Tag Archives: Bus

Hachette Italy World Buses Part 19

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.

 

No. 55 (no. 44 in the French collection) Renault R 4192 1956 – We have already met Renault and its AGP Saharien (see part seven, no. 19) and TN6-C2 (see part twelve, no. 34).

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 1964Büssing 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.


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Hachette Italy World Buses Part 18

By Fabrizio Panico

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

Parts 52 to 54

This time we’ll look at one of the most popular British buses, a quite rare one from France and another “ethnic” one, from Colombia. 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.

 

No. 52 (no. 41 in the French collection) Bedford OB 1947 – We have already seen the Bedford history and its TJ Rocket (see part 11, no. 33). And how, established as a subsidiary of Vauxhall in 1930 to manufacture commercial vehicles, it soon became a leading international brand, with substantial export sales throughout the world. 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 semi-forward control “O” type lorry chassis was introduced in August 1939, with a coach-chassis version named “OB“. Duple Coachbuilders modified their Hendonian body to fit the chassis, which was longer than the previous WTB model. Only 73 OB buses were built before production stopped due to the outbreak of the Second World War, After the war it reappeared largely unchanged and was produced till 1951, with a total of almost 13,000 produced.

Duple developed the new “Vista” as the standard coachwork for the postwar OB with elegant curved roof and waistlines. Seating capacity was normally 29 with overhead luggage racks, whilst the rear luggage boot was also used to store the spare wheel. The OB is one of the most popular preserved coaches: more than 180 are still in existence, with nearly 70 in roadworthy condition. They regularly appear in period television programs and movies. Duple Coachbuilders was active from 1919 until 1989 : its name was intended to convey the principle of a single vehicle being suitable for a dual role. Ex-military Ford model Ts were converted to a small touring car body that could be transformed into a van by removing the decking at the rear and fitting a van top. This dual-purpose body was then built also on Morris Cowley and Oxford chassis, production ceasing around the end of the 1920s.

Coachwork had been built since the inception of the company, but in 1928 it was decided to make an effort to increase output of this body type. By the middle of the 1930s bus bodies were produced in quite large numbers with a busy export business. After the war there was a move towards metal-framed bodies, but the 1950s brought a difficult time for the coachbuilding industry as there was a rapid decline in orders and competition became intense. The 1980 deregulation of coach services for journeys of over 30 miles caused the market for light coach chassis to collapse. Duple’s output fell from 1,000 bodies in 1976, to 340 in 1983. In July 1989, the decision was made to close down the Duple operation, some parts of it sold to domestic rival Plaxton.

The scale model is based on one of the preserved buses, with the usual combination of a metal body and a plastic baseplate with minimal detail. It is in a bright livery in cream and green. The destination plate reads Dartmouth, and the operator is Southern National.

The registration was issued by Devon County Council. The model is quite heavy. It is true to the original shape and the livery and registration plate seem to be authentic, but why is the side indicator near the door gold instead of orange? Many small separate parts are fitted, lights, mirrors, and wipers for example. A very nicely modelled front grille is fitted with the Bedford logo and script. The Duple logo is printed on the bonnet sides.  A basic interior is fitted but the drivers area is well modelled. The tyres are nicely moulded but the wheels are ugly.  The identical coach has been reproduced in 1:24th scale by Sun Star (but in that case it is indicated as from 1949). There are no apparent differences to the French edition. A nice reproduction of a once familiar sight on British roads.

 

No. 53 (no. 42 in the French collection) Chausson ANG 1956 – We have already met Chausson, its history and its succesful APH bus from 1950 (see part 5, no. 14) and how, beside making components for the automotive industry, they started producing car and unitary bus bodies. During the post war boom Chausson supplied thousands of buses to many French cities, but in 1959 Saviem acquired all their buses activities and Chausson left that market. In 1954 Chausson developed the AN type, a bus family based on the concept of the monocoque body, an assembly of tubes and ribbed and bent steel plates, welded together, assuring an high rigidity. According to the builder, it was the one that would be able to impose itself in all continents, even intended to be delivered in spare parts to be assembled as a “Meccano”, with easy completion with left or right hand drive, and with identical rear and front faces, pneumatic doors and large side luggage compartments. But the initial version, the ANH, suffered from many early defects: a poor visibility towards the front, an engine with too little power, and poor cooling.

Chausson reacted very quickly, and introduced a new version from 1957: the ANG. The small split windscreen was replaced by a single panoramic one, while an Hispano-Suiza engine, lying under the floor with 150 hp, replaced the previous Hercules engine. The clients were still doubtful and when Chausson sold its bus operation to Saviem the ANG production was stopped, to reappear in 1960 in the form of a new Saviem bus, the SC-5 of 36 seats, using many elements of its previous bodywork but with an engine placed in the front. Less than 300 ANG versions were produced.

The scale model is quite heavy, with a plastic body and metal baseplate. The registration plate is from the Seine-et-Marne department (Île-de-France) and the destination plate says Fontainebleau, famous for its royal castle.

The model is accurately shaped and the red and cream livery is correct, but its symmetrical body is quite ugly. A nice interior is fitted with a well detailed drivers cockpit. Good side windows and wheels are fitted. There are the usual added parts like bumpers, lights, mirrors and wipers (three of them). No apparent differences to the French edition. A correct reproduction of an unsuccessful French bus.

 

No. 54 (no. 43 in the French collection) Ford F600 “Chiva” rural bus 1990 – The mountainous geography of the Andean regions, like Colombia and Ecuador, requires the use of very strong vehicles for their rural public transport network. These are usually built on a truck or bus chassis with an artisan built open wood body with basic fitments and bench like seats. They are characterised by the use of bright colours (usually the yellow, blue, and red colours of the national flags) and elaborate ornamental paint work.

