Gary S 1981 American La France Pumper

Hagerty Classic of the Year video fires up new friendship

I was doing my "once-a-year" front yard landscape trimming late this afternoon on a lovely New Mexico day. Off in the distance I heard the very distinctive rumble of a big Detroit Diesel engine that sounded just like that of my 1981 American La France pumper. figured it had to be an old dump truck since the engine has not been made since the mid-90s. 10 seconds later a 1979 American La France pumper like mine came rumbling up to the intersection, stopped, crossed and drove past me, going up the street toward the mountain. I gave a salute, but it kept going. It came to a stop several houses later, hung a u-turn, gunned the engine, came back, and parked by the driveway!

The driver, Ed, and his wife Sylvia, both in Santa hats, climbed out and introduced themselves. They live in the area and bought the truck in their hometown of Las Cruces, N.M., two weeks ago. Ed has loved fire trucks since he was a kid. In researching their ALF they came across the YouTube video of my ALF, "Engine 49," which was featured as Hagerty’s Classic of the Year! They recognized some of the neighborhood streets shown in the video and decided to drive around in their ALF to see if they could find me by identifying real estate shown in the video!

(View the video here:

While they couldn't identify my house, Sylvia realized "the guy trimming the bushes looks like the guy in the Hagerty video!” That’s when they stopped and turned around! Had today not been "yard duty" for me, they may never have found me.

We had a lovely visit, toured my Garage Mahal, compared fire engines, and traded stories. HOW COOL IS THAT! We plan on meeting for lunch soon – it ought to make for quite a sight with two vintage ALFs parked next to each other, taking up 8-plus spaces. It would be even more fun if Albuquerque firefighters are there for lunch with their modern units!

I still can’t get over the coincidence of Ed and Sylvia finding me, and having T-W-O vintage ALF pumpers in the neighborhood – our very own Fire Department, eh! It just adds to the total JOY of owning my fire truck.

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