Tag Archives: Fire

Get The Fire Brigade ! – Rolls Royce 40/50

Last in the present series of Sunday Rolls Royce blogs comes courtesy of photographs sent to me by Geoffrey Horton of a Rolls Royce 40/50 taken in a car park in California a couple of months ago.

Rolls Royce 40/50, California

Recognising the make was of course relatively easy, a big clue to the model was the absence of any front wheel brakes which did not become ‘optional’ until 1923.

Rolls Royce 40/50, California

Allan Lupton at The Nostalgia Forum found out that the car was almost certainly built at the Derby Factory in the UK because these RAF wheel hubs were only used on a few early Springfield, Massachusetts built 40/50’s in 1921.

Rolls Royce 40/50, California

Not withstanding the cars general red colour there are several clues that this car has seen service as a fire engine…

Rolls Royce 40/50, California

the fire extinguisher was a clue,

Rolls Royce 40/50, California

as was this insignia with what appears to be a fire station number on it.

Rolls Royce 40/50, California

Sebastian Tombs of The Nostalgia Forum recognised the dash as being close to the original which again dated the car as early 1920’s.

Rolls Royce 40/50, California

The biggest clue to the story of the car in it’s present condition lay in the rear number plate which Jonas at The Nostalgia Forum recognised as Swedish, the C denotes the car was registered in the Uppsala and Jonas found out the Rolls was registered there with the Uppsala Volunteer Fire Brigade on the 31st January 1935 having arrived in Stolkholm probably in 1934. Jonas then identified the insignia on the door as being that of Uppsala, the forth largest city in Sweden that lies 40 miles north of Stockholm.

Rolls Royce 40/50, California

Enquires with the local Authorities in Uppsala the Historic Fire Association in Sweden led me to Urbin Duhrin who kindly revealed documentation showing that the Rolls Royce was converted into a Fire Engine by Wattholma who’s proprietor was one ex Fire Captain F W Kylberg who left the Stolkholm Fire Service in 1918 after receiving an injury and started a business converting large imported vehicles into fire engines.

Rolls Royce 40/50, California

Christer Johanson back at The Nostalgia Forum then found an interesting legend relating to Fire Captain Kylberg and this Rolls Royce which as told by active Fire Chief Leif Lofgren translated from Swedish runs something like this, the Swedish Civil Fire defense was not very advanced in 1935 so in order to sell the converted Rolls Royce Fire Captain F W Kylberg allegedly organised some “targeted marketing” by waiting for the end of a meeting of Uppsala alderman which took place in a church. When the meeting showed signs of ending Kylberg lit a small straw fire and as the aldermen alighted from the building they were confronted by the fire and a short while later Kylberg emerged with his fire truck, which had been hidden nearby, to put out the fire, showing by example the usefulness of his fire truck and making a sale !

An example of how unsophisticated the Swedish Fire Defence services were as late as the 1950’s involves two more of Kylberg’s converted vehicles one a 1923 Cadillac the other a Chevrolet of “unknown vintage” after a fire drill at Nortrtälje the Chevrolet broke down and so had to be pushed bumper to bumper from behind back to base by the Cadillac to the rear of which was hitched the Chevrolet’s trailer mounted water pump.

Rolls Royce 40/50, California

Jonas Fröjd tells me that today’s featured Royce remained in service with the Uppsala Fire Brigade until April 24 1944 and was then transferred to the Voluntary Fire Brigade at Vattholma, the same town where Frederick Kylberg had converted the vehicle from a passenger car to a fire engine in 1935. The car remained registered with the brigade at Vattholma until March 12th 1964 when ownership changed to the Swedish Nobleman Per Henrik Gustav von Essen in Friherre who appears to have taken it off the road and off the official records.

Thanks again to Allan Lupton I believe this car was built in 1921 originally with a Hooper body, I have made enquiries with two Rolls Royce owners clubs to see if they can put me in touch with the current owner and find out what happened to the originally Hooper bodied 40/50 between 1921 and 1934. As and when this information comes to light I’ll post a follow up blog.

