so in the spirit of the occasion, we put together a collection of some of the coolest, most interesting police cars, fire engines, wreckers, and ambulances we’ve come across during our visits to cars shows across the country. October 28 is celebrated as National First Responders Day,
Take a look at these interesting and historically significant rides—and every October 28, make sure to remember the intrepid men and women behind the wheel that keep us safe.
American LaFrance was one of the preeminent fire engine and ladder truck manufacturers through the 1980s, until a series of ownership changes hastened its demise in 2014. (Image/OnAllCylinders)
under its hood, this C4 Corvette really puts the “First” in First Responder. (Image/OnAllCylinders) With a GM LT1 V8
This 1946 Chevy 1-1/2 ton tow truck is a faithful recreation of an original model, featuring a custom fabricated wrecker boom and authentic paint scheme. Under the hood resides a trusty Chevy 216ci six. (Image/OnAllCylinders)
While the Ford Model T already has a versatile resume, dozens of aftermarket companies converted them into fire trucks too, like this 1920 Model TT Prospect that originally served with the Pandora, Ohio Fire Department. (Image/OnAllCylinders – Will Schertz)
Speaking of Prospect, this 1930 Ford AA Fire Truck is another conversion by the Prospect Fire Company of Prospect, Ohio—unfortunately the business did not survive long after the Great Depression. (Image/OnAllCylinders)
We’re not sure if this vintage Chevy bus served as a prisoner transport or a hardcore safari rig—it’s awesome, either way. (Image/OnAllCylinders – Will Schertz)
This 1956 Ford F-250 hose truck is one of many vehicles preserved by to exhibit to future generations. (Image/OnAllCylinders) the Reno Fire Antique and Classic Apparatus, Inc.
In the early 1950s, Packard teamed up with the Henney ambulance, limo, and hearse company to produce the “Junior” line of ambulances. Made between 1953 and 1954, only about 500 of these vehicles were ever built. (Image/OnAllCylinders)
This side view of a 1919 Ford Model T fire truck shows you how spartan some of these early rigs were, with little more than a ladder, some hose, and a water tank. (Image/Summit Racing)
The Autocar Company of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania was once a major heavy equipment manufacturer. The business was eventually absorbed into Volvo Trucks in the 1980s, but has recently restarted making heavy duty vehicles under the name Autocar. (Image/OnAllCylinders – Kirk Heinbuch)
Though it’s wearing tribute car livery here, Ford Galaxies of seemingly every generation were popular choices for many police motor pools—and movie and TV studios too, appearing in American Graffiti, The Andy Griffith Show, and (Image/OnAllCylinders) Police Squad!
This 1972 Ford Galaxie is wearing a Barberton Police badge—an Akron, Ohio suburb not too far from OnAllCylinders world headquarters. (Image/OnAllCylinders)
Starting in the late 19th century, the Boyer Company was a leader in chemical firefighting technologies and eventually branched into heavy fire equipment production as well. The company soldiered on into 1980s before closing its doors. (Image/OnAllCylinders)
Though Mack is now a division inside Volvo Trucks, it is still making heavy equipment—and has been since 1905. This particular wrecker is a vintage 1928 Mack AC-4, note the outrigger stabilizers and recovery boom. (Image/OnAllCylinders – Will Schertz)
Ever wonder why early fire trucks often don’t have roofs? Typically seen on ladder trucks like this one, the open cab design allowed firefighters to easily spot overhead hazards and help direct the ladder teams. (Image/OnAllCylinders)
After their adoption in the Armed Services, many police departments added Humvees to their motor pools as well—particularly in the rural areas, where the Hummer’s off-road capability was an invaluable asset on uneven terrain. (Image/OnAllCylinders)
While we’re talking about military vehicles, the venerable Dodge WC series spawned an ambulance variant during , the WC-54. (Image/OnAllCylinders) World War II
Knox is regarded as one of the first “modern” fire engine manufacturers, and while we’re not sure of the build date on this exact one, the bedside reads “1st Motorized Engine Co., 1911” out of Lexington, Kentucky. Check out that impressive PTO assembly that drives the water pump too. (Image/OnAllCylinders – Kirk Heinbuch)
This 1937 Plymouth police car is wearing colors for , a charity for Texas peace officers who suffer a critical life-altering line of duty injury. (Image/ the POAF ) Championship Auto Shows
Though it’s had its lights and decals removed, there’s no mistaking that this 1972 Chevy Suburban is a retired ambulance—we bet it makes a nice long-haul hotrod too. (Image/OnAllCylinders)
What does it take to tow a big truck? An even bigger truck. This imposing eight-wheel Peterbilt wrecker has a massive telescoping boom in the back to help it recover stuck big rigs. (Image/OnAllCylinders – Kirk Heinbuch)
Finally, given the , we’ll leave you with this fun fact: The first powered police car ever was an electric wagon that patrolled the streets of Akron, Ohio way back in 1899. It’s said that the wagon’s first assignment was to pick up a drunk guy— Summit Racing Retail Store’s proximity to the Rubber City (Image/Public Domain) and we’re not making that up, either.