By Fabrizio Panico
All text and photographs by, and copyright of, the Author unless otherwise stated.
Numbers 55 to 57
Three successful buses, one from France and two from Germany, each one representative of a decade, from the fifties to the seventies. All of them are from the Italian Hachette partwork “Autobus dal mondo”, a collection of eighty 1:43 scale bus models, very similar to the French one “Autobus et autocars du monde”, produced in Bangladesh for Ixo.
Renault is one of the oldest automobile manufacturers, established in 1899 and by 1903 it was manufacturing its own engines and by 1906 it had introduced its first commercial truck. Renault experienced formidable development after the Great War, taking advantage of the industrial power acquired during the conflict the brand consolidated its place in the commercial vehicles market. In 1945 Renault was nationalised and its resources were concentrated on the new 4CV and one ton trucks. After the Second World War Renault slowly incorporated many of its competitors. In 1955 it formed Saviem (Société Anonyme de Véhicules Industriels et d’Equipements Mécaniques) with Latil and Somua. In 1957 it bought Isobloc and in 1960 Chausson. In 1978 the Renault name was back, when Saviem grouped with Berliet forming RVI (Renault Véhicules Industriels).
In 1946 the demand for vehicles of all kinds was growing quickly and Renault presented the 215 D, an advanced-cab bus, closely derived from the ZPD, and bodied on the chassis of the 208 D truck, a prewar concept. But the competition was very strong and soon Renault presented the new chassis-less R 4190. The engine was now placed horizontally on the right side between the two axles, and the body had a rounded shape with a chromed grille. It was an instant success and was produced in many different versions (the R 4192 is a low roof version). In line with company policy in 1955 it gained the Saviem logo, in 1957 it was restyled and renamed the Saviem ZR2. In 1960 a new engine was adde and it was renamed again to the SC1. By 1965 it was named the S45 and it went on until 1993, with periodic updates.
The model is shaped accurately, the body is plastic while the chassis is metal with lot of details. It has single rear wheels. Many additional small parts are used as usual, like lights, front bumper, mirror (one only) and registration plates, plus a large ladder to reach the luggage area on the roof. The long bars along the roof are very nice, these were used to fix the canvas cover to protect the baggage. The livery seems to be authentic and neatly printed.
There are no indications of a transport company, only the destination plate (Clermont) and the registration plates (63) from the Puy-de-Dôme department (region Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, prefecture Clermont-Ferrand, headquarters of the French tyre manufacturer Michelin).
The red circle on the front and rear means that the vehicle runs a regular service. The interior is quite basic, but it has a nice driver area. Also well reproduced are the doors, the windows and the wheels. There are no apparent differences to the French edition. A nice reproduction of a once familiar sight on French roads.
No. 56 (no. 46 in the French collection) Setra S 215 HD 1976 – Setra is a brand we have already met with the Setra-Seida S14 (see part eight, no. 24). Founded in 1951, its origins are from the Wagenfabrik Kässbohrer, founded in 1893 in Ulm, while its name is short for “selbsttragend” (self supporting), referring to the integral nature of the construction. 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. Standardisation and modularity were Setra’s winning features. The integral construction allowed changes to the wheelbase, the engine, and the interior fittings. The series 200 was presented in 1976.
Its models are identified by the maximum number of rows of seats (like 15 for this bus), while the letters added after the type number indicate the equipment and features, like HD for Hochdecker (high floor). The engine was located behind the rear axle, usually a diesel by Mercedes-Benz Henschel, here a V8 delivering 256 HP. The body shape was indeed a glass box with flat sides and large sealed windows, a huge slightly inclined windscreen, and an unobtrusive front grille. Almost perfect, it was very successful and was produced until 1991, to be replaced by the new 315.
The quite large scale model is true to the original shape and the livery is authentic, created by Setra itself to commemorate the forty years of the series 200. As usual it has a plastic body and metal baseplate. The baseplate is largely undetailed apart a silver painted exhaust. Many small separate parts are fitted like mirrors, lights, bumpers, grille, wipers. It looks very real indeed from a picture you could almost believe that it is the real vehicle.
A nice driver area is included but the seats are basic. There are well reproduced wheels (twin at the rear axle) with the chromed hubcaps adorned with the “K” of Kässbohrer. The German registration plates are from Ulm and the code number (S 215) is a clear reminder of the bus name. No apparent differences to the French issue. An accurate reproduction of a bus known all over Europe.
No. 57 (no. 57 in the French collection) Büssing Senator 12 D 1964 – Büssing AG was established in 1903 in Braunschweig (Germany) by Heinrich Büssing, heir of a blacksmith dynasty and founder of many bicycle, engineering and railway signal works. From heavy duty trucks to omnibus and armoured cars, Büssing soon developed into one of the largest European producers. In 1923 it presented the first rigid three-axle chassis and the world’s first full-size bus which allowed Büssing to lead the market share in Germany in commercial vehicles. In 1934 Büssing took over NAG. After the Second World War civilian production was resumed and in 1950 the company name became Büssing Nutzkraftwagen GmbH while production was concentrated on underfloor-engined trucks.
The company was taken over by MAN AG in 1971, which continued production of its underfloor-engined truck range through to the late 1980s, still using Büssing’s Brunswick Lion emblem. We have already met MAN and its 535 HO (see part fifteen, no. 43). The Senator 12 D was part of a new bus family (11R, 12R, 13R and 15R) launched in 1959.
The self-supporting bodywork was based on welded steel tubes and was fitted with a rear underfloor six inline diesel engine. Both city and long distance versions were made in different lengths and with different interior designs. Their names were changed regularly: Konsul, was followed by Senator, President and Prefekt. During the sixties they represented about 50% of all the buses in Germany. The Senator 12 D was presented in 1965 and gained an enlarged engine producing 150 HP. Their robustness and reliability combined with good performance allowed them to perform a very long working life with many still in service until the eighties.
This is another nice reproduction. Again with a plastic body and metal baseplate, which in this case is well detailed with twin rear wheels. A red and cream livery is used, probably from the city of Hamburg based on the registration plates and the destination board (Altona train station). A neat “Lion” emblem can be seen on the front and the rear. The model has the usual added plastic parts like lights, bumper, mirrors, and destination boards. Like the other buses covered in this article it has a basic interior. The windows are well reproduced and on the sides is a well printed advert for the AEG washing machine. No apparent differences to the French issue. Another good choice, a well known bus.
We welcome your comments and questions. Please go to our Model Auto Review Facebook page, or email us at maronlineeditor at gmail.com.