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26th January 1932
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Page 40, 26th January 1932 — A FAST BRITISH DELIVERY VAN
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ON TEST IN the Hillman 15-cwt. van the manufacturer, the Hillman Motor Car Co., Ltd., Coventry, has set out to produce a refined, powerful, and smooth-running vehicle capable of effecting a large amount of express delivery work in the course of the business day. Apart from being speedy on the road, it is easily manceuvred, has good acceleration and braking, and is most handy under difficult conditions of traffic congestion. In these respects it rather resembles a type which, it may be said, was to a considerable extent pioneered by some of the American manufacturers.

The basis of the machine, Wiiiich was described on page 119 of our issue dated September 8th, 1931, is the successful Hillman Wizard car chassis, the main differences being the fitting of cast-iron instead of aluminium pistons and the omission of recoil dampers for the road eprings.

The powerful engine gives well over one-brake horse-power per cwt. of gross weight when the vehicle is laden to capacity, and this has permitted the employment of a rearaxle ratio of 5.5 to 1. The engine develops a good power at comparatively slow speeds, its maximum of 48 b.h.p. being developed at 3,000 r.p.m. It will be realized that in the new van there is all the smoothness of an engine and transmission system built for modern private-car requirements. For a retailer having premises in a high-class neighbour

hood a vehicle of this kind which, in addition to being smart in appearance, will carry out its work silently and unostentatiously, is a distinct asset.

There are four main crankshaft bearings of 65 mm. diameter and varying from 33 mm. to 50 mm. in length. The big-end bearings are of 48 mm. diameter, whilst there are four robust bearings for the camshaft. The engine-gearbox unit is mounted at four points in the frame.

In particular, the silent third gear calls for comment. Apart from being a comfort to the van driver, this should be regarded as part of the modern tendency to refinement in express-delivery vehicles. Our test was carried out on a cold, dry day, the air temperature at a.m. being 34 degrees F. The vehicle started instantly from cold. It was noticed that the driver's compartment was particularly roomy and had a windscreen divided well below the centre line, so as to cause no obstruction to the forward view. Full-depth doors, with quick-action window winders, completely enclose the cab. Despite the acute rake of the steering column, it is easy to get in or out of the van, by either the off-side or the near-side door, the centrally placed gear lever and hand-brake lever being convenient in this respect. This point Is one of great importance for delivery work.

The driver's seat may be quickly adjusted, giving definite fixing in any chosen position. There is no partition between the driver's compartment (which has two bucket seats) and the goods compartment, so that, for reversing, the driver is able to see through windows in the double rear doors. To increase the size of these windows would be an improvement5 because it is not very easy for the driver to obtain a rearward view by looking out of the side window. The rear doors occupy the full width of the van and can be locked, but the two front doors are without locks. The wheel-arches hardly intrude into the body space.

On the instrument board are an A.C. electric petrol-depth gauge, an oil-pressure gauge, an ammeter, and a thermometer (giving water temperature at the cylinder-block outlet, behind the thermostat which controls the flow). The switch pro vides for half or full battery charging by the dynamo, the rates being respectively 7 amps and 10 amps. There is concealed illumination ofthe dashboard instruments.

Before starting on the test we dismantled •the Solex carburetter, which was found to have the following setting :—Main jet 125, Idling jet 60, choke 35. This was not disturbed during the day. The speedometer was tested for accuracy of both speed and distance readings, and all data given with this article Include a correction allowance.

The accompanying acceleration graph is sufficient to Indicate at once the excellent get-away which the loaded vehicle has in all its gears, and the importance of this will not be overlooked by those concerned in town delivery service. Actually, the performance is better than the average of 15-cwt. vans which we have road-tested; even on top gear a fairly lgood acceleration is obtained from about 8 m.p.h.

As regards brakes, the Bendix self-energizing type require a little experience before the driver learns to apply them correctly ; too energetic an application is inclined to give an unexpectedly severe braking. This, however, is a matter to which one quickly becomes accustomed, so that the lightness of pressure required for both brake and clutch pedals is a feature in the driving of the Hillman van which one gets to like. As regards stopping distances, these represent good average braking. Whether applied by hand' lever or by pedal, the brakes will easily pull the vehicle to rest, and hold it, on 1 in 6.

The hill-climbing performance is quite impressive. Cocks Hill, on the ELStree-Barnet road, for example, which has a maximum gradient of 1 in 6 and is 200 yds. long, was climbed from rest mainly in second gear in 23 seconds, representing an average speed of 18 m.p.h., which

resembles private-car performance. Brockley Hill, on the Edgware-ELstree road, was climbed from the south side from rest in third gear, the gradient rising to I in 9 and the length being 440 yds. The time taken was 45 secs., the speed therefore averaging 20 m.p.h., which is good. All ordinary hills can be climbed on the top or the silent third gear.

To demonstrate the smoothness of the clutch, we made a re-start on a 1-in-6 gradient, using second gear, and found that the torque was transmitted smoothly.

Steering is of the worm-and-nut type and is pleasant in all circumstances. It gives a useful lock, is light in action, and does not transmit the effect of road shocks.

The springing of this vehicle gives

ample flexibility and a comfortably low periodicity, the front springs being 2 ft. n ins, and the rear springs 4 ft. 2 ins, long and 2 ins.

wide. They have Silen lb lee shackles. It is, in our opinion, a pity that spring recoil dampers are not fitted, because without them the vehicle is inclined to pitch when travelling over even slight irregularities of road surface. We also detected an inclination to roll when curves or corners in the road were being negotiated, and this tendency should be curable by the fitting of satisfactory recoil dampers. Apart from this, there can be no criticism of the suspension system employed.

Our fuel-consumption test took the form of delivery-round service, tank replenishment being effected with accurate measurement after a 63-mile journey. The fact that we averaged only 19.4 m.p.h. is explained by the large number of halts and engine stops which was made, conditions closely resembling those of the ordinary retailer's round. Fuel consumption was at the rate of 14.62 miles per gallon.

In conclusion, the Hillman van is a distinctly high-class vehicle of quiet yet capable performance, wellequipped, and good value.


Locations: Coventry

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