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WITH A FAST 1-TONNER
The New Ford 24 h.p. Lorry Proves a Lively Machine, With a Good Turn of Speed and Excellent Powers of Acceleration, Easy to Drive and Simple to Maintain
HAVING the same 24 h.p. engine as the 30 cwt. model, the new 1-ton Ford might reasonably be expected to possess good qualities of acceleration and speed, and with regard to the former the model tested left nothing to be desired; its hill-climbing, liveliness and top-gear performance were excellent. It was, however, the standard low-gear model, with a top ratio of 6.6 to 1, and its maximum speed was, consequently, limited by the engine revolutions; 47 m.p.h.. was the highest touched.
The standard high-gear model has a top ratio of 5.14 to 1, which, as a simple arithmetical calculation will reveal, would give a maximum speed of GO m.p.h.
In spite of being slightly overloaded, the machine was capable of accelerating in top gear from a speed of about 4 m.p.h. on an appreciable up-grade without knocking or displaying the least sign of distress other than the slight juddering caused by the irregular torque reaction of the engine, inevitable at so low a speed.
The main road gradients of Middlesex and Hertfordshire proved totally inadequate for the Ford to demonstrate its powers of hill climbing. Brockley Hill, on the Elstree road, which has a gradient of 1 in 9 for about 440 yards, preceded by a long gradual rise, approached from the south, brought B26 it down to second gear, the change being made about a third of the distance up the steep portion of the hill, but the speed ,never fell below 20 m.p.h.
Cocks Hill, with its short. sharp rise of 1 in 6, was surmounted from a run at 35-40 m.p.h. in top gear at 30 m.p.h. Stopping and restarting tests on the steepest portion entirely failed to reveal any weaknesses of engine, clutch, transmission or brakes. "Where is the local `Beggars' Roost '?" asked the Ford representative who accompanied us.
Our petrol-consumption test was carried out on an out-and-return route from the junction of the Barnet by-pass and the St. AlbansHatfield road, through Welwyn to Hitchin, the turning point being situated On the farther side of this town. This route seems fairly representative of general English conditions; it embraces the narrow streets and traffic of both the lastnamed towns, it is winding and moderately hilly. Furthermore, it is practically impossible to rush any of the hills.
The consumption over the total distance of 30 miles, covered in 11 hour, was 1 gallon 64 pints of a standard commercial spirit, that is to say, equivalent to 16i m.p.g. In circumstances where frequent stopping and restarting would be necessary the figure would naturally be somewhat lower than this. The carburetter settings were as follow:—Main jet 20, cap jet 20, compensator 19, choke 27/32. in.
In making our brake tests it was found that the application of hand and foot brakes together .locked the rear wheels and showed no improvement upon the results obtained with the foot brake alone. These were obtained, incidentally, between showers, but the frictional resistance between road and tyre was lessened only slightly by wet, or so it appeared from the behaviour of the Ford. Only when the hand brake was fiercely applied at speeds in excess of 30 m.p.h. was there any disconcerting skidding; with the foot brake alone the wheels showed but a slight tendency to lock, and even when they did the lorry kept perfectly straight.
Before leaving the subject of brakes, a minor criticism seems justifiable ; the hand-brake lever is not in the most convenient position for the driver, and the thumboperated ratchet is too heavy in action.
In driving this machine and in examining the chassis and bodywork, one is repeatedly struck by the fact that •its designers have always remembered that it will be used, in many cases, by persons with little mechanical knowledge, little inclination for the work of maintenance, and probably the usual human • weaknesses. • To enumerate briefly a few, points which illustrate the foresight of the designers :—A rest is provided to steady: the accelerator-pedal foot on rough ground. The choke control is arranged to perform the additional function of regulating the strength of the mixture,•but this can neither be cut down nor richened . sufficiently to stop the engine. The petrol gauge shows " full" and "empty" whilst allowing a good margin on both sides. Access to the accumulator is gained through an instantly detachable trap door in the foot-boards on the near side.
The safety-glass windscreen can be raised to an almost horizontal. position for fog driving. The sliding side-windows of the cab, which are usually in the forward position where they would protect the driver should the fixed plateglass windows be broken, are also of safety glass. A good idea, but why not safety glass for them all?
Brake adjustment is effected by turning the serrated fulcrum cone with a spanner, and can be regulated by counting the clicks as each serration passes the locking device. The carburetter, dynamo and starter-motor are placed well above frame level, where not only are they accessible, but also they would be high and dry in a deep watersplash. The petrol filter is in an accessible position. The carburetter and ignition control rods are attaChed at their business ends by quickly detachable clips.
The lamp fronts and other parts usually plated are made of rustless
steel, and small exposed parts, such as the wheel nuts, are cadmium plated. Even on the body one finds that stops are provided to prevent the detachable drop sides
from sliding off their hinges when hanging down.
The distributor and contact breaker are accessibly situated on top of the cylinder block, and can almost completely be dismantled without the use of tools. The plug leads are copper strips with slotted ends. Every wire in the electric Installation has insulation of a different colour, and the instruction book, which, incidentally, is remarkably comprehensive, contains a wiring diagram in which every connection is indicated by colour.
The rubber water connections need not be broken in dismantling, large flanged joints being, in every case, provided. A reversible stud, which carries an extension made to fit in a hole in the camshaft wheel for use when replacing the crankshaft; enables the engine to he timed correctly without mental effort, A few constructional features are worthy of mention, while on the subject of design. To discourage B27 squeaks and rattles, webbing is fixed between sheet-metal parts, such as valances, cowling and wings. The spring leaves are graduated, the thicknesses being, roughly, proportional to the length, and the second leaf overlaps the eyes in the longest leaf. To permit the frame easily to be shortened, as might be necessary were a tipping body carried, the rear crossmember is placed about 15 ins. forward of the ends of the longitudinals. Hydraulic shock absorbers are used at the front, but not at the rear. Triangulated radius rods convey braking loads from both axles to points on the centre line of the chassis.
The excellence of the system of suspension generally was demonstrated by driving one wheel up a high kerbstone and observing how little the body was deflected from the horizontal. Further, when sitting in the cab beside the driver it was found to be possible to write notes at 30-35 m.p.h. on an average Hertfordshire main road with actually less difficulty than when in a railway carriage.
Later the performance was tried on a very rough bit of new road, as is to be found in most suburban building estates. Driven at quite a fair speed, the Ford took the bumps and potholes in a manner which convinced us that it would stand up to work in districts where rough going was the general rule, with complete satisfaction to its owner, Of the two models (the highgeared and the low-geared), it would seem that, for short journeys in a hilly district, or for delivery work in a country where bad roads abound, the latter would be the better, but for journeys of any distance over roads which offer 'facilities for keeping up a good average speed the former would undoubtedly be the more suitable, even if the load were a full ton.
Carrying the loads for which it is intended, this Ford should give long, reliable and economical ser-, vice. Its maintenance (an important point) should be well within the capabilities of a man with the minimum of technical knowledge, and with average common sense. But, perhaps, its outstanding features are its disregard for hills, its appetite for miles and its responsiveness generally to the throttle.