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New 1950s Autocar truck Kits

In 1950 Autocar introduced their new cab they called the "Driver Cab". It was 72" wide with a slightly curved two piece "wide vision" windshield, adjustable steering wheel and three point spring mounting. Also advertised were the extra room in the cab to eliminate the "cramping of the left arm and leg", the ability to push on the windshield with about 40 pounds of pressure so it would pop out in an emergency, ventilation in the cowl panel, the entire cab insulated against noise and heat, modern grouping of gauges and switches, and easy access to wiring. This cab was used, with very few modifications, until the mid 1980s

Nomenclature for the Autocar trucks after 1950 was C for gas and DC for diesel. The shorter BBC cab was designated DCU, later a DCV indicating a fiberglass tilting hood and V8 diesel (spotting feature quad headlights molded in) was built.

The Sheepscot models are for the diesel cabs, the gas jobs had a little lower hood and sometimes shorter BBC dimension. Even numbers were used for the axle set forward versions, odd for the axle set back. If more than two axles the last two digits indicated the drive (64 for six wheels, four driving).

There were two types of front grills offered. The original has nine vertical bars with a fairly round sheet metal piece over the radiator. Color from the factory had the four bars to either side of the center chrome, everything else was the color of the cab which was initially offered in only radiant red or vineyard green, later construction yellow was offered.

In the mid fifties an exposed built-up bolted radiator with a polished aluminum upper tank and side columns was offered because the earlier radiator was having a hard time keeping engines of over 220 horsepower cool. Many users kept buying the 180 to 220 hp Cummins standard power because of fuel economy or less wear and tear on the drive line for on/off highway work so the original grill was popular for many years.

Standard fuel tanks were first offered as a standard 45 gallon on the drivers side with the same enclosure on the right side for the batteries. If a fuel tank was installed here then the batteries had to be relocated. Other tanks could of course be installed but I notice that in reviewing many photos of Autocars that the original factory tanks were most often used into the 60s and in some cases a cylindrical tank might be installed behind the cab for more capacity. Some highway tractors had saddle tanks, may times rather short because of the small wheelbases of the early fifties.

All of the new Sheepscot Autocar kits have outside mounted headlights that are mounted to the back side of the bumper by a bracket that lifts the bottom of the light about six inches off the deck. In most every case I believe the lights enclosures were black regardless of the color of the cab, I suppose because this was the color Autocar got them from their supplier.

Fenders were round cycle type with a splash apron on the inside between the fender and lower hood. Around 1954 a pit type of fender was offered that was of heavy construction and less prone to damage from either foreign objects or from the excessive vibration of the diesel engine in combination with off highway operation. Some might refer to these as military type fenders that were developed for the newly designed tactical vehicles of 1950.

Bumpers were quite uniform, most being gently rounded corners for the axle set back versions. These must have been strong and durable because you almost never see one of these trucks with a custom made replacement. The bumper with the 95130 kit does have a different design, more like might be seen on a concrete mixer. Bumpers on the axle set forward were straight, some were just a channel beam but many were like the shown on the 95127 kit that was a factory option that had a location for extra lights.

Sheepscot has initial plans for six of the newer style Autocars (as compared to the pre 1950 design of which there are three kits). I know some modelers will want the 75" wide integral sleepers cabs so I'll take a look in a year or so to see how things are going.

Now here's a list and explanation of the various kits. All have the standard Sheepscot cast metal frame that can be cut off at any point depending on the wheelbase and body configuration. As usual, extra wheels, axles, and other parts can purchased for the kits so an exact replica can be modeled. At this point (April 2005) I have not completely decided on what options like fuel tanks and bumpers may be included in various kits. I have started with this series of kits to include a new suspension part made of urethane. These will have the proper axle spacing on the tandem depending on the tire size offered. Being urethane it can be cut or sanded to the desired configuration and to get the proper frame height. If a single rear end is used then the part can be cut in half. The reason for using a suspension like this is so that when the completed model is placed on the layout there will be enough vertical play in the axles so that all wheels will rest on the ground.

Speaking of wheels; all kits have the larger 24" rubber except the short BBC DCU and the #95131. The axle set forward version as used in the Western states have disk wheels, others have spoke. Older heavy duty trucks had larger tires to allow room for larger brakes and better tire capacity. If small tires are desired we can supply them.

#95126 is the set back axle version popular in the Eastern part of the country. This is a true highway or heavy contractor's truck, the most popular model.

#95127 is the Western version of the first mentioned. Excellent for heavy hauling and logging.

#95128 is the same as the first except it has pit fenders. This will probably not be available until later this summer

#95129 is the short BBC used mostly as a tractor to compete with the B-60 series Macks. It has the 20" rubber, tandem axle, fifth wheel, saddle tanks.

#95130 is the axle set back with pit fenders, same as #95128 except it has the outside "hard nose" polished aluminum radiator and a straighter bumper.

#95131 is an axle set forward version like the #95127 kit but with smaller tires more appropriate for long distance over the highway trucking.

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