Yellowstone Rescue Rig: 1938 Diamond T Bus

This 1938 Diamond T Rescue Vehicle is something a bit unusual, but we’ve become used to our readers spotting the unusual. Barn Finder Tyler brought this one to our attention, so thank you for that Tyler. You will find this Diamond T listed for sale here on Craigslist. It is located in Danbury, Connecticut, and the title is listed as missing. The owner has set a price of $50,000 for this classic.

It’s not clear how long it has been since this Diamond T has seen service, but I’m guessing that it has probably been a few years. The seller claims that the truck is rust-free, and certainly the exterior of the truck only shows a few signs of surface corrosion. The seller claims that the vehicle was used by the West Yellowstone, Montana Fire & Rescue, and it is obviously a dedicated rescue vehicle, as there doesn’t appear to be any fire-fighting equipment visible. One positive thing to consider is the fact that the vehicle has always been stored indoors, so this maximizes the chances that rust will be minimal.

The cab of the truck looks to be in good reasonable condition, and it certainly doesn’t look like there is going to be much restoration required there. The dash features a deluxe gauge cluster that is a work of art in itself. It does appear that the original labeling is missing off a number of switches, but there are Diamond T collectors groups that may be able to help the new owner to locate these. We don’t get any shots of the engine, but the seller does state that it is a gasoline engine which is mated to a 4-speed manual transmission. For a Diamond T of this era, the engine may be a Hercules unit, but hopefully there is a Diamond T specialist out there who can clarify this for us.

This is the business end of proceedings for this truck. This is the rear cab area, and there are a few of the cool features visible in this shot. The cab is lined in mahogany, and it is also heated. The seats don’t look comfortable, but I guess that if you’ve just been rescued from a life-threatening situation, they would be the most comfortable seats in the world. We can see one of the search-lights visible here, but there is a matching one on the left as well. These are on elevators, and they can be raised up through a hatch in the roof to provide a clear lighting source for search operations. The seller doesn’t indicate whether these features still operate.

This is a vehicle that is really hard to place a value on. It is one of those ones where it will be worth whatever someone is willing to pay for it. Interestingly, while I was searching around for information on this vehicle, I found that this Craigslist sale had been linked to a Facebook page for Diamond T enthusiasts. The person who posted it on Facebook described it as a bit pricey, but cool. Maybe that answers the question about price.

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  1. Jimmy

    It’s cool but good luck with that asking price and no title.

  2. marc

    Too cool. Would make a fantastic RV with very little work.

    • 63Comet

      But at a $50k starting point? You’d have one very expensive RV when done. I like your idea but outta my budget.

  3. Fred W

    Drop it on a modern motorhome chassis, RV the inside and be the hit of the campgrounds.

  4. JimmyJ Member

    Cool truck!
    Is there 40k in the glovebox?

    • Nate

      Or $47,500. I mean really, it’s cool. But no cooler than a matchbox of the exact same truck. It’s a conversation piece at best, in my opinion.

  5. Alexander

    Love that early Mustang seat for the driver! :) Might help someone with a Mustang restoration and put a little coin in your pocket after buying the truck for $50k. Wyandotte made pressed steel toys of similar vehicles in various scales and they too command a high price in today’s market.

  6. Mountainwoodie

    Where you gonna get another one? Price aside which is ultimately up to the guy or gal with the money, this has got to be one of the coolest rigs still rolling. A Diamond T AND a genuine rescue rig….what the hey! And take a look at the rest of the sellers stuff…talk about toys for big boys…….one of the few times I might actually envy someone……..until I figure out what it would cost to keep these toys.

  7. canadainmarkseh Member

    The down side to making this into an RV is its enormous weight and if you put the body on an RV chassie the wheelsare going to be way to small. This would need to go on a 5 ton truck chassie. To do such a thing would be a huge undertaking and some serious lifting equipment. You’d need to be in a shop with a rolling gantry. Choice ( b ) would be to put in a modern 5 ton axle up front with disc brakes. A modern 2 speed axle in the rear, a cumins diesel the newer 6.7, and an Allison 6 speed transmission. I’d the aliminate all those external cabinet doors and the flood light assembly. Then I’d gut out the interior saving the ceiling, know it would be read for an RV conversion. $50k is an outrageous prose and is never going to happen I would pay no more than $8k lets get real here as it sits it really guite useless. There has to be room in the price so as to give the buyer room to do something with it, or what’s the point of having it. JMHO.

