Federal Signal Visibar

bpollard

Member
Member
Jun 13, 2010
441
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USA, SC
Hello everyone. I have an opportunity to purchase a Federal Visibar that is currently installed on a Ward Lafrance engine, I am guessing the engine is in the mid to late 1970's vintage. Don't know much else, other than a quick drive-by makes me think it's in pretty good condition.

Two red beacons with the chrome CP-style speaker in the center.

I don't know if it is a chain-driven or independent version. The owner wants me to make an offer, so I wanted to ask this group for any advice / input. Of course I know you can't give me a price estimate, perhaps maybe a range?

I've search this forum, there are quite a few posts from 3 or more years ago.

Anyway, I can't wait I have always wanted to get my hands on one of these.

Bob
 
It would be unusual for the beacons to turn independently if it's Federal. If the beams in each beacon are 90 degrees to each other, it's likely chain-driven. If it operates, momentarily apply power. If it works, continue applying power to see if the flashes alternate. If so, it has a chain. If it doesn't operate, remove a dome and gently, slightly try turning the beams by hand. There's no guarantee either will move, but you might try. Don't apply much pressure. If the other beams move, it has a chain. One beacon has a motor, and the chain drives the gear of both beacons, making them alternate. You can also remove one or both endcaps, shine a light inside & see if the chain is there, which means each beacon alternates if adjusted properly. If there's no chain, each beacon would have its own motor, and operate independently, or it may be that only one beacon works. The speaker is a plus, and if still connected, turn it on to check its operation. If the truck has no battery, or it doesn't work, another battery will be needed. To eliminate liability, have the owner flip the light & siren switches, remove the dome & endcaps, try turning the beams, and perform other operational tests. Try to have him remove everything if you buy it, & don't pay until you're satisfied everything's OK. $200 is a good starting point if the domes are in good condition, with top-end being $300 since it has the speaker. If the domes are faded, cracked, hazed or have other faults, start at $100 or $125. Others please fill in the gaps where I failed to mention something or misspoke. I'm in western NC and glad to help if needed.
 
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Ok, the Twin Beacon Ray will have one beacon with a drive motor, the opposite side beacon will not have a motor. The ID badge on the beacon domes will indicate it is a Federal Signal Model 11 Twin Beacon Ray. If both beacons have drive motors, then it is a pair of beacons mounted on a Visibar and the ID badges on the beacons is likely to indicate they are a Model 14 Light.

As to price, it will depend upon the make up of this bar and the condition of all the components. The CP speaker alone is pricey and if it is a complete Model 11 Twin Beacon Ray with CP speaker and in working condition, I'd say you can offer $200, but be prepared to pay $400 for one that needs dome refurbishment and a good cleaning. If it's in high condition, ready for display, then you are easily looking at $500. Why so much? First, it's a little thing called inflation. Second, Twin Beacon Ray's are less common today than a TwinSonic, so they command a premium. Third, a working CP speaker in good condition alone is worth around $200. Mounting feet? Those things are fetching north of $100 for a complete set these days.

As I stated, condition and originality are critical in determining a fair value. Pictures would be most helpful. Besides, who around here doesn't enjoy a little beacon/lightbar p0rn?
 
Agree with both gentlemen above: if it's in superior condition (no rust, readable labels and end caps, undamaged/clean domes, functioning motor and bulbs, functioning speaker with no dents, mounting feet with all hardware and only the original holes in the Visibar), then $500 would be a very fair price. However, that's likely NOT to be the case despite your drive-by assessment, so you'll need to subtract from there for everything that needs to be repaired/replaced if you want to return it to showroom condition.

But if you can't wait, does price matter then?
 
Thank you both for your advice.

I'm pretty sure that I can obtain the whole bar for 80-100 dollars. That should allow me enough room to purchase parts and restore no matter what, provided its in fairly good condition. I'm not in the market to buy and flip, I want this to be part of a collection.

thanks again and keep the input coming please
Bob
 

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