This is the truck. Erm…no, sorry, let’s try that again: this is the truck. H’mm…closer, but still not quite.
This is The Truck. There, that’s got it right. A pumper truck retired from a fire brigade, as it seems.
This what a Truck looks and sounds like (in accord with Scripture, hallelujah, amen!), and it’s got super-duper-durable dual donks—that’s Australian slang for “engines”. Up front it’s got a kryptonite-tough 392 V8 equipped with what the seller describes as “CA emissions that should be taken off”. No, they shouldn’t; given the all-but-nonexistent exhaust emission standards for heavy trucks when this one was built, even in California, he’s probably referring to the dual vapour canisters visible in the engine bay, and they’re all to the good.
There’s plenty more to see under the butterfly hoods. Everything is heavy-duty big: a giant alternator (I guess it’s a Leece-Neville unit), some very hefty electrical boxes on the firewall—the nearest to us is a 150-ampere NewMar Alternator Noise Filter to keep electrical noise from spoiling CB radio reception; apparently these are still a thing. There’s a big compressor for the air brakes, some missing vacuum lines, and a large (yay) Holley (boo) 4-barrel carburetor, for which there’s an air cleaner or two on the passenger seat.
It’s an automatic, which I guess to be an Allison AT-540 or AT-545; if so, that’s a unit with a very distinctive sound of its own in 2-part harmony with the 392 engine; this Truck’s paint colour helps me almost hear that choir as I recall some of the earliest school buses I rode. Those didn’t have seatbelts, either.
Actually, check that—better make it 3-part harmony; in back, powering the pump, it’s got…
…a Slant-6! Because of course; no use having a truck that will bull through whatever hell might present if your pump’s not equally sturdy, eh? It’s painted yellow to match the truck, which is a little strange, and it has an oil-bath air cleaner equipped with a fitting for a closed crankcase breather hose. Interesting anachronism, that; oil-bath air cleaners had mostly gone extinct by the time ducted crankcase breathers came along in ’64 (California) ’68 (rest of the US)—at least on engines the average person was likely to see.
Just lookit all the gauges and pushbuttons and pull-knobs and levers and valves and stuff on the left side of the body. And the diamond-plate stairsteps and running boards. And the quad-sealed-beam rotating beacons atop the pump body, probably Unity items missing only their red domes, and the old-school chrome-and-glass aimable spotlights and red warning lights outboard of that grand wraparound windshield, oh, baby!
»aHEM!« Sorry. Where was I? Right: I’m guessing there’s a motor-driven siren, somewhere, too, if it hasn’t been liberated in the manner of the winch the seller says he’s keeping. Apropos of nothing but stuff in the vicinity of the winch, I think these Loadstars look best with the grille not painted the same colour as the rest of the body. Black’s okeh. Chrome might look bitchin’ or might look overcooked; don’t know if they ever came that way. It’s argent silver in the “Loadstar” image that pops to mind by default.
Seller says it’s one of the last units built before EOP in late 1977. I’m not an expert, but I’m under the impression the Loadstar range carried on through 1979, with the butterfly hoods being optional to a sacriligious new unitised tilt-hood before being replaced by the S-Series for 1980. In any event, It’s been on the Seattle Craigslist for at least a month; the ad is here; archived here. There’s another Loadstar parked next to it, evidently late of the Bovill (Idaho) Volunteer Fire Department; not a word about that one in the ad.