Category Archives: Ixo

Atlas Germany Ambulance Collection – Part Seven

By Hans-Georg Schmitt

All text and photographs by, and copyright of, the Author.

The Atlas Ambulance Cars collection continues to be issued with two more items to 1:43 scale appearing since my last report.

7 495 114 Mercedes-Benz G-Class

On 1st February 1979 production of the Mercedes-Benz G-Class began in the Austrian city of Graz. The first Mercedes-Benz cross-country vehicle since the Second World War was developed in co-operation between Daimler-Benz and Steyr-Daimler-Puch which started in 1977.

The vehicle has since been used by businesses, private individuals, by utility firms, and for military purposes. Its suitability for off-road rescues because of its permanent four-wheel-drive.was identified early in its life.  Different rescue organisations are still using the G-class as emergency doctor´s cars today. The miniature shows an “Emergency Doctor Action Vehicle”, this means, that the doctor does first aid and prepares the patient for transfer to hospital by Ambulance and then moves on to the next call.

The model is true to the original shape and the livery is authentic. Many small separate parts are fitted and a baseplate with some detail fitted. The German registration plates are issued by Neustadt an der Waldnaab, not far away from the “Richard Wagner Town”, Bayreuth.

 

7 495 115 Saab 9-5 Sportcombi

In 1949 the Swedish aircraft manufacturer started their car production with the Saab 92. After many years with moderate success, the automobile production was sold to General Motors, who did not manage to grow the brand as they had hoped, and they sold Saab to the Dutch super sports car manufacturer Spyker who, under-capitalised and inexperienced in mass manufacturing, led the firm into insolvency in 2011.

The Saab 9-5 saloon was launched in 1997 and the estate appeared in 1999.

Outside major cities, Sweden is a sparsely populated country and so the emergency doctors often have long journeys to reach their patient. For this use the 9-5 estate was fitted as “AKUTBIL” with a huge range of medical equipment to help the Doctor cope with a wide range of emergency procedures.

The model is shaped accurately and the livery authentic and neatly printed. Many parts are small separately inserted ones. The baseplate has some detail. It is fitted with accurate Swedish registration plates.

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Hachette Italy World Buses Part 13

By Fabrizio Panico

All text and photographs by, and copyright of, the Author.

Parts 37 to 39

Three more buses from the Italian Hachette partwork “Autobus dal mondo”, a collection of sixty 1:43 scale bus models, very similar to the French one “Autobus et autocars du monde”, produced in Bangladesh for Ixo. This time one from each decade : an almost Russian from the 1940s, a mighty German from the 1950s and an urban French from the 1960s.

No. 37 (no. 35 in the French collection) ZIS 154 1946 – I wrote “almost Russian” because the ZIS 154 was in fact a near copy of the GM‘s model TDH-3610 built under license, like most of the ZIS products. The factory started in 1916 as the Moscow Automotive Company (Avtomobilnoe Moskovskoe Obshchestvo or AMO), just before the October Revolution, with the latest in American equipment to produce Fiat 15 Ter trucks, under license. But the subsequent Russian Civil War postponed to 1924 the production of the first vehicle, the AMO F-15, by which time it was obsolete. In 1931 the factory changed its name to Automotive Factory No. 2 Zavod Imeni Stalina (ZIS) to become Zavod Imeni Likhachova (ZIL) in 1956, after Nikita Kruschev denounced the cult of personality of Joseph Stalin, this time taking its name from its former director Ivan Alekseevich Likhachov.

During the 1930s and 1940s ZIS produced trucks and buses based on American standards, and after the Second World War obtained a license from General Motors to produce the TDH-3610, a rear engined transit bus introduced in 1940 by Yellow Coach (purchased by GM in 1943 and incorporated into the GM Truck & Coach Division).

Nowadays ZIL has stopped truck production and the company has been liquidated. The Soviet version of the TDH-3610 was diesel-electric powered using a locally manufactured Yaroslavl YAZ-204 diesel, but supply problems forced ZIS to switch to the Detroit Diesel 6-71, also built under license. After only just over four years of production the ZIS-154 was discontinued because of issues with the reliability of the drive-train components and the structure of the body itself, which was not suited to the rough Russian roads. It was replaced by the less-technically-advanced front engined ZIS-155, derived from some prototypes designed by the Moscow’s Central Auto Repair Workshop using a shortened ZIS-154 body mounted on a modified ZIS-150 truck chassis. The 155 became the standard city bus in the Soviet Union in the 1950s, and a large quantity were exported to other Eastern Bloc countries.

The scale model is very likely based on one of the preserved buses, with a nice livery in cream and red, a quite heavy metal body with the usual plastic baseplate, where the exhaust is painted in silver. Many separately moulded items are fitted, like lights, bumpers, mirrors and wipers. A basic interior is fitted with a separate compartment for the driver.

Very nicely modelled wheels (double at the rear) are matched by a good horn on the roof. It seems to have a correct black front registration plate, while at the rear it is correctly painted directly on the body in extra large characters. There are no apparent differences to the French edition. A good model of a time when the USA helped the Soviet Union restart its industry.

 

No. 38 (no. 33 in the French collection) Krupp SW 080 Titan 1951 – The Krupp family from Essen was for over four centuries one of the most powerful dynasties in European history, famous for their production of steel, artillery, ammunition, and other armaments. At the beginning of the 20th century their company, known as Friedrich Krupp AG, was the largest in Europe and from 1999, after merging with Thyssen AG, it became ThyssenKrupp AG. The Krupp Krawa (short for Friedrich Krupp Motoren und Kraftwagenfabriken) was one of its subsidiary companies and it produced commercial vehicles from 1919, like trucks, dump trucks and buses, with the brand Krupp (Südwerke from 1946 to 1954).

In 1950 Krupp launched the Titan heavy truck with 190 hp (210hp later), the most powerful German truck of its time. Because the occupying Allied powers didn’t allowed such a powerful six cylinder engine to be manufactured Krupp installed two individually-actuated three-cylinder two-stroke diesel engines in series, connected to a pinion, a very complicated and expensive solution.

It was superseded in 1955 by the Tiger, but already in 1968 the Krupp Krawa was dissolved and the commercial organisation was taken over by Daimler-Benz. For a short time Krupp also made buses, mainly distributed in West Germany, but the production was always very limited and abandoned in 1963.

The Titan SW 080 intercity bus was based on a standard truck chassis, with a 6.4 metres wheelbase and a total length of 12 metres. Only 158 were produced, bodied by the Hubertia Karosseria or the Emil H. von Lienen Werks, but they were bulky, heavy and with a very high oil and fuel consumption.

The scale model is very likely based on a picture of an Hubertia bus, a few trucks have survived, but no buses are recorded. It is an imposing model, with a black liveried plastic body and a metal chassis that adds “substance” to the model. The registration plate is from Vienna (Wien), and the destination board says “Wien Praterstern” a Vienna railways station (near the famous Prater Wheel). Lots of details are included: from the long radio antenna to the small mirrors at the end of the protruding nose, the baggage rails over the roof and a nice long ladder. The wipers and the inox wands on the body are well modelled. The seats are fitted with headrests and are well reproduced, as is the dashboard. There are no apparent differences to the French edition. A nice companion to the prewar Mercedes Benz O10000 (no. 2 of the collection).

 

No. 34 (no. 47 in the French collection) Saviem SC 10 U 1965 – At the end of 1955 Renault was increasing its car production, needed to face the Berliet predominance and the Billancourt works were becoming unsuitable to build cars and commercial vehicles at the same time. Somua and Latil, other manufacturers, had  lots of space available in St Ouen and Suresnes and their output was decreasing. The solution was to unify their forces and create LRS Saviem (Latil-Renault-Somua Société Anonyme de Véhicules Industriels et d’Equipments Mécaniques).

