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American LaFrance » 300 Series

In 1931, American LaFrance astounded the fire service - and the rest of the fire apparatus industry - with its surprise announcement of a V-12 engine. Designed for the unique requirements of the fire service, the 312-A engine had been under development at Elmira for more than three years. With four-inch bore and five-inch stroke, the big V-12 displaced 754 cubic inches and delivered an impressive 240 horsepower. Actually two six-cylinder engines shring a common crankshaft, the 312-A engine had an extremely narrow bank angle of 30 degrees. The first production American LaFrance V-12 pumper was delivered to Winfield, Kansas, in August, 1931. With the new V-12, American LaFrance replaced the 1929-1931 Master Series with a new 300 Series. The 240-horsepower 312-A engine also permitted American LaFrance to market its first high-capacity 1500 gallon-per-minute pumpers, the first two of which were constructed for New York City.

During the early to mid-1930s, American LaFrance abadoned its long-favored rotary gear pump in favor of a single-stage centrifugal pump purchased from the Buffalo Steam Pump Co. The company also converted from outdated chain-drive to more efficien bevel gear shaft drive propulsion for its motor fire apparatus.


300 Series300 Series300 Series300 Series
300 Series300 Series300 Series300 Series
1931 American LaFrance 310RC
Author Charles Beckwith
Author Steve Hagy
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  1. Frank Peters
    2011-07-02 00:51:51

    WOW! The Metropolitan shown in the second and third photos belonged to me at one time. I sold it back to the Vigilant Company at Great Neck, Long Island. It's great to see what a wonderful job they've done with the restoration. They told me when they purchased it their intent was to make it the center piece of a museum they were going to create. What a great beauty she is again! I hope I can get to Great Neck to see her again. My daughter has a photo on her Facebook page of me and her in the front seat as we roll down the main street at a Christmas parade in St. Petersburg, FL.

  2. TrucksPlanet
    2011-07-02 12:57:11

    Amazing! Could you give me the link to this photos? It is very interesting to see.

  3. carl kitchen
    2011-07-26 06:56:11

    i aquired one of these engines out of a ladder truck, i have it sitting on a frame and it is a runner, i use it as a display thing at antique tractor and engine shows and it does get attention. when i am done with it i will likely put it up for offers

  4. Les Warrick
    2011-07-27 16:51:42

    Our company has a 1931 La France and we are in needs of universal jiont parts. Anyone out there that could help it would be greatly appreciated. Please email me.

  5. Will Brooks
    2013-10-06 02:35:27

    Fourth picture to[ right is my rig. Lorne Street Fire Co, of Lunenburg. This is in Nova Scotia, Canada. Also have a 1913 Model T by O.J. Childs in the station. Photo credit goes to: Brooks of Canada

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