The spectrum ranges from the many on their own through the weirs themselves or through smaller local crafts- and body shops, but partly also through the fire fighting equipment industry, Models converted into emergency vehicles, up to those for export with their typical cars, to our eyes mostly strange and exotic-looking structures and equipment features.
This large group of vehicles has been neglected in the literature, although they used to be found in almost every military service and they came from former army, police- or any other civilian model, the bandwidth of which ranged from passenger cars to trucks and delivery vehicles, recruited. The vehicles were, as far as possible, converted according to the special ideas and needs of the respective fire brigade.
Many of these vehicles came from stocks of the former German Wehrmacht, which stood around uselessly after the war and waited to be scrapped. But also the vehicles of the Western Allied armies, which are now redundant in large numbers, especially the US, enriched the available potential.
This vehicle category, which was widespread in the 1950s and 1960s, also among larger defense forces, was also an indication of the hardship in the post-war period and the improvisational skills of the men, who mainly came from manual trades. New vehicles were initially only available to a very limited extent, so that one had to make do with temporary arrangements. In some cases, however, the financial resources required to purchase new vehicles were also lacking. Those fire engines were also among the self-conversions, their intended use through retrofitting, with. B. when removing the structure, in order to be able to continue using the chassis for other purposes or when converting a turntable ladder park to a newer chassis, was changed. For the most part, these vehicles fulfilled their intended tasks like new models, so that they stayed in service for years. For smaller ones, less financially strong defenses, A vehicle that was redesigned in-house was sometimes the very first motor vehicle and therefore the entry into motorization. This step began back in the 1920s with the conversion of some heavy passenger cars, who had the necessary load-bearing capacity, and he contributed a lot to it, the mobility of fire brigades, especially in the country, to increase.
Almost each of these models was unique and therefore unique. Today it always amazes, what different constructions have been brought about in this field in the past. Today these models are true-
become tender, although a lot is still being changed and rebuilt in-house at the weirs. Overall, it's very surprising, What a long service life some of these vehicles, originally only intended for a transitional period, can look back on.
Unfortunately, many of these vehicles were neither captured in the photo nor documented in any other way, or their images were lost over time. The few photographs that have survived almost exclusively as amateur photographs are among the special rarities.
A selection of the most interesting constructions can be seen in this book, and some of these unique pieces will certainly stimulate the numerous model builders among the readers to undertake corresponding conversion activities, because often it is precisely these vehicles that are not designed according to standards, which are particularly attractive to collectors and enthusiasts because of their uniqueness. In addition, the images were selected by, unpublished, from private hands or from the fire brigades themselves- and mission recordings added.
For the first time in this volume are historical, published mainly from the first two post-war decades, which can be described as special photographic delicacies, because there was photography with color film at that time, when almost exclusively black and white films were exposed everywhere, with the comparatively expensive material, which is still afflicted with many defects, which, moreover, only had very modest film speeds, problematic, so that it was still more of an exception, when a color film has been inserted. In addition to the film material, there is also the camera technology, especially the improved color rendering of the lenses, has developed rapidly in recent years. So it can be explained, that there are only relatively few color photographs from this period. But even the quality of the black and white material printed here cannot always keep up with the quality that can be achieved today, To a large extent it is amateur recordings, of which there are no more negatives and which had to be deducted by means of reproduction. The situation is different with the recordings from the factory archives, which is usually used by professional photographers on large negatives- or plate formats have been created and therefore – despite their age – mostly of good quality.
In addition to the recordings from West Germany, which, as always, predominate in terms of numbers, and the – Unfortunately – only a few images from the former GDR, This time there was also image material from fire engines based in Austria, mainly on German chassis and mostly as custom conversions, recorded, because there was not enough material from similar vehicles from Germany available. The cars shown are so interesting in their appearance, that I did not want to forego the publication of the recordings, Especially since vehicles of a similar type were also used in large numbers by German defense forces in the post-war period. I hope, thus for the vast majority