POST-WAR COMMERCIAL MOTORS.
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pERUSAL OF the recent articles descriptive of the Halley and Coramer Car chassis which have appeared in recent issues of this journal will no doubt remind our readers that little is known, with the exception of the information divulged in these articles, to the general public of the after-thewar intentions and plans of our commercial motor makers. They are all, we know well, working at high pressure in the endeavour to meet the requirements for transport at home and in the fields of war, mainly the latter, and on the face of it, it would seem that little, if any, special preparation for after-the-war production should be necessary, since, with few exceptions, the energies of these firms are still engaged upon the same products which will be the subject of their after-the-war activities.
Actually, the conditions are not so favourable as they appear: The war has had the effect of speeding up the advance of science and the rate of progress of many branches of industry, not least of the latter being that of the commercial motor itself, considered broadly. As regards the actual design of commercial motor chassis on a commercial basis, however, it has undoubtedly acted as a clog. Each and all of our manufacturers has improved his War Department chassis, much or little, according to the room for such improvement. They are all producing vehicles which are almost perfect—as Army transport wagons. That the vehicles are equally well adapted to give the. MA
018 efficient service in commercial use is open to considerable doubt.
The drawback to war-time improvements in a case of this kind is that they are frequently achieved at the expense of originality in design. The product itself is more or less satisfactory for the end in view, and the immediate need is for quantity production. All efforts are, therefore, directed to that end, minor and detail improvements being effected as opportunity allows. The tendency in the case of a motor vehicle, whether it be a three-tonner munition wagon or a staff car, ie to provide strength at the expense of other properties which, in the eorninercial machine. may be of equal or even greater worth. It will therefore be realized, we think, that our manufacturers have much to do, apart from direct war-time activities, in the way of preparing for afterthe war production. The lessons which they have lea-ned and the experience which they have gained in the course of 3i years of war use of their vehicles will undoubtedly stand them in good stead when they are considering the design of new models. More'over, the War Department types of chassis are certainly almost ideal for Colonial use, and we look to considerable extension of the after-the-war Colonial market. The smooth and well-kept roads of European countries, however, do not call for the substantial framing and stiffened springing which are the result of the elimination of weaknesses which
have developed only in the course of continuous use on shell-shocked roads and open fields of France and of the other battle fronts.
It might not be amiss if we suggest, in brief, directions in which this hardly acquired exPerience should be applied in remodelling the motorcars and motor wagons of the future. Prominent amongst needed reforms is that of modified springing. We look to see systems designed which cater for horizontalfshocks, and—here we refer more particularly to commercial chassis—se constructed as to cater for all conditions of loading varying from empty running to operating under full load.
In this connection it may be pointed out that the springing of commercial motors .appears never to have been fully considered ab nitiO. As at present designed, with one or two noteworthy exceptions, the springing systems of heavy chassis are slavish copies of touring car practice. In the latter type of vehicle, the variation in the load on the springs from minimum to maximum seldom exceeds 20 per cent. increase upon the minimum. On a commercial motor, on the other hand, the corresponding figure for lead variation is nearer 120 per cent. increase upon the minimum.
Simultaneously with the revision of spring design will come an all-round reduction of chassis weight. This, with increased knowledge of the higher class steels, should not be difficult. It will, moreover, become as essential in the heavier type of chassis as in the lighter touring car and racing car. The persistent demand after the war will be for economy. In the cage of the mechanically-propelled vehicle, this will be expected to take the direction of curtailed running costs. Lightening the chassis will help by reducing the fuel consumption, and by easing the wear on tyres. For the same reason it is to be ex pected that higher engine speeds, and the adoption of what is popularly but erroneously described as the high-efficiency type of power unit, Will become general. The carburetter makers will certainly he called into consultation. They will be requested to make their instruments more efficient, particularly in connection with the use of much heavier and denser fuels than those to which we have hitherto been accustomed. In this connection benzole will have every attentioth but not so much paraffin, which will be almost excIiisively employed on agricultural motors. Owing to the nature of the work which they do, the -agricultural motors can most efficiently utilize that fuel.
So far, we have not suggested any striking departure from orthodox practice. There is, however, one new development which will undoubtedly take place. It is extremely likely that for the heaviest chassis, those which would naturally compete with steam wagons andsteam tractors, the .Diesel or semi-Diesel type of power 'unit will come into use. Some very striking statements; emanating from the enemy, have been made concerning advances which have been made in Germany in the design of this type of engine, , particularly in respect of lightness of weight.for the power developed. Any similar advances which may have been made by our own engineers are for the. present carefully shrouded behind the mantle of
Dora." We do not anticipate, however, that we shall be found to be far behind the enemy in this particular sphere, in-which case the prospects of the Diesel engine type of heavy motor are indeed promising. In the lighter types of steamer, we shall have a doughty rival to petrol in the shape of the Clarkson and other coke-fired chassis, fitted with the new "hedgehog " type of water-tube boiler, which was described in a recent issue of this journal.