Station wagon ambulances

Steve Loftin

Site Supporter
This thread will be for cars whose primary function was as an ambulance. Some fire and police department wagons as well as funeral home service cars carried folding stretchers and could be pressed into ambulance service if necessary; let's save photos of those for a different thread. Let's get started:

Myers Mortuary (Wewoka, OK)
1962 Chevrolet
The siren was bent backwards when it hit a low canopy (note the flat
mounting base, along with the damaged faceplate). You can see that the beacon dome is broken as well. The incident happened long after they exited the ambulance business (she was used for first calls into the late 1980s). This car had a three-on-the-tree transmission.

The '72 Vista Cruiser was puchased new by the City of Helena, OK after the Fossett F.H. announced it would discontinue its ambulance service. When Kenny Lanman bought the firm in the late 1970s, he again offered ambulance service. He used this car as a backup to his '69 S&S hightop. The wagon was turned back over to the city (with around 30,000 miles on it) after he bought a new Wheeled Coach/Chevy Suburban hightop in 1980.

The '70 Vista Cruiser was owned by Smith's in Sapulpa, OK. It had a #28 and two small red flashers behind the grille, in addition to the Visibar.

Mallett's in Wagoner, OK owned this '64 Chevy with a Gordon K. Allen Co. (Superior dealership in Dallas) ambulance conversion.

Luginbuel's in Vinita, OK had two of these '75 Custom Cruisers. This one had power windows and locks as well as cruise/tilt. The other one, used by their firm in nearby Pryor (Harris F.H.), had crank windows, manual locks, and no cruise/tilt.

(SL photos)
 

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Steve Loftin

Site Supporter
1965 Ford/Summers - G.W.C.F.H., Pryor, OK
1965 Ford/Gordon Allen - Ninde F.H., Jenks, OK

(SL photos)

1959 Ford/local conversion - Jim Green F.H., Pryor, OK
1964 Ford/ " - "
Note the four Carpenter Wig-Wag lights on the '59; two were blue, two red.

(JGFH photos)
 

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Steve Loftin

Site Supporter
Clarifications, more photos

We should probably include sedan delivery ambulances in this thread as they are a close relative of the station wagon. Stretched wagons and deliveries, however, as well as those with raised roofs, qualify as standard limousine-style ambulances and should be posted to the appropriate threads. That said...

Wilson F.H. (Pond Creek, OK)
1957 Mercury Commuter
(old WFH postcard)

Lucas F.H. (Hurst, TX)
1952 Ford Courier sedan delivery
(note the Federal BR-2 flasher at the center of the roof)

Sidmon F.H. (Kansas City, MO)
1959 Ford Country Sedan
(from a matchbook cover)

Hough F.H. (Morrisonville, IL)
1967 Buick Sport Wagon
(SL photo)
 

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Steve Loftin

Site Supporter
Allen Cook Chevrolet was a dealership in Winnsboro, TX that offered station wagon ambulance conversions for a couple of years in the 1960s. Here is one of their ads; this one, from the March, 1963 issue of Morticians of The Southwest magazine.

What interested me most about this ad was that they were also a Ferno and Federal dealer. That's really all it took to equip most funeral home ambulances of the period...a #54-L stetcher and a #11 auxiliary cot as well as red lights and siren*. Many funeral home ambulances (in this part of the country, anyway) in 1963 didn't have two-way radios. Most operators supplied their own oxygen (if they carried it) and first aid supplies.

That's the way it was...

*The 1963 Chevrolet shown (Dudley Hughes F.H., Dallas, TX) sports what was the most popular warning system in this part of the country back then; four Do-Ray lollipops, a #17 beacon, and a Q2B whistle. I don't remember seeing ANY of these cars with an upgraded electrical system! An "uptown" conversion of the time would've also had curtains and rear window insignias.
 

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Station Wagon Ambulances

The Detroit Police Department (Michigan) provided ambulance service in Detroit from 1961 through 1973 when the present EMS operations started in 1972. Detroit utilized Dodge, Plymouth and in the end Ford station wagons for this purpose. The were equipped with two folding stretchers,blankets and pillows and that's about it. When not required for medical transportation, the "wagons" were used for patrol activities. They were painted and marked the same as regular sedan patrol cars or as they were called in Detroit "scout cars."

The then Dearborn Township Fire Department (Michigan) present day Dearborn Heights Fire back in the ealry 1960's converted a couple of Ford Fairlane station wagons into ambulances. They both had two junior becon rays mounted on the roof and the highbeam headlights were red alternating lights. The rear windows on the wagons were frosted windows.
 

