1915 American LaFrance speedster

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Model T Ford Forum: Forum 2009: 1915 American LaFrance speedster
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Herb Iffrig on Tuesday, December 22, 2009 - 09:08 am:

http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/Other-Makes-Speedster-American-Lafrance-racer-vin tage-brass-era-barn-fresh_W0QQcmdZViewItemQQhashZitem2ea9f4d913QQitemZ2004198914 75QQptZUSQ5fCarsQ5fTrucks

I just had to let you see this.
Get your wallet out!
Herb


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Ricks - Surf City on Tuesday, December 22, 2009 - 09:23 am:

Thanks. There was a real pretty red one on the 2000 Greatrace, but the pro mechanics with it couldn't keep it running a full day. They are monsters. I wanted to get a pic of it with our T Speedster, but never had the chance.

rdr


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Jem Bowkett on Tuesday, December 22, 2009 - 10:03 am:

Can't see eBay from the office PC, but I assume this is another ex-fire engine conversion - they've been banned from the Vintage Sports Car Club here, but you could put a tiny pickup bed on and join the Historic Commercial Vehicle Club :^)


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Ricks - Surf City on Tuesday, December 22, 2009 - 10:14 am:

Here you go, Jem:

alf

Just what you need for slaloms. :-)

rdr


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Chris Olsen on Tuesday, December 22, 2009 - 10:41 am:

Mein Gott! Wotta monster!


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Henry Petrino on Tuesday, December 22, 2009 - 10:55 am:

Jem,
Just out of curiosity, why were they banned? (I don't know anything about vintage sports car clubs.)


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Grady Puryear on Tuesday, December 22, 2009 - 10:58 am:

Lord have mercy !! Just the thought of driving such a machine, groaning and roaring, drive chains clanking and all. First time I have ever seen something on Ebay I would actually buy if I had the means. The way this old world is going, and thinking ahead to how much worse it will be, I am tempted to sell out and buy it, and do a Fred Astaire (Julian Osborne in "On The Beach") where he drives his Ferrari 750 into the garage and bids farewell, I have the barn for it.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Andy Clary on Tuesday, December 22, 2009 - 11:13 am:

There was one of these on an endurance run. They got carried away with the chain oil and you could certainly tell which side of the car they say on.

Andy


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Robert G. Hester Jr. on Tuesday, December 22, 2009 - 11:26 am:

What a machine! That thing has got pretty written all over it. I'd give up my life savings (it's right here in my hip pocket) just to drive it for an hour. And with or without a muffler the stack music must be awesome. Thanks for posting, Herb. Bob


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Michael K Johnson on Tuesday, December 22, 2009 - 11:29 am:

Have cars like (if there ever was one) sold for anything near $150K. But I can easily see someone ploping down that amount.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Herb Iffrig on Tuesday, December 22, 2009 - 12:44 pm:

Just the right amount of neglect, don't ya think?

Herb

I think I just coined a new phrase!


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Bill Harris on Tuesday, December 22, 2009 - 01:01 pm:

This truck/car/1915/1918/1921/1927/1930 has been listed at least three times. The last auction bid up to $111,300.00 but did not meet reserve. Huh? Of course, the $6000 radiator core and original oil in the differential make this a real find!


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Seth Harbuck - Shreveport, LA on Tuesday, December 22, 2009 - 01:20 pm:

IMO, they should have taken that $111 grand since it is a "homemade" car, though it is undoubtedly rare.

And it's spelled "Shreveport"!


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Frank Harris on Tuesday, December 22, 2009 - 01:37 pm:

He has posted it on e-bay several times before. I believe he has shills bidding it up to almost his asking price and then bang they own it on the first bid.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Adam Doleshal on Tuesday, December 22, 2009 - 01:38 pm:

For that kind of money, they could have at least used correct looking fabric covered wires...

And whoever sold them that crappy aluminum insert radiator job for $6000.00 really took them for a ride. You should be able to get a real nice proper re-core with new tanks and everything for that kind of money. And then adding that terrible looking plastic fan tells me it still has some cooling problems (maybe doesn't run too well).

It would be nice to have, but I would imagine that if someone bought it, they might have to pay a specialist 50K to make it run like it should (if they were going to drive it alot).


