Dorman Engined Vehicles

Wolverhampton could not only complete its run to Liverpool in two hours less than its time with a petrol engine but could do so at half the fuel expense; more startling still it could now ascend the notorious gradient in the Potteries in ten minutes where it had previously taken half an hour.
   The moral was clear, furthermore, it was pointed out over and over again throughout the early thirties in such magazines as Motor Transport and Commercial Motor, the diesel engine for road transport is here to stay and this was confirmed, by a number of contractors who stated firmly that they would not go back to petrol, in the same issue of the magazine already quoted; such at least was the opinion of the experts in the trade press and the trade itself. They were not indeed to be proved right overnight but today, in Britain, commercial vehicles powered by petrol engines are a rarity and are mainly confined to vehicles which may be called upon to perform duties abroad.
    The company was able to sell many diesels for use in motor 'buses and coaches as well as lorries; between 1934 and 1939 many engines found their way into Albion and Guy 'buses for use by the Nizam

of Hyderabad's State Railway, carrying out feeder services between the oilheads and desolate up-country areas. The last of these vehicles was still running up to ten years ago.

An imposing number of Bedford chassis, fitted with Dorman diesel engines, can be seen here as they left the factory gates in 1938 to fulfil another order from an exotic corner of the Empire; below are two of the chassis as they looked at journeys end against a suitable imperial background in Burma.

It is of interest to note that the first vehicle ever to be re-engined by a Dorman diesel engine, or indeed to run on one, was Dorman's own Karrier lorry, in 1931, suffice to say it was the first of many.
   As time progressed and the diesel engine grew more popular it was safe to assume that one of the main factors contributing to this was the difference in running costs between petrol and diesel engines. For confirmation of the comparative costs we can only be guided by figures quoted in a technical magazine as far back as 1935, which covered the results of tests


Two in Burma


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Dorman Centenary CB 26-27 CB 30-31

engines to the commercial motor industry from 1932 to 1939; this was fortunate to say the least, since the firm could have shared the fate of a myriad of by no means lesser concerns and been crushed out of existence by the Great Depression. Certainly a visitor to the Tixall Road works in 1933 noticed that the active production then under way represented a striking contrast to many other factories in the motor and light engineering industries at the time. The fact remains however, that for a considerable time Dorman's was extremely hard pressed even to keep production at near this level.
   Once the move to the commodious Tixall Road premises had been fully completed, of course, production too would be able to flourish still more and the firm would, to a great extent, be assured against the risk of closure, unfortunately is was first at this difficult period that production had to be increased to a level which would justify the complete move! However, by 1932 the heavy machining, tinsmiths, blacksmiths and diecasting shops were already at Tixall Road in addition to the Foundry while Foregate Street works remained occupied by light machining and erecting shops and administrative departments.



carried out by Trufood's AEC Lorry No. 7 driven by a Mr. Wallace.
   When fitted with a petrol engine the lorry covered a total of 1,100.6 miles and consumed 226 gallons of petrol, an average of 4.8 m.p.g. On the other hand when fitted with a Dorman diesel the same vehicle covered 1,201.8 miles, consumed 95.75 gallons of fuel oil an average of 12.5 m.p.g. Taking into consideration that in that day and age petrol cost 1s. 5d. per gal. and fuel oil 8d., this resulted in the saving of approximately 80% on fuel cost alone.
   Many local authorities eager to reduce costs, during this period of depression, saw the advantages of the diesel engine and were now turning to it for uses in municipal transport. Some idea of the conversion rate is portrayed in figures published by "The Oil Engineer" August 1934 in an article by Mr. Stuart Pilcher E.R.S.C., M. Inst.T., General Manager Manchester Corporation; these confirm that there were only 11 diesel engined 'buses in the Manchester area in 1931, this increased to 54 in 1932 and by 1933 it had jumped to 910. The minimum mileage by a single 'bus in the last named year was 101,795.
    Dorman's were able to ride high by supplying

Two Dorman-engined Bedford buses in Burma.



Fleet of Dorman-engined Bedford chassis outside Tixall Road Works.

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