Buying an antique car can be a once-in-a-lifetime experience for many people. They can be expensive, but it’s worth every penny for the history, the character and the sheer style that comes from owning an antique piece of automotive engineering. While a classic sports car or pickup truck is a great choice, why not go for something a little more unique, like an antique firetruck?
Whether you’ve always wanted to be a fireman or just want something that will set you apart from the rest at your city’s next antique car show, here are a few tips and tricks to help you find the antique firetruck of your dreams.
Set Yourself a Budget
This should absolutely be your first step because it’s far too easy to put yourself in debt when you’re hunting for an antique firetruck. Sure, you can find a beater for a couple thousand dollars, but if you’re not looking for a project car, that isn’t going to cut it.
You need to figure out your budget before you start hunting for your dream firetruck and stick to that budget as closely as humanly possible. Don’t put yourself in the red just to bring home a firetruck, even if it’s the truck of your dreams. Prices are going to range between $2,000 to over $20,000, depending on what you’re looking for.
Have Somewhere to Park It
Most average household garages aren’t going to have enough space to store an antique firetruck, so you will need to make sure you have somewhere to store your purchase before you bring it home. This is doubly important if you live in an area that’s controlled by a homeowners’ association. They might take offense to a large antique firetruck parked in your driveway, no matter what condition it’s in.
Have a place ready to store your antique truck. Indoors is ideal, especially for project trucks, but a covered carport or a similar area will also suffice.
Once you have a place to park it and an idea of a budget, it’s time to start hunting for your dream truck. You’ve got a lot of options for this step. Your local fire department may hold auctions from time to time to raise money for new trucks and equipment by auctioning off old and antique models. You may also be able to get a line on antique trucks by talking to firemen — both active and retired — at your local stations.
If that doesn’t pan out, there are always online sales and auctions sites to help you find the truck of your dreams if you can’t locate a match elsewhere. You may end up paying a bit more in sales commissions and fees, but it becomes a viable option if you can’t find anything locally.
As with any antique vehicle or other major purchase, before you sign on the dotted line and bring it home, you’ll want to inspect it to ensure it’s in good condition. Or, if it’s supposed to be a project car, at least ensure that it’s not rusted to the point of being unsafe.
Getting your new purchase to a mechanic might be a good idea too, just to ensure that no big problems are going to sneak up and bite you once you get your firetruck home.
Show It Off
Finally, don’t buy an antique firetruck if you’re going to keep it in the garage all the time. Polish up your new purchase and show it off! You’re sure to stand out at antique car shows, whether you’re staying local or taking your show on the road.
It’s not every day that you get to live out a childhood dream by bringing home your own firetruck. Enjoy it!