1955 GMC Fire Truck docent 002


Donated by the District of Hope Fire Department

The District of Hope received this GM C 450/Thibault fire truck on July 8, 1955.

It was purchased from Thibault, a prominent Canadian fire apparatus manufacturer located in Pierreville Quebec, After arriving in Montreal from Hope aboard the CPR’s “Canadian” streamlined passenger train, Mr. & Mrs. John Lane began the return trip on June 24th, 1955 with the new fire engine to Hope. The Trans-Canada Highway north of Lake Superior was not yet built in 1955.

They drove through the northern U.S. and crossed the border at Osoyoos, with a stop in Penticton before heading back to Hope.

The new fire engine served for decades, Hope and area, including the southern end of the Fraser Canyon, and the western part of the Hope Princeton.

The Museum received the fire engine in September 2015.

Truck Specifications:

Model: GMC 454-30

Engine: 302 cu. In 250 HP 6 cyl. Gasoline

Transmission: 5 Speed Transmission 157″ WB

Fuel capacity: 14 Imp.gal fuel tank (10 mpg)

Fire Suppression Apparatus  Specifications :

2,955 Litres per minute, 625 gpm(Gallon per minute) triple combination pumper with 2,273 Litre 500 Imp. Gal water booster tank.

14′ roof ladder Fog gun.

 2 ½ ” hose 4 ½ “suction hose Federal G66 siren

Federal Scatter Ray light

The District of Hope Fire Department was also kind enough to donate many period correct accessories such as axes, fire extinguishers and protective gear.

History of Thibault Fire Trucks

Thibault is the oldest family run manufacturers of fire fighting vehicles in Canada. Starting in the early 1900,s Thibault Fire Trucks was actually building fire fighting equipment Internationally for many decades. Trucks were sold throughout the US, in Jamaica, Columbia and Chile, and the Middle East.

Based in Pierreville, Québec Thibault operated under the name Thibault Fire Trucks from 1928 to 1992. Founder Pierre Thibault died in 1961 leaving his company to his 9 sons. Pierre started making handpumps and  building horse-drawn fire apparatus for small Québec communities after WWi as part of his father’s company.

Moving to Pierreville in 1938 and made some Crash trucks for the Canadian government during WWII. Following that with sales to municipal fire departments across Canada and even some custom chassis and ladder trucks in the 1950’s.

The Thibault family instigated many advancements in firefighting equipment over the years. At one point in time nearly every fire department in Canada had a Thibault Firetruck.

During the 60’s some of the Brothers opened their own fire equipment business in Saint-François-du-Lac. The rest of the  family members sold their shares and in 1990 Carl Thibault and his wife with help from various investors started a new company in an 8,000-sq. ft. building. With the help of former employees joining the new concern, in particular a key foreman who took over the technical side while Carl concentrated on sales.

With a new name, Carl Thibault Fire a 4,000-sq. ft. extension allowed for a production increase, while the new owners of Thibault decided to stop producing fire equipment in favour of Buses. They sold the name Thibault to an American Fire equipment company.

Presently Carl Thibault Fire Trucks has sales in Québec, Ontario and the Maritimes.

The History of GMC trucks


The History of GMC trucks is almost as long as the history of the automobile itself. In 1901 in Pontiac Michigan, two brothers, Max and Morris Grabowsky  built a prototype truck that was a motorized frame with an existing bench put on to drive it.

Named the Rapid Motor Vehicle Company, they were responsible for some of the very first trucks and certainly the first commercial truck operated in Detroit. The first “Rapid” truck chassis  was delivered new in 1902 was the frame and running gear, a seat and engine cover.

A 1909 Rapid Model F six-passenger truck successfully climbed Pikes peak and other promotional stunts like this helped in their fortunes. The new Up start General Motors bought the Rapid Motor Vehicle Company, along with another truck company, the  Reliance Motor Company and was renamed the General Motors Truck Company, and then just  GMC Trucks. Trucks bearing this name were first shown at the 1912 New York Auto Show, but the name was not patented until 8 months later.

They introduced the first mass produced truck in 1912 and 22,000 were built. They were offered with either upright front ends or curved “French” fronts. Many trucks had Electric drive-trains, including the 1914 model 2B and 4A trucks .

As all manufacturers tried to get into the public’s mind, the 1927 Record setting Cross country run by famed Cannon Ball Baker in a 1927 GMC truck was certainly a huge event. Using a 1927 GMC model 40, two-ton tank truck ,  E. G. “Cannon Ball” Baker left New York for San Francisco on Sept 6 1927. Baker was famous for his cross continent dashes on motorcycles and cars but this trip was sponsored by GMC to show the reliability of its  61 hp Buick 274 cid “Master Six” Over Head valve engines that were offered in GMC trucks.

The truck was loaded with 12,000 lbs of water from the Atlantic Ocean and two reporter shared the smallish cab during the trip.

For 1936, GMC built a fleet of eight buses specially designed for a General Motors Parade of Progress road show which toured the country. Famed Inventor and GM Research Director, Charles Kettering came up with the idea of sending  young college grads to drive the Pride of Progress Buses across the nation.

For 1939 the 12 purpose-built Futureliners and set up the huge 152-foot by 80-foot silver exoskeleton Aerodome tent. It also included 44 vehicles and 26 major displays that would showcase the future and bring some hope to Americans reeling from years of a financial depression. This tour went until the outbreak of WWII and revived in 1963 but a third 1955 version was cancelled.

WWII production was over 600,000 trucks. Chevrolet and GMC trucks are often identical except for trim pieces and were traditionally sold at the Chevrolet Olds Cadillac dealers for Chevy and Pontiac Buick GMC dealers for the GMC Trucks. Often times the hoods, windshield and doors from the stand 1/2 ton pickups were used right up through the Medium duty trucks. The Name GMC Trucks was shortened to just GMC in 1996.



https://www.thoughtco.com/gmc-celebrates-100-years-building-trucks-3273704 by Dale Wickell Updated May 25, 2017





I live in Surrey, BC Canada and am a volunteer with the museum,