The Power
Okay, so you have the chassis maker, you have the body builder, but what do you have to power the beast?
Before WWII, there was a vast array of engine makers, and usually the chassis maker had his own as well.  The war took a lot out of British manufacturing, and after what was left were run down factories crying out for re-tooling and new premises.  Design work had virtually stopped for 5 years, so picking up the pieces was a slow drawn out affair.  Remember, many things were rationed right into the early fifties, so getting a business going again was an extremley hard task.  Not surprislingly, most didn't make it.
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Daimler built their own diesel engines at least until the early 60's. The CD6-50 being the last one as far as I know. But the majority had Gardner engines, from the 5LW to the 6LX. A few were fitted with AEC engines and Halifax even had a class with Leyland.
AEC generally offered only own make engines with a few exceptions.. They were well thought of, quieter than some and not over heavy. Generally, the models mirrored the power output of the main competition, Leyland.
Crossley diesel engines became a big part of their downfall. The post war model was a disaster and turned off all the regular customers. A few were built using engines of other makers, but in general this did not catch on.
For the post war period, customers could have the Albion or Gardner, the latter always being the most popular.  Then they offered Leyland and as with Maudslay, eventually there was little to differenciate them from their eventual owners.
Atkinson were the cream, so they offered only the best, Gardner (until the sixties.)
Dennis had their own engine, but you can imagine that with such a small manufacturer the lack of easily available spares hampered any success. As alternatives, they offered virtually everything! AEC, Leyland, Perkins and BMC. Latterly for the truck market they offered Cummins as Gardners had such a long waiting list, but the unreliability of those engines ensured they dropped out of that market for good.
Foden, along with the other premier makers offered Gardner. Their own alternative was the amazing 2-stroke, which sounded like and as loud as, a jet aircraft.  But the lack of low speed torque and development sadly ended its production.
Guy usually fitted Gardner and offered Meadows as the alternative right up to the Arab IV, but would also fit just about anything the customer wanted. Guy also experimented with Deutz air cooled and Ruston Hornsby engines.
Leyland began life with Crossley engines in the very begining, before developing their own untill just before the the end when the Olympian had Gardner's. Just like Gardner they were left with their pants down when it came to high powered engines.  Foolishly they killed off AEC's V8, but lack of cash with the crumbling British Leyland group hampered other development and left them wide open to continental sales straight to the heart of the British market.
What every driver dreamed of, what every operator wished to afford.  Unchanging design from the 30's, unbelievably long life. The lowest fuel consumption in the market. And a magnificent torque band that delivered maximum power virtually from tick-over and up. While other makers played around with different combustion designs that only ever seemed to make them harder to start, Gardner got it right in the begining.
So what could possibly go wrong?  As trucking overtook rail as the means to move goods, the demand for engines (read Garnders!)  could not be kept pace with.  This forced chassis makers to look around for other suppliers and operators reluctantly had to take them if they wanted a truck or bus delivered in reasonable time.  Other makers (foreign) got a foothold in the market as power demands increased step by step with the relaxation of the loading weight laws.
Gardner's trusty design had been increased incrementaly till it was stretched to the limit and beyond. Increasingly, the shear weight and size of the units began to tell.  As they developed turbo power the limitations of the design became a millstone.  (Perkins also found out to their cost that turbo powering an engine was a different matter altogether.) 
The lack of research and development over the years finally caught up, and the death knell started to ring with the introduction of the first rounds of pollution controls. By the time they got their act togoether, the truck and bus market had virtually disappeared.  
Sadly, the very best engine maker in the whole world was forced to go in with Hawker-Siddley (Petter-Lister). H-S sold them to International Harvester and into their Perkins group.  But when they were in turn sold to Catapillar, Gardner became independant once more, but not making new types of engines - yet.
All in all, just like our Brewing and Locomotive industry, nothing short of a
NATIONAL TRAGEDY.
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Perkins was the ugly sister who became the Cinderella. Not too well thought of in the fifites, they became realiable and efficient units by the sixties.  Used by Trojan, Guy and Seddon throughout that time.  Until the sixties they did not have a tough enough engine for the heavy weight buses, and by the time they did, the bus market had almost vanished. On a personal note, we rued the day Ford put in its own diesel engine instead of the Perkins that was standard in the model before. No more Ford for us!  
For more information on Perkins, click the button. Press "Back" button to return here.
Two posters from the 1930's for Leyland and Gardner
To look at the comparisons between different engine power outputs and the vehicles they were fitted to, click the button.
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