First Description of the New Minerva.
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Belgian firms have so far not paid a great amount of attention to commercial-motor matters, if one may judge by the exhibition now being held at Brussels, but the few firms which have entered this branch of construction have done so in a thoroughly businesslike way. One of the most interesting of the exhibits is the Minerva 21-ton lorry, which will shortly be seen on the London streets, for we are given to understand that kk considerable order has: been placed for this model by Pickford's, Ltd.
It is evident that the designers of this lorry are thoroughly conversant with English conditions and have not hesitated to adopt features which have proved their suitability under English service.
The motor is a Knight, of 85 mm. and 140 inre. bore and stroke respectively, placed La.nchester-fashion in the centre of the frame between the driver and his companion. There is a gilled-tube radiator in front, with east top and bottom tanks. and a filler through which even a lorry driver's hand can be passed without difficulty ; the dashboard is higher than the radiator, and immediately behind it is the engine, completely enclosed under a bonnet with separately detachable sides and top. The engine is remarkably compact ; although the width is quite normal, there is plenty of room to left arid right for the clriver and his assistant. The petrol tank is built on the seat, between the two men ; it has a capacity of 15 gallons. and is fitted with a hinged filler cap of very big dianseter.
Accessibility has not been overlooked in the design of the motor, By means of inspection covers in the top of the bonnet it is possible to change plugs or verify the firing without taking off the main portion of the bonnet.
The lubrication tell-tale is a little plunger on the front of the casing. The engine, which is of the Knight type, built in the Minerva Co.'s own works. has the cylinders cast in pairs, with lubrication under a combination of pressure to the main bearings and constant-level troughs for the connecting-rod ends. The troughs are adjustable in four positions, but d. is only intended that this adjustment shall be altered for considerable changes in road conditions. The adjustment lever is therefore on the right-hand side of the crankcase, and can only be reached by the drivee's leaving his seat.
This position of the engine gives a very large body for a minimum overall length. The lorry measures 15 ft. 8 ins. from front to rear, and the body area is 10 ft. 6 ins. by 5 ft. 6 ins. The body is intended to carry 2.1,-ton loads.
The clutch is of the cone type, and the gearbox. which provides four speeds and reverse, is at the back of the driver's seat, just under the front end of the platform body ; it can be reached by lifting out the central floorboard. The method of disposing the change speed and brake levers is interesting. The change speed is of the selective type. the gate being mounted on the board forming the front face of the driver's seat. The lever is thus almost horizontal, but only its ball head and a couple of inches of its length project. A special catch is provided to prevent it falling under its own weight and by reason of the vibration of the entire vehicle. A special type of gearbox with constant-mesh pinions is made use of. It is declared that this box is as silent on the indirect gears as on top, and that it is as inaudible as the Knight engine. Final drive is by shaft and overhead worm, the reduction in the rear axle being 1 to 7.
There is no brake on the mechanism, the two sets being respectively internal-expanding and externalcontracting on the rear wheel drums. The usual arrangement of pedal and lever exists for brake operation. Cast-steel wheels are employed all round, the front ones being of the inverted dished type, with the B16
steering knuckles so offset that the king bolts align with the wheel planes. Single Jenatzy tires are fitted in front, and twins at the rear, the dimensions being 34iins. by 4 ins. Steering is by worm and -sector, with the steering gearbox mounted on the end of the right-hand frame member. While being well protected, the whole steering gear is quickly dismountable, the steering column itself being in two parts, which can be readily disconnected, by removing a sheet-metal cover above the steering gearbox. The transverse connecting bar is at the back of the axle. Lubricators are fitted throughoat—to the steering gear, spring shackles, etc., but in all cases they are of such a diameter that even a heavy-handed lorry driver is not apt to overlook them.
In addition to this entirely new vehicle, the Minerva Co. has on view a 5-ton lorry with motor under the seat, to be delivered to the Servian Government immediately after the Show. A third vehicle is a very completely-fitted ambulance, with two stretchers, an operating table and numerous medical appliances. The Pipe Co., which has long made a feature of commercial motors, has a 3-ton lorry as the main attraction on its stand. While specially designed for commercial work, there is a similarity in several respects with the firm's larger pleasure cars. The motor is under a bonnet, the clutch is of the cone type, but the patented Pipe elastic coupling is incorporated with it. The gearbox is independent of tha differential, and is mounted on a sub-frame independent of that for the engine. The independent differential is mounted on two cross-frame members, and is connected with the gearset by a propeller shaft having the .same type of flexible coupling as just adopted to the firms pleasure cars. The cross shafts are not encased, and have universal joints. Final drive is by side chains to the rear wheels, a special type of iadius rod with yokod ends being employed. The rear springs, which are underslung, have the unusual width of 4 7-10 ins. These springs have a sliding shackle at the rear, the movement being against a couple of coil springs contained in cylindrical housings and having provision for lubrication.
The only other Belgian firms at the Show are : the Bovy. with a 5-ton brewers' lorry, the chassis of which embodies a modification of the De Dion Bouton type of rear axle ; Foidant, showing a steamer ; and the Pescador Co.„ with a heavy lorry on 'orthodox lines, including a Knight motor.
Saurer's exhibition consists of three chassis, two of them chain driven and the other having shaft drive. The shaft model is the latest and one doubtless little known to the general public. Its distinctive features are the unit construction of motor and gearbox and a rear extension to the gearbox so as to encase the foot brake. Nothing appears to have been -changed on the engine, but the unit construction is new and the method of encasing the brake. is original. Bolted to the rear face of the gearbox is a cylindrical aluminium housing, divided horizontally, and having breather holes for the dissipation of heat generated by the brake. The tubular torque member is bolted to the rear of the brake housing. A reify neatly-encased brake differential is fitted.
Austin's exhibit is the firm's 2-ton lorry with diagonal-drive shafts. This vehicle had evidently been delayed in transportation, for it was not brought into the exhibition hall until the morning of the second day. Benz, of Mannheim, Germany, has confined its exhibit to a horizontal single-cylinder motor on a, four-wheel bogey with fixed and loose pulleys for general work on farms. Renault. Berliet, Lorraine-Dietrich, Aries, Stoewer, and other firms have exhibits, but in each case the models are those which have been shown at previous Continental shows.