The name Pink Panther usually invokes images of a cartoon character, but CFA fire truck enthusiasts know it’s the nickname given to the distinctive pumper used at Fiskville training college.
The 1976 International ACCO Type 1 pumper was dubbed the Pink Panther because of its unique pinkish-orange coloured daylight-fluorescent paint. The two-part fluorescent paint system was developed by Wiedolux for use as safety-marking and warning colours for fire trucks, ambulances and public service vehicles to make them easily visible in dense traffic.
The pumper was the first of a new era of fire trucks for CFA, designed by firefighters for use against all types of fires in urban settings. Design features included a petrol V8 motor with automatic transmission, a dual cabin to carry five firefighters, improved stowage in the form of integrated lockers and a boosted water pumping capacity of 3,400 litres per minute.
This was a huge improvement on the front-mounted pumpers previously used.
The Pink Panther was initially stationed at CFA’s Fiskville Training College and was later deployed to Dandenong, Bendigo and Mildura fire stations before being reallocated as the State Service Exchange Vehicle (state spare).
It retired from the CFA fleet in 1994 and went on to serve six months at the Puckapunyal Army Base near Seymour, followed by 20 years servicing the Tasmanian ports.
Once out of service, the truck was sold privately to Matt Taranto in 2016. Unfortunately, Matt was not able to restore the truck as originally planned and in May 2022, he made the difficult decision to sell the truck.
Brett and Tony Eastwood of Eastey Fire Trucks bought it and continued with the restoration plans, inviting Matt to be involved to ensure the history and his in-depth knowledge of the truck was retained.
Other restored vehicles in the Eastey Fire Trucks collection include a 1956 front-mounted Austin pumper and a 1948 Dennis F3 fire truck – the only one of its kind in the world.
To house their growing collection of fire trucks and fire brigade related paraphernalia, the team recently set up the Eastey Fire House Display on Mt Dandenong Road in Montrose.
“The location was chosen as a nod to the town where we grew up and the place where our passion began, Montrose Fire Brigade,” Brett said.
Eddie Tichelaar of Montrose Fire Brigade is also a member of the Eastey Fire Trucks team and said the team regularly tours the state with the restored trucks.
“We take them along to truck and car shows, making sure to stop in and visit fire stations along the way,” Eddie said.
“One of the highlights of the year was the Austin and the Type 1 taking pride of place and leading the Torchlight Procession at the State Firefighter Championships in Mooroopna earlier this year.
“Seeing the excitement on little kids’ faces and hearing people share their stories makes all the hard work worthwhile.”
Find out more about Eastey Fire Trucks.
- Before the restoration
|News and Media