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  1. #1
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    Default Pierce – The Innovator of the Fire Apparatus Industry

    After attending all the major trade shows year after year, one can’t help but noticing that the Pierce booth is always ahead of the game with new ideas and innovations – always a step ahead of the rest of the industry.

    Or are they?

    Let’s take a look at the major Pierce introductions from the past year:

    Side roll protection system: Came after downplaying crash testing for fire apparatus while a couple of their competitors were the only ones offering crash-tested cabs.

    Stainless Steel bodies: What a revelation! Many of the “Little Guys” and medium-sized manufacturers in the fire apparatus industry have built primarily or solely with stainless for years.

    Arrow XT: Pierce can make a claim to their new simple and rugged chassis – because they were the first to introduce multiplexing in fire apparatus five years ago. Now that it’s been a number of years since the first introduction, they’ve finished multiplexing their high-end chassis, and most of the other major chassis manufacturers are offering multiplexing, it’s a big deal!

    Rear-mount rescue pumper: Manufactured and marketed by companies like Saulsbury and others in the US for years, and used forever in the fire service overseas, Pierce has another innovation.

    The “New Quantum”: Catching the Quantum up with the rest of what they’ve done with their chassis over the past several years, and adding features like rear/side vision cameras and roof-mounted thermal imagers – features used by innovative departments years ago. The Bendix system was installed on entire fleets immediately after it hit the market, and now Pierce makes in look like it was their innovation.

    The Pack Mule – A rip off from Smeal’s EHL of five years ago, and what I would like to say is – well, ok, I won’t say it.

    Overhead Ladder Gantry – Another “new” idea – used in Europe for decades.

    And best of all:

    The Aluminum Aerial: Need I say more! All I could do was laugh when I walked into the dome on Thursday and saw this groundbreaking new design.


    Now, to set the record straight: I think that Pierce is a good company, I like their products, and I’m glad to see them broadening their product line with good ideas. I do believe that Pierce has pushed innovation in the industry more than most other manufacturers. But when it gets right down to it, the VAST majority of their “new innovations” aren’t new at all. In fact, many of them are just saying “yeah, you guys were right all of these years” to the foreign apparatus industry, their major domestic competitors, and the little manufacturers in the US alike.

    Opinions? Ooops...big mistake...


  2. #2
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    Blitz, I have an opinion for you since you asked...........I owe you a beer. I agree with every point you made. Here, here to you my good man.
    I too was in Indy and made a few other observations that you may have noticed as well. The "Redesigned" Quantum. The original ugly duckling Quantum took some getting accustomed to. Spartan comes out with the Evolution and now the Quantum has to be improved (Actually made uglier by extending the front end even further) to keep pace with the sales numbers of the Evolution compared to the Quantum (Nevermind price with the Quantum being the premier Pierce chassis and considerably more expensive than the Evolution by Spartan). Hell, they couldn't make the cab any taller so they had to do the next best thing, extend the cab to the front. And what about the "innovative" front bumper mounted extrication tools? Another Pierce idea? Nah, many forward thinking departments have been using the concept for years and many builders (Saulsbury pre-E-One and the like) have been doing it for years. On that note, did you notice that they mounted the air horns on the inside of the frame rails? This prohibited the use of the area below the bumper surface for storage of rams, recip saws, etc? An innovative builder would have made good use of available space right? You mentioned the Arrow XT. 2 thoughts on that. They discontiue the original Arrow line. Shortly thereafter they bring it back for the "new chassis". Why? One thing that can't hurt is name recognition and it can't hurt with a new chassis line right? And how about the interior of the Arrow XT? Something look familiar about it? Try the Spartan/Smeal quint of a couple of years ago (Latest generation for the St. Louis Fire Department). Those had the "Fireman Proof" interiors (Limited vinyl coverings, aluminum surface coverings, limted and simplified switching assemblies, etc.). I didn't see a Lance chassis there. Nothing
    "new" and "innovative" about it this year? Just some thoughts.

    Stay low and move it in.
    Last edited by STATION2; 05-02-2004 at 12:05 AM.
    Stay low and move it in.

    Be safe.