They are fitted with a ladder to a large and strong rack on the roof which is used for carrying people, livestock and merchandise. Locally they are called “chiva” (Spanish for goat) or “escalera” (Spanish for ladder). Chivas were first introduced in the Medellin region in the early 20th century, soon becoming a natural solution to the need of moving both cargo and passengers simultaneously. Through the years their aesthetic approach became a cultural trademark of rural Colombia, evolving into works of folk art. Others regard them as a symbol of underdevelopment. A similar approach, but based on a Willys Jeep, is called “jeepao”.

Sometime you could find these unique buses also in New York, were the “chiva” has developed into a customised bus, carrying party goers around the city. The “chiva” modelled in this collection is based on a Ford “F600” truck chassis, usually with a V8 diesel engine, famous for its endurance and longevity. The first-generation Ford F-Series (light trucks and pickups) was introduced in late 1947 and assembled at sixteen different Ford factories. All F-series were available with optional “Marmon-Herrington All Wheel Drive” until 1959.

 

Their design evolved steadily and successive generations followed each other constantly. According to the year indicated by Hachette this “chiva” should be based on the eighth generation of the Ford F-Series produced from 1986 to 1991, their engine lineup was updated with both the inline-6 and the V8 converted to fuel injection, while the the diesel V8 from International (Navistar) was enlarged from 420 to 444 cubic inches.

The scale model sports the red, light blue and yellow colours of the Colombian flag, and is made with the usual combination of plastic body and metal baseplate. It is a large and fairly heavy model. Near the engine cover an oil bath air filter is correctly reproduced (compulsory because of the dusty tracks), with a vertical silver exhaust at the rear which leads up to the roof, in order to avoid smoke being drawn in to the passenger area. Correctly, it is a very basic bus, but it is enriched by the details: printed artwork, ladder, roof rack, mirrors, and grille. Nice front wheels are fitted. A correct Colombian registration plate is fitted, with the municipality of issuance “Andes” embossed at the bottom of the plate itself.  Again there are no apparent differences to the French edition. A colourful choice, adding a “Spanish American touch” to the collection.


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Hachette Italy World Buses Part 17

By Fabrizio Panico

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

Here we look at Autobus from the world – part seventeen (nos. 4951).

After Brossel (see part 12, no. 36), now it is time to explore another Belgian manufacturer, the famous Van Hool, then we have one more Citroën bus and another previously seen German manufacturer  Neoplan. 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.

No. 49 (no. 38 in the French collection) Van Hool VHF 306 Vistadome 1961 – We have already seen how the Belgian automotive industry is often overlooked, but is a thriving and dynamic one. Bernard Van Hool was born in Koningshooikt (near Anversa) and as a young boy he took a great interest in mechanics, construction and electrics. An active entrepreneur, he started a diamond cutting factory, then a company making other machinery, but the Second World War destroyed everything and he found a new challenge in the transport sector. His ambition was to build bridges and roads, and he needed a vehicle to transport his men to the works, and he decided to rebuilt an old bus with a whole new body. That was the birth of a new challenge: building coach bodies and running a coach tour operating company. He was successful and in 1957 a commercial agreement with Fiat was signed. Van Hool would use Fiat engines and other mechanical components in its vehicles. Van Hool developed from being a small coachbuilder to a manufacturer of integral buses and coaches, known as Van Hool-Fiat (VHF), whilst continuing to also be a renowned coachbuilder. This cooperation was a great success, introducing series production (over 500 coaches by July 1961) and they were exported all over Europe and Africa. In 1981 the cooperation with Fiat was terminated, and Van Hool started to use engines and axles sourced from Caterpillar, Cummins, Mercedes, DAF and MAN and gearboxes from ZF or Voith, or using whole chassis from Volvo and Scania. Since the mid-1980s, Van Hool has also been active on the North American market. In 1990 Van Hool purchased the coachbuilding business of LAG Manufacturing, a Belgian company founded in 1947 by two Geusens brothers that had achieved some success in the United States. Under the new management the product line was expanded. In recent years, Van Hool has been focusing on new propulsion technologies, introducing fuel-cell hybrid buses as well as diesel-electric hybrids.

The VHF 306 is part of the first generation of buses born from the agreement with Fiat : a fast and well made design allowing an early success and the subsequent expansion of the company. The first bus was the VHF 682, the chassis had bent sheet metal beams and the body was welded to it, with a single piece windshield and a very low horizontal radiator grille. The engine was a straight six diesel of 10.7 litres and 150 CV (the same used by the Fiat 682 RN bus), placed horizontally between the axles. Some countries didn’t allow its 12 metres body length, so a new 11 metres bus was developed in 1959 and named VHF 309, while the 682 was renamed 306. Later on they developed an extra-luxury version of the 306, the Vistadome, with an elevated floor for the passengers and a second windshield over the main one.

The scale model is based on the Vistadome version, with the usual combination of a plastic body and a well detailed metal baseplate, sporting a dark red livery.

The registration plate is correct for Belgium (red characters on white background) and very likely also for the year: Belgian plates are owner specific, giving no reliable information about the original registration year of the car to which they are fixed.

The body shape is well reproduced, with nice side windows and tinted ones on the roof, and a separate antenna. As usual there are many separate plastic parts, like side exhaust, lights, mirrors and wipers. The interior is quite basic, with the steering wheel being perhaps a bit too large.

