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English   From landau to low-frame bus: passenger transportation from 1885 to 1926
22.06.2010 von admin

Trucks and buses go separate ways

For exactly 30 years (counting from the first bus built by Benz), buses and trucks marched in step. It was 1925 when they began to part ways. Until then it was normal for bus bodies to rest on conventional truck chassis whose chief characteristic is a continuous frame. It means the passengers have to do some climbing to get in. The “low bus” manufactured in Gaggenau beginning in 1925 ushered in a new era with a far more convenient entrance for passengers.

But that was not possible without a special chassis. Its frame cranked downwards behind the front axle and then continued on straight to the rear. At the rear it made an upward bend again to create the necessary space for the rear axle. The reward for this effort was that the floor was now just 670 millimeters above the roadway.

A board divided the entrance into two steps of a little more than 300 millimeters: that would be entirely acceptable for a regular service bus even today.

Benz-Gaggenau 2 CNb bus with low-floor frame, 1925.

But the low frame afforded a number of other advantages. For example, the lower center of gravity which this means improved vehicle behavior. Which in turn distinctly enhanced both comfort and safety mainly on interurban coaches with heavily laden roof luggage racks. A brochure of the period put this advantage in a nutshell: “As a result of the low position of the body, the vehicle runs more smoothly and rocks less than a bus of conventional high design.” On top of that, buses with the low frame and a correspondingly lower slung body do not appear so stilted and look far more elegant than their counterparts. This optical break with the truck was a most welcome distinguishing feature for the new industry of passenger transportation.

Daimler-Benz buses with prospectus for low-floor, 1928.

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