    Larry

  3. #3
    dazed and confused Resq14's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pierce – The Innovator of the Fire Apparatus Industry

    Originally posted by BlitzfireSolo
    And best of all:

    The Aluminum Aerial: Need I say more! All I could do was laugh when I walked into the dome on Thursday and saw this groundbreaking new design.
    Whoa... PIERCE is making an ALUMINUM aerial?????????????????

    OK i just read the propaganda... and I'm laughing so hard.

    Interesting, to say the least.
    Last edited by Resq14; 05-02-2004 at 12:14 AM.
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  4. #4
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    Thats buisness for you, look at any industry, for the most part thats how things go. Most of it is marketing, new ideas are hard to trust but when a well known & respected name brings it out, well then it must be good. Very rarely do the little guys get the ability to impress people because even if they knock a fire down in 15 flat the old salts will wonder how well it can do in this situation or how well it'll hold up to long term abuse. Rightfully so, i'm sure there's a ton of ideas that fell flat and would've wasted tons of department money.

    Regardless though, pierce makes a decent product, and though I wouldn't pick them first in my book I can't say there's a whole lot bad about them. We've got one in our dept. and its an 84, doesnt typically give any problems and it gets the job done. I like their aerials, similar to the bronto skylifts over in europe and the E-One articulating rigs, we really don't need it but forgetting practicality, it would be badass to have one to play with

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    Since you asked for opinions on Pierce I will just say that I'd rather have an Out-of-Service Pierce in my apparatus bay then an in-service anything else...

    A dumb statement, sure, but we've had VERY VERY VERY good success with Pierce apparatus & a tremendous working relationship with them.

    That being said, a couple corrections:

    Nevermind price with the Quantum being the premier Pierce chassis
    The Lance & the Dash are above the Quantum on the chassis hierarchy. The Lance is the premier Pierce chassis, the Quantum is actually the least expensive of the three.

    They discontinue the original Arrow line.
    The Arrow name has been around since Pierce began making fire trucks in 1913. That's where your name recognition comes from... not the custom chassis introduced in the late 70's.

  6. #6
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    The Lance & the Dash are above the Quantum on the chassis hierarchy. The Lance is the premier Pierce chassis, the Quantum is actually the least expensive of the three.
    From the Pierce website under "Quantum":

    "This is Pierce's top of the line, marquis chassis...."

    http://www.piercemfg.com/apparatus/quantum.cfm


    The Arrow name has been around since Pierce began making fire trucks in 1913. That's where your name recognition comes from... not the custom chassis introduced in the late 70's.
    From the Pierce website under History in 1979:

    Pierce introduced the Arrow custom chassis. It's design changed the face of the industry with more room and greater visibility and set the style for the modern fire truck

    The Pierce-Arrow was a luxury car made in Buffalo NY, although they did make some fire apparatus, motorcycles, bicycles and commercial trucks there is no reference to Wisconsin or the listed founders of Pierce Fire Apparatus. Pierce-Arrow went out of business in 1938.

    I don't recall ever seeing a "Pierce" chassis before the Arrow, they were primarily built on Ford, Hendrickson, Chevy, International or Duplex back in the 70's when they became popular in this area.

  7. #7
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    "This is Pierce's top of the line, marquis chassis...."
    I guess that's changed with the redesign then, I was going by information I had from when we spec'd our rescue in 2002.

    The Pierce-Arrow was a luxury car made in Buffalo NY, although they did make some fire apparatus
    That must be the Pierce Arrow I've seen in the Chespeake Fire Musuem, I assumed it was from Pierce Fire Apparatus...

    ... and I guess I made an *** out of me.

    I stand corrected.

  8. #8
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    Halligan84, you beat me to the corrections. Thanks. As for the chassis line hierarchy for Pierce, the Quantum has always been the premier chassis/cab configuration since its introduction, not just since the re-design. The Lance and Dash then fall in line followed by the Arrow XT, Enforcer and Saber. The Lance gets in notoriety by being the split-tilt cab for Pierce, like the Split T is Seagraves tilt-cab model. The Dash I believe has moved up the line in terms of Pierce Hierarchy since its introduction back in the day. Starting with the open jumpseat version, the popular D-8000 option, to the rear facing crew cab door version to the side facing rear crew cab model to the current Dash 2000 version. Just some thoughts.

    Stay low and move it in.
    Stay low and move it in.

    Be safe.


    Larry

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    Talking It was a Marketing GRAND-SLAM!