The rear wheels rub on the body though this could be specific to my model). There is no apparent difference to the French edition. A really big model of a large tourist bus typical of the 1960s.

 

 

No. 50 (no. 39 in the French collection) Citroen U 23 Besset 1947 – We have already seen the history of André Citroën and its type 46 (see part nine, no. 25), and how in 1953 the type 55 (part three, no. 9) replaced the type 45 (part two, no. 6). Before the Second World War Citroën developed a homogeneous range of commercial vehicles formed by the types 29 (later 32) and 45, based on truck derived chassis and designed to be bodied as long distance buses, plus a little brother, the light truck type 23 (see part five, no. 15), based on the type 11 and powered by the Traction Avant engine, obviously flipped around in order to drive the rear wheels through a specific gearbox and with an inverted direction of rotation to maintain the direction of rotation of the crank. But its power was quite poor, it gave a maximum speed of only 65 km/h and allowed only 14-20 seats. Presented at the 1935 Paris Motor Show as a light truck, quite basic but very reliable. Many coachbuilders showed their proposals for the 23, like Surirey of Flers (Orne) still active in the field of commercial vehicles, or Besset of Annonay (Ardèche), author of our model. Joseph Besset started as a wooden wheel maker and in 1920 founded an industrial body shop adding coachwork to chassis from Berliet, Bugatti, De Dion Bouton, Delage, Hispano-Suiza, Renault, Rochet-Schneider and Rolland-Pilain. In 1927 he decided to build coaches on truck chassis by Panhard, Citroën and Renault. In 1934 he swapped building wood framed bodywork for lighter and more resistant closed tubular metal structures using electrical welding and patenting the procedure. In 1938, at the International Fair of Lyon, Joseph Besset presented the first European coach with an integral structure with engine at the rear located in a cantilever : the Isobloc (see part 6, no. 17). But in 1951 competition forced Besset to cease his activities. The company changed names several times and became Floirat, then SACA, Saviem, Renault Industrial Vehicles, Irisbus-Iveco and since 2013 Iveco Bus.

This is a weighty but small model compared to the Van Hool. It captures the line well with sympathy for the exaggerated lines of the dark green and light green livery. It is based on a coach preserved by the Orain company of Messac (Ille-et-Villaine), while another one is in the Annonay museum.

Metal body and plastic chassis, with a simulated spare wheel under the chassis. The driver area is well reproduced, with nice passenger seats.

The registration plate is from Ille-et-Villaine, a department located in Brittany, in the northwest of France. A very nice radiator grille is fitted and the front lights are quite fine. As usual there are many added parts, like lights, mirrors, wipers and a large rear ladder to reach the baggage area over the black roof.

There are no apparent differences to the French edition. A very nice model, but perhaps a lighter livery would improve its appearance.

 

No. 51 (no. 40 in the French collection) Neoplan NH 9L 1964 – When we met the 1983 Neoplan NH 22 Skyliner (part nine, no. 27) we saw the Neoplan founder’s eldest son, Albrecht Auwärter, and the Swiss Bob Lee, developed a new coach as part of their dissertation at the Hamburg University. The “Hamburg” bus was unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show in 1961. Both Albrecht and Lee joined Neoplan after graduating from the university : Albrecht took over management of the company, and Bob Lee later became head of Engineering and Design. The NH range (Neoplan Hamburg) was characterised by clear-cut lines with straight edges and large windows, curved over the roof. From the beginning the NH was produced in four different lengths (from 8.16 to 12 metres) named NH 8, NH 9, NH 12 and NH 14 according to the number of rows of seats. All models had rear pneumatic springs and Henschel straight six diesel engines with 115-180 CV. The NH 9 was the most successful, but at the end of the 60s competition forced Neoplan to substitute it with the NH 10, which was able to carry more passengers. The NB range replaced the NH range in 1971 and the Henschel engines were replaced by Daimler Benz ones. Henschel was founded in 1810 in Kassel, producing locomotives among other things, then developed trucks and buses, both before and after the second world war, and diesel engines following the issuing of a  Lanova license, but at the end of the 60s it was absorbed bit by bit by Daimler Benz.

The scale model is shaped accurately and the cream and green livery appears authentic and neatly printed.

 

It is a faithful reproduction of a bus preserved by Will-Reisen, a travel company from Haßfurt, a town in Bavaria, Germany, capital of the Haßberge district.

The body is plastic, as usual, with a metal baseplate with limited details. The silver roof is a separate part. Many more small plastic separate parts are fitted, like exhaust, wipers, mirrors, lights and bumpers, plus a very large antenna in front. The Henschel scripts over the front and rear grilles are rather crude..

A basic interior is fitted and the steering wheel seems to be a bit too large. Nice wheel covers are fitted. There is an accurate German registration plate for the Haßberge district. There are no apparent differences to the French edition. A nice model, quite representative of 1960s technology.


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Hachette Italy World Buses Part 16

By Fabrizio Panico

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

Nos. 46  to 48

This time we visit fabulous India with a Tata bus, France again with another Berliet and step behind the Iron Curtain with a postwar Skoda. All of them are from the Italian Hachette partwork ‘Autobus dal mondo’, a collection of sixty 1:43 scale bus models, very similar to the French partwork ‘Autobus et autocars du monde’, produced in Bangladesh by Ixo. At the time of writing Italian Hachette has announced that the partwork will be extended to eighty models (the French one is marching towards 120), but the first two models (nos. 61 and 62) are nothing more than new liveries on old castings: not a good start, let’s hope we see something new.

