Note: This feature is in the Oct. TT&C 2016 issue.
Larry Miller holding one of his Franklin Mint fire engines. This engine is just one of more than 3,000 that Larry has in his collection.
Four unique collectible firehouses.
Larry believes Japanese tin fire trucks from the 1950s add diversity and color to his collection.
Die-cast 1/87 scale fire, police and ambulances from Matchbox and Hot Wheels.
More photos available in the Oct. TT&C 2011 magazine. Call (701) 883-5206 to purchase.
When asked about his toy fire truck collection, Larry Miller is quick to point out, “I collect emergency vehicles. I have a lot of fire trucks, but I also collect police cars and ambulances.”
Larry’s interest in toy vehicles stems from his day job. Larry has owned World Auto Parts & Dismantling in Glendale, Calif., for 40 years, specializing in “good used Subaru auto parts.”
Larry’s auto store not only provides him with a living, it doubles as his personal emergency vehicle museum. “I have over 3,000 toy emergency vehicles. Most are kept in glass bookcases—lawyer’s bookcases—at my auto parts store so that dust and dirt don’t damage them.
“I’m particularly proud that about 50 of my vehicles are on display at the Los Angeles Fire Department Museum and Memorial in Hollywood. A lot of people have told me how much they enjoyed seeing these toy vehicles.” This museum is located in Old Engine Co. No. 27.
Emergency vehicles were not Larry’s first collection. “As a kid, I was very interested in collecting stamps. Then I discovered baseball cards and after that trains. I’ve always been a collector.”
Larry began his emergency vehicle collection in 1984 while patronizing a toy show in West Los Angeles. “I saw some Conrad fire trucks from West Germany for about $65 each and simply fell in love with them, especially the Mercedes-Benz pumpers and ladder trucks. I had to have one, so I bought several. By the time I got home, I was hooked on fire trucks.”
The Conrad fire trucks Larry purchased were die-cast in 1/50 scale. Conrad specializes in re-creating vintage, 1920s-era fire trucks. “I now own about 20 Conrad antique-looking fire trucks.
“I bought my first toy fire trucks to add depth to my train layouts. I collected and displayed trains for years and enjoyed building layouts. I thought the fire trucks would add an interesting touch to the towns I built.”
After buying his first toy fire truck, Larry pillaged through the Matchbox and Hot Wheels toys his three sons had. “I took what I wanted and added them to my collection. From there, the collection has grown.”
To read the rest of this story, call (701) 883-5206 or 1-800-533-8293 to order the Oct. TT&C 2011 issue.
Other features included in the Oct. 2011 issue:
• It Put Horses Out To Pasture by Richard Marmo
• 2011 Capitol City Fire Fest in Dublin, Ohio by Larry Phillips
• Das Awkscht Fescht Nostalgia Mixed with the New by Mark Macreading