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Harold Schwendeman on Tuesday, December 22, 2009 - 02:48 pm:

Jay Leno's collection has a little of everything, including a couple "monsters" that he drives once in awhile. I think this would make a neat addition to Jay's collection, and he has the staff and facilities to make this "monster" a real "head-turner"!


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Ricks - Surf City on Tuesday, December 22, 2009 - 02:59 pm:

Rodney Rucker is the guy who had the giant ALF speedster in the 2000 Greatrace. The next year he bought one of the Professor Fate cars and one of the Great Leslie cars that were featured in the 1964 Jack Lemmon / Tony Curtis / Natalie Wood comedy, "The Great Race."

Last I knew, he lived in Phoenix, where he had a business of train wreck rescue. He may have a museum by now.

rdr


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Erik Johnson on Tuesday, December 22, 2009 - 03:02 pm:

Converting American LaFrance fire trucks into speedsters was a common practice in the early days of the antique automobile hobby (1940s and 1950s). They are not rare and there are plenty of them with better cosmetics than the one listed on eBay.

I personally do not care for them. They are "fantasy vehicles" with no real historical significance. Appearance wise, I don't find them attractive.

Erik Johnson


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Rod Gaffrey on Tuesday, December 22, 2009 - 03:20 pm:

Any idea what speed they were capable of?

rg


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Ricks - Surf City on Tuesday, December 22, 2009 - 03:29 pm:

What year did they outlaw chain drive at Indy?


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Erik Johnson on Tuesday, December 22, 2009 - 04:11 pm:

There are videos of the speedster on YouTube:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ox73FrT02RY

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UNefNPs4ShE

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xks4ztbn6VY

More pictures of the speedster can be found here:

http://tomlaferriere.com/1915_Brass_Era_American_lafrance_speedster_simplex_Thom as.htm

Erik


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Jem Bowkett on Tuesday, December 22, 2009 - 04:29 pm:

Henry asked why the VSCC banned them - they are a truck, not a sports car, they have no authenticity and the club was being overwhelmed by them. Would you want to go circuit racing in your Bugatti or Blower Bentley with one of those things lurching around in front of you and generally getting in the way? Doubtless fun to drive and a great way to wake up the neighbours, but not a serious hobbyists car.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Keith Townsend, Gresham, Orygun on Tuesday, December 22, 2009 - 06:18 pm:

It is so sad that a once noble machine has become a travesty.

Mine is is still "in tact"

It is a beast to drive, (or ride on the tailboard) but what a rush!

-Keith

alf


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Henry Petrino on Tuesday, December 22, 2009 - 09:36 pm:

Thanks, Jem. I see your point. The beast (ALF) speedster would be kinda fun, but everything has a proper place.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Mack Jeffrey Cole on Tuesday, December 22, 2009 - 09:42 pm:

Well,the only thing I can is after watching several 50's vintage fire trucks be allowed to rot out in the weather and eventually scraped,I would think being made into a speedster,car hauler,or something,is better than total loss and distruction of the machine.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Bob Scherzer on Tuesday, December 22, 2009 - 10:07 pm:

The antique fire truck buffs look at what was done to this once noble fire truck as we do when we see someone turn a nice T into a street rod. Bob

fire truck


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Erik Barrett on Wednesday, December 23, 2009 - 01:51 am:

I care for a 1917 ALF engine nearly identical to the one that was cut down into the ebay item. I agree it is a beast to drive. You don't turn the steering wheel unless you are moving. It is a grand machine indeed. It gets about 4 MPG. Anyway, ALF claimed it would make 60MPH, and that is with a drive sprocket about half as many teeth as the speedster pictured. If that 14 or so liter T-head is running right, it would be capable of insane speeds. It is what it is, and I'd like to pilot it just one time.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By David Skinner on Wednesday, December 23, 2009 - 07:26 am:

