Wynns and Scammell: in the context of Britain’s heavy haulage industry, it would be impossible to say two more iconic names In the same breath.
Founded by Thomas Wynn in 1863. this year marks 150 years of the Wynn family’s involvement in goods transport. At the start — before the dawn of mechanical road transport — carts were drawn by heavy horses, typically for local distribution of goods shipped over longer distances by rail or horse-drawn barge.
At one point. Wynns had over 200 heavy workhorses stabled at its base In Newport, South Wales. Imagine the logistics of feeding them (and give a thought to the stable lads who had the chore of mucking out). Looking after draught horses was a task of an altogether different order to vehicle maintenance. The firm had its own farm, where the horses were taken to graze at weekends.
For some jobs, horse-drawn carts continued in use until the late 1930s.
Today, the business eschews wheeled equipment, instead operating a 300 tone payload inland waterways heavy lift barge and a coastal vessel specifically designed for single indivisible loads — and heavy haulage prime mover trailer system combinations — grossing up to 1350 tunes.
Scammell — the beginning
Scammell began life as a wheelwright and cart builder In the late 19th century. Borrowing from developments already under way in the US. it began experimenting with an articulated vehicle in 1919. Comprising two-axle tractor and single-axle trailer, this demonstrated the ability to carry seven to eight tons for an operating cost equivalent to a rigid chassis with a three ton payload.
All told, Wynns operated some 125 Scammell of various types and model generations. The first, a two-axle arctic, was delivered in 1927. From that point on. Scammell were the mainstays of the fleet — apart from an interregnum in the heavy prime mover category in the 1950s-1960s.
During this period, Scammell Constructors and Super Constructors were doing the business for Pickford and others. But not for Wynns, which for preference operated a fleet of six ex-US Army Pacific M26 ’Dragon Wagon’ 6×6 tank transporter prime movers. The most powerful heavy haulage tractors in Britain at the time, they were civilianized and re-cabbed in Wynns’ own workshops. In war surplus condition, each cost C20D-C400 a pep. ScammeJI’s nearest equivalent, tested and rejected by Wynns on performance comparison (and cost) grounds, earned a £9000 price tag.
John Wynn, great-grandson of the founder of the Wynn dynasty, doyen of the UK heavy haulage business and a still-active 80-year-old, said: “It’s not that we didn’t love Scammell. But as they say. you’ve got to follow the money.
“And when the Pacifies became obsolescent, the next Scammell prime mover generation — the Contractor — became the backbone of Wynns’ indivisible load haulage operations. In all, between 1966 and 1981, we took delivery of a grand total of 28 Contractor variants.
“Thirteen of these were shipped direct to Africa for contracts In Nigeria, Tanzania.
Kenya and Sudan. Although we skipped ScammeH’s Constructor Super Constructor generation, during the period they were in production we did of course acquire lighter Scammell two-axle tractors. And our maintenance workshops also used components sourced from Scammell In the process of re-engineering and upgrading our fleet of ex-US Army Pacifies.»
Wynns’ first foray into abnormal load haulage was made in 1890. A special cart was designed for moving a 40 ton piece of steelworks plant, ft was drawn by 48 horses, harnessed in teams of four. Later in the 1890s. traction engines were introduced and. as these became available, steam lorries.
The first petrol engine trucks were acquired in 1916. These served the general haulage side of the business, an area in which were employed several of the Scammell types operated by Wynns over the decades following its first Watford product, the arctic delivered in 1927.
By the early 1930s, Wynns operated two- axle Scammell tractors, some of which ran on solid rubber, others on pneumatic tyres. Early examples typically had four-cylinder petrol engines producing 75-80bhp. Drive was transmitted to heavy roller chains through a three or four speed gearbox via an intermediate jack shaft and differential gear arrangement. Before leaving the depot, interchangeable jack shaft sprockets enabled a driver to change the gearing to suit the route they would be taking — a small concession at a time when roads were often poorly surfaced, cabs v/ere rudimentary and hours at the wheel were unrestricted.
During the early 1930s diesels began to join the fleet and changed the landscape — as did the 1930 Road Traffic Act. This raised the maximum permitted GVW for heavy lorries to 22 tons. The new rags applied to both rigid trucks and arctic, the maximum lengths of which were 30ft and 33ft respectively. But H G V s were limited to 20mph (which remained the case until 1954).
Small wonder British trucks appeared underpowered when compared with the general run of American trucks of the 1940s and 1950s. Taking advantage of the new legislation, Wynns acquired five 30ft long, 13 ton payload, petrol engine prop-shaft drive Scammell Super Sixes together with three chain-drive variants, one with a slightly more powerful engine.
The first were delivered in 1931. One of these, in Wynns’ livery, was prominently displayed on the Scammell stand at that year’s Commercial Motor Show. The Super Sixes remained in service until after the Second World War. Typically running on diamond tread ‘balloon’ low pressure tyres. Scam mall’s Super Six design had a 19ft wheelbase and 22ft load space length.
Power was initially provided by an 80bhp Scammell petrol engine. This was uprated to 88bhp prior to the introduction in 1932 of a 102bhp Gardner 6LW diesel option. With the last delivered in 1939, in all. Wynns operated 16 of these bonneted six-wheeler rigid.
