Monday, August 17, 2009

Paint, Identity, and Pictures

Here she is, on the day I picked her up, original red paint visible on the inside of the door. More pictures farther down.....

I was doing some fishing around to get an idea what it will run me to make this rig red again, and am still recovering from the shock.

The general estimate: 10 Gs. $10,000. Five figures. Ouch.

So do I wait, perhaps for many years, and get it done 'right', or do I shortcut it a bit, forgo comprehensive sandblasting and just get a half decent paint job on par for a working vehicle? I don't mind if it looks a little rough along the lines of what working fire apparatus often look like, but I want to avoid 'cheap' and end up with it looking like lipstick on a pig.

One solution I am considering is to approach some paint and body shops nearby and barter work in exchange for advertising. That is, to show their name and number on the rig at parades and musters, for a fixed number of major appearances, in order to offset the cost. Still, at $10G, that is a lot of appearances. If I were a shop owner, I don't know if I would go for that... I am wondering how many shows I would pay $10G to put a fire truck in for advertising. And then, one of the helpful guys at ALFowners pointed out that the collector car insurance carriers as a general rule prohibit commercial use. That would mean that coverage would probably be null and void when advertising is displayed.


I am in over my head, but I knew that going in. I doubt that feeling will ever go away. I have existing debt, added more to get this rig, and of course there is the family to take care of. Necessarily, this project is not real super high up the priority list.

Still, I am glad I did not pass this opportunity by.


I have determined beyond all doubt that my engine was not Engine 10 for its entire life with Tacoma. Engine 10 was not one of the original recipients of the eight sisters. I have narrowed it down, and (assuming I remember correctly) have refined the possibilities to it originally being E1, E2, E6 or E17. We shall see. The blog name will be changing when I find out.


Finally, pictures:

This is Tacoma's Truck Co. #3, from the same batch of American LaFrance Type 900's that my engine came from, which represents both the color and markings that I hope to eventually put back on my engine. (Photo from Ralph Decker collection per

A picture I took right after installing the new Collector Vehicle license plate, which also clearly shows the '10' peeking through a thin coat of silver paint on the center rear compartment door:

From the trip home: In front of Tacoma Station #10 (it's last full-time gig with Tacoma), and then also in front of former Tacoma Station #8 (next to where I grew up).


  1. Hey nice site - just thought id drop this in if you want to avoid paying 10k for the pain job. This guy managed to respray a car on his drive to show quality. Might be worth considering.

    You can contact him at