    After being just as surprised, flabbergasted, amazed, perhaps even stunned as everyone else at the Pierce booth at FDIC, all I can say is Pierce has "legitimized" and improved on every one of the designs and innovations you "nay-sayers" so brutally lament.

    The only thing E-One could do better was put out a single axle 75 footer with 500 gallons of water and now Pierce has eclipsed that with their new aluminum aerial and Generation III body. After almost 25 years in the biz, I may have to eat my words about aluminum aerials.

    When I went to the E-One booth all they could do was start bad mouthing the Pierce guys. First with the trucks then with their booth.

    Pierce pulled off a marketing grand-slam this year. No other player had such a well organized booth and featured so many feature packed rigs. Sure maybe some of the ideas were used before by other companies, but Pierce takes everything they do to the next highest level. Better engineering makes for the better rig. It was a great success. To prove its success we arer still talking about it!

    Other than that... sounds like you guys are JEALOUS!

  10. #10
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    Default Re: It was a Marketing GRAND-SLAM!

    Originally posted by AF3394
    all I can say is Pierce has "legitimized" and improved on every one of the designs and innovations you "nay-sayers" so brutally lament.

    After almost 25 years in the biz, I may have to eat my words about aluminum aerials.To prove its success we arer still talking about it!

    Other than that... sounds like you guys are JEALOUS!
    1. Your statement simply confirms my thoughts about the 180-degree flip-flops some people will have about aluminum aerials simply because "it's Pierce."

    2. Eat away, but I think it's rather ignorant to say that because Pierce has applied their name to an aerial, it has legitimized something that was already quite legit -- actually, way more than legit. But it sounds like it took an engineer from E-One to make this happen for Pierce regardless.

    3. Jealous? I think I said I was amused because I knew that there would be all of these funny replies from the die-hard Pierce cult.
    Last edited by Resq14; 05-02-2004 at 05:44 PM.
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  11. #11
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    AF3394,

    We can agree on the following:

    1) E-One and Pierce now each build a 75' single axle 500GWT quint.
    2) They have engine and transmission options for the customer to choose from for their aluminum aerial rigs.
    3) They both use aluminum cabs.

    But one thing you can't argue:

    E-One has never had a failure. Pierce has.

    And would you like to change your opinion of aluminum aerials from the "Aluminum Aerials" thread. Resq14 quoted it well. Something about aluminum aerials having outlived their usefullness. LOL. I know, Pierce is JUST NOW doing it so overnight it has to be ok. LOL.

    Stay low and move it in.
    Last edited by STATION2; 05-02-2004 at 07:48 PM.
    Stay low and move it in.

    Be safe.


    Larry

  12. #12
    dazed and confused Resq14's Avatar
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    What the hell... for the less-motivated people, here's a cross post:

    It's sad, but I have nothing better to do at the moment.
    Originally posted by AF3394
    I know hundreds of departments have purchased and still spec aluminum aerials. Although initially a noble thought, aluminum ladders have outlived the their original intent. They have been and continue to be superseded by superior materials and technology. I believe fire departments that buy them are naïve and have fallen for a “salesman’s line” instead of really researching the facts.

    After all… it’s only your life we are talking about here! And by the way, when you are at the top of a 100-foot aerial device you have to ask yourself one question, if it was bought on low bid, what was the reason it was low bid? And salesmen don’t fight your fires!

    Pretty much ends it right there.
    Yes, this thoroughly amuses me. Really.

    I'd still like to know what the difference is between "falling for a salesman's line" and basing your Pierce religion on the company's own marketing propaganda:
    Originally posted by AF3394
    again look at the facts and using the manufacturer’s own literature for 100 foot ladders, Pierce has a
    chuckle
    Last edited by Resq14; 05-02-2004 at 08:17 PM.
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  13. #13
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    Default The WOW WOW WOW feeling of a Pierce!

    I was going to pass on this one, BUTTTTTTTT……..it is temptation is killing me!

    The comments by BlitzFireSolo are very founded and quite interesting that he has documented as many as he has, Bravo!

