Dennis RS series

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Dublin Auxiliary Fire Service 1986 Dennis RS, Ireland.

The Dennis RS series is a fire engine built by Dennis, produced from 1978 until the early 1990s.


Its new all-steel cab, designed by Ogle of London, replaced the older fibreglass and wood construction of the previous appliances it succeeded, such as the Dennis D and Dennis R. The cab design was part of a collaboration between Dennis and Shelvoke and Drewry (SD), to produce a common cab architecture for both companies' ranges of fire engines and dustcarts, which could be economically produced at low production volumes.

The first of the Dennis RS (Rigid Steel), referring to the cab which was fixed and had access panels inside to access the engine) fire appliances were fitted with Perkins V8 diesel engines, either the V8-540 (8.8 litre) or the V8-640 (10.6 litre), with or without turbochargers. The all-welded steel cab provided the maximum protection possible to the crew, and had an edge over other commercial trucks, as the RS was a purpose built fire appliance and was not used for any other application. The Dennis RS could be fitted with a variety of bodies by Dennis/JDC, Carmichael, Fulton Wylie, etc.

Even though the cab design of the RS dates from 1978, they are seen to this day in fire brigades all over the world, with many still in front-line use to this day. In the later years the RS and SS series appliances were dogged with door corrosion, aptly known as "Dennis Disease" as almost every single RS appliance suffered from rotten cab doors at some stage in their lives.


  • RS130 - Perkins V8-540 engine with Turner T5.400 manual gearbox
  • RS131 - Perkins V8-540 engine with Allison MT643 automatic gearbox
  • RS132 - Perkins V8-540 engine with ZF S6.65 manual gearbox
  • RS133 - Perkins V8-640 engine with Allison MT643 automatic gearbox
  • RS134 - Perkins TV8-540 engine with ZF S6.65 manual gearbox
  • RS135 - Perkins TV8-540 engine with Allison MT643 automatic gearbox
  • RS137 - Perkins V8-540 engine with Allison MT643 automatic gearbox

Most appliances had Kirkstall & Eaton axles fitted, front and rear respectively, and some with limited-slip differentials, all chassis came with a choice of a 500gpm or 1,000gpm two-stage Godiva UMPX fire pump, depending on application.

Significant users[edit]

See also[edit]