1961 The LV cab was introduced. The company employed 315 persons.
1961 Manufacturers of commercial motor vehicles. 315 employees.
1967 Fire appliances were produced, a situation which continued for ten years until taken over by Jennings
1970 Changes to the A range
1973 Developed the SP cab for vehicles up to 42ton gvw
1974 The B range introduced
1996 Company bought by Western Star of Canada
After a period of recuperation he returned to the development of a diesel lorry on his own account. With the collaboration of his son Dennis, William’s son Ted, and several key figures dismissed by Fodens, Edwin went on to establish a rival concern, which became ERF Ltdits factory in Sandbach, Cheshire was closed in 2002, and it was discontinued as a marque by owner MAN AG in 2007.
In 1881 the first Fodentraction engine was built in Sandbach, Cheshire. Then in 1898 Edwin Richard Foden influenced future truck design by designing the first steam wagon running on steel tyre wheels which had been successful until 1913 when vulcanised solid rubber tyre development had advanced to the stage of allowing their fitment on heavy vehicles. Edwin introduced the first pneumatic-tyred Foden steam wagon, but as steam transport appeared to be going out of favour, Edwin turned his attention to the development of a 6-8 ton chassis fitted with new Gardner LW (Light Weight) high speed oil-engine.
At the beginning of the 1930s, Britain’s industry was struggling to survive the worst recession in living memory and unemployment exceeded two million. At this time insurers were becoming increasingly reluctant to underwrite steam boilers. As a result, Edwin believed the future of the lorry building industry lay in Diesel engine power. The Foden boardroom did not agree, and consequently he resigned along with his son Dennis.
With the help of his son Dennis and two former colleagues, including Ernest Sherratt who became Chief Engineer, Edwin worked to build the first ERF diesel lorry in 1933 and gave the first chassis the number 63 which was Edwin’s age. Fromm the beginning the company only bought in the best components available, including engines from Gardner, gearboxes from David Brown and axles from Kirkstall Forge, rather than making everything in house. This concept would serve ERF well throughout its existence. A new and striking cab was styled by Sandbach coachbuilder John Henry Jennings, who also provided initial factory space to assemble the new lorry. Based in Sandbach, Cheshire, the company made their own chassis and cabs, originally with engines from Gardner, but later also Cummins, Perkins, Detroit Diesel and Caterpillar Inc..
ERFs used to be marketed under the Western Star badge in some countries such as Australia. It also built a specialist fire engine chassis, with a body built on by in-house company JH Jennings, later Cheshire Fire Engineering. However, when recession came in the early 1980s and production fell from a total output of 4,000 chassis per annum, CFE was sold to management to eventually become Saxon Sanbec.
ERF was never a major manufacturer; as an example their domestic sales total only reached 1,083 trucks in 1981. The company was bought by Canadian truck maker Western Star in 1996. However, after PACCAR‘s purchase of Foden, DAF Trucks and Leyland Trucks increased competitive pressure, and Western Star was approached by Freightliner Trucks corporation, the decision was made to sell ERF.
Purchase by MAN
In 2000, ERF became part of MAN AG. Freightliner tried to sue Western Star and ERF’s former auditors, but failed on the grounds of corporate negligence.
All the ERF trucks were based on MAN’s existing products, the only difference being that the ERF model came with the option of specifying use of CumminsISMe power plant as an alternate to MAN’s own D20common rail power-plant. The Sandbach factory was closed by MAN in 2002, with production of the ECT moved to Munich, Germany, ECM and ECL units moved to Steyr, Austria where they are built on the same facilities as their identical MAN counterparts.
In the light of Cummins’ intransigence on upgrading the ISMe engine to comply with the Euro4 emission regulations, MAN initially decided to replace it completely with the new series of MAN D20 engines. With ERF badging only used for the British market, MAN decided to cease the supply of ERF badged trucks from July 2007.
In popular culture
On the BBC motoring programme Top Gear, the presenters are challenged to buy lorries and presenter Richard Hammond buys an ERF from Walker Movements Limited in Leicester. He pronounces the name phonetically. In response to a quip about its diminutive size, Hammond responds by calling it ‘the Caterham of lorries’ as it has an engine that could match Jeremy Clarkson‘s 12 litres (732.3 cu in) Renault Magnum, but as light and as small as James May‘s ScaniaP94D. It was also the fastest among the three; it has a top speed that exceeds 90 miles per hour (145 km/h).