In the following years Saviem incorporated Isobloc and Chausson (in 1959 Renault took full control) and later became number one in France. During the fifties the Paris Autonomous Board of Transport (RATP) had a very mixed fleet : Somua, Chausson, Berliet, Renault and Panhard. The difficulties of maintaining such a varied fleet and the many problems experienced by passengers pushed the RATP and the Union of Urban and Regional Public Transport (UPTUR) to join forces and develop the specifications for a new unified urban bus which would be known as the bus “Standard”. It was specified as a bus with a length of 11 metres, a closed body, a low floor level, different types of doors, large windows and a curved windscreen, a 150hp diesel engine and an expected working life of 15 years.

Prototypes were presented in 1961 by Saviem and Berliet (later tested by the RATP) and by Verney, soon abandoned.   The Saviem SC10 became the archetype of the “standard” bus : a self supporting structure where the chassis was replaced by a substructure with beams formed by square steel pipes, welded and crossed, on which were fixed the mechanical and electrical parts.

The prototype engine was a Renault Fulgur, replaced by a MAN in production. Produced in different versions from 1965 to 1989 it was a large commercial success, with more than 11,000 units produced. The Saviem SC10 became the Renault SC10 following the merge of Saviem and Berliet and the creation of Renault Véhicules Industriels (RVI).

The scale model is very likely a faithful reproduction of a restored vehicle. As usual there is a plastic body and a metal chassis, but the model is quite lacking in weight. The classic green and cream RATP livery is well reproduced, with adverts for Leroux and the Renault Cinq. The route number is 72, Hotel de Ville – Boulogne Saint Cloud. A  basic interior incorporates a very nice driver’s cockpit. Many separate parts are used  reproduced the opening windows and the folding doors well. Again there are no apparent differences to the French edition. A worthy reproduction of a “classic” Parisian bus.


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Suddenly it’s 1960 (A little later then planned)

By Graeme Ogg

All text and photographs are by, and copyright of, the Author unless otherwise stated.

Upper Photograph is from an Anonymous source on the Internet. Lower is the Author’s Handiwork

A few years ago I got hold of a Brooklin Models 1960 Edsel convertible and in one of those moments of rash enthusiasm decided to scratchbuild an estate roof on to it to make a Villager wagon, which would fill a gap in my Edsel collection. This was a rare bird (only 275 built before Ford finally pulled the plug on Edsel production) which essentially shared the 1960 Ford body, and I found the wagon roofline particularly attractive. Unfortunately I ran into problems with the build and chickened out (it’s a long, sad story) and set the whole thing aside. For about 5 years.

Meanwhile, fellow chopper John Quilter took the sensible approach to building his own Villager by making resin castings of the Brooklin bumpers and grille and fitting them into the Ixo body. I could have done the same, but clung to the idea I could make my Brooklin conversion work. Then along came the Ixo 1960 Ford wagon. I bought a couple of them and found that the roof was a remarkable good fit for the half-demolished Brooklin body.

 

After carefully sawing it off the Ixo body I glued it in place and it only needed a touch of filler here and there to blend it into the lower body. The rear fins on the wagon, curving their way around the tail-lights, differ from both the Edsel sedan and the Ford wagon, so those had to be fabricated. After that it was only (hah!) a matter of tidying and detailing.

I had kept the Brooklin seats but the Ixo seating unit sat better in the “blended” body so I used that, but tarted up the seats a little to make them look more like the Edsel upholstery pattern.  I replaced the Ford wheels with the Brooklins.

The Edsel wasn’t exactly lacking in brightwork, so a fair bit of work was needed with the Bare Metal Foil. I was going to foil the grille and bumpers but they looked bright enough to match the BMF so I left them alone, although I did drill out the metal headlamps and front sidelights and fitted plastic lenses, which brightened up the front quite nicely.

I also remembered to add the “gunsights” on the front corners that weren’t originally fitted to the Brooklin.

And that would have been it, really, except that when it came to the knee-trembling stage of final detailing and re-assembly, my nerve went again, and the model just sat there unfinished. However, in the past few weeks I finally got my whatsit back into gear and completed the job.

Of course (as a country barmaid once confessed to me) when you start fooling around with the country squire[*] it can be hard to stop. Pretty soon I was attacking another Ixo wagon. I’ve always admired the styling of the 1960 big Fords but only have a very warped plastic Galaxie (Anguplas) and a Starliner coupé (Motorhead Miniatures) in my collection, so I launched into a sedan conversion. For some reason I found the particular variation of the “Thunderbird” roofline used on the 1960 Galaxie less convincing than on some other Fords of that era, so switched my attention to the Fairlane 500 Town Sedan, with its slimmer rear pillars and huge back window (interesting that in 1960 Ford, GM and Chrysler all featured outsize “bubble” rear windows on some models).

While Ixo kindly provided a suitable lower body and roof structure, the whole back end had to be changed, with a new rear deck and the cropped fins of the wagon extended forwards and inwards, and the boot lid that sits lower than the rear wings, with the centre of the rear window dropping down into the valley. After more than 5 years without laying hands on an X‑Acto blade or a needle file, it was an interesting exercise in reviving old skills. (Skills? Surely you jest.)

I did at least successfully revive the old trick of carving the rear window in balsa and push-moulding it into heated plastic, with only minor charring of some domestic furnishings, although I did have to take the batteries out of the smoke detectors. And the moulding came out pretty well in the end.

The distinctive chevrons on the rear flanks were snipped from small staples. Fairlane 500s had a crest on the nose rather than “Ford” script, so that was done with a tiny colour photocopy. I put “Fairlane” on the boot lid in proper 1:43 lettering and it was pretty much invisible, so I went for over-scale lettering which may have been a bad idea (not helped by the elderly decal sheet having yellowed somewhat) but I wasn’t going to scrape it all off. Since I can’t print badges in chrome or white, I put “Fairlane 500” script on the front wings in black, which sounds like another daft move but if you look at photos of real cars the script is often half in shade and could almost be black …. OK, don’t believe me. At least it gives the impression that there’s a badge there.

The grossly over-scale chrome gunsights used by Ixo were replaced by something a little more delicate.

Building working steering into a model that will just sit on a shelf was a spectacularly pointless exercise and I don’t know what possessed me. (In retrospect, I think it was a bit of displacement activity at a tricky moment in the build.)

The Ford was done at the same time as the Edsel, and sat around unfinished for just as long, so I am just glad to get these models completed at last. It has to be said that doing a decent paint job, applying BMF tidily and putting small pieces of trim back neatly are all things that benefit from regular practice, so after the long lay-off this was not my finest hour in those areas. Close up, there are too many raggedy details, and after spending so long trying to get things right, it’s a little discouraging (said he, apparently calm but inwardly fuming). Of course I don’t plan on letting you get that close. Just stand back and enjoy the general impression. No, a bit further.  Further.  That’s it.  Nice, eh?

And here it is alongside an original Ford brochure photo.

Upper Photograph from period Ford Brochure, lower the Authors Handiwork.

[*] OK, so the Ixo is officially a Ranch Wagon, not a Country Squire. Listen, if you’re going to be difficult ….


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Hachette Italy World Buses – Part 12

By Fabrizio Panico

All photographs by, and copyright of, the Author unless otherwise stated.

Another lovely triplet of models from the Italian Hachette partwork “Autobus dal mondo”, a collection of sixty 1:43 scale bus models, very similar to the French series “Autobus et autocars du monde”, produced in Bangladesh for Ixo. This time a real icon from Renault, an ex-pat from Leyland and an almost unknown Belgian one.

No. 34 (no. 29 in the French collection) Renault TN6-C2 1934 – We have already met Renault and its AGP Saharien (see seventh part, no. 19), but the TN is really a must for everyone, usually identified with Paris and seen in every black and white French movie. From 1931 Renault delivered its new TN chassis’s to many French towns, at first with an on-line four cylinders front engine (TN4), and with a six cylinders from 1932 (TN6A).

