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10th November 1944
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AVEHICLE which has given a good account of itself in the hands of many operators during the past few years is the Vulcan, both in the form of an oiler and as a petrol-eiagined job. Having recently been afforded the opportunity of conducting a road test of a Vulcan 6VF

machine—the V signifying that it is powered by a Vulcan petrol engine— we are now in a better position the more fully to appreciate the reasons for its popularity.

This vehicle is designated as a 6tonner, but, as is known, pay-load weight is, in present circumstances, governed by the loadcarrying capacity of the tyre equipment. Whilst the Vulcan conies within the 3-ton unladen-weight category, the general robustness of the chassis. would suggest a higher tax rating. Detail examination reveals inbuilt strength where experience has shown this to he necessary, with a complete absence of frills or accessories which might -have been added as afterthoughts.

The reason for this is to be found in the fact that Vulcan distributors were asked to collaborate and, in consequence, many features have been built into or left out of the chassis at the dictates of practical experience as expressed by operators.

We took the machine over from the works of Tilling-Stevens, Ltd., at Maidstone, and it so happened that a block on the main road was responsible for a traffic diversion to the narrow thoroughfare which passes between the maker's premises. This circumstance provided an early opportunity of noting the ease with which the Vulcan, with its all-up weight of 8 tons 16i cwt. could be handled, no more effort being required to swing it about than that needed with a medium-sized private car. Incidentally, it has a spring steering wheel, the practical advantages of which were fully appreciated during the course of the test.

Once on the main AshfordFolkestone road, which is characterized by its undulating nature, it was found that a cruising speed of 25-30 m.p.h. could be maintained for mile

after mile. Although we believe in making full use of a gearbox, the Vulcan engine removes the necessity of constant gear changing.

On the first level stretch which, on account of the heavy military traffic, was by no means ideal for the purpose, we ran through the gears from a standing start to 20 m.p.h. and 30 m.p.h. The figure obtained in the first instance. was 231 secs., and in the second, 471 secs. In fairness to the machine we believe that, in more favourable circumstances, it could show better figures. The engine is governed to 2,340 r.p.m.

A turn off the mahr road brought us to the foot of Hollingbourne Hill, a gradient which rises 330 ft. in a distance of 4,000 ft. and which has a maximum gradient near the summit of 1 in 6. Once on the hill proper, after an approach in third gear at the governed speed of 22 m.p.h., the Vulcan settled down in second gear, the speedometer hovering at 12 m.p.h., the approximate governed . speed in that gear. As the gradient stiffened a change down to first gear sent up the engine revs., the governor keeping the vehicle in check at 6 m.p.h., at. which speed it made comfortable work of the steepest section.

Starting away on the 1-in-6 stretch proved no difficulty at all, and the hand brake held the load positively both from rolling backwards or • creeping forward. The temperature of the cooling water immediately following the ascent was well below boil. ing point, despite the fact that about one-third of the radiator was blanketed off.

Braking on the Vulcan is by Girling twoleading shoe brakes operated on the Lockheed hydraulic system without servo assistance, the hand brake being mechanically linked to the rear-wheel brakes. .

Despite the absence of servo mechanism, no undue effort is required on. the brake pedal to bring the vehicle to rest from 20 m.p.h. in 26ft., whilst from 30 rn-Feh. we got a figure of 57 ft.—the efficiency percentage being over 50 in both cases. The road surface was wet tarmacadarn, and retardation was effected without a suggestion of dither or shock—just positive braking without a trace of side-tracking.

On a. measured gallon of fuel the Vulcan covered 9.7 miles on a five

mile out-and-honie course. There were no stops for traffic, and after top gear had been engaged, following the start and the turn around, it was maintained throughout. This figure shows a pay-load ton-mpg. of 54.32 and a gross ton-mpg. of 85.6.

The outstanding feature of the Vulcan, from the driver's point of view, is the extraordinary degree of visibility obtained from the driver's seat. There is no better way of showing this than photographically, and one of the accompanying illustrations



gives an impression of the unbroken view obtained by the driver. He is provided with more than average room as the engine has -been off-set for this purpose, but this does not mean that his mate has not ample room also.

A feature, exclusive, we believe, to Vulcan vehicles, is the detachable near-side wing which enables a mechanic to go" close in" for engine adjustments or other work.

The cut-out and junction box are as readily getatable as if they were on the bench, and the battery, which, more often than not, is slung where it can pick up a maximum amount of dirt, is, in this instance, in a_ fully protected position beneath the driver's seat.

A small point, perhaps, but one which shows the thought which has been put into the whole job, is that the cab ventilator is so positioned that it comes over the centre of balance of the engine, which thus materially assists in the operation of removing or replacing the unit.

By way of summing

3,500 4.000 up the Vulcan 6 VF we consider it to be a sound engineering job, of clean design, embodying features which make for trouble-free operation, ease of maintenance and with a high degree of driver comfort. Withal, it is particularly easy to handle and has a road performance which is characterized by sound punch.

We have made no reference to the suspension for the reason that the Vulcan took the rough with the smooth in an unobtrusive manner. Irrespective, of road surface there were no signs of snatch or judder at the steering wheel.


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