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Air brakes, overdrive or Maybach auxiliary gearboxes and double reduction final drives were optional.The main emphasis was on the diesel engined models which had names beginning with the letter ‘D’ (Diligent, Defiant, Dauntless, Dominant, Durable, Dynamic, though later models were called Active, Effective and Samson), the much rarer petrol versions using ‘P’ as the initial letter (Pioneer, Persistent, Powerful).In the immediate post war period the demand for passenger chassis was exceptionally high, and, on the strength of the performance of the HOE7 ‘Saurer head’ engine, orders for Crossley chassis poured in.3119 chassis were built between 19, but the concentration of production was in the years before the weaknesses of the HOE7 engine became widely apparent.During the Great War Armstrong Whitworth concentrated on ships, armaments and aircraft – the aeroplane division was formed in 1912 – and from 1919 adapted its Newcastle Scotswood works for a determined assault into railway locomotive and road roller manufacturing. (Vickers already had its own aircraft manufacturing arm.) Armstrong Whitworth had earlier entered into a licence arrangement with Saurer of Switzerland in 1919 for the manufacture of diesel engines which were first fitted to diesel locomotives and railcars, but, in 1930, the firm decided to re-enter the automotive market with the Armstrong-Saurer range of lorries built at Scotswood.In 1927 Armstrong Whitworth merged several of its engineering interests with Vickers, when the aircraft and motor divisions of the former AW concern were sold off to J. These massive looking, normal or forward control machines were available with four or six cylinder indirect injection engines coupled with four speed gearboxes in four, six or eight wheeled versions.This chassis type, which had a four speed crash gearbox and chain final drive, was also available as a three ton lorry, later uprated to four tons.By 1914 a one ton van with worm final drive had been added to the catalogue (figures refer to the payload, not, as today, the gross vehicle weight), but the firm’s commitment to automobile production was less than wholehearted.
I have challenged before, and will challenge again, the widespread notion that Crossley failed because of its engine problems.
Very few were bodied as buses or coaches, but, in 1932, a 13ft 2ins wheelbase, normal control Dauntless with the 6 cylinder diesel of 8.55 litres, producing 90 bhp at 1800 rpm (the alternative four cylinder engine developed 52 bhp from 6.8 litres) was fitted with a luxuriously appointed Ransomes, Sims and Jeffries single deck body for demonstration purposes.
In 1933, Armstrong -Saurer declared that it was considering entering the single and double deck passenger vehicle market, but later that year the Armstrong-Saurer diesel engines were offered as options in the Dennis Lancet and Lance chassis.
A real pity that the management didn’t fork out and pay Saurer the licence fees, but even then the weak crankshaft would still have posed problems, and the much lighter Morris-Saurer engines fitted to Hants and Dorset’s Morris-Commercials were apparently not that successful.
I remember seeing them at Lymington, but never got a ride. I recall going into a shed in the 1980’s,which was part of Botley’s Park Hospital, Ottershaw, Surrey (which, like many mental institutions, had a farm, but long closed by then).
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In the early postwar years, Crossleys sold as well as they did because there was a high demand for buses.