No. 46 (no. 45 in the French collection) Tata LPO 1512 1990 – The origins of Tata can be traced to a company founded in 1868 by Jamshedji Tata : today Tata Group is an Indian multinational conglomerate holding company, headquartered in Mumbai (formerly known as Bombay), and owned by Tata Sons, a registered charity. One of its members is Tata Motors Limited (formerly TELCO, short for Tata Engineering and Locomotive Company) a multinational automotive manufacturing company producing passenger cars, trucks, vans, coaches, buses, sports cars, construction equipment and military vehicles,. The group includes Jaguar Land Rover, with manufacturing and assembly plants in India, as well as in Argentina, South Africa, Great Britain and Thailand.

Founded in 1945 to produce locomotives, the company manufactured its first commercial vehicle in 1954 in a collaboration with Daimler-Benz AG (which ended in 1969): the chassis was a copy of the Mercedes L 3500, and from it was derived a whole series of bus and truck chassis, like the Tata 1210 and then the 1510, and its more modern variant the 1512. The Tata 1510/1512 was the largest selling bus in India and neighbouring countries, combining good features and low ownership cost. Built on a sturdy frame with parallel side members, suited to the difficult local conditions, and equipped from 1993 with a Cummins straight six diesel engine (previously with a Tata-Mercedes Benz 697 engine), the 1512 was usually bodied by contracted suppliers to customer requirements. Alas in later years its reliability was often hindered by poor maintenance causing frequent accidents, notwithstanding a legal maximum speed of 40 km/h.

The scale model represents a 1990 large capacity long distance bus where, lacking any air conditioning, the side doors (obviously on the left side) have been deleted, at the expense of safety. There is the usual combination of a plastic body and a metal baseplate, which is well detailed. It is painted in a bright livery in white, yellow and light green. On the sides there is the “Stage Carriage” writing, meaning it is a vehicle stopping at designated places, plus others printed in Indian characters, which the Author cannot decipher. The registration plate is one from the Delhi Regional Transport Office, correctly printed in black over yellow, as required for a public use. The prefix DL-1P is specifically allocated to Delhi commercial buses.

The angular shape of the bus is well reproduced, with large windows and many separate plastic parts, like lights, bumpers, mirrors and wipers, plus a chromed side exhaust. Very nice wheels and driver’s ‘cab’ area. The seats are only basic. Note the shadows on the windows representing the safety bars on their lower side. No apparent differences to the French edition. A nice model of an almost unknown bus, at least in Europe.


 

No. 47 (no. 36 in the French collection) Berliet PLR 10 1955 – We have already seen the Berliet history and its Crusair (see part 8, no. 22), PHL 10 (see part 10, no. 30) and PR100 ranges (Jelcz version, see part 14, no. 40) 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 PLR 8, a very powerful bus, but old fashioned even before it was launched: its heavy welded box frame, its dual rear wheels and horizontal engine meant high costs, both to buy, to use and to maintain. The PLR 8, an urban bus, was equipped with a 125 CV five cylinders MDUH diesel engine, while the PLR 10, an intercity bus, had a 150 CV six cylinders MDZH diesel, later used also on the urban version of the PLR 10. In 1958 a new generation of very low consumption engines was developed thanks to the MAN injection system, but this evolution did not save the model from its fate, as it was not the commercial success the new engine deserved.

With the cooperation of Vétra for the electric systems, Berliet produced a trolleybus version of the PLR 10, named ELR, a variant appreciated in Nice and Marseille.

The scale model represents an urban version (the correct name should be PLR 10 U) of the Monegasque CAM (Compagnie des Autobus de Monaco) with only 20 seated places and large central and rear platform for 70 standing places. The model is in a very elegant white livery with the coat of arms of the Principality on the roof. There is the usual plastic body with metal baseplate, and the exhaust is enhanced in silver.

The red circle on the front means that the vehicle runs a regular service, but it is in contrast with the “Special” in the destination board. The registration plate is not correct for the year, it should be white on blue, the blue on white was released only from 1978. Very likely it is a copy of a preserved and re-registered bus.

A nice front grille is provided, suitably pierced, and good wheels. A well reproduced driver’s cockpit is present as well as a basic interior. Usual added parts like lights, bumpers, mirrors and wipers are fitted. No apparent differences to the French edition. A good choice, fifties buses are the most loved.


 

No. 48 (no. 37 in the French collection) Skoda 706 RO 1947 – In 1859, Count Wallenstein-Vartenberk, owner of an already established foundry and engineering work, set up a branch in Pilsen, then in the Kingdom of Bohemia, part of the Austrian Empire. In 1869, the plant was taken over by Emil Škoda, who soon expanded the firm, and in the 1880s founded what was then a very modern steelwork, which was a leader in arms manufacturing. Exports included heavy castings, such as parts for the Niagara Falls power plant and for the Suez Canal sluices. In 1924, Škoda Works acquired the Laurin-Klement car manufacturer, later known as Škoda Auto.

The companies were separated after 1945, when the whole Czechoslovak economy came under government control : the car works in Mladá Boleslav became AZNP (Automobilové závody národní podnik or National Automobile Manufacturing Industry) today’s Škoda Auto, while the truck plant became part of a conglomerate of nine truck producers headquartered in Liberec as LIAZ (Liberecké automobilové závody), although the trucks and buses were still marketed as Škodas. Later, Škoda became well known in the USSR and other countries as a trolleybus manufacturer, but when in late 1989 the company was privatised very soon mismanagement, and the loss of guaranteed access to the East-European market, led to a collapse. In 1991 the Czech government sought a foreign partner for the passenger car works, choosing Volkswagen with a 30% initial stake, rising to 100% ownership by 1999.