  8. Barry Aydt

    The owner right now is prob laughing, everyone is doing just what he,s wanting to acheive, Talking about it ,and speadin the word!, that aside, its worth whatever your willing to pay.

  9. Vance

    I would like to know the original cost of this vehicle just for sh*ts and grins.

    • tian647

      Somewhere there is a government invoice documenting this purchase. I’d like to know whether it went out on a competitive bid and what the criteria were.

  10. Wes

    Is what the Grim Reaper drove right to the scene of the crash. Creepy

  11. Bill Wilkman

    The value in this vehicle is in its history. It should be restored to original condition and shown at every car and truck show within driving distance. To convert it to a motor home would destroy the vehicle’s historical significance. There must be photos of this truck when it was in service, so returning it to it’s original spec would be possible. That said, 50 large is a pretty hefty lift and the buyer will have to pour tons of additional money into it to make it show worthy.

  12. Uncle Bob

    This thing would certainly peg the Neato meter, and if someone just fell in love with the idea of this rig without having a clue of what to do with it the advertiser might hit the mini lotto. Can’t fault the ask at this point as he probably doesn’t have a clue what it’s worth, and neither do I. Now, there are people out there who are really into these, not very many, but some. When they get together (those few), they’ve probably seen pics of this one and heard stories about it. That’s the likely buyer, if they haven’t already gone to the happy hunting grounds. When the advertiser gets a realistic offer from one of those knowledgeable types, and it’s probably way below his ask, will he have learned enough to know what a fair offer is and take it? Some scenarios never change…….

  13. Fordguy1972

    A really interesting rig but what are you going to do with it if you bought it? I can’t see $50k for it, for that kind of money you could buy a REALLY nice muscle car. Who knows how much it will cost to make it roadworthy, never mind the cost if you chose to upgrade the running gear. While this Diamond T is a neat piece of history, I just don’t see anyone dropping 50 large on it unless you’re lucky enough to find someone with crazy money.

    I think this would make a great rig for a contractor, be it construction, plumbing HVAC or whatever. Plenty of storage outside for equipment and tools with the option of converting the body inside for supplies, parts, etc. Plus you could transport your crew to the job site. A dually truck with a utility body would probably cost at least as much as being asked for this rig.

    Good luck getting anywhere near $50k; I’m thinking $15 – $20 thousand. But what do I know.

  14. boxdin

    Even when the seller comes down to 20k there still won’t be any buyers.

  15. STM

    Will it fit in a std garage?

    • Ike Onick

      It won’t fit in a standard airplane hangar. As stated above- What in God’s name would you do with it?

  16. JimmyinTEXAS

    I really would like to see this in person to get a feel of how big it really is. Since it is listed as a 1.5 tonne maybe it isn’t much larger than a bus. I hope someone gets it that can do something cool with it and get that coolness on the road.

  17. Classic Steel

    I think it’s neat.
    My garage won’t hold it or my association by laws won’t allow it permanently in front of the house and although my bank account could afford it ..this comes back to what do you do with it!

    Just because it’s rare and old doesn’t equate to 💰💰💰💰💰💰😟

    Maybe it’s a tiny home 🏡 as it’s the price of a starter home in rural USA.

    • Ike Onick

      It would be in front of your house and four of your neighbor’s houses.

  18. Bravocharleywindsor

    I’m envisioning a sequel movie to Ghostbusters where in through some paranormal/temporal disturbance our heroes end up in 1938. This is what they would drive, along with conjuring up a whole bunch of other cool retro steam punk type equipment, in their quest to figure out what is going on and save the world from certain destruction!

    Who ya’ gonna’ call?

  19. JimmyinTEXAS

    I have contacted the seller on the dimensions. It is quite large, but not Paul Bunyan large. It is 20′ overall and 14′ wheelbase, 8 ‘ tall and 8’ wide.
    And I still don’t have a clue about what I would do with it.

    • leiniedude Member

      Great job on the contact Jimmy! Everything is bigger in Tejas. It would be a great tour bus for that little ol band from Texas. Take care, Mike.

