B n B'sDream
Buddy and Blackie's Dream
This is a 1957 Desoto Firesweep 'Memphian' Ambulance
This Desoto Ambulance consist of three models, the front clip (hood, finders, bumper, grill) are from a 1957 Dodge, the front doors are from a 4 door sedan and the rear doors are from a 2 door sedan. The roof and back door were custom built from by the coach builder. The coach was lengthened 20 inches to allow it to carry a full size stretcher, attendant and various items used in the era.
The name I gave her stands for my friend Charles 'Buddy' Wilson and my nickname 'Blackie'. Buddy and I always talked about getting an antique ambulance for parades, shows and to educated the public and new Emergency Medical individuals about the history of EMS. Buddy passed away from cancer before we had a chance to make the dream come true and this is my way of honoring his memory.
The coach builder was Memphis Coach Company, Memphis, TN in September 1957 and purchased by the Globe Funeral Home owned by Jessie James Walker and his wife, from Globe AZ (yes that Jessie James; Mr. Walker was a direct descendent). It was driven from Memphis Tennessee to Globe Arizona and went into service in October 1957 where it served as the primary ambulance till 1972 when Mr. Walker got out of the ambulance business because of the those new things called "Emergency Medical Technicians" were being trained. I was able to talk to Mr. Walker and he ask me what color the ambulance was and I stated "Red and White", he was happy because that was the color the vehicle was he purchased it, though the colors are switched from the colors she is now, what you see as RED above was WHITE, and the WHITE was RED.
Next, she spent some time in southern California working in a auto service company hauling BODY PARTS around until a driver got caught using the lights and siren. He was fired and stole the siren before leaving the company. At this time she was painted completely a flat RED all over.
From there it was purchased by a Professional Car / Fire Vehicle - Memorabilia collector named Mr. Gene Lictman in the late 1970s. Mr. Lictman had the car transported to his home in Baltimore MD and painted to the colors you see now.
I acquired her on Labor Day Sunday, September of 1997. She was towed from Baltimore MD to where I lived in West Haven, CT. She didn't run but with the assistance of Charles Durant (my brother-in-law), who got it running with a little TLC and fresh fuel. A siren was ordered the following Tuesday, received and installed on Thursday of that week. From here she went to her first outing, a 3-1/2 mile rolling Lights & Siren parade thru the streets of Milford to a Fireman's Muster called 'Engine 260'. She broke down half way through the parade with a dead battery. In all the excitement of getting her running we overlooked replacing the battery and the use of the Lights & Siren usage drained the old battery, and a new one was purchased from Sears.