During the August Bank Holiday week, Thornycroft was busy delivering to a mechanical transport camp in Kensington Gardens, London, all vehicles which had been nearing completion at Basingstoke, and which could be completed quickly with temporary or permanent bodies. Shortly afterwards, Thornycroft was instructed by the War Office to supply its entire output of J type lorries for military use, the first batch being delivered on 8 September. Later on in the war, Thornycroft was able to supply small numbers of J types to private operators while most of its production was absorbed by the War Office.
After World War 1, Thornycroft continued production of its four proven pre models, including the 2 ton BT, 3 ton X, 4 ton 40hp J and 5 ton 40hp Q type models. Later on, these types were joined by the 6 ton 40hp W, Thornycroft's first post war lorry design.
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The Hathi heavy four wheel drive tractor was introduced in , designed for heavy haulage of lumber, etc over difficult terrain. It could cross gullies with 3ft high vertical banks, exert a steady drawbar pull of 9,lb, haul a 10 ton trailer up a gradient of 1 in 10 at 7mph, and travel through soft sand.
Its built in winch had a pull of 5 tons. The British Army acquired a number of Hathis for artillery transport. The vehicle was powered by a giant By now, Thornycroft had become a major firm whose extensive product range included motor vehicles for goods, passenger transport and municipal service, cargo and passenger ships up to a length of ft, shallow draft vessels, oil tankers, destroyers, ferries, tugs, yachts, marine and stationary engines, motor boats capable of up to 40 knots 74kph , water tube marine boilers, etc. In addition to its London premises and its Basingstoke and Southampton works, Thornycroft had several depots and branches both at home and overseas.
The Thornycroft company was well-established and respected by , producing commercial vehicles, ships and other engineering products.
In many ways the companys progress in lorry design was far more impressive between and than it had been from to All Thornycrofts lorries were powered by four cylinder engines during the earlier period and had spark ignition. However, the need for more load capacity without loss of performance resulted in their most powerful lorry engine having around double the output of the previous eras best. Big Ben was designed to carry payloads of 50 tons. Thornycroft was acquired by AEC in , which was itself taken over by Leyland in Thornycroft was a United Kingdom-based vehicle manufacturer which built coaches, buses, and trucks from until History Thornycroft steam wagon of Thornycroft started out with steam vans and lorries.
John Isaac Thornycroft, the naval engineer, built his first steam lorry in Thornycroft's first petrol vehicle was built in and the company completed the move into internal combustion engine power in Thereafter the vehicle building firm and the marine side later to become Vosper Thornycroft were separate companies. From , Thornycroft used names for their vehicle range - descriptive and colourful ones.
In , the company name was changed to Transport Equipment Thornycroft Ltd to prevent confusion with the shipbuilding Thornycroft company. The company was well-known for providing fire-engine chassis, with multi-axle drive for uses such as airports. ACV was then taken over by Leyland who already had a specialist vehicle unit in Scammell, another manufacturer of large haulage vehicles.
Thornycroft's Basingstoke factory was closed in and specialist vehicles transferred to Scammell at Watford.
The factory continued as an engineering works until the late s when it was demolished to make way for a supermarket. The Milestones Museum is located a few hundred yards from the original site in Basingstoke and houses a collection of Thornycroft vehicles and other exhibits, mainly transport related. Today, the Thornycroft name is used by a builder of marine diesel engines for private and light commercial use, the engines being based around small-capacity engines designed by Mitsubishi.
Despite Thornycroft being effectively closed down by Leyland, the operation's parent company is now the main provider of spare parts for Leyland-built marine diesels, which for many years were highly popular for use in canal barges and narrowboats now a market making increasing use of modern-day Thornycroft engines.
The Illustrated History of Thornycroft Trucks Buses - AbeBooks
The Mighty Antar was a heavy-duty tractor unit built by Thornycroft from the s onwards. For some decades it was the standard tank transporter of the British Army and was also used by other nations.
Origins The civilian version of the Antar was developed in the late s as an oilfield vehicle for transporting pipes over rough ground. The vehicle was designed from the outset for off-road use, like the earlier Scammell Pioneer and unlike the road-going Diamond T it was eventually to replace. Early Antars used the petrol version made by Rover and by the early s the Rolls-Royce-manufactured diesel versions of the engine. These were fixed-body steel-built ballast tractors and were given the design number FV and the designation Tractor ton GS 6x4.
At this time, the intention was that the even heavier Conqueror tank would be transported by a whole new transporter of equally large capacity, the Leyland FV They were to be equipped with a semi-trailer of 60 tons capacity, given the design number FV This design was ungainly and top-heavy when loaded, being high at the rear to clear the wheels and sloping downwards towards the front to better place the weight of the load. Partly inspired by this semi-trailer, a new FV version of the Antar was developed as a tractor unit to haul it. This was a graceful swan-neck design and had only a small hump over the rear wheels, making loading by the rear ramps simpler.
The trackways on which the tank sat were carried outboard of the trailer frame itself, which rose up between them at the front to form the swan neck, sloping only gently to clear the tank's hull.
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This gave a stronger and yet more compact layout than the ungainly step of the FV project's. The first version of this was the wheeled FV of 60 tons capacity. Recovery vehicles The Antar tractor itself was heavier, at 20 tons, than any available recovery vehicle could lift for a suspended tow.
There had been plans in the super-heavy FV and FV series for recovery vehicles, but these were cancelled with the rest of the project. As an ad hoc measure in , an RASC officer devised a bolt-on recovery jib that could be fitted to one Antar to make it capable of the suspended towing of another, although this modification was never approved for mass production.