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American LaFrance vintage car on display at Science Museum

     Vintage car lovers should not miss the opportunity to appreciate the beauty of a 91-year-old vintage car - an American LaFrance (ALF) Simplex - which will be on display at the Hong Kong Science Museum from tomorrow (July 11) until November 11.

     This ALF Simplex was built in December 1918 by LaFrance, a New York based company founded in 1904, and was delivered by rail to Johns Town Fire Station in Pennsylvania on February 28, 1919, as a fire engine. In 1995, the car was found in a US scrap yard and was shipped to the United Kingdom. There, it took nine months to rebuild the chassis, engine and gearbox. With new piston rings, distributor, overhauled inlet/exhaust valves, rewound magneto and newly fitted wiring, the car was nicknamed "The Beastie" in 1997.

     Two Hong Kong residents, Mr Kurt Schneiders and Mr Ralf J Weiss, bought the car in July 2005 and shipped it to Germany for further restoration. In early 2007, "The Beastie" was air shipped to Hong Kong and participated in the "Hong Kong to Beijing 100" classic car rally, followed by the 2007 Beijing to Paris endurance rally. Representing Hong Kong in the endurance rally, it won the silver medal for endurance performance and took first place in its class for pre-1920 cars.

     The car is six metres long, two metres wide, 2.3 metres high and weighs 3.5 tonnes with a top speed of 150 kilometres per hour. With a cylinder capacity of 14,500cc and straight-6 combustion engine with 18 spark plugs, it produces 150 horse power. Comparing to a modern car's petrol consumption of between 7 and 12 litres per 100 kilometres drive, this car needs about 45 litres per 100 kilometres.

     The Science Museum is located at 2 Science Museum Road, Tsim Sha Tsui East. It opens from 1pm to 9pm from Monday to Wednesday and on Fridays, and from 10am to 9pm on Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays. It is closed on Thursdays (except public holidays). Admission is $25 with half-price concession for full-time students, people with disabilities and senior citizens aged 60 or above. Admission is free on Wednesdays.

     For enquiries, call 2732 3232 or visit the Science Museum's website at .

Ends/Friday, July 10, 2009


This American LaFrance Simplex vintage car, nicknamed "The Beastie", was built in December 1918. After restoration, this car represented Hong Kong in the Beijing to Paris endurance rally in 2007 and took first place in its class for pre-1920 cars.




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