The Parisian buses were bodied by the STCRP (Société des Transport en Commun de la Région Parisienne), using aluminium sheets over a wood frame, with an open rear platform for the town, and a closed body for the suburbs (nicknamed “hen cage”). Much more comfortable than the previous Schneider or Renault, they were the first to use pneumatic tyres, with double wheels at the rear axle. But the engine was a bit too fragile, and it was soon replaced by a new six-in-line, powered by a ternary fuel made of a mixture of one-third of alcohol, 1/3 benzol and 1/3 petrol (TN6-C). The last version is the TN6-C2, but the difference with the first generation is above all aesthetic, with “artillery” wheels with star branches and an enlarged windscreen. They were retired in 1969, after a very long service.

The scale model is the faithful reproduction of a restored vehicle, part of the “AMTUIR” collection (Association du Musée des Transports Urbains, Interurbains et Ruraux), its museum is now located in Chelles, Seine-et-Marne, part of the Parisian Region (see www.amtuir.org).

As usual there is a plastic multi-part body and a metal chassis. Classic green and cream livery is well reproduced with a nice advert for Canigou (pet foods). There is a basic interior with a very nice drivers cab. Many separate small parts are fitted. This is a a beautiful model rich in old-world charm, it is a pity that they used an unrealistic shiny metal support inside the rear platform. There are no apparent differences to the French edition.

No. 35 (no. 30 in the French collection) Leyland Victory Mark II 1979 – Leyland Motors Ltd was a British vehicle manufacturer of trucks, buses and trolleybuses, with a long history dating back to  1896 and the foundation of the Lancashire Steam Motor Company in the town of Leyland in North West England, They were renamed Leyland Motors in 1907 when they took over Coulthards of Preston. Between the Great War and the Second World War Leyland produced many different vehicles, from luxury touring cars to light utility cars like the Trojan. During the Second World War Leyland was involved in war production, building the Cromwell tank as well as medium/large trucks such as the Leyland Hippo and Retriever. After the war the Centurion tank (of Dinky fame) was made. Many trucks companies were incorporated in Leyland, like AEC, Albion, and Scammel. It diversified into car manufacturing with its acquisitions of Triumph (1960) and Rover (1967). In 1968 it merged with British Motor Holdings to form the British Leyland Motor Corporation, to become British Leyland after being nationalised in 1975, then simply BL, and in 1986 changed its name to Rover Group. Leyland Trucks depended on British sales as well as on its established export markets, mainly centred on commonwealth and ex-commonwealth markets.

In the early 1980s export sales were drying up in many places. The business was broken up and while Leyland Bus was bought by Volvo Buses in 1988, the original Leyland Trucks business eventually became a subsidiary of PACCAR. The Leyland name and logo continues as a recognised and respected marque across India, the wider subcontinent and parts of Africa in the form of Ashok Leyland. Leyland Motors established a number of milestones that set bus industry rends, like being one of the first manufacturers to design chassis for buses that were different from trucks, with a lower chassis level to help passengers to board, They created the Titan and Tiger ranges in 1927 that revolutionised bus design, and the trend-setting Atlantean rear-engined, double-decker.

The Leyland Victory Mark II was a front-engined, double-decker bus chassis manufactured between 1978 and 1981, developed from the Guy Victory J, and specifically designed to operate in Hong Kong mainly by Kowloon Motor Bus (KMB) and China Motor Bus (CMB). The body was designed by Alexander, with a narrow entrance door and a central larger one, while the engine was a Gardner six cylinders with 180 CV. The Victory had a notorious reputation as an unsafe bus, mainly due to its soft suspension and high centre of gravity, which makes it prone to overturning. It was very popular in Hong Kong and also known as “chicken” because its soft suspensions made it behave like a chicken when accelerating or decelerating. Some of the ex-CMB Victory Mark IIs have been saved for preservation, mainly in Hong Kong, while one was donated to the Scottish Vintage Bus Museum.

The scale model is very likely based on one of the preserved buses, with a nice CMB livery in light blue and cream. It has a metal lower body, plastic upper body and chassis. A basic interior is fitted with a red ticket machine, and unfortunately the realism is affected by the use of un-prototypical shiny metal supports inside the body. Many small separate items are used, like lights, grille, mirrors and wipers. It has very nice wheels and side windows, though the windows are lacking horizontal bars, needed for safety reasons because of the sliding windows. There are no apparent differences to the French edition.

 

No. 36 (no. 28 in the French collection) Brossel A92 DARL 1962 – The Belgian automotive industry is often overlooked, but it is a thriving and dynamic one. In the past it could offer many revered brands, like Minerva, Imperia, Nagant, FN, Metallurgique, and Vivinus . After the Second World War domestic producers soon disappeared, but at the end of the century Belgium was one of the largest European automakers with an annual output up to 1.2 million from the assembly plants of brands like Opel, Ford, Audi, and Volvo. Its export-oriented auto industry has shrunk by half in recent years (to 500 thousand units) due to strong competition with imports from near and far Eastern producers, but today more than 90% of the vehicles produced in Belgium are still intended for export.

Brossel Frères SA was an old manufacturer of trucks, buses and autorails, based in Brussels from 1912 until its demise in 1968, when it was bought by British Leyland and its name disappeared the following year. At the end of the 1950s Brossel developed with the coachbuilder Jonckheere a high capacity urban bus powered by a rear mounted Leyland diesel engine. The French town of Lille, near the Belgian border, favoured them to replace its old Isobloc buses. Saviem (then the owner of Isobloc) wasn’t interested in the contract and Brossel won the order for more than 150 buses.

The A92 DARL (Diesel ARrière Lille) chassis was similar to the Leyland Panther one, with a considerable front level difference to reduce the height of the floor as much as possible. The double wheels on the rear axle offered excellent driving characteristics. Typical of the last DARL produced was the spherical cylindrical windshield, which reduced the light reflections experienced by the driver.

The scale model has the usual plastic body and metal chassis with  the exhaust is enhanced in silver. The destination board reads “Valenciennes” a town about 50 km from Lille, while the cream and olive green livery is that of the CGIT (Compagnie Générale Industrielle de Transports) of Lille. The registration plate is from Lille. Usual separate parts like mirrors, lights and bumpers. Very nice wheels, windows and doors. The interior is typical of the French standards in the 1960s, the few seats arranged like a sitting room, with almost all the platform left to the standing people. A nice addition of a not so common bus, only seen in France and Belgium. No apparent differences to the French edition.


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Atlas BTCC Hillman Avenger

By  Maz Woolley

All photographs by, and copyright of, the Author.

Atlas has now completed the BTCC collection at model 24. It is still inviting new collectors to sign up on its web site despite the fact that Atlas had already sold significant numbers of at least 16 of that collection to the wholesale trade.  The model shown in this post is the car that Bernard Unett drove to the 1974 Class A British Saloon Car Championship a 1600cc Hillman Avenger GT. For Rootes/Chrysler collectors it complements the Sunbeam Imp already seen in this series.

The Atlas model appears to be a realistic replica of the car from period photographs with the livery very accurately captured. Even the GT chrome strip is printed across the roof. The use of multi part windows that flush fit into the gaps make the side windows much more convincing than on models where the B pillars are cast items.

Lovely “bullet” wing mirrors are replicated as are the taped front lights. The windscreen wipers are plastic, black and are thin and accurately formed – I just wish more makers would use these and not photo-etched ones. The period Warwickshire number plates are neatly done front and rear.

The rear of the two door Avenger is very well modelled with the hockey stick rear lights very nicely done with translucently painted lenses behind clear plastic.  All the rear badging and logos are clearly printed and well positioned as is the GT badge on the C Pillar.

