Bill Aumen with the 1962 Ford fire truck he purchased from the town of Qualicum Beach last year. (submitted photo)

Cowichan Valley man restores 1962 Qualicum Beach fire truck he bought for $1

Vintage vehicle in working order and ready to hit the road

It’s been more than a year since Duncan’s Bill Aumen bought a 1962 Ford fire truck from the Town of Qualicum Beach for $1, and the project has finally come together.

The vehicle, the first fire truck purchased by the town of Qualicum Beach, is now fully operational and ready to hit the road.

Aumen found the idea of owning and restoring the truck especially appealing because of its value as a piece of local history. It was manufactured by Pierre Thibault, a Canadian company, and purchased by the Qualicum Beach Fire Department in the 1960s. While it appeared to be in rough shape, a preliminary inspection revealed the truck could be restored to its original condition.

Aumen used to be the chief of a volunteer fire department in the United States, and has always had an interest in fire trucks.

“Fire trucks always seemed like a more interesting restoration project than a classic car,” Aumen said. “The difference is, when you get through restoring a classic car it’s actually worth something and when you get through restoring a fire truck it’s still not worth anything, but it’s more fun.”

Aumen worked on the truck in tandem with his friend Grant Hopkins, who is experienced in restoration.

Some things had to be replaced for safety reasons, including the brake system. A new pump intake had to be fabricated, large pieces of it were cracked or missing after freezing due to one of the drain valves being overlooked when stored outside.

“I have a little over $2,500, plus ‘a few hours’ work invested,” said Aumen.

In addition, the truck got a new coat of paint, including new lettering spelling out “Qualicum Beach Engine 2.”

The truck will be used for special events in Qualicum Beach in the future — as agreed on during the sale.

Aumen’s next step is to create a project displaying the history of the truck to accompany his restoration. If you have any photos or stories, he would love to hear from you at ladder58@aumenconsulting.com.

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