    While the overview may be VERY accurate, I will applaud Pierce on their continuance to WOW the market with what “seems to be” the latest-greatest innovations, “firsts” to the market, etc. Pierce DOES NOT get the INNOVATOR award in my book. In the same breath I must clearly state that Pierce is a very good company. While Pierce DOES not get the INNOVATOR award, they do get the “FAST FOLLOWER” award. The marketing people get an A+, as for years now Pierce has been able to copy everyone that has been doing something for years (not months) and make it look as though they are the smartest people in the world! They look like they are first, the best, the only, the leader, the cutting edge designer…..on and on…. I would have to disagree! They ARE masters of taking age old ideas and putting a spin on them, making it look as thought they are definitely the one (to the untrained eye) who invented everyone of them!

    I look at BlitzFires List and he does very well, but there are many more. All the items listed in his post have been being done for years, but people put on the blinders by not looking at companies other than E-One, Pierce and now the late “bloomer” ALF (who bought the majority of what limited innovation they still have left). The Pierce “end mount ladder rack” comes to mind (ho-hum, others had done this 100’s of times), the “wild and innovative” foam systems (ho-hum, others had done them 100’s of times), hmmmmmmmm….does anyone remember the “full horsepower rated” controversy a few years back? Another big splash that made people say WOW! All the while, EVERY manufacturer was doing the same exact thing, but Pierce simply told people about it, Ho-Hum, another sleeper. The list goes on and on. For example, Is there REALLY anything whizzy about a Quantum? I think NOT. Raise the cab a foot higher, throw some façade style step arrangements on it, so you can "climb" into the cab and whaala……you have a huge spacious interior. The common firefighter says WOW, look how low this engine enclosure is…….while truly the result was a higher cab, making the enclosure look "different".

    OH WELL, the get the FAST FOLLOWER award and that may not be all that bad. I will add, they are being very successful doing so. So, does this aluminum aerial thing WOW me? Ummmmm, NOT! Bob Vanstone, who has designed all the E-One ladders (along with what I am sure was a BUNCH of inside E-One people) ran into the brick wall and apparently wanted an income. He went to E-One, no room or money for innovation there (too many other messes to straighten out, like, how to make money for starters), No one else had the cash (I hear Ferrara could not buck up the cash after their chassis adventures) and Pierce jumped on after several good years of making money. It does kinda fly in the face of the steadfast "steel" marketing campaign though!!! Now the sales guys can say I am an aluminum lover too!!! There are just so many trucks manufactured per year and the only way larger companies can grow is to go take it from someone. So, Pierce wants to take more of E-One’s lunch……. Innovative? Not! Smart? Maybe. Will they sell some? Of course, but not only because its aluminum, “because it’s a Pierce”, so its got to be good, their marketing propaganda tells me so, so who am I to argue! Pierce has already been crushing E-Ones previous claim to fame of being #1 in North America and are still eating their lunch! It does not come as a surprise in someone else’s post that the E-One guys were slanderous of the Pierce folks at FDIC. E-One is scared, floundering and not 100% sure how to fix it and definitely lacks the ingredients to fix it quickly, if ever. If anyone remembers, when E-One was #1, they were hands down the INNOVATOR (some products good, some very bad) in the business. They were continually introducing new and “first of their kind” designs and products (and were making a very nice profit also (as advertised by their stock prices, years back). How many “true” innovations have you seen lately from E-One? Hmmmm…..Maybe the Daytona plastic cab which fell on the proverbial backside! Sorry, that was not nice, LOL.

    Lastly, without trying to be totally negative….. AGAIN NOTE: Pierce is a good company, before I say this. If you get past the “flash of a Pierce”, they are nothing really special. Look beyond the flash! This is a case where they are definitely: The Masters of Disguise! They do a very nice job of “looking” awesome and most Departments do not run them enough to challenge their integrity (“on the AVERAGE”, as I know many will give me a list of “heavy run” Pierce departments, LOL).

    For example, with Pierce you will find the thinnest doors in the business (.090” thick in most cases, which is half the thickness of many other manufacturers), but Pierce is smart, they double brake or “hem” the door edge over and slide the box pan in, then cover the “hem” with a door gasket, so the average Joe knows no different as they are looking at two thicknesses of material on the edge of the door. Pierce once again, masters of disguise, but they hide it very well from the uneducated eye! Couple that with light 14 gauge, 3/16" hinge pins....yada yada.

