucher determined it is a Downey Crown and fire station, and I narrowed it down to one of Downey's 4 identical 1957 pumpers (F1109-F1112). Several editing flubs I guess they assumed people would not notice include, the rig used in the studio shots is an open cab 1958/59 C series Mack, and in the scene of the Crown returning to the station they have flipped the film backwards so the rig is on the wrong side of the road and the driver is on the righthand side (maybe it was in Scotland!). To see the video, click on the photo above.


There are several clips currently on YouTube showing classic L.A. and Honolulu Crown Firecoaches.

The short video entitled "LAFD Crown Firecoach, Auckland, New Zealand, 1 Dec 07" shows former LAFD shop 60086, a 1961 Crown that ran as W10. It was given to New Zealand by LAFD in 1993 and is now part of the collection of the Museum of Transportation and Technology in Auckland. Click on the image below to go to the YouTube video.

There are also some clips taken from the 1960s television drama "Hawaii Five-0" on YouTube that show some classic Crowns. The first clip shows two different Crown pumpers, a 1960s triple rolling out of a station and then a 1950s Crown responding down a street. These are actually LAFD rigs filmed on the streets of Los Angeles but edited in with footage filmed in Hawaii to make it appear they are in Honolulu. Click on the image below to go to the YouTube video.

The other clip is from the opening of the episode "The Sunday Torch" from season 6 of the "Hawaii Five-0." It shows the very first 85-foot Snorkle that Crown built (S/N F1224), which was mounted on a 1961 International-Harvester chasis with only two axles. This beast was a one of a kind rig! Click on the image below to go to the YouTube video.