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by A. J. P. Wilding,
The versatility of rear-engined passengervehicle design will be well illustrated by the Daimler exhibits at the Commercial Motor Show. On view will be the Roadliner with Perkins V8 engine (introduced as an option in August) a 36ft long single-deck Fleetline chassis, a 33ft long bodied Fleetline and a complete newcomer which should strictly be called a "project– vehicle.
The last-named will have a double-deck body on it by Northern Counties and carries the type name CR-36. The chassis is basically the same as 13 now being fitted out with bodies in South Africa (for Johannesburg). It is a low-height doubledecker of about 36ft overall length. From the'rear axle forward_ it is the same as the Fleetline chassis except that the radiator— with electric-driven fan—is at the front. end and engine coolant pipes run down the centre of the frame. The engine is located at the rear, parallel with the longitudinal centre line but offset 13.11n to the offside. The Show chassis will have a Cummins 200 bhp V6 engine driving through a Daimatic fully automatic gearbox to the offside of the dropped-centre rear axle; the AEC V8 diesel will be offered as an option in the chassis.
An advantage over the normal Fleetline engine and transmission layout is the elimination of an angle drive but while the transmission line with the CR-36 is straight, the direction of rotation has to be changed to suit the standard axle—a small reversing box is incorporated in the drive unit of the axle.
Although the engine offset is not very great it is sufficient to allow the chassis to be used as the basis for bodywork with rear entrances. The show exhibit which is built for Walsall Corporation has this feature and the rear staircase hides the presence of the power unit in this area.
Wheelbase of the CR-36 is 18ft 6in. which is the same as the normal 33ft doubleand 3611 single-deck Fleetline; the body accommodates 85 sitting passengers with allowance for eight standees. The bus is designed for one-man operation and a gross weight of 16 tons. Power steering is standard and the parking brake utilizes spring brake actuators at the driving axle.
The 36ft long Fleetline single-decker is also to make its first appearance at Earls Court. This has a revised rear frame as compared with the normal double-decker chassis. The internal flitch members are extended forward to the level sections in front of the wheel arches. At the rear, apart from extending the side members, strengthening members are added to take care of the additional rear overhang necessary to meet the wheelbase/overall length requirements.
Important features of the chassis are that it will have the strengthened Daimatic semi-automatic transmission introduced at the end of last year. Internal components have been modified to increase the torque capacity of the gearbox by some 40 per cent and the unit is now rated for 600 lb.ft. There is an improved band life—even at the extra capacity a 200,000-mile life can be expected. The chassis is shown with the Gardner LX engine, but the LXB is offered to those operators that require the extra power.
Another change introduced at the same time as the gearbox modifications was the fitting of a water cooled 2-euft./ min air compressor for the brake system which followed a major review of air system design. This new unit is expected to give a considerably better performance than the air-cooled compressor previously used.