Hundreds of firetrucks - all part of a collection belonging to Andy Leiter - were housed in a building on Route 302 in Middletown, NY.
Leiter sold the building and has been moving his trucks to other buildings he bought in the area and in Pennsylvania. One of those buildings is the old Honda dealership on Fulton Street in Middletown, which Leiter plans to turn into a museum.
Now, a partnership has sprung up from this move Leiter has taken. Billy Hassler opened Hassler’s Big Boys Toys Sandblasting and Paint Shop at 17-39 Midland Ave. Ext., building No. 11, in Middletown, in 2018. Business boomed since Hassler was able to accommodate huge construction and highway equipment in his 45-foot- long and 16-foot-high paint booth. But, in the back of his mind, he had the idea to get Leiter on board as a customer. Now that Leiter has sold his building, which housed a maintenance department, but had no paint or sandblasting booth, Hassler’s seemed like the perfect place to have that work done on his firetrucks.
So Leiter ended up buying the business from Hassler, who remains on board, and renamed it Liberty Truck Collision & Painting. The two have teamed up to provide a place where firetrucks are accommodated for whatever body or paint work they need. They even sub out for the gold leaf lettering to be applied. There are not many firetruck dealerships that have body shops, so Leiter and Hassler are hoping they come to them. Everything is done in-house; it’s basically a one-stop shop for firetrucks. They will continue to work on highway and construction vehicles, cars, trucks and motorcycles.
An expansion of the shop is already in the works. This expansion will be dedicated to collision work. Leiter used to own a body shop business on Staten Island and he hung onto the spray booth and the shop lifts. These will be used in the new area. One of the lifts is a 35,000-pound truck lift.
Hassler and Leiter are happy with the connection they have made.