Connect with us

Trucking News, History, Brands Cataloge and Brochures

American LaFrance 900 Series Turbo Chief

American LaFrance 900 Series Turbo Chief

American LaFrance


American LaFrance 900 Series Turbo Chief

1960 - 1961

At the 1960 IAFC conference in Rochester, New York, American LaFrance exhibited a 900 Series pumper by a 325-horsepower Boeing 502-10C turbine. The 1000 gpm Turbo Chief pumper with open semi-cab was delivered to San Francisco, California. The following year the company delivered a Turbo Chief tractor-drawn aerial to Seattle and another turbine-powered pumper to Mount Vernon, Virginia.

The experimental truck would go up San Francisco’s hills like a rocket. Unfortunately it had a tendency to go down hills like a rocket, too. Lack of back pressure in the gas turbine gave no assistance in braking. During tests, the 15-ton apparatus went from a standing start to 50 miles per hour (ca. 80 km/h) in 31 seconds, and it took 56 seconds to reach 50 miles per hour (ca. 80 km/h) on an eight-percent grade.

It needed no warm up time in sub-zero temperatures, and the elimination of an engine cooling system made for simplicity and reduced maintenance costs. Alas, however, the company’s jet-age fire apparatus failed to live up to expectations and within a few years all three Turbo Chiefs were quietly converted to conventional motor power.

Successor: American LaFrance 1000 Series Turbo Chief

Related models:
American LaFrance 900 Series

Continue Reading

More in American LaFrance

To Top