National | CHUBU CONNECTION

Gifu college to restore Nagoya's treasured 1935 Benz fire engine

Chunichi Shimbun

Nagoya has contracted Nakanihon Automotive College in Sakahogi, Gifu Prefecture, to repair a Mercedes-Benz firetruck from 1935 in its possession.

Teachers and students from the college will begin work this spring to make the truck usable again.

According to the Nagoya Fire Department, the truck is 9.5 meters long and has a four-section ladder that can be extended to 30 meters. It is one of only three such firetrucks imported to Japan in 1935.

The truck retailed at ¥72,500 at the time, which comes to around ¥200 million in today’s money after adjusting for inflation. Sixty percent of the money used to purchase the truck came from donations.

Over the next 33 years, the truck was used actively in firefighting duties. In 1968, it was retired and stored in the garage of a firefighting school in Moriyama Ward.

When Nakanihon Automotive College received the city’s request to restore the local treasure, it quickly agreed, believing “this experience can be useful as educational research.”

Once restored, it will be the world’s oldest working firetruck, according to the city.

The truck was moved to the school on a car carrier in December. An agreement was then signed between Principal Hiroyuki Yamada and Nagoya fire chief Masahiro Sato at the college.

Teachers from the Auto Body Repair Specialist Course were expected to check out the truck and come up with a repair plan at the end of last year.

The school is also opening the project to students because research required for graduation will commence in April.

“I want to utilize the school’s knowledge and technology to restore the truck so that it can run on public roads again,” Yamada said.

“I would like to unveil it at the New Year’s parade of fire brigades and increase the residents’ awareness toward fire and disaster prevention,” said Sato.

This section, appearing Tuesdays, features topics and issues from the Chubu region covered by the Chunichi Shimbun. The original article was published on Dec. 21.

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