First Responders at San Diego Automotive Museum.

1972 Harley-Davidson police Servi-Car, a unique vehicle once used by law enforcement, exhibited at the San Diego Automotive Museum.
1972 Harley-Davidson police Servi-Car, a unique vehicle once used by law enforcement, exhibited at the San Diego Automotive Museum.

The San Diego Automotive Museum in Balboa Park has a great exhibition called First Responders that will be ending soon. Visitors to the museum can check out a range of vehicles, from fire engines to motorcycles, that have been used by San Diego’s first responders.

Car and motorcycle enthusiasts who’ve never been to the museum are really missing out. The San Diego Automotive Museum is jammed with beautiful, historic vehicles, including some that are literally one-of-a-kind.

In addition to their permanent collection, other exhibits now in the museum include a Harley-Davidson Collection, Evel Knievel’s motorcycle from Viva Knievel, Fonzie’s motorcycle and jacket from the television show Happy Days, and Louie Mattar’s Fabulous Car (which is arguably the most amazing car ever made).

First Responders will come to a close on May 29, 2017.

San Diego Lifeguard Service vehicle. One can also see these on the beach!
San Diego Lifeguard Service vehicle. One can also see these on the beach!
A variety of old photos show vehicles used by first responders in the past.
A variety of historical photos show vehicles used by first responders in the past.
An iconic 1926 Buick police paddy wagon.
An iconic 1926 Buick police paddy wagon.
Mannequins lie inside a M997 HMMWV Maxi-Ambulance used by the military.
Mannequins lie inside a M997 HMMWV Maxi-Ambulance used by the military.
Fire fighting vehicles on exhibit include a Brush Fire HMMWV and a 1966 Dodge D-500 fire truck.
Fire fighting vehicles on exhibit include a Brush Fire HMMWV and a 1966 Dodge D-500 fire truck.

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1922 Mack Water Truck outside Automotive Museum.

1922 Mack Water Truck on display outside the San Diego Automotive Museum in Balboa Park.
1922 Mack Water Truck on display outside the San Diego Automotive Museum in Balboa Park.

For many years, a very cool old water truck has been parked in an outdoor alcove near the entrance to the San Diego Automotive Museum, which is one of the outstanding museums in Balboa Park. I frequently walk past the shiny red water truck and wonder about its history–the stories it might tell.

The 1922 Mack Water Truck was donated in 1997 to the museum by Bruce and Mary Hazard. R.E. Hazard, the father of Bruce, began the prosperous local construction company almost a hundred years ago. I’ve tried to find information about this particular truck, but without success. All I know is that several years ago the time-weathered water truck was restored into a glorious shiny condition by a host of volunteers.

On the opposite side of the Automotive Museum’s front entrance a second outdoor alcove awaits, empty. Wouldn’t it be cool if another historic vehicle were to be placed there for everyone passing by to enjoy?

The vintage 1922 Mack Water Truck was donated to the Automotive Museum by Bruce and Mary Hazard in 1997. Hazard Construction Company dates from the early 1920's.
The vintage 1922 Mack Water Truck was donated to the Automotive Museum by Bruce and Mary Hazard in 1997. Hazard Construction Company dates from the early 1920’s.
Photo of the sturdy but rather simple 1922 Mack Water Truck.
Photo of the sturdy but rather simple 1922 Mack Water Truck.
Hard rubber tires are driven by a chain. A ride through a construction site must have been rather bumpy!
Hard rubber tires are driven by a chain. A ride through a construction site must have been rather bumpy!
The 1922 Mack Water Truck can be seen near the entrance to the fascinating San Diego Automotive Museum, one of the best museums of its kind.
The 1922 Mack Water Truck can be seen near the entrance to the fascinating San Diego Automotive Museum, one of the best museums of its kind.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk! You can enjoy even more Cool San Diego Sights by following me on Facebook or Twitter!