In 1940, American LaFrance introduced an entirely new supplementary series of smaller, plainer custom-chassis fire engines called the Type 500. Far less expensive to build than the overstyled, art deco Senior 500 Series, the new Type 500 had a narrow, slab-sided cab and body with conventional running boards, a two-piece V-type windshield and an inexpensive mesh type grille.
Unlike on the big 500 Series, suction hoses and ladders on these new entry-level customs were carried outside of body. Standard engine in the Type 500 was the small Lycoming-derived V-12 coupled to a 750 gpm pump. The Type 500’s no-frills styling was extended to new budget-priced models of the company’s city service ladder trucks, quads and quints and even to some tractor-drawn aerial trucks.