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Published on Apr 14, 2010
History of the Chrysler-Bell Victory Air Raid Siren.
Built during the post-World War II Cold War era from 1952-1957 by Chrysler, its power plant contained a newly-designed FirePower Hemi V-8, 331 cubic inch 180 horsepower (130 kW) engine.Its six horns, were each three feet long. The siren could be heard from a distance of 25 to 30 miles away and had an output of 138 dB and 30,000 watts. They were 12 feet (3.7 m) long, built atop a quarter section of a Dodge truck chassis rail, and weighed an estimated three tons.
In 1952, the cost of a Chrysler Air Raid siren was $5,500.00. The United States government helped buy sirens for selected state and county law enforcement agencies around the country. In Los Angeles County, six were placed around key locations of populated areas, and another ten were sold to other government agencies in the State of California. These "Big Red Whistles" (as they were nicknamed also known as the loudest siren made) were only ever used for test purposes. Some were located so remotely that they deteriorated due to lack of maintenance.
The main purpose of the siren was to warn the public in the event of a nuclear air attack by the Soviets, during the cold war. The operator's job was to start the engine and bring it up to operating speed, then to pull and release the transmission handle to start the wailing signal generation. The Chrysler air raid siren produced the loudest sound ever achieved by an air raid siren.