Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Looking for a what? Good luck with that!

The rotating warning light currently on Engine 17 is not original equipment. These rigs were delivered to Tacoma with domed strobe lights. Even though they may have been state-of-the-art in 1970, even as a kid I thought they weren't very effective. One blink per second or so, sometimes a double blink. Not very bright. Useless as a warning device by day, and of marginal value at night. In today's brightly-lit nights, fighting against HID headlights and LED traffic lights, they would be useless.

Usefulness is not important, though. I'm going for a proper restoration, not trying to run calls and bust intersections. It came with a useless strobe, and I want a correct useless strobe again.

What is this useless light? Well, I had no idea. After a modicum of research (going to the ALF owners group with a picture and pitifully saying "help"), I was informed that what I need to obtain is a red-domed Whelen Commander 5000 strobe.

Web searches are not promising. Nothing on eBay at the moment. A few whackers who have discussed this model are on a site called '', and although I swallowed my pride and signed up to see if anyone would sell me one there, they never approved my registration request. Not whacker enough, I guess.

So.... if you have a line on one of these or know someone who does, you know I would be eternally grateful for the heads up.

Below are two pictures. The dalmation-painted engine is one of Engine 17's seven identical sisters, purchased directly from Tacoma by a sub sandwich shop in Florida. In fact, this rig's Serial Number is the sequence before mine, they apparently 'rolled off the line' back-to-back. It still has its Commander 5000 strobe. The black & white picture was provided by a member of the ALF owners, and the two ALFs on the left are sporting Commander 5000's.