The story of the Knaup's CC fire truck (below) begs the tale of how I was invited to ride in the Wadsworth IL annual September parade in 1985.
The fire department there (the Newport Township Fire Department) has a CD fire truck that they restored in the early 1980s. It had been used as one of those roadside junkyard signs (for Hiway Auto at US 41 and IL 173) that retired Crosleys were so often pressed into "service" for. But the NTFD cut a deal with Hiway in the early 1980s, then moved it to the station and a lengthy restoration commenced.
East of the village of Wadsworth there's a street on a steep hill where the parade was mustering and the Crosley was parked there where it stalled with what looked to be a fuel-starvation issue.
The NTFD was ready to pull it behind another FD vehicle, but to spare the CD that ignominious embarrassment I suggested trying a disconnect at the fuel line and blowing backward through it to dislodge any sediment that might have settled at the tank outlet on that steep hill.
And that cured it. The CD fired right up and away we went.
There used to be lots of Crosleys there, but now it's pretty much just the '47 CC owned by Dan and Nikki Knaup. It drew applause in the Parade of Champions honoring the Pittsburg State University Gorillas national championship team.
It almost didn't make the parade. "I discovered the morning of the parade that the Crosley's six-volt battery was shot," said Dan, who is director of rehabilitation at Sunset Manor, Frontenac KS. "Since I had already told several kids and parents that they could walk beside the truck in the parade, I felt I had no choice but to tow it up there and push it through the parade. It all worked out, and turned out to be a lot of fun. Those little cars were affectionately notorious for either leaking something or breaking down," Dan said. Check New Photos for a look at Dan and Nikki pushing the CC down the parade route. explained that his truck didn't start out as an emergency vehicle. "Crosley didn't make a fire truck," Dan said. "This was a pick-up truck that was made into a fire truck."
He has been a Crosley fan for many years. "I surely caught the antique car `bug' from my dad, Ray Knaup, who was an avid collector," he said. "My first Crosley was a 1949 station wagon that I purchased from two brothers in Girard, KS for $50 when I was in high school."
He has done extensive research on Crosley history and told the local newspaper about Crosley's wartime defense contributions including the proximity fuses, hailed as one of the top three product advances made during the war along with the atomic bomb and radar. Gen. George Patton said that the fuses "won the Battle of the Bulge for us."
Dan says "Building an automobile had been Powel Crosley's dream since boyhood, and the small, economical Crosley was Powel's vision and design alone. I may be prejudiced, but I think that my Crosley fire truck is the cutest fire truck in the world."