by Warren Swaney and the Allpar staff • See our main ambulance page
Crestline Coach Ltd. was started by three Saskatchewan guys who owned an ambulance service and couldn't afford to buy new units from anyone else so they started building them. Crestline has expanded considerably over the years and has now sold units from Hanoi, Vietnam to Zurich, Switzerland; the company now bills itself as “one of North America's leading ambulance, bus and specialty vehicle manufacturers and distributors. Ahead of the industry worldwide in emergency vehicle safety, cutting edge manufacturing processes, and exceptional sales and service, we are paving the way of the future with a continued array of industry innovations.” The company prides itself both on technical innovation and customer service; it makes ambulances, specialty vehicles, and equipment, and claims to be Canada’s only national distributor of buses (made by other companies). Current ambulances are based on Chevy and Ford vans, since there are no Dodge vans to build from.
This truck (above), referred to as “Old Yeller” by those who know and love her,was the truck that started it all. It was the first truck Crestline built for another service. It served Swift Current SK from 1975 to (about) 1981-83.you. This is a 1975 Dodge Sportsman Maxi-Wagon; I drove this thing myself when I worked in Swift Current. It had a 360 2-barrel and it would go! You could wind the speedo all the way around and then some but it had a very short range with only a 22 gallon fuel tank.
This type of “lowtop” van ambulance (without a raised fiberglass or steel roof) was very common on the Canadian prairies, and was probably the predominant type of unit until the early 1990s. It was favored because of the number of long distance transfers we do here - trips of 4 or 5 hours to a major treatment center are not unusual at all and these units had the best ride.
Crestline Coach in Saskatoon built a few of these minivan-based units in the late 1980s and they were sold to transfer services.
This is a 2000 Crestline Dodge Ram 3500 4x4 bought new and still in service with Duck Mountain Ambulance of Kamsack, Saskatchewan. It is powered by a V-10 gas engine and actually gets about 15-18 miles per gallon.