Napa Valley's 1929 Fire Engine
There are three generations of firefighters in our family, so it's easy to see how we could be a little excited about using a vintage fire engine to bartend your next event in the Napa Valley!
With the Food Truck Craze, we thought, "How about a vintage fire engine mobile bar!" and the search was on.
The first vintage fire engine we found seemed perfect! We located ours (affectionately known to us as Charlie) in Shellbyville, Indiana - a long way from home. After several emails with Ralph Kramer to inquire more information, and trying to find a good reason not to do this crazy idea, we took a red-eye flight to Indianapolis to go take a look. After all, the worst that could happen is a fun weekend in Indy sight seeing.
The Charlie was on the lot of Kramer Motors where we met Ralph and Chris Kramer. We took the 1929 Chevrolet retired fire engine for a test ride. It was old and had a few glitches, but we thought it would make a perfect mobile bar. If we could figure out how to get it home we would take it! We purchased the fire engine the next day. Chris Kramer offered to bring it to Napa. Deal done!
Once we had at it's new home in the Napa Valley, it was time to get Charlie retrofitted for it's new job. So off to Cummings Contracting for the refurbishing part of the program. Mike and crew, at Cummings Contracting, did an amazing job.
We are excited to share our Vintage Fire Engine experience of the Napa Valley Cocktail Company Engine 29 with you!
Ray & Deborah Hanson
The Hot Spot
Napa Valley Cocktail Company
"Drinks to The Rescue!"
Story of the 1929 Firetruck...
1929 Chevrolet American LaFrance Firetruck
The late Gary Lee, long-time radio voice of Midwest midget and sprintcar racing, acquired this 1929 hose/ladder truck and had it up-fitted so he could enjoy trouble-free participation in parades and car show around his home town in the Indianapolis neighborhood of Irvington.
From the faint lettering under several coats of paint on the bonnet, it appears this truck once lived in rural Nineveh Twp. in Iowa.
In 1928, American La France was the Cadillac of fire engines. On the other hand, Chevrolet was the brash new-kid on the block with a brand-new high powered truck chassis. This particular example is a genuine 155-inch wheelbase 1929 Chevrolet LQ model fitted originally with Chevy's brand-new six-cylinder OHV engine.
To assure dependability at both parade and at road speed, Mr. Lee had a mid-1990's Chevy TBI V8 truck engine installed along with its cooling system. Other up grades include front disk brakes, an electric cooling fan, an automatic transmission, and a true dual exhaust.
Nobody knows how many '29 Chevrolet chassis became fire trucks. But that first year, the number would likely have been small.
Mr Lee's family wanted this relic to find a home where it would continue to be exercised and enjoyed. Here in the Napa Valley it definitely found a good home and a great new Job to do!