A New Use: Mack Fire Truck

We feature Fire Trucks from time to time, but there is always the puzzling question of what they might be useful for. They are usually well maintained, have very low mileage and are often very inexpensive (to buy at least), but what the heck could you use one for? This Fire Truck listed on craigslist in Grass Valley, California has been converted for a very useful purpose! Really. Read on!

Silly you say? Hey, at least it matches, right? Imagine pulling into your favorite campground with this! The 500 GPM water pump works. When that pesky motor-home next door won’t shut off their generator, you can fire up the pump and put that thing right out! What about the noisy party that’s keeping you up late? The solution could be more subtle. Aim that thing up in the air and make it rain on their parade!

It even has solar cells to provide electrical power and custom privacy screens. Have you made your reservations yet for Burning Man 2017? This would be the perfect rig! It would fit right in! $8,000 seems kind of expensive, but it’s got chrome wheels!


WANTED 1970-1972 Honda N600 or Z600 Rough cars that need restoring or for parts Contact

WANTED 1950-80’s Alfa Romeo , Aston, AC, Ferrari, Iso, Lamborghini, Lancia, Maserati, etc. Also 66 Toronado, 63-5 Riviera, 70-72 Firebird, round headlight Studebaker Avanti, and XK120 SE roadster Any condition, anywhere, instant top cash, finders fee happily paid- thanks! Contact

WANTED 1974 AMC Gremlin Looking for decent condition preferably stick Contact

WANTED 1974-75 Toyota Corolla E5 Yellow, Black Interior, 5 speed. Rust free, any location in US Contact

WANTED 1967-1969 Pontiac Firebird Looking for an original 400 convertible, 3 or 4 speed preferred. No restomods. Contact

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  1. Mr. Bond

    It’d be good and windy in the back seats!

  2. Larry K


  3. Jake

    Without something to fill the gap between the cab, and the recess on the camper meant for a cab, the wind may well rip it off at any decent speed

    • JamestownMike

      Lol, no kidding!

    • Will

      I’d fill it with a portable water slide that could be set up and used beside any body of water.

  4. JOHN M

    looks like it was a burner rig for burning man. Probably has more dust and sand in it than you can ever find or remove.

  5. M/K

    Aluminum wheels. I always thought about cleaning an sterilizing the tank of one of these and converting it to a mobile keg, $1 a glass! Colleges, beach parties, bon fires,ect. Could be cool

    • Alan (Michigan)

      Yep, Alcoas, not chromies.

  6. JW

    So they have rednecks in California too. I thought they were all here in Missouri.

    • JamestownMike

      ……..and in North Carolina!

    • M/K

      i’m from oregon(or-ee-gun) but yeppers we are nation wide

      • Terry C

        International my friend and neighbor.

  7. JamestownMike

    One of the goofiest things i’ve EVER seen!

  8. Joe Haska

    As a retired firefighter (31 years) in a large Metro city, and most of all an absolute car guy, everyone asks “Wouldn’t you like to have a Fire Truck” NO!
    A Fire Truck is a tool designed for a specific purpose – FIRES. Do retired carpenters collect saws? The best use for these tools is to donate them to places that can’t afford them, and can use them. And this does happen quite often, I have seen several in Mexico. Also, we always have some antiques that are restored for the history, and that’s great.

    • Jason

      I agree broadly with Joe Haska, but must rebut that some retired carpenters really do collect saws (and/or other tools).

    • grant

      My grandfather was a logger for 45 years. After retirement he collected old saws and painted landscapes on them.

      • JW

        My wife’s grandfather was a house flipper, he would buy old farmhouses and refurbish them then resell at a profit. She was left quite a few saw blades he collected along with hand saws, she had landscapes / animals / people painted on them, at least one in every room in the house.

    • CJay

      It’s fun to have one that is a manageable size.

