1965 W500 Fire Truck

Here's the Kempner POWER WAGON Museum's most recent acquisition.   I bought it at an auction one (1) mile from here.   The bid I had to beat was $500.  I actually paid a lot more in the form of a donation since the proceeds went to fund the local Volunteer Fire Department that protects my home and the Museum. 

Sadly, many folks think of fund raising auctions as a way to buy things at prices way below their fair value.  They seem to think that fund raising activities are held for their benefit.  They just don't get it. 

I hope it never happens, but wouldn't it be a strange form of justice if the volunteer fire truck broke down in front of a burning home filled with items the homeowner bought for the lowest possible price at a fund raising auction. 

Support your local Volunteer Fire Department.  

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While the truck is a 4WD, there are no signs it was used as a brush truck.  It is a tanker / pumper.  The most likely use of the 4WD would have been to get to a stock pond to refill the tank - and then return to the fire with the full tank.  The PTO driven pump is mounted under the tank.  The condition of the pump is questionable.  The truck was "loaned" to another area VFD that did not have either the skills or the will to keep it up. 

It seems impractical to restore it to operational condition.  Restoring this truck as a "parades only" truck would be an unbelievable waste of a serious 4WD. 

I'm not a fire truck collector and the Museum collection is about military Dodges and "flat-fender" POWER WAGONs.  Still, a W500 is a relatively rare truck and definitely more collectible than a W100. 

Wouldn't it make a great "super-sized" pickup like the 14 foot bed Diamond T built in the early forties?    Add a hydraulic pump to the PTO and it would make a great dump bed.  Or, the pump could drive several hydraulic winches.   But then, a wrecker / tow truck is too obvious. 


Look at this W500 DeSoto fire truck sent to me byMikko Lammi  ukvpk@hotmail.com in Finland.  Here's his message.

Hi!

I have a little problem with our older firetruck, I haven't found any pictures of same kind of Desoto W500 Power Wagon, from internet. I hope you
can tell me is our truck very rare? Only I know our truck is only one in Finland.

Mikko from Finland
 

Mikko, I think we all agree that this is a rare truck.  Both Fargo and Desoto badges were used on exported vehicles from the Dodge assembly line.  I hope some "W" series type out there can figure out the actual number of W500 trucks with the DeSoto badges that were produced.  Let me know and I'll add that information.