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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in favor of a single-stage centrifugal pump purchased from the Buffalo Steam Pump Co. The company also converted from outdated chain-drive to more efficien bevel gear shaft drive propulsion for its motor fire apparatus.

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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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