W.S. Darley & Co. - 1918-present - Melrose Park, Illinois


W.S. Darley marketed their apparatus as Champion Fire Apparatus

Since 1908, Darley has been dedicated to serving the world’s Fire and Emergency Services. Our corporate headquarters are located in Melrose Park, Illinois, and our manufacturing, engineering and research and development operations are in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin and Toledo, Oregon.

Since 1908, Darley has been dedicated to serving the world’s Fire and Emergency Services. Our corporate headquarters are located in Melrose Park, Illinois, and our manufacturing, engineering and research and development operations are in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin and Toledo, Oregon.  

Chief Executive Officer is Bill Darley and he is certified engineer and has been with our company for over 50 years.  He is one of the most respected individuals in the fire service due to his commitment and integrity. He served as President of the Fire Apparatus Manufacturers Association and currently serves on several corporate and charity boards.

Our entire company is committed to customer satisfaction.  We are dedicated to excellence and offer a diverse line of quality products and services through progressive design, manufacturing and distribution. 

W. S. Darley & Co.’s involvement in the Fire Industry spans almost a century and three generations of Darleys.  They not only have a rock solid reputation for building quality products, but also for building strong relationships with Fire Fighting Organizations around the world. Darley draws their strength from being a financially stable company with a unique industry position.  Darley builds Fire Trucks, manufactures Champion Fire Pumps and sells Fire Fighting and Emergency Equipment through its international catalog. Nowhere else will you find a company as dedicated to the Fire Industry.  All this experience comes from a company that cares – W. S. Darley & Co. is customer driven


ad in 1953 Silver Book pp83

Many trucks released by the Willys factory as pickups or "stripped chassis" were adapted by after-market manufacturers including:

  • Hicks Body Company of Lebanon, Indiana
  • Boyer Fire Apparatus of Logansport, Indiana
  • American Fire Apparatus of Battle Creek, Michigan
  • Howe Fire Apparatus of Anderson, Indiana
  • General Fire Truck Co. of Detroit
  • W.S. Darley of Chicago
  • John Bean Co. of Lansing, Michigan
  • Central Fire Truck Corp. of St. Louis
  • Oren Roanoke Corp. of Roanoke, Virginia
  • Young Fire Equipment of Buffalo, New York

These conversions also included Forward Control fire trucks built from the cab-over-engine trucks produced by Willys from 1956-65.

W.S. Darley & Co.

This 1956 unit produced by W.S. Darley & Company of Chicago is a fairly basic conversion of a Willys pickup truck, without the more specialized body work found on Willys conversions by General Fire Truck (see below) or Howe Fire Apparatus. It has a 500 GPM pump and 150 gallon booster tank. The spare tire suggests it might have been intended for a rural department, although it does not appear to have suction hose mounted in this factory photo supplied by Steve Hagy. Steve reports that the rig was in fact delivered to A.C.F. Industries of Buffalo, New York.


    For more information please read:

Matthew Lee - W.S. Darley & Co. Fire Apparatus: 1908 Through 2000 Photo Archive

Walter M.P. McCall & George H. Dammann - American Fire Engines Since 1900

Fred W. Crismon - Fire Engines

Bob Dubbert - Encyclopedia of Canadian Fire Apparatus

Donal M. Baird - A Canadian History of Fire Engines

Phil DaCosta - One Hundred Years of America's Fire Fighting Apparatus

Bill Hass - History of the American Water Towers

Hans Halberstadt - The American Fire Engine

Hans Halberstadt - Fire Engines

T.A. Jacobs - A History of Fire Engines

Matthew Lee - A Pictorial History of the Fire Engine

M.W. Goodman MD - Inventing the American Fire Engine: An Illustrated History of Fire Engine Patents

Consumer's Guide - The Complete Book of Fire Engines: A colorful Review of Today's Fire Apparatus

Sheila Buff - Fire Engines in North America

Sheila Buff - Fire Engines: Motorized Apparatus Since 1900

Neil Wallington - World Encyclopedia of Fire Engines: an illustrated guide to fire trucks around the world

Keith Ryan & Neil Wallington - The Illustrated History of Fire Engines

Paul Barrett - Heavy Rescue Trucks: 1931 - 2000 Photo Gallery

Larry Shapiro - Aerial Fire Trucks

Larry Shapiro - Fighting Fire Trucks

Larry Shapiro - Hooks and Ladders

Larry Shapiro - Pumpers: Workhorse Fire Engines

Donald F. Wood - American Volunteer Fire Trucks

Donald F. Wood - Big City Fire Truck 1900-1950

Donald F. Wood & Wayne Sorensen - Big City Fire Trucks: 1951-1996

Donald F. Wood & Wayne Sorenson - Motorized Fire Apparatus of the West, 1900-1960

Donald F. Wood & Wayne Sorensen - New York City Fire Trucks

Donald F. Wood & Wayne Sorenson - Volunteer & Rural Fire Apparatus Photo Gallery

Kenneth Little - Chicago Fire Department engines: Sixty years of motorized pumpers, 1912-1972

Kenneth Little - Chicago Fire Department hook & ladder tractors, 1914-1971

Ron Jeffers - The apparatus of the Jersey City Fire Department: Yesterday and today

John Rieth - Jersey Shore Fire Apparatus: Classic Thru the 60's

Philip R. Lincoln - Massachusetts fire apparatus: A pictorial Collection

Charles Madderom - Los Angeles City Fire Apparatus: 1953 Through 1999 Photo Archive

George Klass - Fire apparatus: A pictorial history of the Los Angeles Fire Department

John A. Calderone - Wheels of the bravest: A history of FDNY fire apparatus, 1865-1992

Peter Aloisi - Apparatus and fires across America: Featuring former FDNY apparatus

Scott Schimpf - Fire Apparatus of Philadelphia

Harrold Shell - Past and present: A history of Phoenix fire trucks

Leo E. Duliba - Industrial & Private Fire Apparatus: 1925 Through 2001 Photo Archive

G.N. Georgano & G. Marshall Naul - The Complete Encyclopedia of Commercial Vehicles

Albert Mroz - Illustrated Encyclopedia of American Trucks & Commercial Vehicles

Daniel D. Hutchins - Wheels Across America: Carriage Art & Craftsmanship

George W. Green - Special-Use Vehicles: An Illustrated History of Unconventional Cars and Trucks

William T. King - History of the American Steam Fire-Engine

Ed Hass - The Dean of Steam Fire Engine Builders

John M. Peckham - Fighting fire with fire: A pictorial volume of steam fire-fighting apparatus


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