The Škoda 706 RO is an urban bus produced from 1947 on the frame of the 706 R truck, and bodied by Sodomka (from 1948 named Karosa). In 1896 Josef Sodomka founded a manufacturing plant for coaches, and producing automobile bodywork of its own design from 1925, designed to be mounted on automobile chassis produced by Praga. In 1948, the company was nationalised and incorporated into a ‘National Enterprise’, which was then given the name Karosa (acronym for “Factory for carriages, cars, rotors, machine tools, cutting machines and buses”). Karosa become the sole manufacturer of buses in Czechoslovakia, but in 1989, after the fall of the communist regime, Karosa had to reduce its production. Help came from Renault, Karosa later becoming part of Irisbus and then of Iveco Bus. At the time the RO was a modern high capacity bus and was exported to many countries within the communist block, China included. The engine, a Skoda straight six diesel engine with 145 CV, was placed in front next to driver, and the rear axle was propelled by a long driveshaft. The body presented a very long rear overhang. Its heir, the RTO (quite similar, but much more comfortable with a lowered frame), was presented in 1958 and continued serial production until 1972, while it was produced under licence until 1977 by Jelcz (see part 14, no. 40) in Poland.

The scale model represents quite accurately a bus exported to China, with a red and white livery, and a dark grey roof. The Author apologises but he is unable to translate the Chinese characters. At the time China encouraged the workforce to live close to work to limit need for transport to work. Nowadays their cities are blocked by traffic like ours, and worse.

The bus has the usual form of construction with a plastic body and metal baseplate, which is well detailed. A side exhaust is added, as are front and rear tow hooks. Very nice doors and the wheels are fitted. Among the added plastic parts are the usual lights, bumpers, mirrors (five of them) and wipers. On the roof a triangle is fitted, very likely to be used to indicate the presence of a trailer. Another nice reproduction of a bus almost unknown in Western Europe.


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Hachette Italy World Buses Part 15

By Fabrizio Panico

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

Parts 43 to 45

Three more European buses: a Spanish and we could say two Germans, because the Heuliez is the copy of a Mercedes-Benz one. All of them are 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. 43 (no. 70 in the French collection) MAN 535 HO 1969 – The origins of MAN can be traced back to the XVIII century when the “St. Antony” iron works started operation in Oberhausen, in the Ruhr region. After many mergers and countless name changes, in 1898 the Maschinenbau-AG Nürnberg and Maschinenfabrik Augsburg AG merged to form a company that in 1908 was renamed Maschinenfabrik Augsburg Nürnberg AG (MAN). Besides ore mining and iron production in the Ruhr region, mechanical engineering (mainly railway and steel based building) became the dominating branch of business in Augsburg and Nuremberg, with spectacular works like the Wuppertal monorail and the first steel bridges. In 1915 they started to assemble Saurer trucks and after a few years their own truck chassis. Together with Rudolf Diesel and the Bosch company, MAN developed and perfected the high-speed compression-ignition engine, powering heavy trucks and buses. During the Second World War MAN supplied diesel engines for submarines and tanks, projectiles and artillery of every kind, becoming the target of massive Allied bombing attacks. After the end of the war the allies split up the group, separating mining, iron and steel production from engineering, plant construction, commercial vehicles and printing machines. In 1952 MAN presented its first bus with a rear engine and self-supporting body structure, the MKH2, soon followed by the urban Metrobus and its articulated derivatives. The 535 HO (for heckmotor, rear engine) was introduced in 1963, intended both as suburban and tourism bus, in competition with the Mercedes O321 and the Bussing Konsul-10. It was a limited success. Produced with a length of 9.3 or 10.3 metres, it had a very high flat floor, large windows and a six cylinder diesel engine with 135 or 160 CV. Its first version had a curved roof, sometimes with additional windows in the roof. In 1969 the roof was flattened, with higher side windows and squared headlamps. But the MAN history is very complex, for example from 1967 until 1977 MAN collaborated with France’s Saviem, badging their light to medium duty trucks as MAN, and after that a deal was signed with Volkswagen which lasted until 1993. Meanwhile in 1971 there was the take-over of the truck and bus division of the commercial vehicles manufacturer Büssing (the logo on the front of all MAN trucks and buses shows a lion, from the coat of arms of the old Duchy of Brunswick, headquarters of Büssing), but at the beginning of the 1980s there was a dramatic downturn of commercial vehicle sales caused by the oil crisis and the economic crisis. There were agreements with the Chinese company Sinotruk and later agreements and acquisitions of the Indian company Force Motors and the Brazilian Volkswagen truck and bus operation. In 2001 MAN Nutzfahrzeuge AG acquired Neoplan Bus GmbH, creating Neoman Bus GmbH. Then, in July 2011, Volkswagen AG acquired the majority of the share capital in MAN, planning to merge MAN and Scania to create Europe’s largest truckmaker.

The scale model is based on one of the preserved buses, with the usual combination of a plastic body and a metal baseplate. It is well detailed with a bright livery in cream and red. The registration plate is from Landshut, a town in Bavaria in the south-east of Germany, situated on the banks of the river Isar.

The angular shape of the MAN is well reproduced, with the large windows well modelled and many small separate plastic parts, like lights, bumpers, mirrors and wipers.

A very nice front grille is fitted, only ornamental due to the rear engine, and good seats and nice chromed hubcaps. A minor fault is the missing steps at the front door, the transparent doors show a void in their place. There are no apparent differences to the French edition. A nice model of a tourist bus typical of the 1960s.

