Dorman Engined Lorry

 "I am more than satisfied . . . most efficient, reliable and trouble free" wrote one local haulage contractor, in November 1934; one of his Foden lorries had just completed 27,000 miles with a 4DS engine, and he had now invested in a combination of the same type of engine and a Guy chassis. The following January a Mr. Broadhurst wrote in to sing the praises of his new Morris 3 tonner with yet another 4DS engine, from which not a moments trouble had been received; indeed the Dorman engined vehicles seem to have been a particularly popular and happy combination. Further afield Rose Brothers of Derby spoke glowingly of their 4JUR engined Dennis lorry, which was, in March 1935, proving as reliable and economical as ever, following its first major overhaul in 100,000 miles. A 4RBL engined Scammel in Stoke-on-Trent had completed 170,000 miles of excellent service by the time its owners testified of its qualities, from Wrexham came the news of 373,000 miles which a fleet of four Dorman engined lorries had completed in aggregate and once more a haulage contractor could only express himself in the phrase of "complete satisfaction". Trouble free praised a contractor from Lincolnshire; "the last word in reliability and economy"

said a Mr. Clark of Wrexham and other contractors' letters of recommendation found their way into the Dorman's files from Shropshire, Cambridgeshire, Bedfordshire, Wolverhampton, Wales and Scotland. From W. Alexander and Son Ltd., writing from Stirlingshire about the aggregate of some two million miles of which their fleet of ten Dorman engined Albion vehicles had first completed came praise of the most unstinting variety. These engines have given the minimum of trouble, and seem likely to continue doing so . . . any person thinking of changing over from petrol to compression ignition engines, should have no hesitation in fitting Dorman and we certainly would have no hesitation in recommending it. Praise indeed for it should be recalled that in those days, when roads vaguely resembled the high speed road of today, a weekly average of 1,000 miles which some of these commercial vehicles then covered represented a far more arduous load on the engine than it would under present day conditions.
The firm as it happened could hardly have gone into diesel production at a more fortunate time; following on the heels of innovations made in the diesel principle as early as 1924 diesel engines could now be

Dorman Lorry and Trailer

Fleet of Buses



Booklet home page                 Page index                    Pages 24 & 25                    Pages 28 & 29

Dorman Centenary CB 24-25 CB 28-29

As has already been seen, many prominent vehicle builders in the motor industry now turned to Dorman for a standard or alternative diesel engine, as a power unit. A comprehensive list of these names, many still famous although in other cases forgotten, would have besides those of Foden, Guy, Morris, Dennis, Scammell, and Albion, already given would have to include: Leyland, Commer, Karrier, Bedford, Straker-Squire, Vulcan, Thornycroft and the Yorkshire Patent Steam Wagon Company of Hunslet.
In addition to this a vast growth of business sprang from the desire of most haulage contractors to re-engine their vehicles once the high speed diesels qualities of fuel economy became readily apparent. Another feature of the diesel was that it could continue to run smoothly for far longer periods than the petrol engine under even the most taxing road conditions; drivers might find themselves able to lop anything up to 25% off the time needed to make any protracted journey because far less time needed to be spent than hitherto in changing up and changing down again. The "Motor Transport" of April 8th, 1933, reported that a Dorman re-engined Leyland 4 tonner belonging to a firm in

made to run at speeds well in excess of 2,000 rev/min.; previously the maximum speeds at which diesels ran was far nearer 300 rev./min. and while they could consume fuel far more economically than petrol engines, they could not match them for sheer power output. Thus the diesel engine, during the first thirty-odd years of its history, had, perforce, to be comparatively large before it became powerful enough to merit its use in place of the more compact but less economical petrol engine. Now, however, thanks to the advances in engineering, there is no reason why a diesel engine could not run at the same speed as a petrol engine of the same capacity to deliver marginally less power with considerable greater economy. In other words small diesel engines could be used to produce high power in compact settings: that is in commercial vehicles. It only required someone to make this deduction for the revolution to begin that would end in the reduction of petrol fuelled commercial models to a dwindling handful of elderly vehicles, and, when Dorman launched their own diesel range incorporating the innovation that made high engine speeds practicable, they were among the first to get the revolution under way.

Dorman-engined FODEN lorry operating in the Stafford area.

Dorman-engined GUY lorry operating in the Stafford area.

Fleet of Dorman-engined Albion buses in Scotland.

CB Index