OPINIONS and QUERIES
If you've noticed an error in this article please click here to report it so we can fix it.
A Thorough Oil-engined Vehicle. Prosperity of Road Transport Assured. Which Way Should a Horse be Carried? Charging for Storage. Difficulties of Obtaining Licences in Kent. The Need for Compact Vehi cles Emphasized
Oil Engines and Chassis Design.
The Editor, THE COMMERCIAL MOTOR.
 Sir,—Re my letter of March 15th and Mr. C. Fowler's criticism of March 29th, I would point out that my assertion concerned the majority of manufacturers and did not, therefore, sweep the whole deck.
I am well aware that certain makers recognize the important need for a gearbox and chassis to be designed throughout to accommodate the stresses and characteristics of the new prime mover, but I still maintain that concerns doing so constitute the minority, and one has no hesitation in saying that there are certainly not more than half a dozen British makers so doing.
Entering the files and examining the C.M. Fowlertest data, I must concede that the design of this Leeds job certainly places its builders in the minor category, the overall low ratio, 3.9 to 1, of the Marathon is striking, as is the 6.54 to 1 of the Crusader, both give good road speed with low fuel consumption. In passing, one wonders how far the 'Crusader's third differential contributes to the fuel rate.
The clutch and brake areas and 12-in, frame indicate "a designer's job." Mr. Fowler, however, obviously makes an error in assuming the vehicle to be "a direct refutation" of my letter, as the whole job (except its name, "Diesel" lorry) constitutes a valuable example to drive home my theories.
In the author's opinion, and in view of Mr. Fowler's experience, he must admit that, instead of this being far from the case there is actually an unhealthy trend of opinion among many engineers to-day towards conversion. Little conversion work can be done to a chassis, but this paint is frequently laid down as an " advantage " accruing to some petrol vehicles. Nevertheless, the first stage in the design of a chassis is laying down the power unit, dimensions, gas pressures, inertia, etc., from which torque and cyclic variation are derived, these latter data are of paramount importance, governing subsequent transmission and frame design; upon torque figures, increased by 25 per cent. safety factor, are based clutch calculations. With the tractive factor desired, and motor speed, torque determines the gear ratios, face width and loadcarrying capacity of the universal joints, differential, intermediate and axle shafts ; also engine, gearbox and final-drive torque, resolved into upward and downward thrusts set up bending moments vital to frame and cross-member design,, whilst engine temperatures decide radiator headers and cooling-space area.
The designer allots equal safety factors throughout, with load ahd service in mind, often working to deflections as great as safety permits, and finally produces a harmonious outfit, of which the engine is the keystone. If this be subsequently changed with little other modification, the result is to unbalance the chassis, larger deflections are often imposed, and these may ultimately cause failure due to fatigue of the metal.
I am not classing all conversions as faulty, many indeed are genuine engineering jobs, but some are not, and although present standards of conversion are high familiarity breeds contempt, and with increased use of oil power a two-engine one-chassis attitude will lower the standard, and petrol chassis will be oil-engined with a cursory analysis of these facts. In the writer's opinion, axle shafts and universal joints are to-day often " vulnerables," and is not the strength of a chain the strength of its weakest link? It is the policy 1 deprecate, not present results, many of which are tributes to the concern that built the chassis, as indicating safety factors put into the original petrol job.
Conversions are bound to lower the "breed," a toorigid emulation of petrol-engine practice cannot be the solution, it dictates development and thus chokes real progress, the logical sequence is that oil-engined-vehicle service can only be met by a proper oil-engined vehicle, and by no system of conversion, and builders should' disassociate the two chassis, instead of presenting axlegingered, fan-deprived, radiator-blanked hybrids, Wakefield. F. YOUNG.
Why Road Transport Must Flourish.
The Editor, THE COMMERCIAL Morou.
[37221 Sir,---Only on extreme occasions have I had
the temerity to write to the Press, yet I feel I have some justification in this instance. I have before me a Pamphlet entitled "Fair play for the Railways," whereon is quoted, "It is the duty of the State to hold the balance even between road and rail," an extract from a speech by Mr. Winston Churchill.
This is a sentiment which all engaged in road trans
port will endorse. But the railway officials, in a subsequent dissertation, make it abundantly` dear they have neither the desire nor the intention to keep to the text they have chosen. The principle upon which they put their case is, that if you cannot beat your opponent by legitimate tactics, then sling plenty of mud and trust that some will stick.
The cardinal point of their thesis is that road users do not contribute their share towards the upkeep of the roads, but the demonstrable facts do not reveal anything to support this theory. Actually, since the establishment of the Road Act in 1910, £277,000,000 was collected by motor taxation, out of which £172,000,000 was expended upon the improvement and development of the roads. The surplus provided the Exchequer with £88,000,000 for the assistance of other sources of revenue less profitable than motor taxation.
