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A British "Assault' on the Continent

7th May 1948, Page 28
7th May 1948
Page 28
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Page 28, 7th May 1948 — A British "Assault' on the Continent
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By L. Graham Davies

FOUR important Continental motor exhibitions have been held in just over six months and at each, British representation has increased in strength. At the present Amsterdam Show, which opened last Friday and closes on Stinday, II British manufacturers are represented in the commercial-vehicle section, whilst, in the main hall, almost the whole of Britain's private-car industry

is exemplified. .

Some readers may wonder why Amsterdam should be selected for so great an effort on the part of British makers. The answer, odd thooh it may seem, is that Holland has proved, since the war, to be by far our best en-stonier in Eitrope for commercial Vehicles.

A Good Market At the moment, import licences into Holland, for chassis up to a limit of 5 tons, are fairly easy to obtain, but above that weight extremely difficult. After the liberation of Holland, that country became saturated with exBritish W.D. and ex-American Army vehicles, but most of these are already in need of major overhauls and spare parts cannot be obtained. The market for new vehicles is thus a lively one, but there is a great deal of uncertainty as to what is going to happen under the European Recovery Plan. Some Dutch operators appear to think that they may receive American chassis as a gift. but the Marshall plan will not work out like that.

1 he Amsterdam Show is far more ,interesting than one might have expected, following so soon after ,a series of similar exhibitions. Apart from certain British vehicles, seen in public for the first time, the Dutch national industry, which has come into existence since the war, presents some clever and highly original designs; and A26

there is at least one important newcomer from the United States not hitherto seen on this side of the Atlantic.

Taking the Dutch exhibits first. D.A.F., of Eindhoven, whose trailer exhibits I noted at the Brussels Salon, has some outstanding novelties D.A.F., incidentally, was responsilile for the basic structure of the Kromhout-engined chassisless bus, described in "The Commercial Motor" on February 13. At this Show it staged two vehicles built on the same system, but powered by D.A.F. engines. Both are passenger vehicles.

One is a 43-seater single-decker with a horizontally disposed six-cylindered oil engine of 114.5 mm. bore and 120.7 mm. stroke, developing 130 b.h.p. The other has a normal type of sixcylindered vertically mounted petrol engine of 101.6 mm. bore and 108 mm. stroke and developing 95 b.h.p., and is designed for a 37-passenger bodY. Apart from their integral-chassis-body construction, the interesting feature of both these vehicles is that the power units can be drawn forward on a rack, for maintenance purposes, or even for small adjustments, without disturbing connections. The tubular cardan shaft, splined to an inner member, is telescopic: the exhaust pipe also telescopes.

• Engine Slides Out

On releasing a safety catch, the complete power unit can be pulled clear of the vehicle front, and immediate allround accessibility is obtained. The engine can even be safely run when in the " out" position, for testing, and a special starter button is provided for this purpose. When adjustments are completed, the power unit is pushed back again by means of handles arranged on each side of the radiator. The only drawback attaching to this clever design would appear to be engine vibration. Apart from that, the idea is a good one.

The D.A.F. gearbox is centrally located, and operating connections are undisturbed in withdrawing the engine. The hand brake is automatically locked on while the engine is in the extended position. It cannot be released until the engine is completely back in place. Batteries are mounted in a sliding tray on the right-hand side of the vehicle, and can be pulled out for attention.

Among a variety of other D.A.F. exhibits is a 10,000=1itre semi-trailer tanker. for the Shell company. This semi-trailer, weighing 14-15 tons under load, has cantilever springing. It is

arranged for use with a Leyland tractor unit.

Krornhout, the famous Dutch marine engine concern; which recently entered the commercial-vehicle field, shows a large oil-engined chassis for passenger work, powered by a six-cylindered engine of 108 mut, bore and 152.4 mm, stroke (102 b.h.p. at 1,700 ,r.p.m.). A tractor 'chassis is also shown. The Kromhout passenger chassis is a good example of contemporary design on the Continent. It is . enormously robust, with side members of exceptional depth and no fewer than nine stiff crossmembers.

A third Dutch concern, Nemo, has something rather smaller. This is an excellent little general-purpose threewheeler, equipped with a Coventry Victor engine. Transmission arrangements are highly original. In many commercial three-wheelers which have the third wheel in front, the power unit turns With the wheel when steering, but on the Nemo it is firmly anchored to the forward end of a large-diameter steel tube which forms the "chassis."

