Superior Emergency Vehicles was a fire truck manufacturer in Red Deer, Alberta.
Superior was founded in 1973 by partners Butch Barthel, Bob Mather and Barry Skinner. Barthel and Mather had previously worked for the Saskatoon Fire Engine Company, another western Canada fire truck manufacturer. Superior started building pumpers and tankers for smaller fire departments in Alberta and Saskatchewan. The company cracked the bigger city market with three 1975 Hendrickson 1500 IGPM pumpers for Calgary and continued to expand their reach throughout western Canada. During the mid- to late-1970s, Superior sold a type of inexpensive apparatus to many small towns. It was called the "Plain Jane" and it was manufactured by the American Fire Pump Company. In 1978, Can-AM Fire Apparatus was created as a marketing arm for Superior in the United States, the name Superior was already used by an apparatus manufacturer in Montana (Superior Fire Apparatus). The Can-Am name was used until 1983. And in 1980, a new division, Superior Fire Trucks, was founded in Kingston, Ontario to serve eastern Canada. Manufacturing facilities were set up in Kingston and approximately two dozen trucks were built for departments in Ontario and the Maritime provinces. In 1982, the Kingston operation was closed and the eastern market served from Red Deer.
With the 1985 demise of King-Seagrave and Pierreville Fire Trucks, Superior started to sell more trucks in Central Canada and became an even larger player in the Canadian industry. In 1987, Superior entered into agreements with Pierce Manufacturing and Smeal Fire Apparatus Company to use their chassis and aerial ladders, respectively. Another agreement with Snorkel allowed Superior to build trucks equipped with platforms. Pierce-chassised Superior trucks were delivered to departments across Canada, while the Smeal aerials (30 delivered) enabled the company to offer a full line of apparatus.
By 1989, Superior was Canada's largest fire apparatus company. Florida's Emergency One came calling and purchased 100% of the company from the founders in 1991. At first, Superior served the Canadian market, but later became E-One's builder of light rescues and brush trucks. The company changed its name to E-One Canada in 2003.
In 2006, E-One announced that it was shutting down operations in Red Deer and the plant wound down production by the end of that year. Current information indicates that SE 3660, an E-One Cyclone II pumper, was the last vehicle to come off the production line. This truck was destined for the Prince George Fire Rescue Service.
Superior built all types of trucks on commercial and custom (Spartan, Pierce, E-One) chassis. Approximately 3600 trucks were built in Red Deer. About 1200 of these were built before the E-One takeover and the rest after. Superior trucks were delivered to departments across Canada and to American departments in the Pacific Northwest, Midwest and Alaska. Apparatus built in Red Deer under E-One was delivered across the United States and around the world.
Superior used a sequential system of numbers with the prefix SE to identify its products. After purchase by E-One, products ordered or sold by E-One or its dealer network also have an SO#. In addition, most if not all specialty apparatus (platforms, ladders) purchased by Canadian departments but manufactured in Ocala had an SE# appended to the vehicle information. Available information has SE numbers beginning at SE 5 and ending with SE 3677. They are mostly sequential, yet there are gaps where there are numbers or build information missing.
Badging of Superior apparatus was variable. If a vehicle was destined for a Canadian department, badging was almost exclusively Superior. If a vehicle was destined for an American or overseas department, badging would most often be E-One, but American Eagle was used for many small and medium duty based apparatus. When Superior first entered the American market, apparatus was badged Can∙Am, as there was already an apparatus manufacturer named Superior. There were also instances where an American customer specifically requested Superior badging. Subsequent to the name change to E-One Canada in 2003, many apparatus were delivered in Canada with E-One badging.
|Original Superior Badge|
|Second Gen Superior Badge|
|Can-Am badge used for US product|
|Superior badge (post E-One purchase)|
|E-One American Eagle badge|