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Saturday, January 18, 2014


If you have never attended Macungie Pa. for a car show you are missing out. There is the Wheels of Time Street Rod event and Truck show, but a few years back at the Das Awkscht - who? This is the August stock classic show which features a toy show also. We spotted this thing and because this one specifies stock only it really confused us, no signage and we could not get some one to one with the owners.

I still get a headache thinking about it, I had some suspicion of what it actually was from close inspection. 
I am still annoyed because although I am very open to custom vehicles it is like pulling teeth to get the accurate and complete story on this thing so its just a bunch of misrepresentation, why?
This is a 1916 American Lafrance Speedster 
So is this
This too
A 1915 factory race built on a Firetruck chassis with 800 CI engine
1927 ALF Balloon chaser.
American Lafrance built firetrucks, but as per an ALF executive they built 22 roadsters as Chiefs cars.
Ed Burgquist of The Antique Fire House in Colorado claims only 5 built.
All of these are modified firetrucks with 800 cubic inch monster engines and even the 27 Balloon chaser is a bunch of malarkey, WHY IS THIS SUCH A MYSTERY?
Back to the Alf Rhino 1915 speedster- it was built from a really decrepit 1925 Fire Truck with all intentions of being a fantasy. I am still having trouble getting the actual facts, but how could this have been at Amelia Island Concours D'Elegance or even the very strictly regulated Macungie unmodified vehicle display?  
1919 Notice the dual chain drive?
Finally an actual chiefs car!!
The best I could extract from research is American Lafrance had an inspiration to build a line of cars, hey wouldn't every Fire Chief want to drive an ALF leading the ALF Fire Truck! There were many more affordable and less extravagant cars ready for purchase. The theme back then was to get some Race-Face time to prove your product so best I can muster 
(pun intended) there were a few factory built or sponsored race cars.  With 800 cubic inches I assume it was intimidating, but probably drove and handled like a fire truck.

If someone can actually get the definitive answer feel free to contact me. The best I can determine is this: A few cars may have been built, but the ones shown and seen are all modified fire truck based. Someplace in the description there is usually a slip up mentioning made to look like or actually based on a 1925 to represent a 1915 race car of the era.  I think they should form a club ALFBS OWNERS CLUB figure that one out on your own! 
For reference this is an American Lafrance Firetruck so notice the transformation possibilities?
It ain't a far stretch is it?
I see these Seagrave Firetrucks everyday.

This is a late 50's Seagrave Firetruck.
A 1939 Seagrave.
A 1961 Seagrave Firetruck.
 A 1961 Seagrave 700!!
It is fiberglass and a concept car.

The cars were handbuilt by Continental of Muskegon Mich. to promote their engines. It is believed 2 Fiberglass and one Aluminum car were produced, but sent to scrap when Seagrave started to merge with FWD, APPARENTLY NOT! Seagrave was the only company that showed any interest in the project for Continental, a long defunct Engine Manufacturer. 

I can assume someone wound up with the car and planning a restoration?
See the link above at Forgotten Fiberglass, seems the other prototype has been found!

Ok you know how this goes- Hot Rod/Pro Street and custom fire trucks now! 

In Long Island they do motorized drill competitions! They may do it in other locations too?
They have firemans parks with courses set up and there is a State Wide event, but its big on Long Island! 
Volunteer Fire Departments build custom competition vehicles.

If they operate on donations does it make sense to spend money on race cars?
The idea is race down a short track and deploy a ladder and climb to the top to beat the clock?
When it is a converted old used up fire truck, OK.

Race to a hydrant deploy personnel to hook up and then race to spread the hose and spray?

In the last couple of years several team members have been injured at competitions!
Can't see how that could have happened? LOL!

Guys I hate to show these, but they cut up many an old muscle car and some were big blocks and even Hemi's!

 Sorry to tell ya this was a HEMI car!

It gets worse!

Did not mind the trucks, but butcher cars with no way to bring em back?

Looks like this one survived!

Many a classic car was ruined!
Boy did this blog go in some crazy directions, huh?

1 comment:

  1. I saw this ALF Rhino today, Sept 30, 2014, at the Boyertown Historical Vehicle Museum in Boyertown, PA. Whatever it is, it is beautifully restored.