Former Firetruck! 1925 Maxim Speedster

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Humans have been making things into what they are not since there were humans, particularly when it comes to transportation. We have made boats into cars, cars into boats, coupes into convertibles, and of course, firetrucks into speedsters. Wait – what?! Oh yes, turning old firetrucks into enormous, cacophonous, teeth-rattling sports cars is not uncommon at all. In fact, American LaFrance – maker of firetrucks, ambulances, and rescue vehicles – went so far as to make its own speedsters and tourers straight outta the factory, about twenty of them. All the rest of these monsters are the handiwork of individuals struck by…. insanity inspiration, and when you start looking around, you’ll find dozens. Here on eBay is just one of this unusual population, a 1925 Maxim Speedster, based on a Maxim firetruck, bid to $18,900, reserve not met. This vehicle is located in Beaulac-Garthby, Quebec, Canada and while it does run, a trip to the US is probably best pursued on a trailer. Who else would come up with this tip but the inimitable T.J. – thanks!

The story goes, our seller was otherwise entertained by a 1928 White truck, which he had decided to make into a “high-end jalopy” after becoming acquainted with the aforementioned American LaFrance speedster. The poor White was dismantled but then spurned when our hero’s head was turned by a better-looking prospect, a 1925 Maxim firetruck. Acquisition of the truck and the liberal application of time, energy, design prowess, and mechanical aptitude produced this custom speedster. The seller reminds us that this vehicle is not for the faint of heart – it leaks, it consumes gas like it’s going out of style (!), it requires finesse, patience, a willingness to drive slowly, and constant attention. Hm. I’m not going to say any more about what THAT sounds like.

The engine is a Wisconsin RBU side-valve, 471 cu. in. four-cylinder. New aluminum cylinders were cast and installed recently. The Bosch magneto has been restored. The carburetor is a Zenith; the electrical system is six volts of course. It has a four-speed manual transmission. Wisconsin engines powered Stutz automobiles, including a couple of cars that won races at Long Island Speedway in 1915. If you’ve ever heard a Stutz at full song, you know about how the Maxim sounds. Loud! While the car does run, the seller notes several items that need improvement including a seeping wheel seal, switches that won’t switch, a loose air compressor lever, and a leaky radiator. Also suggested is conversion to a hydraulic brake system.

The interior is basic black like the flat-finish exterior. The windshield is a monocle-type, currently glass; for safety reasons, the seller suggests switching to Lexan, which considering the lack of other safety equipment, is pretty amusing. So I mentioned that once you look around, it’s not hard to find a firetruck speedster. Here’s a recent sale at $64k; and here’s one for $79,500. For sure, my sense is that the current price is too low, but I have no idea where this will change hands – how about you?

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  1. angliagt angliagtMember

    Minor complaint,but it bothers me – this was a
    fire engine,not a fire truck.A fire truck has a fixed ladder,
    & an engine has a removable one (or more).

    Like 6
  2. bobhess bobhessMember

    It’s cute but not 79.5K cute.

    Like 8
    • Howie

      This is not $79.5k, that price was for a yellow one.

      Like 4
  3. DavidH

    Wow give the people who built this credit! I am impressed by the quality and execution.

    Like 9
  4. scott m

    Just don’t ask me to parallel park!

    Like 4
  5. Maggy

    It will turn heads that’s for sure!

    Like 3
  6. Mike

    Very cool, but I’d give it a slight re-design. Video of it in action:

    Like 5
    • jwaltb

      Idiotic video. Would have been much better without music.

      Like 1
  7. Norman K Wrensch

    Flat head or L head engine not side valve. The only side valve engine that I know of came in a Minneapolis Moline tractor. Side valve engines had the valve laying on its side perpendicular to the cylinder and had a rocker arm actuated by the camshaft on one end and the other end pushed the valve.
    This is not a side valve engine. I see this mistake more and more these days.

    Like 1
    • Michelle RandAuthor

      I gotta learn the differences here. The internet is terrible on this point. I think I will go to my old mechanic and get him to explain. Will try to be better!

      Like 2
  8. MikeH

    There was an American LaFrance speedster on The Great Race recently—what a fire breathing monster !! You couldn’t talk while it was running. Well, you could talk, you just couldn’t be heard.

    Like 1
  9. Otto Nobedder

    Photo #9 in eBay listing looks like they are trying to wake the dead

    Like 0
  10. Howie

    Went to $35,100 reserve not met.

    Like 0

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