Quite a lot of effort has gone into the wheels which have the ventilation slots in the gaps between the silver rims.

The Chrysler Pentastar is much to the fore in the livery. Inside the dash mouldings are good and include the extra rev counter perched above the dashboard but they do not include all the extra switchgear in the centre and left of the dash, or the fire extinguisher.

The casting is thought to be by PCT (Ixo’s owner) and it will be interesting to see if it is used again. Comparing it to the Dodge  1800SE from the South American series which was based upon the Avenger there are some similarities but the body shell is not identical.


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Hachette Italy – World Buses Part 11

By Fabrizio Panico

All photographs by, and copyright of, the Author.

Parts 31 to 33

At last another British bus, but produced and bodied in Pakistan, and one each from France and Germany, the last two from manufacturers already previously seen in this listing, all of them from the Italian Hachette partwork “Autobus dal mondo”, a collection of sixty 1:43 scale bus models, very similar to the French  “Autobus et autocars du monde”, produced in Bangladesh for Ixo. We should be arrived to the second part of the collection, but the French one is still going on: originally planned for 60 models, this collection was initially extended to 80 and then to 100 models!

No. 31 (no. 25 in the French collection) Mercedes-Benz O 302 1972 – We have already met Mercedes Benz (see fourth part, no. 11), after the O 10000 (1938) and the Lo 3100 (1936) this time we see the O 302, manufactured by Mercedes-Benz between 1965 and 1974 at the Mannheim plant.Launched as a replacement for the O 321, it was sold as both a chassis and as an integral bus with Mercedes-Benz supplying the body, designed to an austere Bauhaus style, mostly as a coach. Over 32,000 were built over an eleven-year period (the O 321 reached 20,000 units in 13 years), it was later superseded by the O 303 which reached an even higher production volume, but over a longer period. “One for all” or “Jack of all trades” could well describe the O 302 : urban or country bus, touring coach, the “universal” bus everyone was waiting for. But it was the last of its kind. From the last half of the 1970s buses became specialised. The O 321 was a design of the 1950s (rounded contours and small windows), while the O 302 styling features were typical of the 1960s : basic squared shape with steeply angled front, generous side windows with slim pillars, and large rear screen.

While the regular service versions had plain side windows, the touring coaches featured curved windows extending into the roof, a truly “panoramic” bus. Available with four wheelbase lengths between 9.6 and 11.9 meters (from R10 to R13, according to the number of rows of seats), doors, equipment and seating varied greatly, ranging from practical urban buses to luxury touring coaches. Over the chassis was mounted a body of semi-integral construction, while the six in-line direct injection diesel engine was installed transversely at the rear. Different engine displacement and power levels were available, according to the vehicle dimensions and use. Air suspensions were standard on the urban buses and on the larger touring coaches.

This was the first touring coach from Mercedes-Benz to feature individual nozzle ventilation for every passenger seat, and the first to have an option of air conditioning. For the first time the driver had a genuine instrument panel in front of him. A worldwide success, the O 302 was exported everywhere , even in the States featuring typical stainless-steel side panelling. It was also produced in countries like Turkey or Korea. A last technical achievement: in 1969 the OE 302 was presented at the Frankfurt International Motor Show as the world’s first hybrid bus. Power was more than sufficient for an urban bus, but the range was limited to 55 kilometers.

The scale model has the usual plastic body and metal chassis with a few details and the exhaust system enhanced in silver. The inscriptions on the chassis define it as a type 10R, but there are only nine seat rows. The livery is white with a red roof and a low side stripe, also in red. On the side the lettering “Rundfahrten Pulay” refers to “Pulay Reisen” a family travel company from Leobersdorf, lower Austria. But the registration plate is from Esslingen, a district in the centre of Baden-Württemberg, Germany, and according to the “H” it is a registration for “historic” vehicles. Very likely the scale model is a faithful reproduction of a restored vehicle.

Very nice detailing of the front grille with the Mercedes-Benz emblem, good too are the front lights, rear mirrors and wipers. The side windows are nicely replicated as are the rear engine cooling grilles. Nice wheels with the typical chromed hubcaps are also in evidence.

 

No. 32 (no. 24 in the French collection) Isobloc 656 DH Panoramique 1956 – We have already illustrated the short history of Isobloc (see sixth part, no. 17), this time we’ll met the last coach produced, when Isobloc had already declared bankruptcy and had been absorbed by the SACA (Société d’automobiles et carrosseries d’Annonay) of Sylvain Floirat. At the request of the new owner a new autobus was developed, the 655 DHU, and a new panoramic coach, the 656 DH. The 656 DH Panoramique was a groundbreaking vehicle, very comfortable and adaptable to different uses. Seating could range from 30 to 42, or to 52 when the toilet and the wardrobe were not installed.

The passenger platform was raised in the rear, to allow high visibility to all the seats, below it were huge luggage compartments. In the rear most had a toilet, a wardrobe, and a space for the hostess complete with refrigerator and cooker. The whole vehicle was air conditioned, thanks to forced air circulating on dry ice, whilst the seats were adjustable and had a  radio integrated in the headrest. It was 11.9 metres long and the rear housed a 7 litre supercharged diesel engine by Hispano Suiza in a longitudinal position with a Wilson pre-selection gearbox with five speeds, fitted just in front of the rear axle. It was indeed a flagship coach. But its life was very short, at the end of 1957 SACA was bought by Saviem (Société Anonyme de Véhicules Industriels et d’Equipements Mécaniques) and its production was stopped after only a few units. They could still be seen full of tourists in the streets of Paris until 1968.

This model has a plastic body (a bit flimsy) and a metal chassis with a few details and the exhaust system painted in silver. The livery in blue and grey is typical of Transcar, a branch of the SGTD (Société Générale des Transports Départementaux), specifically dedicated to the organisation of excursions and leisure trips. They were created in 1955 and still in business under the TRANSDEV banner.

The destination plate reads “Normandie – Cote d’Azur”, while the registration plate is from Paris. There is a very nice front grille with the Isobloc emblem, as well as plastic rear mirrors, front and fog lights which are separately fitted parts.

The airy glasshouse and the wheels, with chromed hubcaps and whitewall tyres, are nicely reproduced. A beautiful model, to be shown alongside the Greyhound Scenicruiser, the Pegaso Z-403 and the Citroen Cityrama, to be fully appreciated.

 

No. 33 (no. 26 in the French collection) Bedford TJ Rocket 1980Bedford was established as a subsidiary of Vauxhall in 1930 to manufacture commercial vehicles Bedford’s were based initially on Chevrolet mechanical parts as Vauxhall was bought by General Motors in 1925. It was a leading international brand, with substantial export sales of light, medium, and heavy trucks throughout the world. Its heavy trucks business was divested by GM as AWD Ltd in 1987, whilst the Bedford brand continued to be used until 1991 on light commercial vehicles and car-derived vans based on Vauxhall/Opel, Isuzu and Suzuki designs; subsequent GM Europe light commercial vehicles were branded as either Vauxhall or Opel, according to the market. Before 1925 General Motors assembled trucks in Britain from parts manufactured at their Canadian works, and marketed as “British Chevrolet“. In 1925 production was transferred from Hendon to Luton, Vauxhall’s headquarters, in Bedfordshire, from here the “Chevrolet Bedford” name, and from 1931 “Bedford” was used alone. Its success was due in large part to the smooth running in-line six cylinder engine with overhead-valves, of Chevrolet origin (the famous stove-bolt six).

The TJ was introduced in 1958 and was an updated version of the TD range. It was available in UK until 1975, after which it was manufactured only for export until 1986, and after that it was manufactured by AWD into the early 1990s. Petrol and diesel engines were available. It was never a big seller in the home market but a big export earner in developing countries, due to its basic layout and specification. Many assembly plants were established overseas in places like Pakistan and India.

