On Saturday, Sept. 9, the long line of cars wending their way down the twisting turns of Route 896 to the Bart Township Fire Company on Furnace Road weren't filled with tourists. Instead they were filled with vintage car enthusiasts out to share their historically registered vehicles with other admirers and fans.
It was the first Bart Township Fire Company Car Cruise and the organizers plan to make it an annual event. In addition to over 50 vintage vehicles, the cruise started with the monthly Bart Fire Hall breakfast, featured a DJ, an afternoon chicken barbeque, door prizes and a genuine TV star, Bill Simcox's Engine 343. Engine 343 was the creation of "The Chrome Shop Mafia" from the hit County Music Television series "Trick my Truck."
Simcox, of Cochranville, was selected for a big rig makeover after wife Melissa wrote to the show describing her husband's selfless dedication to his family and community. Simcox is the assistant fire chief for the Cochranville Fire Company and a lifetime long distance trucker. Simcox's 1995 Peterbilt was redone by the "Mafia" as a salute to the 343 firefighters who lost their lives in the 9/11 terrorist attacks at the World Trade Center.
The rig went from an object of "Mafia" ridicule to a tricked out fire truck clone. Just a few of the features of this one of a kind wonder were red paint with gold particles for extra sheen, hand done gold leaf trim, fire ladders for climbing into the cab, a fire hatchet as a gear shifter, a flat screen television, a wall featuring an embroidered fireman's prayer, a fire hydrant to conceal air and electrical hoses and even flashing lights and sirens. Simcox 343 will be featured on CMT's "Trick My Truck" during the month of September and can be seen at the following dates and times: Thursday, 9/14 at 8:30 p.m., Friday, 9/15 at 5:30 p.m., Sunday 9/17 at 3:30 p.m., Wednesday, 9/20 at 10 p.m., Thursday, 9/21 at 1 a.m., Saturday, 9/23 at 2:30 p.m., Monday, 9/25 at 1:30 a.m., Tuesday, 9/26 at 9:30 p.m., and Friday, 9/29 at 5 p.m.
Bart Fire Company members and vintage car owners Rick Ressel and Terry Wise acted as coordinators for the event. "We had discussed doing this for the last five or six years and finally decided to actually do it," said Wise.
Wise says he's glad the event was so successful and looks forward to continuing the new tradition next year. "We're already planning an even bigger and better event next year," he said.