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Saved By Fire: 1971 Ford F-250 Brush Truck


With the rash of municipal vehicles that have appeared on eBay as of late, a bit of irony began to set in: being designated as a vehicle equipped to fight fires and go where no other truck dares to go is a recipe for preservation. This 1971 Ford F-250 Brush Truck here on eBay has survived with under 20,000 original miles and seems no worse for the wear, despite its risky assignments while on the force. Thanks to Barn Finds reader Jim S. for the find. 


While these vehicles always exhibit some signs of use (hey, if you worked somewhere that a new work rig popped up every few years, would you be concerned about keeping the vinyl seats perfect?), you’re still buying a near-new specimen. Of course, I always wonder just how hard the various police and fire departments work to keep these vehicles maintained, especially if they just end up sitting for long periods of time.


Given this brush-fighting rig’s location in Illinois, I can’t help but wonder if there was any need to use it aside from some minor roadside brush fires that could be put out with a solitary hose. I don’t mean to imply that the midwest can’t be threatened by large-scale forest fires, but this just seems like a condition more commonly associated with the dry California region. The engine bay looks a bit grimier than I’d expect for the low mileage, which may reinforce my suspicion that these trucks don’t get a lot of love once they enter into fleet ownership.


The body, however, looks terrific, and the lights and various fire-related fittings all appear accounted for. With lots of sirens, four-wheel drive and a manual transmission, this Ford F-250 brush truck will likely take you anywhere and be the center of attention at any cruise night or fire truck show. With no reserve, it could be an affordable way to scoop up a nearly unused brush truck that just needs some cosmetic restoration. How would you use it?


  1. van

    Perfect zombie vehicle
    Don’t waste ammo
    Blast the flesh off the bones
    Boo ya

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  2. Todd Zuercher

    Awesome! Love Highboys. And a special spot in my heart for ’71s. My grandpa had a ’71 and it was the first 4wd I ever rode in.

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    That’s still a viable working vehicle. I hope it is bought by some entity that can put it back into service.

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  4. Mark P

    Where I live we have no town water or fire hydrants and we’re about ten miles from the fire station so It would be kept as is. Sounds like some rural state but actually I live about 45 miles south of Boston MA.

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    • AMX Brian

      It’s funny how weird that area of Mass is. Everybody assumes more of the area than there is. I’m also from a small town south of Boston. You might have heard of it, but chances are nobody else here has. And fun fact there are only two other places in the world named the same, none in the U.S.

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  5. JW

    If I still lived on my farmette I would buy this truck and keep it just like it is for fire protection.

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  6. CJay

    Each fire dept. (volunteer or paid) have their own SOP’s for maintaining and servicing equipment. Attached is a photo of my working 1970 Ford with 14k miles. This was as purchased with 20 years of service records included. I’ve added logos to the doors and a hub cap.

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  7. Brian

    Jeff, By your comment about the need for this vehicle I take it you have never seen a corn field fire or brush fire? Single hose isn’t going to do it, and quite often no hydrants anywhere close.

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    • Ed P

      Brian, these trucks can go where big fire trucks cannot. Roll a big pumper off road and onto corn field is a disaster waiting to happen.

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  8. Ed P

    Can anybody guess what size the water tank is on this truck?

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  9. CJay

    Water weighs about 8 lbs. per gallon. So 250 gallons equals 1 ton. With single rear tires. most likely 100 gallons or less

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  10. Howard A Member

    I’ll bet this truck has a zillion idling hours. These were used for all kinds of disasters. Floods transferring water, pumping out tanks, filling tankers, spraying unruly crowds and such. Since it doesn’t hold a lot of water, not sure it would be good for a sole fire truck, unless it maybe pulled a tank. Lot of hardware there, just can you use it?.

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  11. geomechs geomechs Member

    I like the truck itself but I wouldn’t know what to do with it if I got it. I’d be tempted to remove the fire apparatus and use it more as a light-duty service vehicle. I’m within earshot of the local FD so it would be redundant that way. Probably best for me to pass on this and wait for something more suitable; let someone who needs a truck like this get it…

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  12. Bill McCoskey Bill McCoskey Member

    Just had to make a comment about one of my pet peeves concerning vehicle mileage descriptions in ads: It’s not 20,000 original miles. The original mileage on ALL vehicles is 0, as in ZERO. The correct term to used to describe the mileage would be “20,000 RECORDED miles”, or if it’s known to be the correct mileage, then 20,000 ACTUAL miles.

    As a published automotive writer, I never gave this much thought until I was contacted by someone who didn’t learn English as a primary language, explaining when translated, it can lose context & meaning.

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