Here is a custom car with a difference – an ex fire truck the 1915 LaBestioni Rusty 2 from Gary Wales. Last year I did a post on another LaBestioni he re-built with a different body style, and you can watch it here.
These LaBestioni’s were originally American Fire Trucks, [La France?] this 1915 one was retired around 50 years ago and was parked amongst trees and left there.
Eventually it was found and Gary got it in a sad state as the photo shows. But most of it was there and it is around 98% original, including the hood and radiator.
Obviously it’s not a Fire Truck anymore and a new custom body was made from the firewall back. Look at it closely in the video, is beautiful workmanship.
As a car it’s certainly monstrous at 22 feet long, weighs around 7000 lbs and is obviously great fun to drive.
The engine in these trucks were 6 cylinder 900 cub in. That is 14 Litres, the pistons were massive cast iron ones length wise with excessively long con rods. I am picking the engine would have had a very long stroke as the maximum rpm was under 1400.
The engine cylinders were cast in pairs and then bolted to the crankcase. This made the engine easier to service, plus during manufacture if a stuff up was made machining the cylinder block only 2 cylinders were lost, not the whole 6.
There are 4 valves per cylinder with a camshaft each side of the engine. The layout has all the inlet valves on one side of the engine blocks, with the exhaust valves all on the opposite side.
There are 24 spark plugs with both magneto and coil generating the spark. Final drive is via a 3 speed gearbox with massive chains to the rear wheels, the wheels and tires of a size suited to a 12000lb vehicle in that era.
Some upgrading to suit todays world like disc brakes and power steering were incorporated, and apart from some minor parts plus the custom mid to rear section bodywork the vehicle according to Gary is 98% original. Both Gary and Jay agree it is great fun to drive, only problem is the 24 gallon gas tank means if you going to drive more than say 30 miles you need a back up gas supply.
This is a fun video to watch, and keep a lookout for Gary’s next ‘LaBestioni” project.
Special thank you to Jay Leno’s Garage and Gary Wales for thei video.
The photos are screen prints from the video.