      • leiniedude Member

        Oh, and I forgot to add in my best Billy Gibbons, a how how how. Always loved Franks drum kits also.

      • JimmyinTEXAS

        Well, Brad Paisley and I have put together what I refer to as a “band”. That may be exactly what we need… lol

      • Ike Onick

        How come the guy named “Beard” doesn’t have one?

    • leiniedude Member

      Nice Jimmy! ‘what I refer to as a “band”’. Is it refer or reefer! Have a great night, Bullit is on Welfare TV. Gottta go, take care, Mike.

      • JimmyinTEXAS

        It would be a ‘reefer” band if I had teamed up with Willie… lol Wish I got Welfare TV so I could watch Bullit…lol Have fun.

      • leiniedude Member

        Thanks Brother, Willy and Waylon.Take care, Mike.

    • leiniedude Member

      Ike Onick, Thats the fun of ZZTop!

      • Ike Onick

        No doubt. I played drums and still have a set sitting in the basement. Frank has always been one of my favorites. A real solid timekeeper and perfect for that band. Adios! and “Give The Drummer Some!”

  20. healeydays

    Buy it, and just convert it into a food truck and sell tacos out the back. You should make your money back in 30 years or so…

    • TJP440

      My first thought when I saw it was FOOD TRUCK !
      yes it would be pricey but the COOL FACTOR would be over the top. Especially at major car events.
      Financially feasible? NO! COOL??? YES!!!!

  21. Del

    No real description of whether or not it drives and engine condition.

    Price is ridiculous.

  22. stillrunners

    Just neat-o it has survived and was not turned into a new Honda….just sayin’…

  23. John T Carter

    I have a 47 Diamond T. Just like the one showing. I bought it w/99900 it has a Diamond T Black Industrial flathead 6cyl. I drove it from s Jersey to sw Missouri. Barn life isn’t good for it, I just hated to see it rot away. It does have a AC generator under it, 110/220, It did ride like a baby coach. I will sell mine for $10,000. It’s sad to see it sit in a barn, I bought to save it from rust.

  24. glenn

    they were also used during the war by the uso they were donut trolleys where soldiers could get donuts and coffee from pretty girls.

  25. Mack

    Take a look at the red truck in the photo….looks like a Mack Jr. pickup

  26. Jon Rappuhn

    Love that passenger compartment interior light-heater combo.

    • JimmyinTEXAS

      If the “heater” was on you would have to have welders goggles to keep from going blind, melanoma would be the next problem…

      • Jon Rappuhn

        Yes, was meant to be funny, but he’s you are right. Although you could get a quick tan. Am wondering, given the year, if these were carbon arc lights similar to the old theatre movie projectors? My mind is telling me yes, does anyone know for sure? And like a previous question what size generator would it take and what might drive it?

    • JimmyinTEXAS

      I enlarged the picture of the light and there is what appears to be a large(heavy current) plug located just to the rear of the light with a couple of wires being blocked by the light. But I hadn’t given thought to carbon arc lights. When someone buys it and turns it into the worlds coolest taco truck maybe they will come back and answer some of our enquiring minds questions.
      Rock on,

  27. Jay E.

    It would be interesting to know what type of industrial sized generator it must have to run those two searchlights!

  28. Joseph Zimmerman

    Can you imagine backing that behemoth up in the day? Now I’d put at least 3 backup cameras on her stern!
    …And I would love to see a Period adventure movie starring Aanold, Sylvesta, and Chuck N. wheeling this through the Himalayan switchbacks, brakes ‘a smokin and tires squealing on the way to rescue Harrison and some curvy blond from those darn Nazi rats!
    All it needs is a plexiglas turret with a pair of .50 cals on the roof and a HUGE brush bar—painted like a B-25.
    Cmon, sell it to me for $5,000 or have Santa bring it to me and I’ll make it the proud flagship of a whole new series of Hollywood nail biters!

  29. Dirk

    Problem is, you can buy it, bring it home, get it running, restore it, or whatever you want to do but if a guy shows up at your door, even years later, and he has the original title, it’s his truck and he can just take it away owing you zero compensation. I’ve had that happen.


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