Bonhams | 2018-10-08 | Collectors Motorcars and Automobilia Auction Philadelphia Simeone Foundation Automotive Museum | Venue : Philadelphia, Simeone Foundation Automotive Museum
Lot No. : 121
Year : 1920
Engine Size : -
Engine No. : #1502
Estimate : US$ 70,000 - 90,000
Ahrens-Fox Firetruck Not Sold


612ci T-Head Inline 6-cylinder Engine
3-Speed Manual Transmission
Semi-Elliptic Leaf Springs Front and Rear
Mechanical Rear Brakes
*The Rolls-Royce of firetrucks
*Previously owned by noted collector Mark V. Smith
*A vehicle with great historical significance
*Extremely collectible
Known as the Rolls-Royce of firetrucks, the Ahrens-Fox was simply the best piece of equipment a fire fighting team could have had at its disposal in the early 20th century. This machine is incredibly well engineered and provided departments crucially important features to help get the job one. One of which was the chrome plated ball which was perched atop the 4-cylinder pumping engine. At the time, firefighting was not just a dangerous job due to the proximity to roaring infernos but because the tools themselves were potentially harmful. Uneven pressure movement could cause surging strong enough to break arms and limbs. This priming ball fitted to the Ahrens helped to regulate this pressurized water into an even stream, drastically reducing potential accidents. This innovation was combined with the step-down nozzle to make larger, lower pressure flow of water out of the hose possible.
The task of propelling this rig down the road was handled by a 6-cylinder gas powered internal combustion engine capable of moving the vehicle to speeds of 50mph. As reliability was a main point of concern for the firefighting teams, levels of redundancy were employed to keep things moving. Dual ignition systems, double spark plugs, and many other systems were done in duplicate making this one of the most expensive motors of its day.
The Ahrens-Fox on offer was first delivered to the Minneapolis Fire department and served as a trusted tool of the city for many years. Since leaving the line of duty, however, the vehicle has been featured in the noted firetruck collection of Mark V. Smith in Staunton, Virginia. Eventually the truck would leave his care to be placed in the hands of the current consigner who has kept the truck within his own collection for 20 years. This Ahrens Fox is a fine show piece and a rare example of one of the best pieces of firefighting equipment available at the time. An item of firefighting historical significance presented such as this should make for a great addition to any collection.

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