 

No. 44 (no. 59 in the French collection) Pegaso 6035 EMT 1972 – We have already seen the Pegaso history and its Z-403 Monoscocca (see part 3, no. 8) and how its parent company, ENASA (Empresa Nacional de Autocamiones S.A.), was took over by IVECO in 1990, and the Pegaso name disappeared in 1994 after building more than 350,000 vehicles. Its first trucks were slightly modified petrol engined Hispano-Suiza 66G, soon followed in 1949 by diesel models (Z-202), also available as articulated tractors, road train and coach or bus (Z-401). In the 1960s and 1970s, the impressive economic development of Spain allowed Pegaso trucks and buses to cross borders and link the Spanish economy with the European Economic Community. In 1961 Pegaso started with the “6000 range” the production of the “Monotral” buses and coaches, based on an Italian Viberti patent, a chassisless design with an underfloor horizontal engine, a very light yet full-length vehicle. These vehicles adopted the same design of the self-supporting structure used for the Z-403monoscocca“. Within the 6000 range, the models 6035 and 6038 were notable for the large number of units built,with the 6424 being the range’s latest development before the absorption of ENASA by Iveco, produced from 1989.   The first prototype of Pegaso 6035 was designed by the coachbuilder Jorsa and was tested on the streets of Barcelona at the beginning of 1965, it was a sturdy, spacious and aesthetically very nice bus. Equipped with an horizontal six online diesel Pegaso 9101 engine of 170 CV, mated to a hydraulic clutch, and a semi-automatic gear shift (Wilson). It had servo assisted steering and mixed suspension. It was one of the most popular urban buses in Spain during the 1970s and 1980s : Barcelona, Burgos, Madrid, Palma de Mallorca, San Sebastián, Santander, Sevilla and Valencia were some of the cities that chose this bus, which remained in service for more than 20 years. The EMT fleet of Madrid bought 415 units, all with three doors, with access by the rear, except the last five that had only two doors, when the role of bus conductor was dropped. It was the last bus to sport the Madrid blue livery before, in 1974, the city council decided to change the colour of the fleet to red.   Production of the 6035 stopped in 1979, but during all its life it was constantly updated.   To meet the need for a larger capacity bus it was presented an articulated version, the 6035A, with a length of 18 metres. This was another success with more than 100 units in Barcelona bodied by Hugas and more than 500 in Madrid, bodied by Noge.

This model is also based on one of the preserved buses, with the blue and ivory livery typical of Madrid painted on the plastic body which is attached to a metal base plate, with the exhaust picked out in silver.

There is a very detailed front with the Madrid insignia and the joint emblem Jorsa/Pegaso, as well as the model name. The line number is 61, from the Moncloa bus station, serving the northwest of the Madrid region, to Calle de Narvàez, near the University Pediatric Hospital in front of the El Retiro park.

On the sides and at the back there adverts for the EMT night service. Well reproduced folding doors, windows and driver’s cab feature. More basic are the  seats and interior. There is a lovely “Pegasus” logo on the chromed hubcaps. Many small separate parts are fitted like the wipers, rearview mirrors, lights, and bumpers.

 

There is no apparent difference to the French edition. A nice reproduction of an emblematic Spanish bus.

 

No. 45 (no. 71 in the French collection) Heuliez O305 HLZ 1969 – The “French edition” of a famous German bus (more than 16,000 copies from 1969 to 1987) the Mercedes-Benz O305, the product of standardisation requested by the VoV (Verband Offentlicher Verkehrsbetriebe), the Association of German Public Transport. Similar buses were also produced by Büssing, Gräf/Steyr, Ikarus, Magirus-Deutz and MAN. Designed for use as a single-decker bus, it was later redesigned to accommodate double-decker bodies, and it was built as either a complete bus or a bus chassis. The engine was a horizontal six in-line diesel producing 210 CV, positioned at the rear of the bus. This was very reliable and almost noiseless. The body had a high floor, needing two steps, and a square shape with large windows. The Heuliez version had squared headlamps, a higher roof, different bumpers and lacked the small windows at the rear corners. Its origins came from a strong French nationalistic spirit: Compared to the Berliet PR100, the O305 was easily the winner, and it was preferred to have the benefits of the Mercedes-Benz but made in France and sold with a  French badge. Many in France resented the  “German invasion” as the German manufactured goods proved to be better than their competitors. On the initiative of Alain Chenard, mayor of Nantes and president of the Compagnie Nantes de Transport (future Semitan), fruitful contacts took place between Heuliez and Mercedes-Benz, leading to the production by Heuliez of all the buses exported to France. Heuliez was a company founded in 1920 to produce bodies on Renault, Citroën, Peugeot and Simca chassises. Heuliez specialized in the study and building of prototypes for manufacturers, producing short series for niche markets or derivatives, such as vans, convertibles and breaks in small series. Its subsidiary Heuliez Bus went through many different part-owners: from Renault to Volvo, to Irisbus, until it was entirely bought in 2001 by IVECO and it is now a 100% subsidiary of CNH Industrial.   After the O305 HLZ (more than 600 copies) it developed a minibus based on the Renault Master and more urban buses for French towns, like the GX107 and GX187. In the 1980s Heuliez was asked to renovate the O305 of Nantes: the oldest buses were unbodied, slightly lengthened and fitted with the body of the GX107, the interior was redesigned and the buses renamed GX44, while the most recent ones remained O305 until their reformation.

