Continued from page 1

Mr. Daniel offered his restored fire truck for sale in January 2005. Mr. Banks contacted him and, once he was satisfied of the authenticity, the transfer of ownership took place on May 7 at Mr. Daniel’s home in Sinking Spring, Pa.

With the fire truck at his home, Mr. Banks inspected the Datsun from stem to stern, not believing his good fortune.

Without fail, each time he climbs behind the three-spoke steering wheel on the right side of the vehicle, he savors the experience. The spare tire is mounted vertically behind the seat cushion to double as the back of the driver’s seat.

A siren must be hand-cranked to issue any warning, as if the driver didn’t have enough to contend with already.

The clutch is in the familiar place as the far left foot pedal. To help confuse the driver, the brake and accelerator have switched places.

Unlike modern fire engines, with a multitude of lights, this one has only a single taillight, mounted in the fashion of the day, on the left fender. At the right end of the grab bar, above the rear step plate is a spotlight with a fire bell occupying the left end of the bar.

A single, manually operated wiper is designed to clear the glass in front of the driver, a seemingly useless task on a vehicle with no top, side windows or doors. Atop the windshield frame is a forward-facing red light. At each end of the windshield frame, a metal bracket supports a semaphore (lighted arm) turn signal.

From the driver’s seat, looking past the overly optimistic 100 kmph (60 mph) speedometer and the stubby little engine hood is the brass hood ornament. Actual top speed has been estimated at about 70 kmph (about 40 mph).

Mr. Banks continues to dig into the history of the vehicle, though much of the documentation was lost during World War II. He is gathering Japanese firefighting equipment to show whenever he displays the 1933 Datsun, so painstakingly restored at great effort and expense by Mr. Daniel.

Whenever he shows the fire truck, Mr. Banks is easy to identify. He’s the one with a smile as bright as the polished chrome 1952 Datsun ‘DC-3’ sports car front bumper on the front of his fire truck.