Haulier turned truck maker
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A Dutch independent with the tailormade touch
by Niels Jansen
DRITISH truck drivers and penators in Holland have pro'ably seen big FTF vehicles on he roads and wondered just Vhat units they are based on. i:ven if they have some idea g the mechanical components vhich these heavy vehicles in:orporate, they probably have to idea that this As a rnanu'aCturing business ithat 'started is a haulage outfit, and still 7eltains a " feel " for 'hauliers' :equArements.
built only as a heavy haulage prime mover, FTFs are now also used for 'international Long-distance haulage, a testimony to their ruggedness.
Floor's Handel en Industrie BV, at Wijchen Holland, known under the brand name FTF, has come on strongly in recent years. Floor started at Hilversum as a haulage firm many years ago and was soon making its own trailers to operate behind its Mack trucks.
Ins 1952 both semi TjijcI drawbar trailers with capacities from 9 to 30 tons were built and the haulage business ceased, but was followed in 1955 by importing and partly assembling Mack 'trucks for Benelux. However, in 1964 Mack decided to set up its own plant in Western Europe and contacts With Floor were broken. New premises 'had already been erected at Wij chen in 1963 to assemble Macks, so Floor dedided to build its own truck there.
In the first years many leftover Mack engines and other components were built in, but soon FTF trucks were fitted with GM Detroit Diesels, Allison or Fuller gearboxes and Rockwell or British Kirkstall axles.
The first was hand-built in 1966 for a heavy 'haulage firm, this unit having Floor's own cab, but this proved to be too coStly to manufacture in the long run and since then British MOtor Panels have built FTF cabs to Floor design and specifications.
Although the truck market was well represented by foreign makes at that time there still was a special local need for heavy haulage vehicles and the FTF products could fill this gap. The company was true to its haulage operating background in insisting that built-in components would have to be completely reliable, even under the most severe 'operating conditions. So the chassis is made of manganese carbon 'steel, modified to 1027 heat treated alloy steel having a yield strength of 110.000 psi. It is made as an inner and outer channel giving rnakimum flexibility together with high strength.
The ever-increasing demand for higher horsepower engines makes it necessary to build in 'high-specification transmissions and axles. Most 1.11-. trucks nowadays are equipped with Detroit Diesel 6V-71N or 8V-71N engines coupled to a Fuller RTO 9509A or RTO 9513 transmission, although more and more vehicles are ordered with the new Allison HT 70 fully-automatic box. FIT was the first truck manufacturer in Europe to fit automatics and is clear about their advantages: shifting without losing traction, easier .starting on slopes, even With very high crossloads, less strain on axles, drive/rine and engine, and so longer component life. Also, the driver can concentrate completely on driving, Which is of prime importance with heavy haulage rigs.
The latest addition to the FIT range, the F-$ 29D, or MS 4050 military version, is equipped with a 475 BHP 12V-71N Detroit Diesel and the Allison CLBT 5960 semi-automatic gearbox, and is designed to operate at up to 200 tons gcw. Many of these new heavy haulage tractors, coupled to lowbed trailers, 'are now in use