Preservation Through Operation

THS 825 1961 Austin Gipsy L4P

This appliance was ordered by the Western Area Fire Brigade, first registered on the 26th October 1961, and according to the 1961 Western Area Fire Brigade Annual Report allocated to Whiting Bay was One Gypsy Self-propelled Pump. At an unknown date (possibly 1965) it was stationed at Lochranza on the Isle of Arran in the garage of the Lochranza Hotel. The vehicle was then given to SDO Douglas Leitch, who intended it for display in a proposed Fire Brigade Museum which sadly never materialised. THS 825 lay for a while in B8 Calton and was then moved to Strathclyde Fire Brigade Headquarters at Hamilton and then on to Orchard House in Hamilton.

The Preservation Group were gifted the appliance in 1999. Restoration which took 3 years was started in 2004 and finished in July 2007 Preservation Group members David McAusland, Jimmy Miller and Martin Savage have done most of the restoration work on the vehicle. The appliance was resprayed by Kerr & Smith at their Cumnock workshop in early 2006 and underwent the final stages of restoration at Barrhead Fire Station having previously been worked on at Johnstone Fire Station The Austin Gipsy was intended as a replacement for the Austin Champ and as a rival to the Land Rover. It is powered by a 2199cc. four cylinder petrol engine developing 62bhp. This engine was also fitted in the Austin A70.

The most revolutionary feature of the Gipsy was the use of Flexitor rubber trailing arm independent suspension units. These were produced by a subsidiary of the Avon Group. The system comprised of a pre-compressed rubber cylinder bonded to tubular steel housing to which link an axial shaft and trailing arm to the wheel. A four speed gearbox with synchromesh on 2nd, 3rd and 4th is fitted. It has a front mounted Godiva Fire Pump, which is directly driven from the engine crankshaft.

© Scottish Fire Brigades Heritage Trust

Registered Scottish Charity (SC043929)

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