The Super Sixes were used for long distance overnight truck haulage. In 1937 they were joined by one of the first of ScammeH’s all-new Rigid Eights. With a light chassis allowing a 15- 16 ton payload, Scammell first eight-logger was unique in having a front two-axle sub frame setup engineered so that the load — with corresponding benefits to steering effort — was evenly distributed to both axles when cresting humpback bridges for example, where, momentarily, all the weight might otherwise be imposed on one axle.
Scammell for all reasons
Between 1927 and 1966, a total of some 50 two-axle bonneted tractors were acquired and were representative of Scammell successive development of the configuration over five decades. With the exception of seven drawbar units used for heavy haulage duties, the tractors variously operated with low-loader and tanker trailers. The latter, products of Scammell’s trailer division, were of integral construction. Rather than conventional chassis rails, the trailer’s two-axle bogie — typically fitted with ’big singles’ — was earned on a sub frame mounted directly to the tank body.
During the 1930s, Wynns also operated six two-axle Scammell with timber tractor bodywork, together with three 45-50 ton heavy haulage specials. By the 1950s, Watford’s classic bonneted two-axle tractor series had evolved into the 24 ton rated Highwayman, the final iteration of which featured new bonnet sheet metal and a cab with wraparound two piece windscreen — and 161bhp Leyland 0.680 diesel. Preceding models had been produced with a Gardner 6LW diesel power, or alternatively a 130bhp Meadows unit.
Up the weight scale, Wynns extended its inventory for the battle of the heavies required for rebuilding the Britain’s war-shattered economy. In the years immediately after the Second World War — and not forgetting that in this period Wynns began acquiring war-surplus 1S5bhp Diamond Ts — two 102bhp ex-British Army Scammell Pioneers were converted for drawbar operation. From the company’s point of view, together with unbreakable Scammell engineering, the Pioneers had the advantage of ultra-low gearing. The driver could literally inch the vehicle along in the first of its six speeds with the Gardner 6LW engine running at little more than tick-over. There was no auxiliary box — but no need. The overall gearing in first was 181 to 1.
Although Wynns did not operate Constructors or Super Constructors, their 4×4 sibling, the Mountaineer, did get a look-in. Two full-width coach built cab drawbar tractors were supplemented by a day-cab fifth-wheel tractor. Introduced by Scammell in 1951, the Mountaineer was chiefly aimed at on/off-road dump truck and oilfield markets and spec’d with 130-1 SObhp Scammell Meadows.
Gardner, Leyland and Rolls-Royce diesels.
The first Scammell forward control models operated by Wynns since the pre-Second World War light eight-wheeler joined the fleet over the 1966-68 period. The two-axle Handyman, of which Wynns operated six, was a forward control version of its Highwayman contemporary and, having no bonnet, allowed a longer trailer within a given overall tractor- trailer combination length.
In addition, primarily for regular road haulage. Wynns acquired six three-axle Scammell Truckers. Sharing the same distinctive glass fibre cab as the Handyman — designed by Italian stylist Michelotti — the 200- 220bhp Trunker was Scammell’s contender in the 321 ton gross arctic segment that came to the fore after the mid-1960s. With an exceptionally short overall length and a lead steering axle twin-tyres rear axle bogie, it was one of the UK’s first road haulage tractors offered with semi-automatic transmission.
Crusaders and Amazons
In the late 1970s, Wynns introduced three 6×4 Scammell Crusaders arid four examples of the model’s Amazon stalemate. The 100C Crusader variant used by Wynns was designed for gross train weights of 101.7 tones. A 305bhp Rolls-Royce diesel was teamed with a 15-speed Fuller transmission. Tractor gross was 10.262 tones and bogie capacity 32.5 tones. The Amazon, essentially an uprated Crusader built to Wynns’ specification, was fitted with the lightest of the Contractor’s rear bogie options. Engine and transmission were the same as the Crusader. The Amazon name was coined by Wynns — and not entirely approved of by Scammell.
Wynns’ fleet of Scammell Contractor 6×4 bonneted prime movers was added progressively over the 15 years from 1966. The first, a 100 tenner, starred on Scammeirs stand at that year’s Commercial Motor Show. Four Contractors were 250 ton Mk.2 models. The remainder were Mk.1 variants, comprising four 100 toners, six 150 toners and 14 spec’d for a G T W of 240 tons. The 240 toners had coach built crew cabs. The 10 100 and 150 toners had LAD day cabs (the L A D ’s basic pressings were also used on Leyland. Albion and Dodge forward control trucks).
With the exception of a single fifth-wheel 150 toner, the Contractor Mk.1s were either built with a ballast box or could be switched between fifth-wheel and ballast drawbar configurations according to the type of trailer equipment required for a particular task. The 250 toners had crew cabs and ballast bodywork.
The Contractor’s chassis was carried over from its Constructor predecessors. Super strong. the all-bolted channel-section main members were pressed steel, over 12in deep and half an inch thick. The wheelbase was 4.7m. Despite their size — ballast versions tipped the weighbridge at 40-50 tones — they had a turning circle of only 24m.