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English   The long road to the rear-mounted engine
17.11.2011 von admin

German version

The long road to the rear-mounted engine
  • Bodies made of steel enhance safety
  • Semitrailer-type buses for maximum 170 passengers
  • The first bus with a rear-mounted engine debuts in 1951

Mercedes-Benz N1 from 1927 with construction of Kässbohrer

After the merger that created Daimler-Benz AG, the letter “N” stood for vehicles with low frames, which in almost all cases were buses. But at the same time there were also trucks with low frames, for instance the N 5 model, a five-ton truck launched in 1928.

Three basic models made up the first post-merger range of buses: N1 stood for the 16-passenger bus with four-cylinder M 14 engine. The N2, which used the six-cylinder M 26, was designed for 26 passengers. N5 in turn referred to the big flagship of the period, which offered space for a maximum of 60 passengers and was powered by the four-cylinder M 5 engine.

Of course, this wide-meshed range did not suffice in times of decreasing business activity to secure an adequate volume of orders for the factory. As early as 1928 a number of new models were added and the existing range was modernized.

Wood gives way to strong steel in the bus

One aspect of this modernization was that steel soon made itself useful in bus bodies in place of wood. For passenger transportation, in 1930 Daimler-Benz already was offering a new all-steel body that made the vehicles sturdier, safer and yet lighter. Until then, wood had been the preferred material of bodybuilders. Step by step, from 1930 on Daimler-Benz introduced a framed steel structure to supplant wood, and in doing so anticipated today’s designs: on a chassis with a low frame the bodybuilders placed a delicate-looking steel framework consisting of channel-shaped pressed steel ribs, which in combination with cross members and longitudinal members created a kind of cage. To strengthen the connections the designers used so-called gusset plates. Rivets durably joined this meshwork, and rivets served to attach the panels to the body afterwards.

Mercedes-Benz O 4000 with diesel engine and steel construction, 1930.

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