By Fabrizio Panico
All text and photographs by, and copyright of, the Author.
Number 61 to 63.
Three more European buses : a German, and two French. A strange mix as we have already met all of them in this collection, in one form or another. They 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.
No. 61 (no. 84 in the French collection) Renault R 4192 1952 – We have already met Renault and the AGP Saharien (see part seven, no. 19), the TN6-C2 (see part twelve, no. 34) and the R4192 (see part nineteen, no. 55). Renault is one of the oldest automobile manufacturers, always facing strong competition and, thanks to its many successes, able to slowly incorporate many of its commercial vehicle making competitors after the Second World War.
The R4000 series was the first “modern” Renault bus, previously based on truck chassis, heavy and uncomfortable. Facing the Isobloc challenge (use of a self-supporting structure) in 1949 Renault presented the R4190 with a chassisless structure and the engine placed horizontally under the floor on the right side between the two axles. It was an instant success and was produced in many different versions (the R 4192 was a low roof version with a more powerful diesel engine), and it went on until 1993, with periodic updates.
The model is shaped accurately. The body is plastic whilst the chassis is metal with lot of detail. It has single rear wheels. Many additional small parts are fitted as usual: lights, front bumper, mirror (one only) and registration plates, plus a large ladder to reach the luggage area on the roof.
As already noted the mould was used on no. 55 (see part nineteen), no changes are apparent, only the livery is new, this time from Ets. Gonthier & Nouhaud, an urban and suburban passenger transport company from Periguex, a small town located in the Dordogne department in the New Aquitaine region (capital Bordeaux), south west of France.
It seems that the company was active from 1959 to 2012, when it was absorbed in the larger Régie Péribus, the transit network serving Périgueux and its wider community.
On the internet it is possible to find pictures of the real vehicle, with the same green and cream livery, the same strange advert on the front bumper and the same registration plate (24), correct for the Dordogne. No apparent differences to the French edition. A faithful reproduction of an once quite common sight on French roads.
No. 62 (no. 85 in the French collection) Berliet Crusair 3 1969 – We have already seen the Berliet history and its Crusair (see part eight, no. 22), the PHL 10 (see part ten, no. 30), the PR100 ranges (Jelcz version, see part fourteen, no. 40) and the PLR 10 (see part sixteen, no. 47). Founded in 1899, like Renault, Berliet is one of the oldest automobile manufacturer, part of Citroën from 1967, then acquired by Renault in 1974 and merged with Saviem into the new RVI in 1978.
After the Second World War only the commercial vehicle production was resumed, at first it was highly successful, but in the sixties the competition was very tough and resources to innovate were lacking, leading to the loss of its independence. The Cruisair range, developed from 1966, offered innovative technical solutions (rear engine) and a new aesthetic (straight lines and large windows), fixing new standards for the European buses.
Comfortable, reliable and profitable, but not free from defects, the Crusair was limited by its max length (11 metres), but achieved widespread success, and was assembled by Porto in Portugal, Heuliez in France and also in Algeria. Produced, under the Renault badge, until 1989, the Cruisair underwent few aesthetic changes: you could date the models only on the basis of updates to the front panels with a major modernisation made in 1972.
The scale model has a plastic body and a metal chassis. As usual there are small additional parts, like the front grille, bumpers, mirrors and wipers. As previously noted the mould was already used for no. 22 and no differences can be seen, only the front grille and light assembly is new, while the wheels are lacking chromed hubcaps.
According to Hachette no. 22 and no. 62 are both from 1969, but the different front grille and lights assembly dates no. 22 as a post 1972 version, while no. 62 is the original one. Also the livery is new, no. 62 sports the white and blue colours of Air France, in this case a shuttle service between the Orly and Le Bourget airports. The registration plate is coded 75, correctly from Paris (Île-de-France). Also for the Cruisair it is possible to find on internet some pictures of the very same real vehicle. No apparent differences to the French edition. A nice souvenir for lots of tourists of the Concorde years.
No. 63 (no. 86 in the French collection) Setra S14 1961 – We have already met the Setra company and its S215 HD, and the S14 by the Spanish Seida licensee. In 1951 the Wagenfabrik Kässbohrer in Ulm 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. The modular system (same structure’s elements and same cockpit) allowed to change only the wheelbase, the engine power and the interior fittings.
The S14, presented in 1961, is considered one of the first modern European buses. Featuring a high windshield, with a thin central pillar, and a longitudinal rear engine by Henschel, a straight six diesel delivering 170 CV, the S14 was the mould for the whole range of Setra buses in the 60s. The S14 was a full-length 12-metre 55 seats vehicle, and despite being rather expensive it was very successful. In 1963 an agreement with Seida allowed to license-build chassisless coaches in Spain. They were equipped with Pegaso engines and marketed with simultaneous double badge as Setra Seida and Pegaso.
The model is accurately shaped and the livery seems to be authentic, on internet you could find many pictures of similar real vehicles. Anker Reisen is a travel company from Lüneburg, a “Hanseatic” town in the German state of Lower Saxony, located about 50 km southeast of the more famous Hamburg, and belongs to that city’s wider metropolitan region. The registration plates are correctly coded LG. As usual there is a plastic body and a metal chassis, The body is quite bright, helped by the red and light grey livery and plenty of windows, which are also fitted to the roof. Many small separate parts are fitted: front and rear bumpers, lights, front grille, wipers and rear view mirrors.
Hachette has created the original Setra version and partly modified the mould used for no. 24. The original details were erased from the baseplate and and new ones printed on. The body has been slightly changed with lights amended. The Kassbohrer logo has replaced the Pegaso one on the front grille and on the hubcaps. All the Seida logos have been replaced by the Setra ones. The side windows have been changed to show a different split design. There are no apparent differences to the French edition. After the integral (and a bit disappointing) re-use of the Renault R 4192 mould, it is heartening to see the effort made by Hachette to differentiate between the two S14s. We’ll see more mould re-use, it’s logical, but thankfully in some original and interesting ways. Altogether a nice and welcome model.
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