MPC 1/25 Chuck Miller's Fire Truck
KIT #: 714
PRICE: $21.95
DECALS: One option
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken
NOTES: 2010 reissue


One of the pioneering show rods was Chuck Miller’s Fire Truck, a Ford C-cab that won the coveted Ridler award at the 1968 Detroit Autorama. Miller, who owned Styline Customs in Detroit in the late 1960s, specialized in building custom and concept cars designed to attract attention and win awards, and that’s exactly what he did with the Fire Truck, a whimsical combination of Keystone Kops-era Model T body and dragster-inspired chassis that was never meant to see the street or the strip, let alone an actual four-alarm blaze.

The C-Cab Fire Truck played off several popular elements from the era, including every young man’s enthusiasm for fire equipment, the booming T-bucket craze, a recurrent show car practice that Street Rodder magazine called “Wacky Show Rods,” and the enduring popularity of the early “C-Cab” Model T trucks. Combining these themes, Miller built a delightful rendition with a single-monocle windscreen, tiller steering, a small-block V-8 engine with a “dummy” blower, competition-themed American mag wheels, drilled ladder bars, and “pie crust” drag slicks.

Other stylistic elements include abbreviated wooden ladders, gold leaf side lettering, rear-only brakes, drum headlights, vintage Model T taillights, a winged Moto-Meter radiator cap, and a roof rack. Not intended for street use, the Fire Truck was designed and built with just one purpose: to win custom-car shows.


This is a reissue of an earlier MPC kit from the 1960s or early 1970s, complete with the retro box. The kit uses white plastic aside from the chrome sprue and clear bits. Not a big fan of white plastic, but most car models were done in that shade so there it is.

There is some flash on the sprues, but the parts themselves seem pretty flash free. Usual issue with ejector pin marks that one finds on forty year old kits. The chrome is very nicely done, though many parts will need to be repainted if one wishes to remove mold seams or assembly seams. There are actually three clear sprues. One is tinted yellow and duplicates the clear one for the windscreen and light lenses. Then there is a rather extensive clear red sprue. The engine is quite complete with a nicely done blower assembly and exhaust. The body is made up of four main panels for the sides, top and floor. There is no rear panel as this area is open.

The driver's compatment is basically just a seat, gear shift, steering tiller, dash and foot pedals. Wheels are two pieces that trap rubber tires. The fronts have stub axles and attach to the straight axle front suspension. The rear suspension is an independent style as found on Jaguars so will be more complex than what one normally finds on show rod kits. This suspension has inboard rear disc brakes.

Instructions are straight out of the original kit and include the information that this kit was $2.00 when first released. The construction drawings are very well done and broken down into six different steps. Colors are generic, but since the real vehicle is still extant, one can find some quality images on the Internet. Most of the nicely done decal sheet consists of pin striping, and the instructions have a section devoted to the application of these markings.

I have a fondness for show cars and show rods. While I seem to build very few, they still hold an attraction for me and I'm pleased that Round 2 has been able to reissue some of these kit as it certainly benefits us from not having to pay collector's prices for some very neat kits.

February 2015

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