Fire Fighting Motorcycles


I previously reported on an Indian Dispatch Tow that had been converted into a fire fighting vehicle for use by the Douglas Aircraft Company in their El Segundo factory.  Now I've come across two more examples of motorcycles used to fight fires.  Both of these motorcycles were used by the Navy at the Floyd Bennett Field in New York.  The picture above shows a 1931 Harley-Davidson VL, with what is probably the frame of a package truck, modified to hold large fire extinguishers.  Check out the nice pair of Navy biplanes in the background.

The second image, taken in 1940, is an Indian three-wheeled motorcycle that has been heavily modified.  Notice the chain driven rear wheel.  I would guess that this vehicle started as a Dispatch Tow, but they needed a longer rear end to fit the extinguishers and hose reel.  To build a longer motorcycle, they added another rear axle and an additional sub frame. It would be not be feasible to run a longer chain from the transmission to the new rear axle, so they left the original rear axle intact and ran a second chain from it.

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