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Herclean Find: 1940 Pirsch Fire Truck

1940 Pirsch Fire Engine

Many of us probably haven’t ever heard of Peter Pirsch or his company Pirsch and Sons. If you are a fan of vintage fire engine, than chance are you have heard the name. The rest of us might not know the name, but I’m sure we all would recognize many of the innovations that Pirsch developed. This 1940 Pirsch Ladder Truck features one of the company’s most iconic pieces of technology, their aerial ladder on a rotating platform. Not only is this a great piece of history, this fire engine is just plain cool. If I had a barn big enough to house it, I would be tempted to give it a new home. If you want to own a piece of firefighting history or simply love big red trucks, be sure to check it out here on eBay. It is currently located in Spring, Texas and the seller is asking $7,500 or best offer. Special thanks to Conner B for this tip!

Pirsch Aerial Ladder

Pirsch was truly a pioneer in the world of firefighting and was always coming up with new ideas for how to improve their fire engines. The aerial ladder is probably one of the best known pieces of technology and has been instrumental in battling fires in tall buildings. The company was also the first American manufacturer to build a fully enclosed cab pump truck and they were also the first to build a cab over fire engine. Many of their innovations are still the standard for modern fire engine design.

Pirsch Hercules Engine

This truck has been parked in this pole barn for a number of years and will likely need a complete restoration. At 45 feet long, it is going to take a large garage or barn to house it during the restoration. I can only imagine how difficult it will be to find parts for it, as Pirsch and Sons has been out of business since ’87. For the most part, they crafted each truck by hand and to the specification of the fire house the truck was going to. Some components, like the engine and drivetrain were outsourced, which should help with the restoration a bit. This one is powered by the mighty Hercules HXE 935 cui inline 6 with twin spark. The Hercules company shutdown back in the late ’90s, but has since been reopened and is now reproducing parts for maintaining and restoring their old engines.

Pirsch Cab

These trucks were extremely well built, so getting it back on the road shouldn’t be all that difficult. Making it a working fire engine again is a whole different story though. The pumps used on these trucks require considerable maintenance and sitting for decades without any attention has likely left them seized and full of rust. It is possible to rebuild them, but chances are the pumps will require being replaced. I imagine the aerial ladder will also need a complete rebuild to be safe to use. I highly doubt anyone would actually use this to fight any fires, but what is the point of having a fire engine if you can’t play with the aerial ladder and the water hoses? I guess it would still be fun to take in local parades and occasional cruises around town.

1940 Pirsch and Sons Truck

Back in 1940, this truck had to have been one of the mightiest and most impressive trucks at found at the scene of a fire. It is hard to say how many lives and homes this truck might have saved over the years. I think for me, that is what makes old fire trucks so amazing. They are more than just big red pieces of equipment. They are heroic life saving machines that come to the rescue in times of need. At one time this machine fought a destructive force of nature, it saved lives, and it even brought smiles to people’s faces. Now it needs our help to be saved from the destructive force known as the tin worm! So does anyone have a barn big enough to house this fire truck?


  1. stanleystalvey

    yes, back in the day when men were men and sheep were afraid.. haha.. You could pump some water with this thing and have some fun with the grandkids.. What I really like is the water tank trucks from back in the day, the ones used by the forrestry service. The 2 man cab is very cozy in the winter…

    Like 1
  2. Manuel Override

    Royal Oak Michigan (north suburbs of Detroit) was maintaining and using a number of similar Pirsch apparatus as recently as the middle 1980s. I loved seeing these beasts come out of the barn for a leg-stretch.

    Like 1
  3. jim s

    seller has 2 other trucks for sale on ebay. also a running 8n tractor with $1800 starting bid and no reseve. one of the other trucks is a fire truck with a full cab which is easier to convert to regular truck duty. this one with open cab is limited to being a fire truck, i think. great find and who as a kid didn’t want to own a fire truck!

    Like 1
  4. ConservativesDefeated

    As Picker of Nits In Chief, shouldnt it be “HerCUlean.”……….or is there a pun on an evil woman in there?

    Like 1
  5. Sabelotodo

    Looks like it has a Diamond T chassis.

    Like 0

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