Hey, Folks, My son Richard Skinner acquired one of these,sans any kind of body and equipment, and the problem is what do you do with it? It would cost an enormous amount to re=equip it with its proper fire-engine stuff, so he shortened the chassis, lightened it wherever safe to do so, built on a really "torpedo" style 4-seater body, gave it Rolls-Royce Ghost wire wheels (895 x 135)instead of those enormous wooden wheels, I designed a replacement radiator for it, based on the original, and when it was finished I had a drive in it, and it was SO ferocious. Incidentally we designed and had made some larger drive sprockets for it, but never got it anywhere near its possible top speed. We ran out of courage at about 60.
His can returned about 2mpg. It had the 6cyl motor. Yes, the steering was very heavy.
It waa finally a very pretty car, and he sold it about four or five years ago to someone in the States. Don't know where it is now.
let's see if I can post a pic of it as it finished up
ALF Roadster 1917


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Neil Kaminar on Wednesday, December 23, 2009 - 07:53 am:

This on ebay this morning

1914 ALF

http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/1914-AMERICAN-LA-FRANCE-FIRE-TRUCK_W0QQitemZ270505266761QQcmdZViewItemQQptZUS_Cars_Trucks?hash=item3efb5ece49#ht_740wt_1106


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By David Dewey on Wednesday, December 23, 2009 - 02:56 pm:

Our city has two antique fire trucks--not vintage, but real antiques. One is called "the Skunk" because it has a sleeve valve engine and tends to smoke a lot (probably because it isn't run enough--or these guys don't know how to run it, none of the current firemen are antique car folks), I think it's an American LaFrance. The other one is a STUTZ! But it sits disassembled, and has been for decades. Sadly the chassis with the wood wheels, engine etc. sits outside in the corporate yard. When we built the new Bolt's Antique tool museum, I designed a space for it, so it could be restored as an "interactive display" but the deal was never finished, and now that space is filled with other displays. RATS.
And, yes, Firetruck folks do look upon alteration to a speedster as "hod Rodding." I know of one more ALF chassis nearby that the owner wants to make into a speedster. Haven't seen it in a decade, but figure it's still sitting there.
Wow, that 4cyl barn find sure looks great!
T'
David D.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Keith Townsend, Gresham, Orygun on Wednesday, December 23, 2009 - 03:11 pm:

That type 10 on "ALF-bay" needs to go to the Wildwood NJ Fire Department, or to a museum in Wildwood, and NOT restored. What a beautiful rig!

An antique is only original once.

: ^ )

Keith


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Mack Jeffrey Cole on Wednesday, December 23, 2009 - 08:54 pm:

I aggree 100 percent if you can find a firetruck intact,no way should it be stripped down.But since 1's like the above speedster have allready been done by folkes that are probably kicked the bucket by now,at least some portion of it is still around,and runs.I Would love to drive that thing just once.You would probably have to pry me out of it.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Scott Gilham on Thursday, December 24, 2009 - 09:46 pm:

I know there has been alot of criticism about this machine. I look at it in amazement and think "what was the guy thinking" But the end result is quite impressive. My wife's uncle had an ALF fire truck in Lompoc Ca. We toured the flower fields in it. It was nothing really to look at at the time, but was a wonderful beast to be in. When he passed, the Firemen from his station gave him his "Last Run" to the cemetary in the hose bed of a restored version. I think he would really enjoy seeing this ALF speedster and can picture his grin.
I rather like it myself. I do wonder if swiss cheezing the brake and shiftlever really made much difference in weight:-)


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Robert G. Hester Jr. on Friday, December 25, 2009 - 03:15 am:

Well Scott, when you've only got 820 cubic inches to haul you down the road I guess you have to do what you can.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Neil Kaminar on Friday, December 25, 2009 - 06:41 am:

1914 ALF sold for 23,000 at the buy-it-now.

Neil


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By George on Friday, December 25, 2009 - 01:06 pm:

Actually, if you can find a fire truck from a volunteer fire company for a small town...it is a 'what a find' regardless of what it looks like!

Think about it....small town, say 3000 residents...100 runs a year....maybe 5-6 miles a run maximum...used as a prime mover for 12-15 years max!

Why, the mechanicals would normally be in almost new condition inside :-):-)

I know that was true in one case in a 1942 Ch**y truck, modified for fire duty with a Darley pump mounted in place of a shortened drive shaft. I redid that into a commercial truck some 30 years ago...it was 30 years old when I did it and being used prior as the hydrant truck for a volunteer fire company...the odometer showed 8,200 when I did it and there was no doubt it was the first time around!


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