WAR OFFICE TESTS THE RENAULT SIX-WHEELER.
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An Interesting Demonstration of the Capabilities of the Vehicle on Soft Sand, Over Rough Country and on Steep Gradients.
By Our Military Correspondent
THE Renault desert six-wheeled car—a similar car in every respect to thoge which crossed the Sahara from Touggourt to Tozeur last December—underwent. a series of trials on _Tuesday of last week over the' special selected War Office testing ground, at Hindhead and Laffan's Plain, Aldershot, before officials of the War Office, the Admiralty, the Ministry of Transport and Scotland Yard, the representative of the High Commissioner for the Union of South Africa, members of the Press, and a large .number of interested spectators, .
The first test was that of climbing Pitfold Hill, Hindhead, with a load of 15 cwt. The maximum gradient for a short distance was 1 in 41., whilst the average gradient for a length of a quarter of a mile was 1 in 10:-.. The speed maintained on this gradlent was 10 miles per hour. The car was stopped on the steep portion of the hill and held by the brakes. The engine took up the drive without difficulty. when the brakes were released.
The second series of tests were carried out at Laffan's Plain. The first test of this series consisted of running with a load of 15 cwt. over softsand in a forward and backward direction and turning circles to the right and to the left in figures of eight. T h e vehicle throughout appeared to be under perfect control, and it behaved in a thoroughly satisfactory manner. The driver, who was small in stature, seemed to find no difficulty whatever arising from the larger tyre area of the front wheels in contact with the ground. The temperature of the atmosphere
during the test was 66.2 degrees F. and the temperature of the water in the radiator 185 degrees F.
The second test was that of travelling over rough bumpy ground having a gradient of about 1 in 12 for a short distance. The vehicle traversed this stretch without any trouble. The third test, without load, was a climb up a gradient of 1 in 3, and the fourth test, also without load, was another climb up a client of 1 in 31. The surface of the ground in the third and fourth tqsts was soft, loose earth—a mere track roughly prepared on the slope of a• hill. The ascent up the 1-in-3/ stretch was made successfully, hut on the 1-in-3l gradient the driving wheels had insufficient grip, apparently due to want of weight on the rear axle, as there was certainly a good reserve of power. The gear ratios were measured, arid found to be 48 to 1 on the low gear and 8k to 1 on the high gear.
The third series of tests consisted of travelling unladen over a very soft and water-logged stretch of ground, where other vehicles had sunk to a depth of about 8 ins. or 9 Ms., and then finally passing through a water ditch, with sloping sides, about 9 ft. wide at the top and 2 ft, deep. In the course of this test the advantages of s-the twin wheels (12 tyres altogether) were very apparent, for the stretch of ground was crossed without a falter. The'tyres used were 775 min. by 145 mm.' filled with air to a pressure of 12 lb. to 15 lb.
• During the trials in the Sahara desert, the distance covered between Touggourt and Tozeur of 2,000 miles of ordinary surface, including shifting sand mountains, was completed in the record tune of six days, the average speed attained being 20 miles per hour. The driver, M. Charles Liocourt, who made the desert tour, drove the'ear on Tuesday. Messrs. Renault are to be congratulated an their success in the Sahara desert and also at the demonstration on Tuesday last. In our opinion, this pat
torn of vehicle should go a long way towards improving mechanical transport facilities in undeveloped countries.
At the moment, we have not been advised as to the various sizes of vehicle to which Messrs. Renault • intend to adapt this system of load suspension, but we certainly recommend it being adapted to a vehicle of a capacity of 30 4wt. and to be self-supporting, cariying•its fuel and water for as great a mileage as possible, as these qualifications will greatly enhance its commercial value in. undeveloped countries, where long distances have to be covered without the possibility of obtaining either fuel or water.
The following specification of the Renault sixwh,peler (type Tel.H.) for desert transport will be in formative and will supplement our description of the trials made by the War Office officials Weight of chassis, without petrol, water, or oil, 24 cwt. approximately.
Maximum total load, including body, 26 cwt. 4ngine : —Nominal horse-power, 12 In p. ; R. A.C. rating, 1.3.9 h.p. ; b.h.p., 16 at 1;800 ; position of
engine, under 'bonnet; number of cylinders, f our (monobloc); bore and stroke, 75 mm. and 120 mm. ; lubrication, forced ; ignition, by automatic advance magneto ; •carburetter, dasbpot ; water circulation, • the rme siphonie; radiator, tubular, in two parts.; fan, fixed on engine flywheel.
Clutch: — •Leatherfaced inverted Cone type.
Gearbox: •— Three
speeds, two combination, mounted on torquetube ; two sliding-dog type, with central ball gate change.
By means of the two Sets of reduction gears provided in the back axle, t h e following speeds are attainable with an engine speed of 1,680 r.p.rn. :—First combination: First speed, 3 m.p.h. ; second spee ; third speed, 10 m.p.h. Second combination': First speed, 5 m.p.h. ; second speed, 0itin.p.h. • third speed, 7 m .p.h. Front axle :—Of forged steel. Driving axles: Two, with central forged steel casing in two parts. Suspension: Two semi-elliptic springs in front and two long inverted semi-elliptic springs at rear. Steering: Of the left-hand type. Of the endless wormand-sector type.
Brakes :—Hand brake and foot brake ; both act on front and rear wheels. • •
. Wheels :—Detaehable disc, twin all round, fitted With Michelin Confort tyres, 775 mm. by.145 Overall dimensions, -14 ft: hy.6 ft. 3 ins. ; ,track, 5 ft. 3 ins. ; body building. sPace, 9 ft. 6 ; and wheelbase, 10 ft. 3-ins.