"Good" Truck vs. "Bad" Truck???
Spartan has been building fire chassis for relatively a long time with the first Gladiator models coming out in the late 80’s. With their old leadership of George Styzekiel and several other innovators they did a masterful job changing the fire service into engine forward designs as most all manufacturers build today. Some will tell you they are not the company they once were-so that’s someone’s opinion-what substantiates that opinion making it “fact”, not “feelings”? I have an opinion and have “likes” as many do here on the forums, which I have followed for many years. Although an opinion is just that, I also feel there are A LOT of “good” builders out there to consider. Now, are some “better” than others? Yes-maybe-but there’s A LOT of pieces to the puzzle.
I personally think beauty is more than skin deep and more than the polished and mirrored stainless wizardry Pierce uses quite often (yes they build good trucks too). I might suggest you get the manufacturers to give you more to look at and review in your analysis. Such as: Interior, close up photos of raw cab shells, looking at materials of the sheet metal, sub-frames, wall and roof structural beam materials for close up evaluation. MANY people get away with “lightweight” building and merely cover it all up with pretty upholstery and trim. So, look beyond the outside. Such as Spartan, they DO NOT build their own cab-does that matter to YOU? Some do care about that-they want the ENTIRE truck to be owned by the builder, 100%. So be it-It’s for your group to evaluate, listen objectively to several builders and then decide.
The other big point you will need to consider is the PRELIMNARY wish list of components, which will evolve as you progress. Is it big block or medium block HP engine, 3000 or 4000 series transmission, 4/6/8/10 personnel seating, raised roof or flat roof, spring or air or independent suspensions, front airbags/side rollover protection, etc. This will drive you into each manufacturer’s models, which some companies have so many it’s almost mind boggling and surely confusing. Once you set your overall design, you can then see what manufacturer’s models you would fall within. This is then where you could start your evaluation, drilling into the “best truck”.
Also, DO NOT go into this with a set brand name in mind. Get them ALL in your station to make a presentation and have a wish list prepared well ahead of time to share with them BEFORE they come in, allowing the builder to come prepared to show you what meets YOUR needs. The more you give the builder, the better job they can do for you. Also, DO NOT decide on brand “XYZ” until you can also have a handle on what each one costs. With them all being “good” trucks today, you need to maintain fiscal responsibility to your taxpayers in seeking multiple companies, multiple models and multiple bids. It’s just responsible buying today. Too many times it comes to the tattoo of a brand on someone’s backside that does not allow for common sense to look at other brands and paying too much for no added performance or paying for things you REALLY do not need. The day and age of “junk” trucks has really narrowed and I do not feel there are real “JUNK” trucks out there. You either build it right, or you will be gone, it’s been proven again and again. Also, if you charge ridiculous prices for a ho-hum product, the same can also happen. Do your homework and you will end up with a “GREAT “ truck, regardless what logo is in the grill.
PS- IR1 made me hoot with that comment and he’s dead on!!! Watch out for comments like “Spartan now has a two year bumper to bumper warranty standard and now comes with the Advanced Protection System that blows the competition’s protection away, standard” – Big damn deal, so what, everyone else can do it also!!! – AND YOU PAY FOR IT (including the two year warranty!! It’s like saying “Pierce comes standard with Independent front suspension” – Again, SO what – MANY others do IFS also - THINKKKK about it – you DO pay for it, NOTHING is FREE, they are trying to manipulate you into a gimmick or feature to write their proprietary spec and control the bid document!! Good luck with your research!!