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4×4 Fire Fighter: 1959 Chevrolet Spartan 80

1959 Chevy Spartan

Any vehicle with the name Spartan has to be a mighty beast. It’s a name that conjures up images of mighty warriors, which makes it the perfect name for this 1959 Chevrolet Spartan 80 Fire Engine. The Chevy Spartan 80 was an impressive machine stock, but add in a Napco four wheel drive system and this truck became a beast that could conquer any road or the even the worst Mother Nature could throw at it. This particular fire engine served for many years in the rural community of Belden, Nebraska, but is currently in Burnet, Texas. It appears to be in excellent condition and the seller claims it has spent all of its life parked indoors. So, if you’ve been looking for the biggest and baddest truck around, be sure to have a look at this one here on eBay.

Chevy Spartan Engine Controls

When Chevy introduced the Spartan, it was a bit of a departure from their previous heavy duty trucks. The new design was a bit more muscular with a wider grill and quad head lights. Only the heaviest duty of their trucks received the Spartan name and with a gross vehicle weight starting at 25k and going up nearly to 40k pounds the name was quite fitting for these machines. This one is a series 80, also known as an 8000, and came with just a single axle, putting it at the lower end of the Spartan weight scale.

1959 Chevy Spartan Documents

Most fire engines were built like coach built cars, a buyer (typically a fire department) would order a bare truck from the manufacturer of their choice and then they would send it to a fire apparatus company to be built for firefighting duty. This engine was put together by the Luverne Fire Apparatus Company, which happens to now be owned by Spartan Motors. Since this engine was to see service in rural Nebraska it needed to be able to go anywhere in any condition, so it was also fitted with a Napco four wheel drive conversion kit. In the process of converting it, it was also given a slight lift for added clearance.

1959 Chevy Spartan Fire Engine

The seller claims this truck is still in great working condition, which doesn’t seem all that surprising given how well fire engines tend to be maintained while in service. It does need some attention from the time it has been parked though, but they are primarily things that would need to be serviced anyways. Outside of running your own fire house, I’m not sure how much use most of us would get out of a truck like this. Now don’t get me wrong, it would be fun to take out for a short drive around town, but given its massive size it would be nerve racking and expensive to drive much more than through a few local parades each year. Then again, I wouldn’t have minded having this beast around last week as it would have made the icy commute fair less treacherous.


  1. jim s

    i would buy this truck, sell the fire equipment and put a flat bed or rollback on it. let it work for a living as it was ment to do. i think the 4wd (or 6wd) makes the deal. it will be real interesting to see where the bidding ends. great find

    Like 0
    • Ward William

      Better to buy it and donate it to some small rural town that is strapped for cash. Down under, where I’m from, small outback communities would sell their kids for one of these.

      Like 1
  2. Don Andreina

    Chunky. I likes bigtime. I’d follow Jim S’s lead and use this as transport for my Equipe Andreina Maserati A6.

    Like 0
  3. Rees Klintworth

    This truck looks amazing! I love the late 50s Chevy trucks, and the aggressive styling of this Spartan coupled with the 4×4 lifted stance make this one really stand out. As cool as it would be to make this into the baddest car transport around, I don’t think I would want to modify this, given the high originality. It would still be amazing to own this beast!

    Like 0
  4. krash

    love it…!!!!….would have been thrilled (as a kid) if this was sitting in our garage…

    my Tonka trucks would have never seen the light of day… ..

    no neighbor with a flaming outdoor grill or lit cigarette would have been safe…

    Like 0
  5. DT

    Obviously these are made for off road service,These arent really good for any kind of long distance use, these were built for short trips.No locking hubs ,these type trucks are allways in 4 wheel drive,consequently wearing out tires,bearings,gears,etc.OK I got that outa my system. To me this is a beauty.What a great rig when you need to go through muck.Nice time capsule.As far as this not being treacherous,picture trying to keep 30,000 pounds of steel under controll in icey conditions.

    Like 1
  6. RickyM

    I absolutely love this. I would keep it just as it is and use it as my winter snow vehicle. I can’t imagine it getting stuck anywhere !

    Like 1
  7. ConservativesDefeated

    On the issue of what to do with this, I had a neighbor when I was a kid who had his own fire engine. I have a polaroid of me in the drivers seat circa 1962; It was an open cab so I think it was no later than the forties. Have to find the picture. And of course it was red. He also had a 1930s Packard towncar that belonged to the opera singer, Lili Pons. He would just drive it around at least once a week, giving kids rides when he came upon them. it was a real hoot. With a Napco 4×4 this thing must be geared lower than a snakes belly but would sure be cool to own

    Like 1
  8. jamie traylor

    I bought this truck off ebay and it runs like a top I been driving it around here in lagrange ga

    Like 0
  9. Woodie Man

    Too cool for skool. Good for you!

    Like 0

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