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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