The BigRed™ Siren Story


On April 10, 2003, David Stall of Texas purchased a Chrysler Air Raid Siren once owned by Los Angeles County, California.  On April 16, 2003, the giant siren arrived in the tiny town of Fayetteville, Texas (pictured above). 

Seems that David is hooked on these monster sirens.  After acquiring the Pittsburgh siren in Pennsylvania and dubbing it the VictorySiren™ he was moved a month later to acquire a second Chrysler Air Raid Siren in California.  This second siren has been dubbed BigRed™. 

Did you notice that it's not red? 

Not to worry, it will be.  During the 1950's many, if not most, of these wonderful Chrysler Sirens were painted fire engine red before they left the factory in Trenton, Michigan.  We have come to discover that BigRed™ has always been green!  Some portions of the siren, like the compressor, were painted with red primer before being painted green.  The engine cowling and frame offer the best evidence that the siren was painted green at the Chrysler factory.  Both have Chrysler lettering painted in yellow and trimmed in black.  By carefully removing paint layers we have exposed the lettering and green paint behind them.  Additional evidence is given by the cowling inside (including under mounted parts) is green with matching enamel green paint found behind the siren's nameplate.  This particular green color is the standard paint color found on equipment owned by Los Angeles County.  There are indications that Chrysler shipped sirens in various colors including green, yellow and red.  The Walter P. Chrysler Museum in Auburn Hills, Michigan, has provided VictorySiren.com™ with the only known color photograph of Chrysler Air Raid Sirens on the factory floor.  The dozen sirens in that photograph are all bright fire engine red. 

Before BigRed™ was to start making appearances at air shows and other events it was to be painted the factory red color. 

Why two sirens?

Easy, there are two different styles and if you're going to collect something, even sirens, you want to have one of every variation.  Right?  Okay, there's another reason.  The VictorySiren™ was to be historically restored to museum quality.  Once ready it was planned to tour the country as a show piece and rarely ever operated.

BigRed™ on the other hand was to be a working siren.  That's to say that it was to be repaired, painted, and made ready for action.  BigRed™ was intended to make appearances where it would have been operated and demonstrated - FULL BLAST!.  Fairs, air shows, and other large outdoor affairs are all opportunities for BigRed™ to seen and heard.

But aren't they still the same?

Yes, and no.  Yes, both sirens are Chrysler Air Raid Sirens of the same vintage and have the same operating specifications.  However, they are subtly different. 

The engine cowlings are different in the number and position of slots.  A minor difference yes, but representing two distinct versions. BigRed™ was also missing both original side panels and the propeller shaft cover. 

More significantly, with and without running boards.  Sirens mounted atop tower most often had running boards and rails along the sides of the siren as does BigRed™. 

And, last but not least, BigRed™ has been converted to run on propane while the VictorySiren™ has it's original gasoline carburetor and oil bath air filter. 

Everyone will want to hear this Cold War siren. 

And, whenever it's run, it will be heard!  This fifty year old Chrysler Air Raid Siren is still the loudest warning device ever put into production.  [ Vintage Advertisements ]

We had hoped that website visitors could have followed BigRed™ through the progress of its repair and future public appearances.

On March 8, 2003, David Stall created the website, VictorySiren.com™, expressly for the purpose of promoting the VictorySiren™ and sharing information about the most interesting sirens ever produced.  Photographs and descriptions of BigRed™ repair will be place online throughout the process so that the public can follow along.

BigRed™ arrives in Texas.

On April 16, 2003, the Los Angeles County Chrysler Air Raid Siren was delivered in Fayetteville, Texas.

BigRed™ starts and runs for the first time in Texas.

On May 23, 2003, the Los Angeles County Chrysler Air Raid Siren was started and run in Fayetteville, Texas.  It was the first time the siren was run in Texas. The liquid propane tank was turned on, the ignition hotwired, and the starter cranked.  After cranking for only 3½ seconds and on the very first try, this giant Chrysler Siren roared to life.

David revved the Hemi engine of BigRed™ and shut it down after nearly two minutes.  This was the siren's first test run.  Some additional work, including lubrication of the compressor bearings, will be performed before it is run up to full throttle.

 

[ Photographs of the BigRed™ Siren ]

[ Sound clips of the BigRed™ Siren ]

[ BigRed™ Appearance Schedule ]

[ Magazine and Newspaper Articles About The Chrysler Air Raid Siren ]

[ History of the Chrysler Air Raid Siren ]

[ Specifications of this Siren ]

 

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