In Pakistan the TJ is very popular. It has a cult status among drivers and is known for its power, reliability and durability. Many trucks and buses are highly customised and decorated by their owners. External decoration may include structural changes, paintings, calligraphy, and ornamental decor like wooden carvings and chains and pendants dangling off the front bumper. Usually the body is rebuilt in mogano wood, capable of absorbing vibrations and not splitting like the welded steel. Also the chassis is heavily modified: the height from the ground is increased and the suspension is strengthened. The luggage area on the roof is often used to transport more passengers, while the access to the interior is from the left side, like in the UK.

The scale model has the usual plastic body and metal baseplate, with basic details of the chassis. Quite an overdecorated livery for this Pakistani bus, sporting a Peshawar registration plate. It is quite difficult to see the interior, the windows being completely covered by the decorations. The exterior ladders are nice, and there are some nice added parts like the mirrors, lights and the front bar.

Only one wiper is fitted (very likely rain is optional in Pakistan). A well reproduced scale model, but not to everyone’s taste. No apparent differences to the French edition.


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Hachette Italy – World Buses Part 10

By Fabrizio Panico

All photographs by, and copyright of, the Author.

Issues 28 to 30

Three more buses, each one from a manufacturer already previously met in this listing: Fiat, General Motors and Berliet, all from the Italian Hachette partwork “Autobus dal mondo”, a collection of sixty 1:43 scale bus models, very similar to the French one “Autobus et autocars du monde”, produced in Bangladesh for Ixo.

No. 28 (not yet issued in the French collection) Fiat 411/1 Cansa ATM 1962 – A typically urban bus, produced by the Italian Fiat Veicoli Industriali (see part 8 no. 23) from 1957 to 1970, replacing the 680RN. Adopted for mass transport in all large cities of Italy, it had a big commercial success : over 1,500 were produced and their legendary strength and reliability extended the working life until well after 1990.

The 411 represented a real revolution in public transport : despite having a front engine (and a large bonnet next to the driver) it had a very low floor, and it was the first to offer power steering and a semi-automatic gearbox. The usual body was by CaNSA (Carrozzerie Novaresi Società Anonima), an ex-aeronautical company, from 1936 in the Fiat Group, based in Cameri, near Novara, founded in 1913 as “Società Anonima Gabardinei” by Giuseppe Gabardinei, to promote and develop aeronautical activities (also a flight school), later CANSA (acronym for “Costruzioni Aeronautiche Novaresi Società Anonima“). In 1946 it started to produce coach bodies (becoming CaNSA or Cansa) as the official bodywork of the Fiat buses. In the late 1960s, the denomination Cansa was abandoned in favour of Fiat Cameri‘s bodywork. The 411 was also available with bodies by specialised bodybuilders like Menarini, Macchi, Piaggio, Portesi, Pistoiesi, Breda F.C., etc.

The first version had the Fiat 203 engine of 10.7 litres developing 150 hp (a diesel straight six, the same unit was also used in the 682 truck), in 1960 the second series, renamed Fiat 411/1, benefited from the Fiat engine 203A/61 of 11.5 litres developing 177 hp. At the same time there were some changes to the body, like the use of a three door front exit. On the same chassis Fiat produced the 2411, the most widely distributed trolleybus in Italy.

The scale model is a faithful reproduction of a restored vehicle, part of the ATM collection (Azienda Trasporti Milanesi). It has a plastic body and metal baseplate which has basic details of the chassis.

The livery and the registration plate are correct for the period. Nice doors and wheels and well modelled windows are evident. Small details like the roof exiting engine exhaust are captured as well. Two rear mirrors, front lights and bumpers are all made as separate parts. A scale model which represents this urban bus, so common everywhere in Italy, very well.

 

No. 29 (no. 22 in the French collection) General Motors TDH-3610 1955 – GMC (General Motors Truck Company) is a division of the American automobile manufacturer General Motors, its production focuses nowadays on trucks and utility vehicles.

General Motors was founded by William C. Durant in 1908, as a holding company for Buick. In 1909 GM purchased the Rapid Motor Vehicle Company, then the Reliance Motor Car Company was also purchased by GM, merged in 1911 with Rapid, and in 1912 the marque “GMC Truck” first appeared at the New York International Auto Show. In 1925 GM purchased a controlling interest in Yellow Coach, a bus manufacturer founded in 1923 by John D. Hertz as a subsidiary of his Yellow Cab Company. After purchasing the remaining portion in 1943 and merging it into their GM Truck Division, GM renamed it GM Truck and Coach Division. Although GM continued with the Yellow Coach product line, the Yellow Coach badge gave way to the GM Coach or just GM nameplate in 1944, while GMC badges did not appear until 1968. GM withdrew from the bus and coach market because of increased competition in the late 1970s and 1980s.

The GM “Old-look” transit bus was introduced in 1940 by Yellow Coach beginning with the production of the model TG-3201 (Transit Gasoline – 32 seats, 1st series). Production of most “Old-look” models was stopped upon the release of the GM New-Look bus in 1959, however some shorter models continued to be built until 1969. About 38,000 “Old-look” buses were built during the 29-year production run, their name is an unofficial term applied after the release of the GM New-Look, this time an official term used by GM to describe their new line of buses.

The GM “Old-look” bus was somewhat streamlined in appearance, had small windows (often with additional windows below the roof), and was built using a monocoque bodywork with steel frame covered with riveted sheet metal panels, rather than the old body-on-frame design. Most “Old-look” buses were powered by the Detroit Diesel 6-71 inline six-cylinder diesel engine, while the shorter models were powered by the four-cylinder version of the same diesel engine, but it was possible to choose a gasoline engine. Manual and automatic transmissions were available, while in 1940 and 1942 a few buses were built with electric propulsion systems instead of a transmission. It was available in several lengths and widths according to local legislations.

In 1946 GM began offering its Thermo-matic heating and ventilation system, in 1953 air-ride suspension became standard on all but the smallest model buses, and in 1958 air conditioning was added as an available option. Following WW2 an agreement was reached to build GM’s model TDH-3610 under license in Soviet Union (but with diesel-electric propulsion, similar to that used for the TDE-40xx models), and production was assigned to ZiS (Zavod imeni Stalina) as model number 154 (we’ll see it later on, as no. 37 in this series). The ZiS-154 at first used a Yaroslavl YAZ-204 diesel, but supply problems forced a switch to the Detroit Diesel 6-71, also built under license. Problems with the reliability of the drive-train components resulted in the ZiS-154 being discontinued after only four years of production and 1,165 units.

The scale model represents a famous bus : the “Rosa Parks” bus, a TDH-3610 (Transit bus Diesel with automatic transmission – 40 seats, 10th series) of the Montgomery (Alabama) City Lines.

The legal autonomy granted to the southern states after the Secession War led to a series of laws aimed at the reduction of the civil rights of the people of colour. The segregation imposed in private and public places was intended to prevent the creation of a multiracial society. In 1955 a woman, Rosa Parks, refused to surrender her place on the bus to a white. The arrest and subsequent condemnation pushed the then unknown Martin Luther King Jr to launch a protest campaign and boycott against Montgomery bus companies, lasting more than a year. The parallel domestic and international reactions resulted in a first reduction in segregation in 1956, but its abolition took place only in 1964.

The model is quite heavy as it has a metal body and a plastic baseplate. The baseplate is not very detailed and the rear exhaust is only highlighted by silver paint. The baseplate shows the model as “TDH 3714”, which is quite strange. Front and rear bumpers are chromed and separate parts like front and rear lights, front grilles and wipers are used. Well detailed wheels are fitted but only one rear view mirror and a rather basic interior. A nice “GM coach” badge is fitted. The adverts are interesting period items: Hanna Paints at the rear, and the side ones say “Why fight traffic ? Go by bus” and that was in 1955! There are no apparent differences to the French edition.

