I’ve been recently thinking about the last time Americans seemed to have collectively lost their minds: the Cold War. Pondering this time period led me down a YouTube rabbit hole where I learned that during the chilliest portions of the Cold War, Chrysler V8s were used to power the loudest air raid sirens ever built.
I had no idea these existed! And as a nerd who loves both Detroit automotive and Nuclear Age history, I’m a little disappointed in myself. Let’s fix that…
“…At least one ended up in the Don Garlits Museum of Drag Racing. In 1997, a British documentary team visiting the museum was treated to cranking up a Chrysler Air Raid Siren. After decades of neglect spent soaking in saltwater spray on a roof in Florida and then languishing in a shop, the ’52 Hemi V8 engine not only started right up but started on gasoline, a fuel that it had never run before as one of the engines outfitted to run on propane.
Solid design and craftsmanship still rules.
2 thoughts on “Chrysler Hemi air raid siren”
Even through the video, that felt LOUD. I half expected to see the end wall of the building blow out.
Los Angeles was still testing all of the city’s sirens in unison at 10 a.m. on the last Friday of every month In the late 1960’s.
L.A.’s Civil Defense Sirens http://www.coldwarla.com/sirens.html article includes the warning signal sounds and information about all of the sirens that were used – including the second generation Chrysler Air Raid Siren (produced by Chrysler from 1952-1957). VictorySiren.com http://www.victorysiren.com/ is dedicated to the history of this particular siren, and has several locations and images of the siren around Los Angeles as well as info about other large sirens.
Recent photograph of the Chrysler Air Raid Siren at the Cerro Negro Lookout in Glendale CA: