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Your Ride: 1951 Chicago Fire Truck [w/video]

Jeff Perez
22 June 2013

If classic cars could talk, what would they say? One Miami firefighter Keith Seafield relives firsthand the experience of 1951-era Chicago fire patrol with his classic fire truck. Built originally for the Chicago FD in 1951, Keith acquired the truck in 2007 for the purpose of a full restoration in honor of his grandfather Captain Michael J. Kinsch.

Thanks to some help from the Schukraft Truck Body Builder Company of Chicago, the truck has been beautifully restored to near-mint condition, and is completely drivable. Read more about it here:

Firetruck 5
Firetruck 5

How did you acquire your ride?

I bought it from the Fire Museum of Greater Chicago for $800. I found out about the truck while researching for a book I was writing.

What drew you to it when you bought it?

It was used by my grandfather, Captain Michael J. Kinsch, during the early 1950′s when he was a member of the Chicago Fire Patrol.

Firetruck 2
Firetruck 2

Does it have a name?

Patrol # 5

What do you feel like when you drive it?

Overwhelmed! Imagine sitting in your grandfather’s fire truck looking out the same windshield he had looked out some fifty years ago. Pulling the handle hanging off the dashboard to activate the siren as he had done while responding to fires. I imagine him in the seat, his large fingers pointing out the route that he wanted his driver to take to the fire. I can see him putting on his fire coat and helmet while formulating his plan of action. What an experience it is!

In April of this year, my grandfather’s original driver, Ron DiRenzo (age 83) drove my family in our cities annual parade! What are the odds of that! That he and the truck are still around and were re-united. Search Youtube for Chicago Fire Patrol to see video’s of the event.

Firetruck 4
Firetruck 4

What you would change about your car, if anything?

Air conditioning and power steering would be nice but not original.

What have you done to make it a bolder ride?

Just restored it to its original glory! I just finished a 5 year restoration of this wood framed truck built by the Schukraft Truck Body Builder Company of Chicago.

Dream accessory for it and why?

Would love to have my grandfather sitting in it again. He passed in 1975.

Thanks to Keith for sharing his ride! Want your ride featured? Click here to find out how

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