 

No. 30 (no. 23 in the French collection) Berliet PHL 10 Grand Raid 1966 – We have already seen the Berliet history and its Cruisair range (see part 8, no. 22), and how after the Second World War only commercial vehicle production was resumed, but that Chausson, Isobloc and Renault buses were much more innovative.

In 1951 Berliet launched the PLR8, a very powerful bus, but already old-fashioned. Then in 1956 it launched the PLH, with innovative styling and a beam frame with a base of square section steel tubes and a round tubular body skeleton. The squared body allowed maximum interior space, large windows, a light and practical driving position, and excellent soundproofing. The engine, an in-line five cylinder diesel with 150 CV, was placed horizontally amidship on the right side. To follow the evolving legislation Berliet presented in 1959 an evolution of the PLH, the PHN or “Randonnèe” with an extended wheelbase and an optimised structure, while the old PLH was renamed PHC or “Escapade”. The mechanical components were maintained, with the option of a 6 cylinder engine with 180 CV. The PHN underwent an endurance test from November 1960 to March 1961 at the Autodrome of Miramas : 200 000 km were travelled in 97 days with an 85.86 km/h average. From 1960 the Randonnèe was updated stylistically, and in 1964 to the PH range was added the PHL or “Grand Raid”, an extended version, derived from the PH100, an urban bus for mass transport. During the fifties Berliet was highly successful, but in the sixties the competition with Saviem, Magirus, Mercedes, Scania, Volvo and Fiat was very tough : it was necessary to innovate continuously, but once again resources were lacking and in 1967 Berliet was acquired by Citroen. Between the PLH and PH range, more than 6,000 units were produced.

The scale model has the usual plastic body and metal baseplate, with basic details of the chassis.

Quite a bright livery and superb visibility thanks to the large windows, which are nicely black framed.

The registration plate is from the department of the Alps of Haute-Provence, while Reillanne is a small town in the Luberon regional natural park.

Nice wheels and a well detailed interior are fitted. The seating features nice split individual coach seats with high backrests. The driver’s cab is well detailed. As usual many separate parts are fitted: front and rear chromed bumpers, lights, wipers and front grille. A nice model. There are no apparent differences to the French edition.


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Chevy II 1962

By John Quilter

All photographs by, and copyright of, the Author.

I recently learned that a partworks series from Argentina includes some interesting cars that are the same as some sold in the USA in the era. That is true of their Chevrolet 400 4 Puertas [Four Door] (1962) which is a exact duplicate of the car sold in the USA as a Chevy II. This was Chevrolet’s late answer to the very successful Ford Falcon. The partworks model is diecast and is very well done with proper chrome pieces, small standard hubcaps, blackwall tires, black interior and some chassis detail. These Chevy II cars were launched for the 1962 model year and came from the start with a four door sedan, two door sedan, pillarless hardtop, convertible and four door station wagon.

They were produced in the USA through 1965 with only minor trim and grill variations. The concept of this very conventional car was the answer to the Falcon which well outsold the radically designed rear engine Corvair which was Chevrolet’s initial “compact” offering for the 1960 model year.

Interestingly, the Corvair continued in parallel to the Chevy II although it was positioned as a more sporting member of the line up after the Chevy II took up the mainstream compact market niche. The Chevy II was launched with both a 153 cubic inch four cylinder engine or a 194 cubic inch inline six. In later years the engine choices expanded to include a 230 CID six, and in 1964, to the ubiquitous 283 V8 and by 1965 even a 327 CID version. Transmissions were generally the column shifted three speed manual or the two speed Powerglide automatic.

This model from Argentina is made by Premium Collectibles Trading, a huge Macau based Chinese production operation and the umbrella group of many brands of models such as Premium X, Ixo, Ixt. They are also sub-contracted to produce models for: DeAgostiniAtlas Editions, Altaya, HachetteWhite Box and others. They produce models in resin as well as diecast. Maybe since this one is in diecast it will have a longer production life and appear in other PCT or third party ranges over time. In fact, there are a number of items in these country specific partworks ranges, such as the Mexican range  which I believe would have an appeal in other countries. Otherwise it’s up to the buyer to find sources on auction sites who are making these available to the diehard international collector like the writer. Sometimes, with this hobby it’s all about the discovery and the chase.

The only improvement I would make to this item is a black wash to the grill.


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Hachette Italy – World Buses Part 9

By Fabrizio Panico

All photographs by, and copyright of, the Author.

Parts 25 to 27

One more French bus, a British one (but bodied in Malta), and a German one : a lovely triplet from the Italian Hachette partwork “Autobus dal mondo”, a collection of sixty 1/43 bus models, very similar to the French one “Autobus et autocars du monde”, produced in Bangladesh for Ixo.

 

No. 25 (no. 18 in the French collection) Citroën type 46 DP UAD 1955 – André Citroën was a graduate of the École Polytechnique in Paris in 1900. In that year he visited Poland where he bought the patent to a set of gears with a fish-bone structure, less noisy and more efficient, leading to the invention that is credited to him: double helical gears, the inspiration of the double chevron logo of the Citroën brand itself. After being a successful director of the Mors automobile company and establishing its own mechanical company, during the Great War he was responsible for mass production of armaments. Realising that the end of the war would leave him with a modern factory without a product, he decided to switch to automobile manufacturing. He intended to make a light car of good quality, but made in sufficient quantities to be low priced. André founded the Citroën automobile company in 1919, leading it to become the fourth-largest automobile manufacturer in the world by the early 1930s. A pioneer not only in the automotive field, but also in advertising, sales and even toys, obviously he couldn’t ignore commercial vehicles. By 1931 he had also decided to create a bus company to offer ease of transport to a greater number of people : Transports Citroën was established as an interurban bus and coach operator. Until then the motor coach in France catered for the holiday maker rather than being employed in regular routes. He also launched a taxicab company in Paris, but that did not last long. We have already seen the type 45 (part two, no. 6), based on a truck type chassis, produced from 1934 to 1953 and replaced by the type 55 (part three, no. 9). In 1953 the type 55 and its little brother, the light truck type 23 (see part five, no. 15), sported a new front end of a more modern type created by the Citroën Levallois body plant, while chassis and mechanical components were as before.

In 1955 the new type 46 was sold alongside the type 55, very similar externally to the 55, but now with a new petrol engine : a six in line of 5.2 litres and 90 CV. But their main defect was that the long bonnet and the conventional cab compromised the seating area. Many bus and coach bodies were built by Amiot, Currus, Faurax & Chaussende (Lyon), this scale model particular body is by Carde of Bordeaux.

The types 55, 46 and 23 were replaced in 1965 by the types 350 – 850, designed by Flaminio Bertoni, and nicknamed “Belphégor”, because the strange shape of their front bodywork resembled the “phantom” of the soap opera played by Juliette Greco.

The scale model is the faithful reproduction of a vehicle from a picture that can be find on a web site dedicated to the history of “Transports Citroën”, which is really interesting. It is a type 46 running on route no. 53, from Paris to Sens, via Fontainbleau, the first route from Paris (established in 1932), with a registration plate from Paris. The livery is the classic postwar one : light brown (almost cream) over dark brown with a red band. The model body is metal (but the front bonnet is plastic), while the chassis is plastic, with an added exhaust.

The rear overhang is really imposing, to wonder how many times it scratched the road. On the roof there is a nice luggage area with a very contorted ladder. Front grille and wheels, double at the rear, are well reproduced, while the wipers are only engraved. On both sides, and at the rear, there is the logo of Transports Citroën, alas not very visible (red on dark brown !). Interior is basic, but realistic. There are no apparent differences to the French edition. A nice model, we wonder if the real one is still alive?

 

 

No. 26 (no. 19 in the French collection) Fordson Thames ET7 1952 – Fordson name is perhaps more known as a successful tractors manufacturer, but trucks were sided to the tractors from 1933.

There is no need to trace here the history of US Ford, suffice to say that Ford Motor Company (England) Limited was established in 1909, and soon started assembling the model T from imported chassis and mechanical parts with bodies sourced locally, then in 1914 Britain’s first moving assembly line for car production started at Trafford Park, Manchester. In 1917 a plant opened in Cork, Ireland, to manufacture tractors and some years later also cars : Henry Ford and Son Limited company (Fordson) was officially incorporated. The Model T started the commercial vehicles production, from 1933 to 1939 badged Fordson, changing to Fordson Thames until 1957 after which they became plain Thames until 1965, when they reverted to Ford. The truck operation was sold to the Iveco group in 1986. The petrol-engined Fordson Thames ET6 (side valve Ford V8 or 4-cylinder “Cost Cutter” engine from 1953) and Perkins diesel-engined ET7 (4.7 litre six-cylinder) were first introduced in 1947, ‘ET’ standing for English Truck, to replace the Fordson 7V. The conventional cab with long bonnet and split windshield was built by the body builder Briggs Motor Bodies. The chassis now had half-elliptical leaf springs and hydraulic brakes, a significant improvement to the predecessor. They were to be renamed in 1957 as Ford Thames 500E and 520E, soon to be replaced by the forward control Thames Trader FC. Spanish Ebro built the Fordson Thames in license from 1956 to 1963 as Ebro B-series.

Appreciated for their simplicity and sturdiness many ET6/7 were exported, mainly in the Commonwealth, as “cowl and chassis” only, to be equipped with a local bodywork, like our scale model, very likely with a body built by Micallef in Malta. These Maltese old buses, full of character and loved by every tourist, were taken off the road in 2011 when Arriva started operating the public transport service and replaced them with new vehicles to reduce harmful emissions . Many of them have been saved by Heritage Malta, now seeking a site to house the new Transport Museum.

The scale model is the faithful reproduction of a vehicle still alive in Malta, route no. 80, registered EBY537. The Perkins logo on the rear panel claims to have a diesel engine. Quite an heavy model, metal body (but front bonnet and wings are plastic) and plastic chassis well detailed, but the rear exhaust is only highlighted by silver paint. The body has no door on the left side (because of the Maltese climate ?), and the interior, though quite basic, can be fully appreciated. The yellow-red-white livery is typical of Maltese buses. Chromed front and rear bumpers are added. Nice detailing of the front grille and lights, and the double rear wheels. No apparent difference to the French edition. An invitation to go and try the real one.

 

 

No. 27 (no. 21 in the French collection) Neoplan NH 22 Skyliner 1983 – Gottlob Auwärter GmbH & Co KG was founded by Gottlob Auwärter in Stuttgart in 1935, to manufacture trailers for trucks and bodywork for bus and truck chassis. At the end of the Second World War German industries were banned from producing vehicles greater than 3 ton load capacity. It was therefore necessary to re-use what had been spared by the war: a rich market for Neoplan, at least until the new generation vehicles, like Isobloc or Setra, brought forward the integral structure solution. By 1953, the company moved to a partial monocoque design with a steel tube skeleton and welded side panels. The engine was moved to the rear, and in 1957, air suspensions improved the comfort for passengers. For their dissertation at Hamburg University the founder’s eldest son, Albrecht Auwärter, and the Swiss Bob Lee, developed a new coach, with clear-cut lines with straight edges and large windows : the “Hamburg” bus was unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show in 1961.  Albrecht’s second son, Konrad, also developed a new kind of bus for his dissertation : a double-decker bus (hence its name, Do-Bus), with a low-frame front axle, low weight and able to carry up to 100 passengers. It was the origin of the NH 22 Skyliner. In 2001 Neoplan was acquired by MAN AG to form Neoman Bus GmbH, which was fully integrated into the bus division of the larger MAN Nutzfahrzeuge Group in 2008, and ceasing to exist in its own right.

The Skyliner is a double-decker multi-axle luxury touring coach, it was introduced in 1967 and undergone a continuous process of evolution up to today. The lower floor allows the installation of toilets, kitchens or sleeping cabins in the back, below the main passenger compartment, while the engine and the baggage compartment are isolated in the rear of the bus. The large front overhang forces the driver to anticipate the steering, but the handling is still very good. Current Skyliners are available in two lengths : the short C version (12.44 metres) and the long L version (13.79 metres) with a correspondingly longer wheelbase. The original Henschel engine has been replaced by a 12.5 litre MAN straight-six common rail turbodiesel with intercooler, and an output of 353 kilowatts, mounted upright in a longitudinal orientation at the rear of the coach, connected to a twelve-speed ZF automated manual transmission.

The quite large, but light, scale model has metal body and plastic chassis and here we find some problems. The engine is at the rear, but the exhaust is reproduced going from the front to the rear of the vehicle, as is the transmission. Someone took a wrong turn! Alas that isn’t the only problem : the underside of the upper floor has not been represented, and that gives a poor impression. Again, there are three central supports to the roof in the upper floor, clearly needed for structural sturdiness, but very unrealistic. A better engineering solution could be found for a 1:43 model. The white-blue-silver livery is well represented, with the logo well printed over corrugated metal sheets. Front bumper with grille and lights are separate added items, like the rear one. There are separately added wipers for both floors, and rear view mirrors.

The interior is nice, quite a luxury version, with small compartments with table and opposing seats. The driver’s cab area is well represented, like the simulated engine ventilation grilles.

Registration plate is from Bochum, in North Rhine-Westfalia. The year indicated for the bus (1983) is perhaps doubtful, the shape of the model seems closer to the original version when launched. There are no apparent differences to the French edition.


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Hachette Italy – World Buses Part 8

By Fabrizio Panico

All photographs by, and copyright of, the Author.

This months issues brings us one more French bus, an Italian one, and a German one, but “made in Spain” : as usual an interesting mix from the Italian Hachette partwork “Autobus dal mondo”, a collection of sixty 1:43 scale bus models, very similar to the French one “Autobus et autocars du monde”, produced in Bangladesh for Ixo.

No. 22 (no. 15 in the French collection) Berliet Crusair 3 1969 – Like Renault, Berliet is one of the oldest automobile manufacturer : founded in 1899 by Marius Berliet, it was in private ownership until 1967 when it became part of Citroën, then acquired by Renault in 1974 and merged with Saviem into the new Renault Trucks company (RVI) in 1978. Its name was phased out by 1980. Based in Vénissieux, near Lyon, Berliet contributed highly to the motorsport and economic development of France. After a first small vis-à-vis (1895) the first real Berliet was the 22 CV in 1902, and the success was at the door. Already in 1905 Berliet could sell to the American company ALCO (American Locomotive Corporation) the rights for the overseas production of models 22, 40 and 60 CV. That’s the origin of the locomotive in the Berliet logo. At the outbreak of the First World War its production was converted to military purposes. Its trucks were well thought of, and it assembled the famous Renault tanks.

After the war 4 and 6 cylinders models were produced, as wel as trucks and autocars. But the appearance of the Citroën Traction put rivals several years behind in technological terms. As money to innovate was lacking at Berliet an agreement with Peugeot allowed them to use the 402 body, a modern line to conceal their old fashioned technology. It was the last Berliet car, after World War Two only commercial vehicle production was resumed. During the fifties Berliet was highly successful, but in the sixties the competition with Magirus, Mercedes, Scania, Volvo and Fiat was very tough. It was necessary to innovate continuously. Once again resources were lacking and in 1967 it was acquired by Citroen. The Cruisair range, developed from 1966, offered innovative technical solutions and a new aesthetic.

