1946 DODGE FIRE TRUCK
Repainted by COWICHAN COLLISION (the Mellson Family)
Written by Secretary Terry Landry
The Fire Truck was originally owned by the Fanny Bay Fire Department when Cowichan Bay Fire Chief Bob "Pumper" Claus, a member of the Cowichan Valley Shrine Club and Duncan Clown Unit, purchased it in 1998 for a minimal amount. Bob, with help from other members of the Club, removed the water tank and other accessories that were not needed and rear seating was built and installed. In 1999, Thanks to the generous donation of the Mellson Family of Cowichan Collision, the Fire Truck was repainted and became the centre piece of the Cowichan Valley Shrine Club and Duncan Clown Unit. During the years we have had many donations by the businesses of Duncan to keep our truck running and we would like to thank them very much. We have had a rebuilt engine and transmission donated by Superior Engine Rebuilders, we had truck repairs done by Murry Smith and Art Jones of Smith & Jones Automotive, we have had parts donated by Duncan Auto, radiator repair by Jim Murphy of Duncan Radiator, rear seat cushions donated by Rod's Auto Glass and Upholstery and we have had tires installed by OK Tire and OK Tire let us use their shop to replace the engine.
In 2017 Cowichan Collision AGAIN repainted our Fire Truck and Brad Klassen of Klean Kustomz has installed various electronics on the Fire Truck. Also Mark Paetz of Marks Instant Sign Shop donated the signage and decals that are now on our Fire Truck. Thank You to all of you who have donated and continue to donate.
Most of all we would like to thank the many hours of labour the members of the Cowichan Valley Shrine Club have put in, and continue to put in, to make our Fire Truck the centre piece of our club.
Duncan, British Columbia -- May 16, 2017 -- The Cowichan Valley Shriners Club has received a generous if somewhat unorthodox donation from CSN-Cowichan Collision, in the form of a 1946 Dodge Fire Truck (restoration). The truck restoration took the staff at CSN-Cowichan nearly a month, 18 years after the facility first restored the same truck. The rare vehicle has been retrofitted for modern use by the Shriners, who use it for public appearances, parades and charity events.
The restoration wasn’t an easy one, but the results are astounding. It’s actually the second time that CSN-Cowichan has worked on the fire truck, according to Ron Mellson, owner/operator of CSN-Cowichan Collision.
“This is the second time we have donated work to this specific truck. About 18 years ago was the first time we did it,” says Mellson. “This time we did a complete exterior refinish on it and we had two guys working on it for three weeks.”
More remarkable is the condition of the 71-year-old truck. “The truck is all original except the transmission, which has been updated to a modern automatic for its 6-cylinder engine,” says Mellson. The body panels, lighting, original pumping mechanisms and firefighting tools are all also original. Alongside the modern transmission are some other modern comforts to complement the truck’s classic styling, such as seats for children to ride in during parades.
According to Mellson, the modifications have been made by CSN-Cowichan to optimize the charitable potential of the ’46 Dodge. “This Fire Truck is only used for parades at this time, so it’s not out fighting fires!” says Mellson. “And it’s been modified with extra seating for the parades. The lights and sirens still work on it and it even still sprays water!”
Shriners Club 27 in the Cowichan Valley was formed in 1964, in line with the mission of helping children who had suffered birth defects, injuries and other medical issues. Just one year later in the Cowichan Valley, CSN-Cowichan Collision was founded, and it’s been family-owned and operated ever since. The two were a natural paring. The Shriners, as an organization, are famed for automotive displays of fun and silliness for children, in the form of vintage vehicles, small, comedic cars and parades. CSN-Cowichan knew that their time and effort wouldn’t be going to waste.
A side effect of CSN-Cowichan Collision having existed in a community for over half a century is a great sense of community-mindedness.
“The reason why we chose to donate to the Shriner's is because of the work they do with the Children's Hospital and what they do for the kids,” says Mellson. “We feel like it is important to stay strongly involved in the community because we have been in the community since 1965 as a family run business in the Cowichan Valley.”