Were the railway companies as honest as they profess to be they would, in common justice, tell the public to what extent they have profited by the conveyance of road materials for the roads for which the motor owners have paid dearly. Another point that must not escape the attention of the railway, companies is that the road-transport industry employs roughly 50,000 more people than those engaged in rail transport. Road transport is a sign of the times and it cannot be elimin
ated by the adverse efforts of the railways. Its success lies in the fact that it meets the needs of modern development. Its mobility will ensure its future prospects, for by the delivery of goods actually from door to door without the wasteful and costly method of transhipping, which is necessarily the consequence of frequent handling, freightage charges are reduced and the public generally' benefits thereby.
Road hauliers neither ask for nor get unrestricted privileges, all they desire is an equal sphere of activity, they do not seek, like the railways, preferential treatment, but fair conditions all round, because they realize and appreciate the need for both methods of transport.
In a phrase, road transport is a phase of evolution which is no easier to stop than to put back the universe.
ALFRED VINE, Secretary, For Ryburn United Transport, Ltd. Bradford,
Special Trailers for Transporting Horses.
The Editor, TH.E COMMERCIAL MOTOR.
 Sir,—We read with interest your article an the problem of transporting blood stock and the conflicting views of Mr. A. P. Hammond and Sir Hugh Nugent, regarding the best methods.
We think that it is most satisfactory for the horse to travel facing rearward. The greatest force exerted upon a horse is that due to sudden braking in an emergency. Our experience is that the majority of horses travel hanging back against a kicking panel, which should be protected with thick mats. If the horse be actually in contact with the door or partition, the most violent braking will give him very little shock. When facing forward and hanging back,. however, he will probably have 6 ins. of free movement forward before coming up against the breast bar, and will be stopped with considerable force. I have never seen a horse steady itself with its fore feet against the forces of rapid retardation.
The, other forces acting on a horse, which throw it about and make it liable to scramble, are the centrifugal forces due to cornering, combined with any tendency for the box to roll, and, in the case of a trailer, any tendency for the box to pitch from end to end.
A motor box is a comparatively expensive vehicle; the first cost, tax and insurance make it too expensive for the majority of hunting people. We have recently developed a trailer, which we claim to be the best vehicle of its class, and which has some definite advantages over a motor box. One of these is the height of the floor, which is only 11 ins, from the ground. Our trailer was described in your issue dated April 5th.
An inherent disadvantage of a two-wheeled trailer is the natural tendency to pitch from end to end, due to the high centre of gravity of the live load, which is augmented by the resultant movement of the horses. Another disadvantage is the rapid movement sideways of the rear overhang when turning a corner. By mounting the trailer on pairs of wheels, the pair at each side being independently sprung and the main road springs being attached to the frame of the trailer at each end, a vehicle is obtained which has no natural tendency to pitch. The low centre of gravity and the resistance to rolling permit more flexible springs to be used.
The double-wheel trailer tracks behind the towing vehicle like the rear part of a rigid six-wheeler. The horses do not stand in the overhanging portion behind the rear pair of wheels, and in consequence are not badly affected by cornering.
One more advantage is that the trailer will reverse far more easily than a two-wheeled vehicle, as it has a natural tendency to travel straight. The low floor enables the ramps to be shorter and in consequence lighter in weight, and permits the box to be built sufficiently high to carry tall horses without being topheavy. The box is 6 ins. to 8 ills, higher from floor to roof than the average motor box. This additional height saves a lot of time in loading horses not used to travelling, as a low roof frequently makes them nervous c40 of going in. The air space inside due to the high roof is adequate and slat-type ventilators run the length of the box at each side.
We compromise in the direction of travelling by carrying one horse facing forward and one facing backward; they are, of course, separated by a high padded partition. This enables a safe place to be provided for a man at each horse's head. Both horses have a practically straight walk out of the box. When loading, the whole of the back and one side of the V-front is opened, so that the horses have a clear view through the box, this preventing a nervous horse from going partly in and then rushing back.
Bedford. C. V. CLARKE, For The Low-Loading Trailer Co.
How to Charge for Storage.
The Editor, THE COMMERCIAL MOTOR.
 Sir,—As regular readers, may we trespass once more and seek your valuable advice on the following points?
We are now running a regular London service and have been asked to quote for the storage of goods for district deliveries as required.
Can you give us some idea of how to charge for storage?
Also what firm supplies Maxwell spare parts for a
1925 30-cwt. lorry? H. F. WILLSON, St. Leonards-on-Sea. For Tower Transport.
[There is no regular figure of charges for storage of goods for district deliveries. Most of the big clearing houses make no charge at all for "smalls," merely allowing a margin in their haulage and delivery rates to cover the expense. For a bulk load, 2s. 6d. per ton per week is considered a fair amount. The railway companies' charge'for space for storage for a contract for a year is 1.5 5s. for 20 sc. yds. That figure, whilst having no direct bearing on your own particular problem, may, nevertheless, serve as a guide. You can obtain spaee parts for your Maxwell 192.5 30cwt. lorries from Chrysler Motors, Ltd., Chrysler Works, Mortlake Road, Kew Gardens.—S.T.R.}
Licensing Struggles in Kent.