The Cruisair 2 and 3 were 10 and 11 metres long, and were marketed in 1968 equipped with a 2-stroke V-6 GM Detroit Diesel engine, fragile if not correctly used, and, starting from 1970, with the V-8 Berliet, less powerful, but more reliable. Comfortable, reliable and profitable the Crusair was built on a straight frame with two U-rails, braced by central X-riveted cross-rails. Airlam suspensions, consisting of pneumatic cushions and leaf springs associated with double-acting hydraulic shock absorbers, assured comfort and stability. But it was not free of defects, such as corrosion, poor driving position or poor technical solutions for belts and brakes. The Crusair was replaced by the PR14 in 1975, in effect an evolution of a 12 meters long Crusair 4 never produced, equipped with a turbo engine and sold, under the Renault brand, until 1989.

The scale model has a plastic body and a metal chassis with the rear exhaust highlighted by silver paint. The bright livery is yellow with a lower green stripe, a silver stripe below the windows and a black roof. The registration plate is from Toulouse in Haute Garonne, in the South of France. Nice modelling of the engine ventilation grilles and the front itself as well as the driver’s “cab”. The front and rear bumper separate fixings like the wipers. There are no apparent differences to the French edition. This is a nice model of a bus that boldly showed the image of the French coach in the last twenty years of the twentieth century.

 

No. 23 (no. 67 in the French collection) FIAT 309/1 SDM Menarini 1966 – Fiat is another of the oldest automobile manufacturers. Founded in 1899 its first truck was the 24 HP in 1903. Like many other companies Fiat commercial vehicles had a strong growth during the war years, starting in 1911 with the Libyan war (type 15 and then type 18). In 1925 Fiat bought SPA (Società Piemontese Automobili) and in 1929 created Fiat Veicoli Industriali, a consortium grouping Fiat V.I., SPA and Scat-Ceirano that in 1933 integrated OM (Officine Meccaniche ex Züst). In 1966 Fiat V.I. absorbed its French subsidiary UNIC (bought in 1949 by Fiat-Simca), in 1966 Lancia Industrial Vehicles, and in 1973 part of FNM (Fàbrica Nacional de Motores), the Brazilian subsidiary of Alfa Romeo. From 1975 all the activities were grouped with Magirus in a new company (IVECO), and from now on it started the slow disappearance of the specific products of each brand. In 1915, Gianni Agnelli, founder of Fiat, created the S.I.T.A. (Società Italiana Trasporti Automobilistici) to ensure the transport of people and goods, and clearly to develop its commercial vehicles production (S.I.T.A. was part of Fiat up to 1987).

We have already seen (see 5th part, no. 13) that Menarini was established in Bologna in 1919 building horse drawn carriages, car components and later buses and trucks bodies for Fiat chassis. After the Second World War there was a great growth, but in the 1980s an excess of prudence by the ownership made the company weaker in the face of competition, leading to its acquisition by Breda, later to be integrated in Finmeccanica in 2001, and to be sold in 2015 to the new company IAA (Industria Italiana Autobus), owner of Menarini and Padane brands.

The Fiat 309 was a bus produced by Fiat V.I. from 1958 to replace the 642RN, which had been derived from a truck. This vehicle was designed from the beginning as a bus. Its production ceased in 1970, when replaced by the 308. It was available in the 9-metre version, with line and Gran Turismo versions, designed by Cansa of Cameri but it was also available as a chassis destined for external body builders, especially Carrozzeria Orlandi, Dalla Via, Portese, Bianchi and above all Menarini. The first 309’s mechanics, placed in the middle of the chassis, derived from the truck 642, but in 1963 they derived from the 643 and the denomination became 309/1 (a flat 6 in line, delivering 153 hp  with a 5-speed gearbox). The 309 saw widespread operation in Italy but also sold well in export markets, both in the long-distance version and in the Gran Turismo version. The SDM in the name is typical of Menarini products, it stands for “Sintesi Del Meglio” (Summary of the Best), the name given to their new projects, aiming at optimising construction techniques.

 

 

The scale model is a faithful reproduction of a restored vehicle, part of the “Il Capolinea” fleet (The Terminal), a private Italian association (see www.associazioneilcapolinea.it). The registration plate, from Benevento, is the original one when it was part of the Autolinee Lisella. As usual there is a plastic body and a metal chassis, the rear exhaust highlighted by silver paint. Many items are small separate parts like the front and rear lights, wipers and the rear compartment doors. A nice front grille is provided complete with the Menarini and Fiat logos. There are no apparent differences to the French edition.

 

No. 24 (no. 31 in the French collection) Setra-Seida S14 1966 – The Setra brand was born in 1951, but its origins are from the Wagenfabrik Kässbohrer, founded in 1893 in Ulm, and whose products were buses, coaches, vehicle transporters, trailers and special vehicles like snow groomers. After the destruction of World War Two they had to start from scratch and it was decided to create a new company dedicated only to buses. It was named Setra, short for “selbsttragend” (self supporting), referring to the integral nature of the construction, when competitor vehicles still featured a separate chassis and body. Until 1995 the firm operated under the name Kässbohrer-Setra, but in that year economic difficulties forced its sale to Daimler Benz, and to operate as a division of EvoBus GmbH, one of its subsidiaries. The first Setra buses were named according to the number of the rows of seats, like S8, S10, S14. To locate the engine behind the rear axle was another innovation, which subsequently became mainstream. The modular system (same structure’s elements and same cockpit) allowed to change only the wheelbase, the engine power and the interior fittings. Usually the engine was a diesel six by Henschel, delivering 170 CV.

 

The model is a bus born of an agreement between Setra and Seida (Sociedad Española de Importación y Distribución de Automóviles) a Spanish car and truck dealer and coachbuilder that later evolved into makers of integral chassisless motorcoaches, and  in 1998 merged into EvoBus. Seida was incorporated in 1925, and began as the dealer for Spain of all the brands of Chrysler Corporation, starting to assemble Dodge trucks in 1935. In the 1940s, after the Spanish Civil War, Seida switched to coachbuilding, soon leading the Spanish market of coach bodies, having patented, as Metalbloc, an all-metal body structure. By then Seida became the preferred bodybuilder for Pegaso buses and trucks, Hispano-Suiza trolleybuses, double-deck Guy and Dodge coaches. In 1963 an agreement with Kässbohrer allowed to license-build Setra chassisless coaches. These were equipped with Pegaso engines and were marketed with simultaneous double badge as Setra Seida and Pegaso. The S14, a full-length 12-meter 55 seat vehicle, was the most in demand. Despite being rather expensive, these coaches were very successful in the Spanish market. In the 1970s MAN, Mercedes-Benz or Cummins engines were offered as alternative power units to the Pegaso ones, and the Setra Seida and Pegaso badging was replaced by just Setra.

The scale model is again a faithful reproduction of a restored vehicle, owned by the “La Pamplonesa”, a Spanish family business dedicated to renting coaches and minibuses in Pamplona (Navarra) (see www.lapamplonesa.com). As usual there is a plastic body and a metal chassis, the body is quite bright, helped by the blue and light blue livery and plenty of windows. The windows on the roof would have meant that during summer it would be very hot inside. Perhaps because of its length the model seems to be a bit flimsy, too flexible. The registration plate is from Donostia-San Sebastián, a coastal city located in the Basque Autonomous Community.

The small “SP” plate doesn’t mean “Spain” but “Servicio Públicos”. it is a compulsory plate to indicates that the vehicle is dedicated to providing public services: taxis, buses, etc. There are two plates one at the front and the other in the rear of the vehicle, this last one should incorporate a light that complies with the same conditions as for the rear registration plate. The interior is quite basic and is in a strange purple-pink colour. There are many small added items such as front and rear bumpers, wipers and rear view mirrors. The Pegaso logo is modelled correctly on the front grille and on the hubcaps. There is no apparent differences to the French edition.


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