1951 Ford Restoration Project:
One of our member groups, “Wires & Fires “, has completed another project : The restoration of a 1951 Ford F6 pumper.
This unit was shipped by Ford Motor Company as a cab & chassis from their Somerville, Mass assembly plant to the Farrar Company at Woodville, Mass in September, 1951.
Farrar was a well-established regional fire apparatus manufacturer, specializing in building pumpers and brush trucks, using front –mounted Barton – American pumps, and smooth – sided bodies with few exposures to hang up on trees and brush when used in wooded areas.
This truck was out-fitted with just such a body and a 500GPM pump, which was easily driven by the 100HP flathead V-8 engine. The completed apparatus was delivered to Glen Farm in Portsmouth, RI, in the spring of 1952. Glen farm was a private farm in Portsmouth, with several large barns, and some very valuable show animals. As was common in that era, the owners established their own fire brigade, with their own men and equipment.
However, they could not properly protect the farm and horses with the one truck and limited manpower, so it was decided to give this vehicle to the Portsmouth Fire Dept. in 1958. PFD used it as a reserve piece for several years, and in 1964 they loaded it on a barge and shipped it to Prudence Island, a small island in Narragansett Bay, which was, and is, a part of the Town of Portsmouth. The Ford served the Prudence Island Volunteer Fire Dept. as a front-run unit, and as a second run truck, for the next 30 years, with at least 2 return assignments at the Portsmouth station when one of their pumpers was out of service for major repairs.
In 1994 it was again loaded on a barge and moved to Hog Island, a smaller Portsmouth island in the Bay just west of the Mt. Hope Bridge. That assignment lasted until October , 2006 , when it was replaced on Hog Island with a ¾ - ton brush truck. The Ford was brought back to Portsmouth and auctioned off at the town surplus equipment sale in December, 2006 to the Wires & Fires group, which has done a complete restoration.