1941 American LaFrance Firetruck
March 30, 2007 2:48 PM
What makes a Hummer look like a Geo Metro? A 1941 American LaFrance fire truck, that's what. With a 256 horsepower engine under the hood and a unique modification in back, this classic beauty not only runs like a dream, but is also the most practical vehicle in Jay's collection. All that, and it only costs a measly 200 bucks to fill up the tank.
This truck was first brought into service at Warner Bros. Studios in Burbank, California. With the most powerful production engine built in its day, and its sleek, aerodynamic design that was wind-tunnel tested - a first for a fire truck - this was certainly one of the best that money could buy if you were looking to purchase a fire truck in the early 1940s.
After living out over 20 years of its life on the Warner Bros.' lot, the truck was bought by the Burbank Airport. For decades, it sat on the runway as a wind shield, but with a change in U.S. law after 9/11, the airport could no longer have any obstructions on the runway and they offered the vehicle to Jay.
Since public service vehicles are built to last it was no surprise that the truck still ran fine after a rudimentary cleanup, which took ten-ton jacks to accomplish! The body, however, was another story. After years of soaking in dust and grime in the California sun, the body was not in good repair. It took a great deal of sand paper, and some finely detailed pin striping work, to get the truck into the gorgeous condition it's in today.
But the biggest work done was pulling out the water tank in order to install a tailgate lift that is now used to bring back disabled motorcycles to the garage when they've broken down on the road.
And if you're wondering, there are different uses for the bell and the alarm. The alarm signifies a fire and tells traffic to get out of the way, while the bell lets the firehouse know that the truck is returning home. Both still function perfectly and are two of the great features that make this truck such an incredible vehicle.