A short cardan shaft transmits the power laterally from a three-speed-andreverse gearbox, bolted in one with the engine, to the upper sprocket of a triple

chain drive. The chains are completely enclosed in a light-alloy casing and the wheel is supported from only one side on a single-bladed "fork."

The bottom end of this blade has long fore and aft extensions to which are shackled the ends of a semi-elliptic spring, which provides forward suspension. Rear suspension is by superimposed twin transverse springs mounted on the central tubular frame metilber.

The power unit is a standard Coventry-Victor flat twin of 749 c.c., which develops 15 b.h.p. at 3,000 r.p.m., and the three-wheeler, which weighs 1,650 kilogs. (about 1 ton 121 cwt.), is designed for loads up to 800 kilogs. (about 15i cwt.).

New Leyland Engine

The important British contingent at this show has several novelties, which are seen in public for the first time, including the new Leyland horizontal oil engine, briefly described in our last week's issue. This power unit is a variation of the standard 9.8-litre Leyland, redesigned to meet Continental demands for an under-floor unit in passenger vehicles. The blower, driven by twin V belting, is mounted on a platform extending from the sump, and alongside it is a full-flow, cloth-element lubricating-oil filter.

Although no fan is fitted on the engine, provision is made for taking a crankshaft extension to drive a fan mounted forward. Thus a radiator can be mounted in the orthodox front position, even when the engine is located amidships.

Leyland Motors, Ltd., also stages a Comet oil-engined passenger chassis, not hitherto seen. This is the ECPO. IL export chassis announced last December, when the new Comet goods vehicles were introduced.

Morris-Commercial Oiler

Nuffield Exports, Ltd., exhibits through its Dutch agents the new Morris-Commercial 5-ton normal-control oiler. A full description of the forward-control type was given in "The Commercial Motor" on April 16. This long-wheelbase model is presented as a chassis with cab, and is painted in the Dutch national colours and finished in chromium plating. The 15-20-cwt. P.V. van, with left-hand drive, also appears, with the standard MorrisCommercial 25-30-cwt. model. These vehicles are exhibited on behalf of Nuffield Exports, Ltd., by J. J. Molenaar, of Amerspoort.

The Rover Co., Ltd., has created great interest with its new Land-Rover model, shown, in this instance, as a -mobile welding unit. It was described in "The Commercial Motor" last week. A Lincoln 150-amp. D.C. generator is mounted centrally and driven by triple V belting, with a power take-off from the gearbox for the pulleys. For oxy-acetylene work, the gas cylinders are-arranged in sloping cradles on each side of the dynamo housing, and a complete set of welding equipment is carried.

The Tomlinson concern, through its A28 Benelux distributors, Autobodrijf Ten Hoov,e, shows a range of three electric vehicles—the universal works truck, the industrial works truck, and the Omnitruck. The last-mentioned is a small driver-type vehicle designed for internal factory transport.

The Austin Motor Co., Ltd. exhibits a range of seven vehicles, all with lefthand steering. They include the 2-ton drop-side truck. the 4-ton long-wheelbase drop-sided lorry. 5-ton shortwheelbase chassis and cab (without tipping gear), the 180-in, wheelbase coach chassis, A.40 van, 25-cwt. threeway van and the Wayfarer ambulance.

A.E.C. has provided two vehicles, a goods and a passenger type. The goods chassis is the 2481 bonneted tractor, specially designed for overseas markets (for a road-test report, see last week's issue), and the passenger one, a Regal, with a 20-ft, wheelbase. In the latter

model reverse-camber semi-elliptic springs are employed, and hydraulic shock absorbers are fitted at the front and rear. A number of A.E.C. vehicles with Dutch coachwork may be seen in the show.

Commer Cars, Ltd.. shows, among others, the latest inclined-engined model.

Guy Motors, Ltd., has an important display, comprising an Arab long' wheelbase chassis with automatic lubrication and three complete vehicles with Dutch bodywork. These comprise an Arab 45-seater, a Vixen 27-seater luxury coach and an Arab -40-seater.

