Fire Jeep Restoration

1954 CJ-3B, Corpo Pompieri Maggia, Switzerland


On 29 August 2009, the fire department in Maggia, in the canton of Ticino, Switzerland, completed a 2-1/2 year restoration of their Willys Jeep, as a project to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the founding of Corpo Pompieri Maggia. Originally purchased in 1955, the Jeep is a 1954 CJ-3B with serial number 454GB2 16531.

The Jeep was well-maintained but showing its age, as Maggia's oldest piece of serving apparatus. See also a left side view (80K JPEG).

In November 2007, a group of firefighters decided to completely restore the Jeep, and a digital image was created to help raise the necessary funds.

The CJ-3B was on standby in a corner of the firehall. Maggia is in the Alps of southern Switzerland, just north of Italy, and the Corpo Pompieri deals with fires in the surrounding mountains as well as the small town itself.

The Jeep was set up to transport a rear-mounted hose reel, as well as personnel. See also the front-mounted extinguisher brackets (80K JPEG).

Disassembly began in late November 2007. Note the air horns ready to surprise drivers on the mountain roads.

The crew was happy to find little rust on the tub, and took this photo of the underside. It's a good reference shot for anybody doing work on a body tub.

Complete sanding of the body took a big chunk of the 450 hours of volunteer labor on the project.

The engine needed some piston work, new sparkplugs and a new fuel pump, before it was installed on the stripped, galvanized and and painted chassis (90K JPEG).

The body was undercoated prior to final painting. The moment when the tub is lowered onto the frame is always a good one.

Headscratching is a necessary part of a complete rewiring job.


Fire Chief Alex Quanchi helps refit the hood.

Final touches included beautiful new seat covers and soft top on the original framework.

The air horns were moved for maximum effectiveness.

The Jeep is like new inside and out, and the custom floor mats are a nice touch.

The CJ-3B joins Maggio's collection of restored antique apparatus, but is also ready to head into the mountains when needed.


Thanks to Alex Quanchi and the other members of Corpo Pompieri Maggia. -- Derek Redmond

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Last updated 27 November 2010 by Derek Redmond redmond@cj3b.info
All content not credited and previously copyright, is copyright Derek Redmond