1947 ERF (Gardner diesel)
1959 ERF type 6.4G
Front of a 1975 ERF A-series
ERF ECT unit 2005
Dai Davies, ERF: The Inside Story, 2009, 160p. 300 col. & b/w ill. h/b.
Büssing AG was a Germanbus and truck manufacturer, established in 1903 by Heinrich Büssing (1843–1929) in Braunschweig. It quickly evolved to one of the largest European producers, whose utility vehicles with the Brunswick Lion emblem were widely distributed, especially from the 1930s onwards. The company was taken over by MAN AG in 1971.
At the age of 60, the inventor and businessman Heinrich Büssing together with his two sons founded the Heinrich-Büssing-Spezialfabrik für Motorwagen und Motoromnibusse. Büssing, the son of a blacksmith dynasty at Nordsteimke (in present-day Wolfsburg), had studied engineering at the Collegium Carolinum in Braunschweig and had founded several bicycle, engineering and railway signal works with varying degress of success. His first truck was a 2-ton payload machine powered by a 2-cylinder gasoline engine and featuringworm drive. That successful design was later built under license by other companies in Germany, Austria, Hungary and by Straker-Squire in England.
One year later he debuted a first 20 HP omnibus model carrying up to twelve passengers on the route from Braunschweig to Wendeburg, operated by his own Automobil-Omnibus-Betriebs-Gesellschaft. Büssing busses soon served public transport in European cities like Berlin (ABOAG), Vienna and Prague (Fross–Büssing), or London.
Before World War I Büssing started to build heavy-duty trucks for the time. These trucks featured 4- and 6-cylinder engines (5 tonnes and 11 tonnes, respectively). In 1914 the Büssing A5P armored car was developed at the behest of the German Oberste Heeresleitung. After the war, Heinrich Büssing had to enter a Kommanditgesellschaft limited partnership, converted into the Büssing AG joint-stock company in 1922. In 1923, Büssing introduced the first rigid three-axle chassis which was used in upcoming models and allowed Büssing to lead the market share in Germany in commercial vehicles.
Büssing trolleybus preserved at the Frankfurt-am-Main Transport Museum.
Büssing NAG used inmates of several Nazi concentration camps in Braunschweig from 1944 to March 1945 for slave labor. These camps were subcamps to the Neuengamme concentration camp.
After World War II civilian production resumed with 5-tonne and later 7-tonne trucks. In 1950, the company name became Büssing Nutzkraftwagen GmbH and production was concentrated on underfloor-engined trucks which were to become the firm’s speciality. Most tractor units and all normal-control trucks had vertical engines, but in the mid 1960s there was a version of their Commodore maximum-weight tractor unit, the 16-210, which had a horizontal diesel mounted under the cab ahead of the front axle, the gearbox being mounted halfway along the truck’s chassis.
In 1969, Büssing started strong ties with MAN AG. MAN was a customer to some Büssing’s innovative trucks and parts while they were promoting their own line-up. In 1971, an MAN takeover of Büssing was announced. MAN started to use the lion logo on its newly named “MAN-Büssing” trucks. Büssing’s unique underfloor-engined truck range continued in production under the MAN AG through to the late 1980s.
First acquisition for Büssing was Mannesmann-Mulag Motoren und Lastwagen AG of Aachen.
1936: Büssing pioneered the horizontal “underfloor” diesel engines
During World War II Büssing once again supplied military vehicles including 6×4 armoured cars and an 8×8 with all-wheel steering.
Büssing manufactured trolleybuses between 1933 and 1966, producing approximately 71 models. Most were for German cities, but production also included three trolleybuses for Chernyakhovsk, Russia, in 1939; four for Copenhagen, Denmark, in 1940–42; and 14 for Lucerne, Switzerland, in 1965. In Turkey, ESHOT converted 21 Büssing motorbuses into trolleybuses in 1962 and 1968 (these are not counted in the total of 71 given above). At least four Büssing trolleybuses have been preserved, including ones at the Frankfurt Transport Museum,DE at the Hannoversches Straßenbahn-Museum and at the Historama transport museum in Ferlach, Austria.