The model is shaped accurately and the white, green and orange livery appears authentic and neatly printed. The body is plastic, as usual, with a metal base plate with limited detail.

Many small plastic separate parts, like wipers, mirrors, lights and bumpers are used. It is fitted with accurate French registration plates for Nantes, a City in the Atlantic Loire. A basic interior is accompanied by a nice dashboard with lots of detail.

 

On the sides are two small adverts for Michelin ZX tires. Again there are no apparent differences to the French edition. An almost obvious choice, given the French origin of the collection.


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Hachette Italy World Buses Part 14

By Fabrizio Panico.

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

Parts 40 to 42

This time we travel to three continents : Europe, America and Australia. A French bus made in Poland, another American Greyhound and an Aussie Ford, 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 one “Autobus et autocars du monde”, produced in Bangladesh for Ixo.

No. 40 (no. 34 in the French collection) Berliet Jelcz PR100 1973 – We have already seen the Berliet history and its Cruisair (see part 8, no. 22) and PHL 10 ranges (see part 10, no. 30) and how during the fifties Berliet was successful, but then, lacking the resources to innovate, it was acquired by Citroën, already owned by Michelin. After the 1973 oil crisis, Michelin decided to concentrate on its tire business and Citroën was sold to Peugeot and Berliet  to Renault. Renault merged Berliet with Saviem to form Renault Véhicules Industriels (RVI) in 1978. After the merger, the Berliet name was phased out and the last Berliet bus in production, the 1971 PR100, continued to be sold as a Renault until 1993.

The PR100 was a full-size step-entrance single-decker city bus, with over 13,500 buses of the PR100 range produced in France alone. The original PR100 was developed and manufactured based on German practices of the late 1960s, with a self-supporting body and a chassis with a central beam and a welded framework of squared tubes. Available with a rear Berliet diesel V8 engine producing 170 bhp, it was 11.25 m long with three basic variations of seating/standing combinations.

The PR100 was mainly used in France, with some exported to Algeria, Australia (usually badged Mack) and Morocco. The design was licensed to Jelcz in Poland, and used in many Polish cities. Jelcz is a Polish company (Jelczanskie Zaklady Samochodowe) which produced trucks, buses and trolley buses in the communist era. It currently manufacturies offroad military trucks. In 1952 a former German armaments factory in Jelcz-Laskowice near Wroclaw, newly part of  western Poland, was selected to develop and build bodies for Lublin and Star trucks. A company called “Zaklady Budowy Nadwozi Samochodowych” (Car-body Construction Works) was established, and soon produced a small bus on a Star truck chassis. But there was no time to develop new prototypes and in 1958 it was decided to produce under license the Skoda 706 RO (we’ll see it as no. 48 in part sixteen).

In 1972 the Berliet PR100 was chosen for a mass production under license, but soon there were issues with the structure of the body itself as it was not suited to the rough Polish roads (same problem already seen with the ZIS 154, see no. 37 part thirteen) because of the poor quality of the Polish components and the welding process. In 1975 it was replaced by the PR110, now 12 m long, with an higher floor, a better structure, a third door and a more powerful engine, licensed from Leyland.

The scale model is probably based on one of the preserved buses (there are many pictures of it on the web). It feels the “right” weight as the plastic body is fitted with a metal baseplate. It has a bright livery in cream and red, typical of Warsaw (see its famous mermaid insignia on the sides). Many small separate plastic parts are fitted, like lights, bumpers, mirrors and wipers. The model has the correct “square” original shape and the large windows. It has a basic and authentic interior. Nice rear engine grilles are included as is a neat Berliet crest on the front. Correct black registration plates, WA for Warsaw, capital of the Polish Masovian voivodeship (an administrative subdivision, like Italian provinces, of Poland). There are no apparent differences to the French edition. A nice model of a bus quite common in Poland.


 

No. 41 (no. 54 in the French collection) GMC PD-3751 Greyhound 1947 – Greyhound and General Motors have already been our guests, the beautiful Super Scenicruiser as no. 4 in part two, and the GMC history in no. 29 part ten. Greyhound Lines Inc was born in Minnesota in 1914, adopting the famous Greyhound name and insignia from 1929, and after many spin-offs, mergers, and bankruptcies it is nowadays the largest motorcoach operator in the United States and Canada. Its whole history can be easily found on the web,

Here we have the famous “Silversides”, forerunners of the Scenicruisers and Super Scenicruisers. In 1936 General Motors and the Yellow Coach Company showed a groundbreaking coach, the 719 Super Coach, partly financed by Greyhound, an inter-city transport with aluminium semi-monocoque chassis, rear transverse engine, angle-drive transmission, raised platform with large underfloor luggage compartments and much more.

In 1939 it evolved into the PD/PG-3701 and PD/PG-4101, the iconic “Silversides” from their corrugated aluminium sheet side panels. Their name said all : P as Parlor Coach, D as Diesel, G as Gasoline, 37 or 41 as the number of seats. But the Second World War limited production to less than 1,000 units.

When Greyhound plans for a revolutionary postwar bus design did not materialise, 2,000 buses of the familiar prewar Silversides pattern were ordered from General Motors and delivered in 1947 and 1948 : the PD-3751 and PD-4151. The chassis was now 2 feet longer and the engine was the famous Detroit Diesel 6-71 producing 190 hp, a two-stroke inline six, used in many different military vehicles during the Second World War.

