no frills truck from da fun days

1261Truckie

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Mar 3, 2007
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968
1956 ALF 85' aerial. Tough truck....hardworking....took a beating type of rig. Our tillermen would enjoy it when we got one as a spare. The ALF tiller rode better than our 1959 Mack Maxim.
 

guitarman314

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Mar 8, 2007
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That was Ladder 103(2)'s first rig. It started out as L3 then in 1960 was reassigned to L128. When the "War Years" broke out it was reassigned to L103(2) and L128 wound up with a 1955 FWD wooden 75Ft. that had previously been with L117 & L171.
 

68jk09

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May 6, 2010
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103 ... Nice old photo... there were 2 similar American La France models that looked similar ...this one is a '56 as the windshield is straight up...the '53 had a raked or slighty leaned back windshield they were stick shift w/3 speed on the floor & very little on the dashboard... of course the radio was waterproof since even after the protective roof was added in the mid '60s during a rainstorm everything got soaked including your azz...as a kid i often rode on one of these when my father was in LAD*43...years later i drove a few of them in 108 when we had them as a spare.... they were always pretty peppy & everthing was tight & the sheetmetal rock solid...the aerial went up fast the only drawback on a '53 or '56 was that the aerial was only 85 foot which was a drawback in the projects for an upper floor Fire...the later '60 & '62 ALFs had doors on the cab (& plywood roof covering mid '60s)& a 100 Ft aerial the quality was still good...the next round of ALF LADs were the '68 & '69s these had enclosed front portions of the cab for the Chauf & Off & 2 covered jump seats behind ....the Tiller seat came w/the old style plywood cover & no doors, 100 ft aerial & automatic trans...i drove both '68 & '69s for several years & thought they were good however comparing the tightness & thickness of the sheetmetal etc to a '53/'56 you could see quality slip through the years...the only ALF rearmount the FDNY had was a Maroon in color '69 w/a 100' Aerial & 4 speed stick on the floor it originally was assigned to TCU*732 then LAD*176 when the TCU was disbanded & 176 organized (i only had the opportunity to drive this for part of a tour one night on a mid tour detail...it was powerfull & sounded like it as it had a Jake Brake)...it was later re-painted the standard red & re assigned...that was the end of new ALF LADs in the FDNY...in'80/'82 the FDNY bought ALF Pumpers which even though were similar in looks to the '68/'69 ALF LADs but had fully enclosed cabs for all they did not hold up well & many ENGs opted to give them up & take MACK ENG spares as their regular Rig....ALF did make an '82 Rescue Rig which i drove in R*2 for a few years...the cab & chassis (which had a single rear axle) had originally been manufactured for garbage trucks & the rear box was made by Saulsbury ....at first i did not like driving it as i was used to the older "R" model Mack w/the engine out in front & a higher off the ground cab but i soon got used to it & it had a good turning radius it had an automatic trans on the floor but had a shift gate that allowed you to slam it back from drive to first for some engine braking when you wanted it ...the cab was a different design then the ALF LADs & ENGs & the quality seemed better...HAZ*MAT also had a similar model w/a different box & one of the FDNY Ambulances had one.......The FDNY also had '47 ALF ENGs  "Bathtub Model"....i remember 237 having one around '60 it was OOS for a long time & just sat in the rear of qtrs while 237 used a CD Pumper as a spare....a few years later the ALF was repaired & 237 resumed using it ....the '47s had no booster line....this was a case of the spare being newer & in better shape than the regular Rig.

 

3511

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Dec 6, 2007
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Great, great rundown 68jk on the ALF's. I could only add that the '56 model was the first front line rig (other than the rescues) equipped with an air horn.

One more ALF I remember: my uncle Charley was the chauffeur on L37 ' s 1929 LAF hand cranked 65 foot wooden aerial. Open 2 man cab; brass Sireno that moaned rather than screeched; bell mounted between the ladders on the trailer. Absolutely no warning lights but the men painted a red strip across the top and bottom of the headlamps as blackout lights during WWII and kept them after the war. The tiller was a small seat with an upright steering wheel and no windshield. There actually was a crank handle below the radiator on the front of the rig in case the electric starter failed. L37 got it new and ran with it for 25 years until replaced by a 1955 FWD, which they felt was a step back from the old LAF. (You should have seen the spares that would replace the ALF in the early 50's.)

Uncle Charley said he went to chauffeur school because he couldn't fit his fat ass into the tiller seat. He wore his wool Navy watch cap from his WWII service driving the rig in the winter.

All of which proves I must be a few years older than you to remember this.

 

68jk09

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May 6, 2010
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To add to my reply # 6 above here is an ebay photo of ENG*1 with a Bathtub Pumper....  https://www.ebay.com/itm/New-York-City-Engine-1-1947-American-La-France-pumper-Fire-Apparatus-Slide/353072670940?hash=item5234c568dc:g:pKMAAOSwA-VeM63w
 
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