One of the notable former residents of the town of Panaca, although not one of the founding fathers, is the Findlay family. Pete Findlay once owned the Y Station on U.S. 93 just west of town and was the founder of the Findlay Auto Group in Las Vegas.
Stories published about the family note when they were living in Panaca, in the 1950s, Pete traveled to Detroit to pickup a new truck, drove it back to Salt Lake City, where it was converted into a new fire truck for the town.
It was used many times in the Meadow Valley over the years, finally being retired from service sometime around 2003.
Then it sat unused and weather worn for many years until Pete’s son, Cliff, now chairman of Findlay Automotive Group, learned of its whereabouts and decided to buy the old truck and have it restored. It is now a showpiece in the family’s Cadillac dealership at 993 Auto Show Drive in Henderson.
In the published story, Cliff said, “My dad used to work at the fire station in Panaca. They sent him and my uncle back to Michigan to pick it up.”
After Findlay acquired the truck from the town of Panaca, it was taken to Findlay Customs for an overhaul. Joe Monaco, general manager of Findlay Customs next to Findlay Toyota said, “We got it fired up and it barely ran, had no brakes, and was in bad shape.”
Knowing the importance of the truck to the Findlay family, the truck was restored as a tribute to Pete Findlay himself, “so it became a detailed frame-up restoration,” Monaco said. “We went full bore with this one, even added a secondary audio system. One system is for the cab, and one is for parade mode. All the chrome, stainless and brass, was polished. The siren is the original, completely refurbished and fully functional.
“This is more than just a fire truck. It’s Findlay history. We’re happy to play a big part in preserving something that can now be shared with people all over. It’s truly one of our finest achievements.”
The company even has Pete Findlay’s original bill of sale of $4,500, bearing his signature. Cliff Findlay said his late father would be very proud to see the vehicle now.
Attempts by the Record to contact the Findlay family to see if they might bring the truck back to Panaca for the Sesquicentennial Celebration Parade have so far proved unsuccessful.