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Essex Models and Miniatures archive
Category: American LaFrance
Marx did make a few diecast cars and trucks, but now are hard to find or even if you can the prices are high, they are not known for their quality and are at best simple castings without frills.
I only have the one, but I do like this particular casting of an American fire engine.
This is quite small at 60mm long and puts it into a similar size to Matchbox.
Underneath it shows how simple this was made, also of note, the printing on the casting says Made in Hong Kong.
The Louis Marx Company was one of the major players in the toy industry for decades.
Marx Toys also attempted to take advantage of the diecast market success of Matchbox and Tootsietoy. Marx short-lived effort did provide a limited line of diecast cars, produced in the early 1960′s. In 1968, Hot Wheels came on the scene and Marx attempted to re-style their diecast line to compete. Their efforts failed and today, Marx diecast are just another name in the history of diecast.
The real truck
The above fire truck is likely to of been based on the 1958/59 Ford cab and American Le France equipment as this was a common combination at this period in time, the casting probably dates from the early 60′s.
For many years I wanted this model, the original I wished for nearly 43 years ago, now I have one, although a much later model.
This is the Corgi American LaFrance aerial platform ladder No 1143, mine does have a few bits missing but almost complete and certainly worthy of my collection.
This, in my opinion is Corgi at their best, this vehicle had a few re-issues and started off with a manual operated ladder the later one’s had geared operation such as my one above.
The later one had the white painted base and detail whereas the earlier one’s were chrome plated.
The American La France Aerial Rescue Truck was added to the Major range in October 1968 and was highly detailed. It featured an extendable ladder on a rotating base complete with plastic ladder extensions and model firemen and has recently been re-issued by the modern Corgi company in a number of authentic liveries.
This is probably one of the most iconic fire vehicles produced by Corgi and also produced by American LaFrance.
The real vehicles
The model is based on the 900 Series 1958-1974.
The American LaFrance Fire Engine Company was formed in 1903. Its corporate offices and manufacturing plant were in Elmira, New York. It also operated a Canadian plant in Toronto, Ontario, where it sold apparatus under the name Lafrance-Foamite, until 1971. ALF delivered its first motorized fire engine in 1907. Over the years, American LaFrance built thousands of fire trucks including chemical engines, combination pumpers, aerial ladder trucks, Aero Chief snorkel trucks, and airport crash trucks. The classical style of the American LaFrance apparatus is easily recognized. Some of the company’s innovations led to changes in the industry, most notably the cab forward style cab. The company has recently undergone a major rebirth and is once again producing custom fire trucks and other emergency vehicles.
The all-new 900 Series was the first all-new, genuinely fresh design since the 700 Series was introduced 12 years earlier. The totally-redesigned American LaFrance 900 had a wide, smooth-faced cab with dual headlamp and parking lamp/turn signals. The 76-inch wide 900 cab was eight inches wider than the pinched 700/800 Series.
The official American LaFrance website