    • carl french

      To add to what Joe said (as another retired FF) NO, they drive like pigs, they’re slow, handle like a 30,000lb brick. They stop like a 30,000lb sled with feet for brakes. There is a certain fun novelty to having one though. I can say in fair weather, there are few things more fun than riding the tailboard Enroute to a call. Ref an RV, I’d cut the back off aft of maybe the pump panel and put a real RV body in it.

      • terry

        ODIN, Lets combine my 89 Airstream 34′ to her, & make a MackStream, terry

        Like 1
      • CJay

        They can be fun , but they don’t have to be that large.

    • Woodie Man

      True. But as I always say…you cant beat American ingenuity or just plain craziness. This is plain crazy.

  9. Will

    My first thought was to park it at the top of hill by a lake and spread out the sheeting that creates a large water slide that would be stored behind the cab. A portable water slide could prove profitable attraction at a festival

  10. Pete W

    I learned how to drive fire trucks on that same CF Mack 20 years ago.
    They were the simplest most reliable trucks ever made. Glad to see it wasn’t scrapped. Happy New year!

    • jaygryph

      That truck gets around, which is unusual for an old fire truck. I’ve seen it at Burning Man in person at least once, and that’s no small drive. I can only imagine how slow it must be getting there, and that the fuel cost is probably not good.

      Like 1
  11. Alan (Michigan)

    Oh, ye of little imagination!

    There are many uses for old fire trucks. (I will say that I agree with the concept of serviceable units being passed on to less fortunate locales, where sourcing a new one would be fiscally impossible)

    In the vein of the cars hobby, here is a three year transformation, with an original version, followed by a major modification/refit:


  12. Milt

    probably the only motor home with a 10,000 gallon septic tank.

  13. Rich S Member

    I would worry about the overhead clearance, a lot of old overpasses
    that rig is not going under.

  14. jaygryph

    HAH! I’ve seen that firetruck. I made mention of one with a slide in camper in the back on the other posting for a fire truck recently, this very one is the one I was referencing. Even at BM the car world can be pretty small some times. It looks very goofy when you are standing next to it, but I bet the view out of the bunk bed is fantastic, which is nice out at BM, it’s hard to get up high enough to see what all is around you, which can be part of the fun.

  15. Joe Haska

    Trying to get the last word. Carl is right! Also the carpenter thing was for comparison not to be taken literally. You guys can be a real tough audience.

  16. Steve H.

    I’d like to see someone come up with a demolish derby with a bunch of Fire Trucks and large commercial trucks and vehicles. I can imagine how long it would take for the final one to make it until it tore all of them up until they couldn’t go no more.

    • Alan (Michigan)

      Eh, Steve….
      Not sure how many takers you’d find to pilot rides like this in a Derby.
      Just one look at the location of the driver’s seat of so many commercial vehicles would have me and anyone else who values their lower extremities running the other way! A COE is not a great machine for human-occupied crash testing!

    • JW

      I’ve seen demolition derbies run with old farm combines and it takes most of the afternoon to put out 4 of the 5 that entered.

  17. Howard A Member

    I don’t know about a demo derby, ( give us something, we’ll smash it) it still would be useful to someone as a fire truck. That always puzzled me, and maybe Joe or carl can explain, what exactly is wrong with this truck? Probably very low miles. Why do fire depts. have to buy these new $300,000 dollar machines, when, didn’t this do an adequate job? I mean, they sit 95% of the time. Can municipalities continue to spent that kind of money? I realize, state of the art equipment has it’s advantages, and it keeps the folks in Oshkosh working, but these, as stated, really aren’t good for anything but fighting fires. I just don’t see what’s wrong with this one, fire engine-wise. That camper is pure nonsense.

