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


In particular, the tractor/semitrailer combination also cost little in taxes. To calculate tax, the authorities only included the weight of the (unladen) semitrailer which rests on the axles of the tractor unit. What the axles of the semitrailer of the empty combination have to carry is simply disregarded. On top of that, the tractor/semitrailer combination permitted dispensing with staff which was absolutely required for many a drawbar trailer combination: “We should especially emphasize,” the advertising of that period stated in a somewhat laconic style “that operation of the tractor is handled by the driver alone, i.e., ONE-MAN OPERATION.”

To top it all, compared with conventional drawbar trailer combinations the tractor/semitrailer combination afforded much greater flexibility. After all, demountable platforms as are common mainly in dual-mode transport today were not yet a topic in those days. So anyone in those days who planned his transport operations in the form of a shuttle service or wanted to make use of different bodies could not get around the tractor/semitrailer combination: it alone enabled switching between different body concepts or simply parking the load carrier for loading or unloading and continuing to make productive use of the tractor during that time – even for passenger transportation, if need arose.

Tatzelwurm: space for 170 passengers

The smart practice of alternating between freight and passenger transportation with one’s tractor quickly took root in those days. During the economic boom of the 1930s the population acquired a mobility which the manufacturers of mass conveyances no longer could satisfy with their old concepts. Tractor/semitrailer combinations designed as gigantic large-capacity buses and called Tatzelwurm (a mythical reptile of Alpine provenience) stepped into the breach. The biggest of its kind reached the impressive length of 18.7 meters and could carry no less than 170 passengers including standees.


tractor/semitrailer combination of Kässbohrer with L 6500 tractor, 1936.

As time went on, the three-member basic range of 1933 was joined by an additional model which can be viewed as a consistent development towards higher payloads. The new tractor LZ 10000 shown by Daimler-Benz at the 1938 Berlin auto show was designed for a total payload of ten tons – ten tons, with a combination weight of only 17 tons and a chassis weighing easily 3800 kilograms. Compare this: the three-axle flat-bed truck L 10000 without body already weighed 7400 kilograms. Under its hood the LZ 10000 still had the lean six-cylinder from the Lo 3500, which had meanwhile been upgraded to 100 hp and 7.3 liters displacement with a ten millimeter bigger stroke and a five millimeter smaller bore.


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