A POPULAR LIGHT CAR .CHASSIS FOR VAN USES.
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Details of Two Commercial Models of the Rover Eight Chassis which Should • Prove Attractive Propositions for Tradesmen and Travellers.
MHE FACTORS which have had snore than anything else to do with the popularity achieved by the small twoseater car have been mechanical reliability and low selling price. The absence. of either of these essential features, even though the other was present, might conceivably have earned a bad name for vehicles of this type, but when present together confidence has been promoted amongst the buying public, as is undoubtedly indicated by the numbers of machines falling into the category mentioned which are daily to be seen on the road. _ Thousands of small cars are giving remarkable a11-round service to their owners whilst, in competitive events, reliability trials and the like, several types of such vehicles have performed wonders. What could be more creditable than the performance of an example of the 7 h.p. model produced. in the works of a famous Midland concern, which, in the recant 200-Mile Race (1,100 c.c. class) organized by the Junior Car Club, completed lap alter lap on the Brooklands track with unfailing regularity, eventually gaining second place at an average speed of 76.84 m.p.h.! We do not place considerable importance on the speed attained, but rather on the design of the vehicle with an engine only threequarters the size of its competitors, which enabled this remarkable achievement to be recorded.
Our reason for drawing attention to these facts is because most of the light vehicles now offered to tradesmen and other commercial users, whose requirements are restricted to the transport of 5-cwt. or 6-cwt. loads, have been developed in the first place from designs primarily drawn up to satisfy private owners. The Austin Seven, Leyland, Tessis..n, .04-erria Olowley, and other prominent chassis have each had their sphere of use extended in this manner, and the latest to come within this category is the Rover Eight, which, as a light car, has achieved a degree of popularity unequalled by any vehicle dependent for its motive power upon a twocylinder air-cooled engine.
The first public appearance of the
Rover Eight commercial models will be at the forthcoming Commercial Vehicle Show at Olympia, when the manufacturers will stage a 4-cwt. light van and a traveller's brougham. At the moment we do not know the prices at which these vehicles will be marketed, but since the standard chassis is employed in their design, and the complete two-seater is offered at £139, it is reasonable to assume that the figures will be most attractive. Indeed, so far as the van is concerned, it must be so for the vehicle to claim a vogue amongst tra.desmen whose available capital is limited.
Of the mechanical reliability of the commercial models there need be no qualms. The 8 h.p. air-cooled engine is an efficient little unit, arid having its two cylinders horizontally opposed enables period. balancing of the components to be secured and vibration to be minimized. The capacity of the engine is 1,130 c.c., its bore and stroke being 85 mm. and 100 /um respectively, giving an R. AC. rating of 8.9 h.p. The stroke was originally 88 mm., but by increasing it by 12 mm. an appreciable increase in power is secured. This is one of the improvements to be found on the 1924 models of the Rover Co.'s diminutive produetion.
Other engine details remain as heretofore. The crankshaft is a steel forging and it runs on ball races ; the connecting-rod big-ends have roller bearings. Lubrication is by a rotary pump of the usual vane pattern, and the oil is circulated front a cylindrical tank to the pistons, timing gears and connecting-rod bearings through interconnected pipe leads. The tank has a capacity of three-quarters of a gallon
and is located, below -the engine. The system of lubrication can readily be seen in our illustration of the power Unit.
Ignition is attended to by a hightension magneto, which is driven from the camshaft throughthe medium of a variable coupling. Arrangements are made for obIaining easy access to the contact breaker by a:plate in the radiator' which•can he quickly removed. For carhuration a Smith two-jet instrument la employed, and it receives the supply of fuel by means of gravity from a tank with a capacity of five gallons, which is built into the dashboard. The carburetter is disposed on to a the engine casing, long, curved manifolds conveying the fuel charge to the combustion chambers.
As is generally well known, the Rover Eight engine is air-000led, and this system appears to have given most efficient results in actual service, due almost wholly to the dimensions of the effective cooling area. The cylinder barrels and combustion heads are well ribbed, so that internal heat which is sot up is quickly dissipated.
The engine power is transmitted to the worm-driven back axle through a fabric-faced single-plate clutch, which runs : dry, a three-speed-and-reverse gearbox and a tubular propeller shaft, 2 ins, in diameter. Direct 'drive is obtained on top gear, the forward gear ratios being 4.84, 8.57 and 16.44 to 1, the ratio of the reverse gear being 21.51 to 1. Gear changing is effected throngh the medium of a centrally located lever. The chassis is adequately *sprung,. quarter elliptics being used both front and rear. A torque member of substantial dimensions is employed, so that the springs are relieved of all driving Strain.
Roth foot and hand brakes operate on drums of envie size in the, back wheels, and provision is made for taking up wear. The steering is by Tack and pinion, and all steering rods are of stout proportions. The front axle is of Hsection.
Having now given brief details of the construction of the chassis, we will refer to the main features of the commercial bodies which are being fitted to each, and which we illustrate.
To tradesmen the van body will he of chief concern. It will be seen that, although there is nothing fanciful in its design, it is of workmanlike build and provides sufficient space in the interior for the accommodation of the maximum • loads which are likely to be transported by the man in a small way of business. The actual capacity of the vehicle is 4 cwt. of goods, and for receiving this amount a space of 42 cubic ft. is available. The actual dimensions of the body are 3 ft. 4 ins. high, 3 ft.. 6 ins. wide, and 3 ft. long, the last-named dimension being taken from the rear of the driver's seat. In the van body the driver is provided with a roomy cab, on each side of which oblong glass panels are located. Access to the interior is by way of double doors in the rear body panels.
So far as the commercial 'traveller's brougham is concerned, this is fitted with a two-seater body, upholstered. in like manner to the standard Rover touring car, with hood, screen and allweather side curtains. To the rear of the passenger compartment is a capacious boot, to which access is gained through double doors at the rear. The actual loading. space is 12 cubic ft., the dimensions of the boot being : Height,
1 ft. 7 ins. ; width, 2 ft. 11 ins. ; length, 2 ft. fi• ins. The weight which can be reasonably dealt with is 3-4 cwt., plus the driver. As one of ourillustrations show, this car is particularly neat and attractive little proposition.
Each of these commercial models is fitted on a chassis which has a wheelbase of 7 ft: 10 ins, and a track of
3 ft. 10 ins. A smart appearance is given to the vehicles bathe steel disc wheels, -which are shod with Dunlop tyres of 26 in. by 3-in. dimensions.
If the Rover Eight commercial models meet. With only a portion of the success which has been attained by this popular vehicle in its -touring-car guise they are assured of a big following.