Steve Loftin

Site Supporter
Owen F.H. (Sapulpa, OK)
1956 Ford

(OFH photo)

McQuary A.S. (Oklahoma City, OK)
1947 Ford
It was common through the early 1960s for mothers and new babies to be brought home from the hospital in an ambulance. I'm guessing that not many operators were big enough to have a rig dedicated to just that service, as did this firm. A wicker bassinet, with blue and pink linens, was a common ambulance item back in the day.

(SL collection)
 

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Kent Dorsey

PCS Member / Funeral Director
Great thread... station wagon ambulances were very common in the Carolinas until the late 70's... many thanks...
 

Rick Duffy

PCS Past President 2010 - 2012
Excellent!

Great thread... station wagon ambulances were very common in the Carolinas until the late 70's... many thanks...

In my hometown and the nieghboring communities, station wagon ambulances were the only thing going until 1979!

Thanks Steve!

Rick
 

Paul Steinberg

Administrator
Staff member
Super Site Supporter
Owen F.H. (Sapulpa, OK)
1956 Ford

(OFH photo)

McQuary A.S. (Oklahoma City, OK)
1947 Ford
It was common through the early 1960s for mothers and new babies to be brought home from the hospital in an ambulance. I'm guessing that not many operators were big enough to have a rig dedicated to just that service, as did this firm. A wicker bassinet, with blue and pink linens, was a common ambulance item back in the day.

(SL collection)

If I remember correctly, wasn't this a postcard or a car that was offered for sale a few years ago on eBay? I remember reading the "note", but don't remember much more than that about the auction..
 

Steve Loftin

Site Supporter
1956 Ford by ACC

The Amblewagon was introduced in 1956; the newest one I know of was a 1975 model.
 

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Steve Lichtman

PCS Elected Director 2019 - 2022
Site Supporter
Our two well-known station wagon ambulances:
1954 Studebaker Ambulet, from Nashwauk, MN
1957 DeSoto Fireflite wagon ambulance, from New Kensington, PA

(And this, though it'll appear first, is the photo of the DeSoto when it was in service in New Ken, from Steve Loftin from the Buick thread. Yes, the lettering was re-done in the '70's.)
attachment.php
)
 

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Thanks for the thread. I too grew up around station wagon ambulances so I'm really enjoying this. I've got a beauty in the garage right now but I'll have one of these type rigs too one day. :specool:
 

Steve Loftin

Site Supporter
1967 Sport Wagon
Tulsa Speedway
(ex-Moore F.H.; the speedway ran their own ambulance fleet until 1982)

1966 Vista Cruiser
Tulsa Speedway
(ex-Tulsa-Whisenhunt F.H.; one of twins)

1960 Ranch Wagon
Junkyard, Seminole, OK
(This is ex-Brooks F.H. of Duncan, OK, operating as Duncan Ambulance Service. This car had a manual transmission and NO split second seat! When in service, her warning package included two Propello Rays, two lollipops, a Q2B, and a #17. Sorry for the poor shot; it's the only angle I could get because of a certain guard dog on a chain. When I got back
through there again, the car was gone.)

1966 Country Sedan/ACC Amblewagon
Chambers, NE
(This car, stripped, was advertised on eBay about eight years ago as an ex-fire chief's car. She was still in backup service when I photographed her in the early '90s.)

(SL photos)
 

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Steve Loftin

Site Supporter
The Amblewagon was introduced in 1956; the newest one I know of was a 1975 model.

Attached are photos of a 1956 Ford Amblewagon that I photographed in Elk Creek, NE in 1992. It was still on the roster of the Johnson Co. ambulance service at the time, but was sitting at an individual's home and had been for some time. The car appeared to be complete except for medical equipment. You can barely see one of the wheelhouse compartments in the right/front view. The original beacon had been replaced by a #14, as you can also see. I wish now that I had photographed the rear interior through the (open) rear door. (Please believe me when I say that it was MUCH colder that day than it looks in the pictures...b-r-r-r!)
 

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John ED Renstrom

PCS Member - Elected Director 2017-2021
Super Site Supporter
I think is was the post card and we had a discussion about it here is it different car.
and a 62 falcon converted buy Kirby lumber co in oregon if I remember right. it was offered on e-bay a few years back.
 

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John ED Renstrom

PCS Member - Elected Director 2017-2021
Super Site Supporter
same two guys to. wonder how many moms and babies they took home?
today your lucky to get the wheel chair to the curb after the second day
 

Steve Loftin

Site Supporter
Sechrest's well-equipped '59 Dodge wagon...

...or should I say "over-equipped?" Perhaps some or all of the equipment listed on the back of this card was kept in a second vehicle or towed behind this one in a trailer! I can't imagine something as heavy and bulky as a Porta-Power being carried in this wagon. And, what about that fishing pole?

Here's the front and back of an S.F.H. postcard, plus a higher resolution scan of the car itself:
 

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