The Editor, TRE COMMERCIAL MOTOR.
[37251 Sir,—Having read the many articles in your excellent journal on the Road Traffic Act, 1930, I would like to draw to your attention the cases of hardship which exist in my district. Myself and four other motorbus proprietors have been refused road service licences to run between Strood and Chatham, a distance of two miles, owing to the fact that in this area there is another Act, the Chatham and District Traction Act, which provides that no one may operate along the route which the buses of the Chatham and District Traction Co., Ltd., traverse, an exception being that an operator who was running a_ regular service prior to 1928 should be allowed to continue.
Prior, to July of last year an association existed of 243 members controlling roughly 66 vehicles, of which myself and the four operators were members. This association, which was formed in 1924, provided vehicles for the service for which we have now been refused licences, also for any private-hire work. All operators at some time or another let their vehicles go out on• private runs. In July, 1931, all the members of this association with the exception of myself and four others sold their coaches and business to the opposition company. In August last, when we were called to the public sittings, the opposition made the contention that as the applicants had not operated regular services prior to 1928 they were not entitled to licences. This the Commissioners accepted.
An appeal to the Minister of Transport followed, which was also turned down; notification of this came in January this year. A few days before we learned the result of the appeal application forms for licences for 1932 were sent to all, which were duly filled in and
returned. During this period we continued to operate; as fresh applications had gone in, naturally we thought it was quite in order to continue running. The result of this was that owners and drivers of these vehicles were brought into the Chatham police court and were fined.
Now cofnes a climax. Whenever one of our coaches, which are all doing private-hire work, is seen in the Chatham area, it is immediately pounced on by the police, the driver is questioned as to destination and starting point, all licences are examined and the passengers generally are embarrassed. This procedure is to my mind adopted so as to upset the party one is carrying at the time, causing, in due course, Joss of patronage, as the result of waste of time, general unpleasantness, etc.
I would like to mention that the Chatham and District concern, although still running under that name, is controlled by Maidstone and District Motor Services, Ltd., and both companies at the public. sittings strongly objected to the renewal of our licences, which have been held in this district for periods of between six and nine years.
I should esteem it a favour if you would give pub licity to this. C. M. WEEDEN. Strood.
Miniature Lorries Required in Many Businesses.
The Editor, THE COMMERCIAL MOTOR.
 Sir,—I, sometimes buy The Commercial Motor in the hope of discovering a small type of lorry or truck, which is at present unknown to me. I write to ask if you are at all aware of a vehicle of the Morris Minor or Austin 7 type with a truck body. Perhaps I had better explain the work for which I require it. My business is a suburban ironmongery in which a very comprehensive stock is carried, including such articles as timber up to and including 16-ft. lengths, cement, lime, slates, rainwater goods and the usual domestic ironmongery.
In a business such as this (and there must be a great many like it) frequent and prompt deliveries are necessary over short distances, with small quantities of goods and perhaps traversing the same rounds three or four times daily. Many different varieties of transport have been tried, none of which has proved satisfactory.
First, horse and van, this is too slow ; secondly, 1-ton lorry, £16 tax; this is too costly, the load being nearly always nearer 5 cwt. than 1 ton and perhaps at times only a few pounds in weight ; thirdly, carrier bicycles, with an occasional hired van, this system is also most unsatisfactory I know, of course, that recently goods vehicles of the three-wheeled variety have been evolved, but these do not appeal to me. Then there is the possibility of converting a private car or, rather, the chassis which was originally intended for a passenger-carrying car, into a lorry ; this has also been tried, but the result is that the greater part of the chassis is occupied by the engine and driver's cab, leaving but a very small body for goods. , Assuming the overall measurement of a baby-car chassis to be 10 ft., would it not be possible to put the engine and driver's cab into a space of, say, 41 ft., leaving 51 ft. for lorry body and load space; the construction including a narrow cab, the body projecting 8 ins. or 9 ins, to each side of the cab, thus allowing for long stuff to extend from the rear of the lorry, past the driver's cab, and, if necessary, right up to and in front of the radiator. This specification, I believe, would meet a much-felt want. The cost of fuel Would be reasonable and the road tax for 10 cwt. or under would be £10. Hence a very considerable saving on a year's expenses.
Many owners of businesses, such as the one I describe, are at present using ponies and vans, which I am sure they would be only too glad to change over to mechanical power if a small economical truck could be marketed. I omitted to say that I am, of course, aware that baby chassis can be had mounted with enclosed van bodies, but as you will readily agree, from a description of the work, these are not suitable. In consideration of the great popularity of the baby-type car, is it not reasonable to expect that a small truck on a similar chassis would have a very considerable demand?
I shall feel obliged if you can give me any information on this matter, or perhaps you would suggest to some of the contributors to your journal.
Dublin. D. N. CLEMENTS.
[The proposition put forward by Mr. Clements is a particularly interesting one, and if there be firms making suitable vehicles, or who will consider their manufacture, we shall be pleased to include their views, and descriptions of their products or any designs they may care to suggest.-ED. ]