  18. Joe Haska

    Howard you just hit a big nerve, I worked in Downtown Denver was in charge of one of the busiest pumpers and also was in charge of all Haz-Mat responses.
    25 runs a day was just another day at the office, maybe you live in a small community with a volunteer dept. That is a little different, but don’t come to the big city and tell us we do nothing 95% of the time. Apparatus is the biggest expense for fir depts. next to staffing (pay-roll) that’s why volunteers have nicer equipment ,than paid departments.
    Howard, I just better shut up, I did the job for over 30 years, and I have listened to allot of comments like yours, but it has been awhile (years even). Most people get it, its a dangerous job, and you get paid for what your trained to do,and will do, not for how much you do it!

    • Howard A Member

      Hi Joe, thanks for the comeback, but you really didn’t answer my question. 1st, yes I do live in a rural community, where prevention, not calling a fire dept. is the best solution. ( By the time they get here, it’s a basement) 2nd, firefighters have my utmost respect, I run out, they run in, and I lived in MIlwaukee for many years, so I see what they do. My question, is with as strapped as communities are for cash, and maybe you don’t see that in a big city, we don’t have many new fire engines here, how can they justify spending that kind of money, when what exactly is wrong with the old one? Pump too small? Get a bigger pump. And don’t feel bad, I got that too in my line of work for 35 years, all people thought I did was hold a steering wheel. I don’t recall saying anything about the job itself. It was the equipment that sits, ok, a lot of the time.

      • CJay

        I have 20 plus years of volunteer service. 95% of volunteer time is fund raising. Because the new fire regulations, that truck won’t cut it. )I think everything has to have automatic transmissions now.) Everything can work perfectly on an old truck But they are like computers they’re out dated within a couple years.
        NFPA and insurance companies control what you can and can’t use.

  19. Mark P

    I live 10 miles from the nearest town firehouse, we have no hydrants out here either. Would be a pipe dream to have this parked in the neighborhood ready to go.


    I have a 66 Chevy C80 American La France Fire Truck. Has 33,000 original miles. The doors don’t even sag. It has the BBC 366 Cu In with a 5 speed and 2 speed rear end. It runs awesome. It is at my off grid cabin in Utah. I have a 1,000 gallon water tank on the back, since we have no well, we buy water from a neighbor, that obviously has a well. I am setting it up to supply an 1 1/2 inch gas powered pump so I can be my own Fire Department
    We picked it up from a Volunteer Fire Dept in Idaho, have the original bill of sale. It was $8,000 new in 66 We drove to Idaho in our Chevy Tahoe, and on the 430 mile trip to our cabin, we bought so much gas that my Debit Card got locked. That was a pain, trying to explain to the person we were buying so much gas because… “Well Ma’am I bought a Fire Truck, and it and my Tahoe use a lot of gas…” You bought a Fire Truck Sir? LOL took a long time to sort that out.

  21. Joe Haska

    Howard, Thanks for the reply, I think I do understand what you are saying, and there are obviously big difference’s between paid depts. in big cities and small volunteer depts. in rural areas. You are also so, absolutely correct that ,response time is the biggest thing in firefighting, if you don’t get there fast enough, no problem, you are going to a parking lot anyway. Typically volunteer departments don’t even train much for an interior attack.
    As for new or better equipment , I started in 1973, and the equipment we had in 2005 when I left, was far better, but again I’m talking about apparatus that sees allot of use, we wore fire trucks out.
    The two biggest expense’s for Fire Departments are staffing and equipment, and staffing is by far and away the highest , which creates an oxymoron, the dept. that needs new equipment (paid depts.) can’t afford it, and the ones that can afford it ( volunteer small depts.) don’t need it. That’s not a 100% true for all depts., but it is a rule of thumb. Fire departments are expensive, like divorce , because they are worth it!
    I know I haven’t given a great answer , but it is a very complex problem, and does not have a simple solution. What I was defending was that I thought you were implying was firefighters are lazy don’t do anything and why do we need them, and now, I don’t think that is what you were saying. I apologize….Joe

    • Alan (Michigan)

      To give an idea why the camper conversion may not have sold yet….

      The one at Repocast sold for $2788, plus fees, taxes, etc. It had 30K miles.

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