The scale model is named GMC, but in reality GMC badges did not appear until 1968, replacing GM, GM Coach and Yellow Coach badges previously fitted. Its striking styling is reproduced well. It has the usual plastic body and metal baseplate. It sports the “classic” blue and silver livery, beautifully reproduced, complete with all the Greyhound decorations. The 1947 registration plate is from California, while the destination board reads “San Francisco”. Very nice wheels, seats and the driver’s area. Many small separate parts are used and nicely “chromed bumpers”. The steering wheel seems to be a bit too big but that is a small point. No apparent differences to the French edition. A good model of an iconic bus, seen in many black and white US movies.


No. 42 (no. 60 in the French collection) Ford Super Coach Greyhound 1937 – Another Greyhound ? not exactly, despite all similarities Greyhound Australia has never had any affiliation with the FirstGroup-owned Greyhound Lines, or their out of USA companies. Greyhound Australia is Australia’s only long national distance coach operator running services in all mainland states and territories. It was formed in 1928 with a service between Toowoomba and Brisbane, creating a full national coach company in the 1970s.

Today it is owned by KordaMentha, an Australian advisory and investment firm. Ford Motor Company of Australia Limited is the Australian subsidiary of US Ford Motor Company. It was founded in Geelong, Victoria, in 1925 as an outpost of Ford Motor Company of Canada, Limited. At that time, Ford Canada was a separate company from Ford USA, Henry Ford having granted the manufacturing rights of Ford motor vehicles in the British Empire (later the Commonwealth), excepting the UK, to Canadian investors.

Ford Australia’s first products were Model Ts assembled from complete knock-down (CKD) kits provided by Ford of Canada, followed by Model A and V8. After the Second World War Ford Australia assembled imported Ford models. Initially, they assembled the UK sourced Pilot, then a range of British cars, including the Prefect, Consul, Zephyr and Zodiac. Ford also assembled the Canadian Ford V8 and later fully Australian design like the Falcon. Due to noncompetitive manufacturing costs and poor sales, production ceased in 2016, but Ford are continuing to design and develop cars and trucks for the Asia/Pacific region.

The Greyhound Super Coach is a one-off, built on the chassis of a truck and bodied by the Watt Brothers Coach of Brisbane, with a wood framework and plywood panels covered in sheet metal. Very likely the engine was the classic Ford V8 producing 85 hp. Chassis and body were found some time ago in a local junkyard (see pictures on the web), but it has not yet been restored. Due to its Australian origins, there is a central door on the left side only.

The scale model is true to the original streamlined shape and the white livery seems to be authentic judging by the many old pictures. A plastic body and metal baseplate are used, with an added “chromed” exhaust and front and rear plastic lower fairings. Some plastic parts are added like lights and bumpers. It is basic model with no rear mirrors and one wiper only. A basic interior is fitted but it does have a nice dashboard. A large baggage area with rails is fitted on the roof, but there is no ladder. The registration plates were issued by New South Wales, the “First State”, black on yellow with the prefix Metro, as required for commercial buses in Sydney, Newcastle and Wollongong districts. As usual there are no apparent differences to the French edition. A nice model of an almost unknown bus.


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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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Atlas BMMO D9 Bus

By Maz Woolley

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

Midland Red were a major bus group here in the UK serving the Midlands from 1905 until 1981. It was one of the largest groups in the UK covering a territory from Gloucester in the south-west to Derby to its North West and encompassing the industrial west and east midlands. It’s buses and coaches were a well known sight even in the cities where municipal operators dominated local services as Midland Red provided almost all the inter-urban routes and most of the local routes in smaller towns in the area.

One curious feature of Midland Red is that it made its own buses between 1923 and 1969 when it was swallowed by the National Bus Company. The combination of the solid red livery and its uniquely styled BMMO buses made Midland Red services stand out.

The BMMO D9 was introduced in the late 1950s and served the company well with the final examples leaving the works in the mid 1960s and being in service until the wholesale replacement with Leyland Nationals during the ownership of MIdland Red by the National Bus Company.  It was early to provide electric closing doors and disk brakes all round, though later models had drums fitted and these were also retro fitted to the earlier buses. This was because though the disks worked well the pads wore out extremely quickly and were worn before the standard service interval was completed. In other ways the D9 was the end of an era with its half cab for the driver and conductor operation at a time when municipal fleets were introducing one man operation and rear engined Leyland Atlantians and Daimler Fleetlines.

The model shown in this article is a model from the Atlas Great British Buses series sold in the UK which has now ended and surplus stock has now ended up in the hands of wholesalers. The base has Corgi printed on it which shows that Atlas had it made for them from Corgi dies. Corgi produced this model in their Original Omnibus range in Midland Red and West Midlands Public Transport Executive colours, WMPTE took over many Midland Red routes in the Black Country to the west of Birmingham  when the new West Midlands county was formed.  The Corgi Midland Red buses were on service D9 to Dudley, X35 Hereford to Ludlow, and the WMPTE one on service 130 Stourbridge to Halesowen.  When Atlas had their model made made they moved over to the over side of the MIdland Red operation with the 658 service to Leicester via Nuneaton which started its journey in Coventry at Pool Meadow Bus Station.

The Atlas model is fundamentally the same as the Corgi one and includes all the wing mirrors , blind winding handles, and grab handles  that were used on the OOC versions. It is a good model though the plastic front panel insert used to portray the BMMO radiator is not a complete colour match and tends to slide in its setting more than it should. The alloy framed windows are nicely printed and the rear sliding doors well made. The printed adverts are nice period touches too. All in all it captures well the buses that I saw when young sitting at Pool Meadow ready for the journey to Leicester surrounded by Coventry Transport Daimler Fleetlines doing the local journeys.


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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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Hachette Italy – World Buses Part 11Bus

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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