Owner's Pride

from the pages of

1946 Maxim 750-gpm pumper

Colonial Heights (VA) Volunteer Fire Department
The Herman Family
Chesterfield, VA

This 1946 Maxim four door cab pumper was purchased new by the Colonial Heights (VA) Volunteer Fire Department and
was the first new rig in the department. It replaced a 1924 American LaFrance that was obtained used from the town of
Blackstone (VA). It was one of the very few 4-door/7 man cab apparatus to be used in the state of Virginia. According to our
resident Maxim expert, Howie Smith, this was the very first 4 door rig built by Maxim on a conventional Maxim chassis. (See
Howie Smith’s article on the Maxim 4 door cab rigs in a previous issue of Enjine!~Enjine!). This also seems to be supported
by the fact that this rig was featured in Maxim’s full page add in the April 1947 issue of Fire Engineering and used on many
other pieces of Maxim advertising, including a color double page layout β€œMerry Christmas” advertisement. Interesting
to note that in the 1947 FE ad, the other apparatus in the ad is an open cab pumper from Vienna, Va., which is now fully
restored and maintained by the Vienna FD, so both rigs used in this ad were used in Virginia and both still survive today!

This rig was originally delivered painted solid red and without the overhead ladder rack. The hard suctions and ladders
are stored inside the hose body and the pump panel is enclosed behind a compartment door. It was originally powered
by a Hercules engine mated to a 4-speed transmission. The rig was sent back to the Maxim factory in the early 1960s for
a repower and at that time the engine was replaced with a Waukesha 554 cubic inch straight six. It now sports a 5-speed
overdrive tranny. An overhead ladder rack with a 35’ extension ladder was added and it was repainted in the new Colonial
Heights red & white color scheme.

The ’46 responded on its last fire call in 1984. The department chief at the time stated that it would never be sold, an
idea that I fully supported and encouraged. In time, the department members lost interest in the old girl and it became
somewhat neglected. With the retirement of the chief and a new chief now in place, changes were imminent and with a new
ambulance sitting outside in the snow, while the ’46 was snuggled nice and warm inside and little interest from the members
in maintaining it, the chief said enough was enough and it went up on sealed bids. I purchased the rig and brought it home on
May 9, 1996 with 17,814 miles on the odometer. It has been a faithful parade rig and companion ever since!