My thanks to Geoffrey Horton for sharing his photographs, to Lola 5000, Jonas Fröjd, Allan Lupton, Vitesse2, Kayemod, Sebastian Tombs, Duncan Rollo, Tim Murray, David Birchall, Michael Ferner, LittleChris, 275 GTB-4, David McKinney, Micheal Hickey, Bloggsworth, MikeC, and Crister Johanson who all chipped in at The Nostalgia Forum, to Tobias Assiego Archivist at Uppsala kommun and Chief Fire Engineer Mats Sundelius at Uppsala Fire Defence who put me in touch with Urban Duhrin of www.brandhistoriska.se.

Apologies if some of the Swedish spelling is out, all corrections gladly accepted.

Thanks for joining me on this “Get The Fire Brigade !” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres”, I hope you will join me again tomorrow for a 1000 mph ride into the future world land speed record book. Don’t forget to come back now !


So You Think You Know Your Sports Cars – Palos Verdes C d’ E

Thanks to photo’s sent by Geoffrey Horton, I am pleased to bring you another dose of California sunshine from the Palos Verdes Concours d’ Elegance held last weekend.

Palos Verdes Concours

About the most difficult vehicle to identify in this over view is the Mazda Como Sport unless like me you have wasted a little time playing Grand Turismo 4. Easiest vehicle to identify for regular GALPOT readers should be Geoffrey’s Jaguar XK140 FHC, which was up against a Mercedes Gullwing this time out. Shocking to me was that Geoffrey sent me photo’s of five vehicles who’s manufacturers I had never heard of.

Coachcraft 'Yankie Doodle' Roadster, Palos Verdes

Oldest of the five was this 1940 Coachcraft ‘Yanke Doodle’ Roadster, a one off with a chassis frame built from Hudson Essex and Ford models by 17 year old Seward Allan with a body by Coachcraft of West Hollywood and modifications by Frank Kurtis.

Maverick Sportster, Palos Verdes

My favourite of the five is this this 1952 Maverick Sportster, a 210 lbs boat tail fibre glass body built by Sterling Gladwin sitting on top of a Flathead Cadillac powered LaSalle chassis. This particular vehicle appears to be the prototype which is recognisable by the absence of any doors.

Woodhill Wildfire, Palos Verdes

Next up we have a car of the type that starred in the reckless and thrilling film ‘Johnny Dark’ namely a Woodhill Wild Fire built by California Dodge dealer Robert ‘Woody’ Woodhill, who dreamed of owning a Jaguar XK120 and ended up building two fibre glass specials. With Willys running gear and tailor made Glasspar bodies, Woodhill was unsuccessful at selling his sportscar to Kaiser, owner of Willy’s, and after modifying his car to run with Ford running gear he then built similar Buick and Cadillac examples. Again failing to gain manufacturer support Woodhill settled for building his sports cars with Ford running gear and selling then as kit cars that could be assembled in 14 hours, famously demonstrating a 4 hour build on TV.

Glasspar G2, Palos Verdes

The company that started the glass fibre revolution in US sports car production appears to be Glasspar a company specialising in building fibre glass fibre boats who built a, Bill Tritt designed, special, the Brooks Boxer, for USAF Major Ken Brooks. The mould for the Brooks Boxer was then used to produce the Glasspar G2 of the type seen here. A modified version of the G2 body was supplied to Robert Woodhill for his Wild Fire kits.

Hirsch Roadster, Palos Verdes

Finally the fibre glass body vehicle above is known as a 1960 Hirsch Roadster, sources on the internet suspect the date since the car is described as having Fiero steering, Datsun 280Z rear axle, and a 1966 289 Ford V8 connected to a similarly sourced 5 speed transmission. The owner believes the cars roots lie in a business that failed to get off the ground in Orange County. If you know anything about the Hirsch or indeed about any of the cars above please do not hesitate to either leave a message or get in touch be e-mail, my address is on the bottom of the page.

My thanks again to Geoffrey Horton for sharing his photographs from Palos Verdes.

Thanks for joining me on this glass fibre edition of ‘Gettin’ a lil’ psycho on tyres’, I hope you will join me again tomorrow when I’ll be looking at a Rover. Don’t forget to come back now !