    Look under a Pierce, it has an angular subframe of 2” x 2” x 3/16” wall material, bolted thru the sides of the chassis rails. Many manufacturers use full tubular style subframes with four sided shapes, that far exceed the strength of angle style subframes and tubes reduce torsional twist, unlike angle iron as Pierce utilizes. Joe Fireman says: “But it must be good, it is a Pierce”, LOL!

    In the end, Joe Fireman, says WOW! Those chrome acorn nuts and mirrored trim panels gettum everytime! Forever proving “the flash of Pierce” sells and it is supported by a marketing program that always puts them at the top, regardless if that wolf is in sheep’s clothing! I love looking at finite details (not being disrespectful of Joe Fireman, as most do not have time to research deeply) and finding whats behind the glitz and glitter! Glitz and glitter catches Joe Fireman. True innovation and sound designs last longer than glitter. So if your looking for INNOVATION, look deeply, listen and keep an open mind.

    As the old saying goes: Beauty is more than skin deep! It’s a big investment, so talk to many and before buying a bunch of chrome acorn nuts and fancy little mirrored trim. I spend more time than most on all products I purchase, but I there are no hidden surprises when I finally purchase.

    Before you start writing back about my “Pierce slamming”, please read the three times I wrote: “Pierce is a good company”, LOL! Then the BUTTTTTTT….there are TRUE INNOVATORS, just look harder and deeper.

    Stay safe and good fishing!

    Fish

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    When we spec'd out our new custom chassis truck...Pierce wouldn't bid it. The local sales company said what we wanted was not "do-able" with our budget. We were running a Pierce before our current truck so I would have thought they would have wanted to keep it that way. The only responses were from KME, Ferrara, and Smeal. We got the KME even though it wasn't the cheapest bid. KME built exactly what we wanted and we even had cash left over. Enough cash to put towards our new rescue...which will not be a Pierce.

    Good trucks...but I still can't get over the arrogance of the sales people. They act like they only deal with folks who want to spend $300,000 or more on a custom pumper. $250,000 just isn't enough to interest them...unless you wanted a cookie cutter with no options. Too bad too cause we really liked our prior Pierce.

    I would make note that their FDIC showing was strong as usual. But I can't stand the lady who takes the microphone and starts talking about all the amazing features of Pierce. Kinda drownded out other conversation in that area and forced everyone to have to listen. Guess some folks still like a good lookin gal tellin them what they need. Wonder if what she said actually made somebody want to sign the check over.
    Assistant Chief

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    It looks like some are just discovering how marketing works. Not a single company in the world that sells any product does not claim at one time or another to have been innovative about something. Soda, beer, clothes, fire trucks, all have manufacturers that lay claim to one thing or another. Look at the other post on Seagrave: they're claiming 17" brakes, air ride suspension, and a few other things that other manufacturers have had on their trucks for a while. Not a single word was mentioned last year about how the Spartan Evolution looks like a Quantum.

    For everyone reading this forum remember one thing: no one is disputing that Pierce is #1 in sales and market share. People hammered E-One the same way when they were on top, ALF, Seagrave, and whoever else has ever been on top. People always jump on the winners. Look how many people hammer Tiger Woods and Jeff Gordon. They had what it took to keep winning, and for some reason that bothers people.

    E-One salesfolk jealous? Probably. Their company is strapped and it doesn't appear that anyone is taking the reins to lead them out of their continued downward slope. (Just the MBA student talking business, not a statement about truck quality.) It has been said before that many people bought E-One's over any other truck because of the aluminum aerial. I think they may have gotten too comfortable in that statement and forgot that they need to keep moving forward to make their products better, or at least if they can't be made better because they're already pretty dang good, make it look like they're doing something to improve. They honestly stand to lose a lot of business to Pierce now because Pierce now offers an aluminum aerial, so the "we're the aluminum aerial people" statement is no longer valid. Die hards will always stick by their choices, so they will always have those customers. Problem is, die hards (for any business) can't support it. They need new customers, and it doesn't appear that they're doing a whole lot (other than layoffs of empty positions) to keep the business growing. I made the statement in the other thread asking about how can E-One only offer certain configurations on specific chassis, and someone said it keeps costs down. Well it doesn't appear that the strategy is working. And in many cases where I've talked to depts bidding new trucks, E-One has been underbid by nearly everyone, including Pierce, and that never used to happen. So it doesn't appear that they're keeping costs down, seems like they're hoping people will stay brand loyal and raising the price a little to make up for slow sales. Bad business. I think E-One needs a shake up call if they're going to stop the decline in market share and make a run for the top spot again.

