By Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer Published Nov 18, 2019 at 2:58 PM

If you’ve visited the Milwaukee Fire Education Center and Museum, 1615 W. Oklahoma Ave., you know that the Fire Historical Society has a number of vintage Milwaukee firefighting vehicles and apparatus in its impressive collection.

Now, it’s got one more.

Recently, a donor gave the group – run mostly by retired Milwaukee firefighters – a 1958 Edsel Ranger that was used by Car 3, the firefighting deputy chief.

"The car is one of a few that were fire or police vehicles," says Randy Leach. "It is also one of seven cars out of 116,000 that had a ‘special paint,’ in this case Milwaukee Fire Department red. It also has a unique push button transmission selector on the column."

The four-door sedan – made by Ford Motor Company – was one of three such vehicles that MFD purchased in 1958 and kept in its fleet until 1964.

"We are looking to restore the car to a drivable car," says Leach. "We are working with some Edsel clubs to evaluate the car and find parts. While it is in rough shape, the experts say it is doable. (It just takes) money and time."

To that end, the historical society is seeking donations to help fund the project. If you can help, please send a check to the Milwaukee Fire Historical Society Car 3 Restoration Fund, 1615 W. Oklahoma Ave., Milwaukee, WI, 53215-4539, call (414) 286-5262 or send an email to

In the meantime, the museum is looking for other assistance, too.

"Our biggest problem now is that we need a place to store it, preferably secured and indoors," says Leach.

"We would love to add this car to our collection restored fire apparatus. We would hate to see this piece of Milwaukee Fire Department go to the scrap heap or parted out."

Contact Leach at the above phone number or email if you can help.

Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer

Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.

He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.

With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.

He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.

In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.

He has be heard on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories, in that station's most popular podcast.