Dutch bodywork is nearly always good, Well-finished, business-like designs arc produced, but they are not so attractive as the French, Belgian, Swiss and • Italian work seen at recent shows.

If I were awarding prizes at the Amsterdam Show for commercial vehicles turned out as they really should be, one would go to Fiat for a magnificent coach and another to Willys Overland for a station wagon. tknother prize, in quite a different category, would go to the Lucas agents for the finest equipment display in the show.

In addition to the British chassis manufacturers already mentioned, Jow-ett Cars, Ltd., and Trojan, Ltd., both exhibit through their Dutch representatives.

Turning now to the American newcomer referred to earlier in this report, the export division of the Twin Coach Co. presents one of its completely unorthodox 44-passenger single-deck vehicles. The Fageoi Twin Coach has a 180 b.h.p. six-oylindered horizontal petrol engine mounted amidships. hydraulic torque-converter transmission. rubber torsional suspension, integral chassis-body construction entirely in light alloys, and a curved steering column.

The steering column is enoughto shock the stoutest-hearted bus driver on sight! A large-diameter alloy tube, it is bowed in a wide arc. It gives knee room for the driver to enter his seat and provides a small extra amount of passenger space behind him. The steer

ing shaft within the column is, of course, provided with several universals.

By way of maintaining unorthodoxy, lighting and electric equipment is served by an alternator set comprising a 100-amp. A.C. dynamo coupled to a rectier.

The big vehicle shown suggests a railway coach rather than a road vehicle. It is built for -.service rather . than, ornament, but, looks comfortable enough inside. Passenger seating level is surprisinglybight, seats being some 4 ft. 6 ins. from the ground. A good point noted is that the power-operated doors at the front have glass panels below the waist, allowing the driver to see the kerb.

Czechoslovakia is represented by the Skoda concern with a large passenger chassis on more classic lines than those of some other Central European products. Scania Vabis represents Sweden with the 8.22 oiler, which has a sixcylindered 8.4-litre 135 b.h.p. &aim Vabis engine, and is 33 ft. long overall. Apart from the chassis, a complete Scania Vabis 46-seater bus is staged by the Dutch bodybuilders, Jan Jongerius.

• Two contrasted systems of commercial bodybuilding are shown on the stand of the N.V. Technisch Bureau, one Swedish and the other Ainerican.

Flagglund, of Sweden presents a lightalloy bus body built up almost entirely by spot-welding from pressings and extrusions. Pillars in this body are formed from double top-hat Pressings, welded up to form a box section of great strength. The body is prefabricated, complete sides being erected on a jig.. The construction of the frame is exceptionally light, but appears to be sound in design, comparing well with similar designs noted recent iv iii France and Great Britain.

Ameiica comes in with the Lindsay system of cons:auction from sheet-steel pressings. In this, the top-hat strip is drilled and tapped till along. ;J regular intervals, for setscrews. Body erection PS earricd out on the lines of a Meccano set, but ss ood filling is employed at points Fable to special Neat little pressings are employed to make four-way joints in the body skeleton, and for bearers the top-hat section is closed hy a plate winch is welded on. The example shown is a large pantechnicon based on a Diamond T chassis.

A Fiat coach with Italian bodywork is certainly one of the finest exhibits in the show. It is a 34-seater, finished in two most attractive shades of green. the darker one being used for leatherseat upholstery and interior work. Passenger seals are of the aircraft type, with recessed head rests, and tine large ss indows give excellent visibility, as in most Continental coaches. 'This Fiat body, including scaling and all equipment, is entirely in light alloys.

Vermcal, the most important Dutch coachbuilders, show among many other exhibits, a 44-seater bus body on a Leyland Tiger chassis and is similar body on an A.E.C. Regal Mill. Tube lighting is used for the interior in both bodies.

An oddity of the show is the astonishing number of small scale-model coaches. They seem to be in every other stand, mostly with flowers growing out of the sunshine roofs.

Germany is represented by the Tempo three-wheeled light .delivery vehicle. It is a front-wheel-drive design with a 400 c.c. vertical twincylindered water-cooled two-stroke engine. The power unit is mounted over the front wheel and turns with it when steering: and the chain casing, a stiff steel pressing, forms the wheel support. For suspension purposes a single-coil spring is linked to the end of a bell-crank extending backwards from the fork crown.

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