THE SUCCESS OF THE OIL ENGINE
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in France and Belgium
THE rapid development of the compression-ignition engine in France, noted during 1931, has been continued and accelerated this year, and the popularity of the oildriven vehicle is such that practically every important manufacturer puts oilers at the head of its catalogued list of chassis.
. The extremely high price of petrol, even of the " poids lourd " grade, containing a large percentage of home-produced commercial alcohol, has been the chief factor in encouraging manufacturers to take up the oil engine, because, for the past 19 years, the imperative need for some fuel cheaper than petrol has been increasingly felt in France.
Gas-producers have been tried and, in certain respects, have been found wanting. There was, indeed, a gas-producer boom in France and Belgium some six years ago, when " gazogene " firms sprang up by the dozen, only to disappear.
Unsatisfactory machines were placed on the market, trouble which a26 these gave temporarily obscuring the real utility of producer-gas. The result was a survival of the fittest, and the few sound gas-producer manufacturers that weathered the storm are now experiencing good export business to the French and Belgian colonies.
Oil vaporizers also had something of an innings, but, here again, their market was spoiled by the introduction of unsatisfactory appliances.
That the compression-ignition engine has already gained the confidence of commercial-vehicle users in France and has become so firmly established, is due in no small measure to the careful manner of its introduction. Instead of launching out with entirely new designs, manufacturers confined themselves, at the outset, to building well-tried foreign engines under licence, Peugeot making the Junkers, Unic the MercedesBenz, Delahaye the Fiat, etc.
In this connection, it seems a pity that no British oil engine has yet been exploited in France. There are half a dozen British proprietary makes of engine which would suit the market, if manufactured' in that country.
In view of the rather conservative nature generally attributed to French makers, the rapidity with which the oil engine has been adopted is astonishing. Credit for its first introduction into the country must be given to the Peugeot concern, which exhibited at the Foire de Paris, in 1928, a lorry equipped with a German Junkers engine.
Peugeot had, at that time, just obtained the manufacturing rights for the engine and formed a subsidiary company, the Compagnie Lilleoise des Moteurs, for its production in quantities. Many C.L.M.-engined vehicles are now running in France, as, in addition to Peugeot vehicles, the oil-engined models of a number of other concerns employ the C.L.M. unit.
In one case a sub-licence to manufacture has been granted, and Messrs. WUleme now produce the Junkers engine in all its various types. Several of the most important industrial-vehicle concerns in France have adopted the C.L.M. engine as an interim measure, while developing their own compression-ignition units.
Companies already fitting their own oil engines include PanhardLevassor. Renault and Berliet, all three employing the Bosch fuel-injection pump.
The Panhard engine is of special interest, as it is a direct adaptation of the famous sleeve-valve petrol engine, which has extremely light steel sleeves. Bosch atomizers are employed in conjunction with coneshaped combustion chambers and deeply recessed piston heads.
The Berliet and Renault units are of conventional design and both appear to be givingexcellent service. Berliet employs the Acro combnstion system, whilst Renault engines use direct injection without antechambers. Particularly long pistons are a feature of the Renault.
Another important oiler enjoying great success across the Channel is the French-built Saurer.
Certain French proprietary engine makers are on the point of marketing new oil engines. The famous old Chapuis-Dernier Co., now reconstructed under the name of " S.A.C.M.I.;" has had an engine on the stocks for the past 18 months, whilst the Chaise Engine Co., of Paris, an important concern, will shortly be producing an adaptation
of the Climax, for which it holds the manufacturing rights.
The Citroen organization is known to have been experimenting for some time with a compression-ignition unit, but great secrecy is maintained with re gard to it. • Turning to Belgium, the position is much the same as in France; and the oil engine has, with the same rapidity, estabfished itself in public favour, and here it is pleasant to record that at least one British unit is being manufactured under , licence, Miesse, of Buysinglien, having taken up the Gardner licence.
It is possible that the forthcoming Salon de Bruxelles may have some surprises in store.
Incidentally, the Belgian Show pro mises to be a much better event than
was the case last year, exhibitors
having made up their differences with the organizing committee.
Bussing will be showing a new light oil-engined chassis. Minerva may show an entirely new oiler with a sleeve-valve engine, although this is not yet certain. The ubiquitous Junkers will be found on every hand, this unit having established itself as firmly in Belgium as in France. Amongst Belgian industrial-vehicle makers, Brossel, Boy and Dusse will all exhibit oilers, whilst foreign manufacturers to be represented at the Belgian Show will include Saner, Renault, l'anhard, Berliet, etc.