    Again, that's just a business analysis, not a comment on quality. Their decline from #1 to #2 had nothing to do with quality issues that I've found. Customers wanting more choices was just one factor. Customers want these features on this chassis, and E-One is not flexible in that. HP100 only on a Cyclone II but CR100 on either Cyclone II or Hurricane? Why can't you put an HP100 on a Hurricane? If someone says it's possible, check their web site. That says otherwise and if it's wrong, it needs ot be corrected. And Seagrave may not have been the innovator of many of the things they're claiming either, but at least they're making it look like they're doing something to make improvements. Judging by the fact that there's no forum threads on all of the new stuff that E-One unveiled at FDIC, it would seem that their marketing team didn't do much of anything this year. Then again, might be because none of their other departments did either. E-One better take a hard internal look at their business model and update it or they're going to have a hard time staying #2. Maintaining the early 90s status quo obviously isn't working.

    But I must say, the Smeal EHL and the Pierce Pack Mule may serve the same purpose (easier to load hose), but they are different products. I've never seen a pumper hose bed do that before, and looks like no one else did either. It may be the same general idea, but it's being used in a new way. That's the definition of innovation. Same as a refridgerator and an air conditioner. Same technology, different purpose, and when the AC came out, it was innovative. Anymore, there is no "new" technology. It's the same technology applied in different manners.


    Guess some folks still like a good lookin gal tellin them what they need.
    Ummm, pretty much everyone with a Y Chromosome. Why else would Jessica Simpson be hocking Pizza Hut and Katherine Zeta-Jones still be with T-Mobile? Something tells me that neither one of them uses the products they're representing....

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    I am not going to go into a long speech, since all of my views have been said in this thread. But how can a company Pierce, just bash a product for so many years. " They dont make bridges out of aluminum" remember that sales pitch. Then walk into the dome on Thurs. and see the drive in movie screen, and the " New Ladder". I had to stop and think. I found a salesman for Pierce and I asked him that questions. And the response I got was......... I have no idea, that is what he said. Well once again we have something to talk about after FDIC. Oh ya one more thing, the lady in the pierce booth talking on the stage. I see that all the time and the Auto Show, whats next turn tables, under truck mirrors, neon lights. Oh maybe next year we can get the General Lee and Bo and Luke Duke. I'm out.

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    Did anyone see Marion's rear mount rescue pumper with the hinged stairway over the pump to access the roof? Truly unique, designed to fit a specific department's wishes, and something I had never seen before. Then again, their display wasn't huge, and if you didn't happen upon it - you would have never seen this rig. Their PR folks (if they have any) didn't scream as loud as Pierce.

    --Joel

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    Evolution? That nose is about as butt ugly as HME's euro offering.I kind of like the old 4 headlight look and neither Quantum or the two above does it for me.To each his own.T.C.

  19. #19
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    Anyone know the difference between an E-One and a pile of Scrap Aluminum???

    The pile of scrap aluminum doesnt think that it is a firetruck!



    BE KIND TO THE ENVIRONMENT! RECYCLE YOUR E-ONE!
    "Loyalty Above all Else. Except Honor."

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    Default Marion and more at FDIC

    Yeah the rear mounted pump was interesting but the kicker was the in cab Incident command desk. Very unique - and maybe thinking outside the box on a bit. If we all think about what is happening to budgets these days, maybe it makes sense to pack as much punch into one truck and make an attempt to cover more incidents or bases if you will. Rear pump, Command module and more maked me think about those that have not the money to purchase and house task oriented apparatus. Seagrave - the president came from ALF - had a good idea and brought it along. Beefing up the structure - all good. 500+ horses in a pumper - well maybe but not for those on "flatland". Metz was there with the crane/ladder, hoisting a minivan in the air. Impressive but with purpose - dual role again for a specific need that may fit in with a department that does heavy rescue and fire both. 4 ton lift capacity - drool. The Crimson line was nice also. Very clean designs but I wish to see the results a few years from now. And yes look close - one chassis from Central States was manufactured by none other that Seagrave. Stamped on the cab plate. The Pierce packrat hose load is truly thinking outside the box - but will it function 20 years from now? Only time will tell.

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