|Successor||Renamed Associated Commercial Vehicles (ACV) Ltd|
|Headquarters||Southall, G London, England|
Leyland Motor Corporation (1962-1968)|
British Leyland Motor Corporation (1968-1975)
British Leyland Ltd (1975-1979)
AEC was a United Kingdom based vehicle manufacturer which built buses and trucks from 1912 until 1979. The acronym stood for the Associated Equipment Company, but this name was hardly ever used; instead it traded under the AEC and ACLO brands.
The London General Omnibus Company, or LGOC, was founded in 1855 to amalgamate and regulate the horse-drawn omnibus services then operating in London. The company began producing motor omnibuses for its own use in 1909 with the X-type at works in Blackhorse Lane, Walthamstow, London. The X-type was followed by the B-type, considered to be one of the first mass-produced commercial vehicles.
In 1912 LGOC was taken over by the Underground group of companies, which at that time owned most of the London Underground, and extensive tram operations. As part of the reorganisation following the takeover, a separate concern was set up for the bus manufacturing elements, and was named Associated Equipment Company, or more commonly, AEC.
AEC's first commercial vehicle was a lorry based on the X-type bus chassis. With the outbreak of the First World War in 1914, AEC's ability to produce large numbers of vehicles using assembly line methods became important in supplying the increasing need for army lorries. AEC began large-scale production of the 3-ton Y-type lorry commenced in 1916 and continued beyond the end of the war. From then on AEC became associated with both lorries and buses.
In 1926, AEC and Daimler formed the Associated Daimler Company (ADC), which was dissolved two years later. In 1927 AEC moved its manufacturing from Walthamstow to a new plant at Southall in London.
G. J. Rackham was appointed Chief Engineer and Designer in 1928. His ideas contributed significantly to AEC's reputation for quality and reliability.
From 1930, AEC produced new models, the names of which all began with "M": Majestic, Mammoth, Mercury, and so on. These original "M-models" continued in production until the end of the Second World War. AEC introduced diesel engines across the range in the mid-1930s.
From 1931 to 1938, AEC and English Electric co-produced trolleybuses. AEC supplied the chassis and EE the electric motors and control equipment.
In 1932, AEC took a controlling interest in the British Four Wheel Drive (FWD) company and began to use more standard AEC components in those vehicles. To avoid confusion, these were marketed under the name Hardy. Production ceased about 1936.
Second World WarEdit
Non-military production stopped in 1941. During the war AEC produced their 10 ton 4x4 Matador artillery tractor (an adaptation of their commercial 4x2 Matador lorry that exploited AEC's experience with the Hardy FWD venture). A 6x6 version was designated as the AEC Marshall but almost always called the Matador. To this they added the AEC Armoured Car in 1941.
Post warEditCrossley Motors and Maudslay Motor Company. Soon after, AEC changed its name to Associated Commercial Vehicles (ACV) Ltd., although it kept the initials "AEC" on its vehicles. In 1949, ACV acquired a (bus) body-building company, Park Royal Vehicles, along with its subsidiary Charles H. Roe. Park Royal designed a new cab for the AEC Mercury in the mid-1950s; this appeared on all models across the range about this time.
In 1961, AEC also launched a series of mobilecranes built together with AWD Limited the wellknown all wheel drive vehicle specialist conversion manufactures based at Camberley in Surrey who provided AEC with crosscountry 6WD cranechassis. So they became known as AEC-AWD-Jones with Jones Cranes Limited of Letchworth supplying AWD with the Jones KL Series cranes built on these new AEC cranechassis and they assembled their own running gear on these new mobilecranes for AEC at Southall. This successful engineering joint-venture lasted until the mid 1970s.
EC acquired Transport Equipment (Thornycroft) Ltd. Thornycroft's name disappeared from all the vehicles except the specialist airport crash tenders, such as the Nubian, and the "Mighty" Antar off-road tractor unit used as a tank transporter.
Leyland Motors Ltd acquired ACV in 1962. AEC lorries were given the same "Ergomatic" cabs used across several Leyland marques (including Albion]). In 1968 all AEC double-deckers ceased production, and its last buses and trucks were built in 1979. The AEC name actually disappeared from commercial vehicles in 1977, but the Leyland Marathon was built at the Southall plant until British Leyland (as the parent company was named by then) closed it in 1979.
ACLO (supposed to be the acronym of Associated Company Lorries and Omnibuses) was the brand name used by AEC in Latin American countries, including Brazil, and in Spain (but not in Portugal) to sell all their products.
as very active in the Spanish-speaking countries, has been suggested.
ACLOs were specially pervasive in Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil. In Spain ACLOs could be seen mainly as double-deck buses in Barcelona and as line coaches in ALSA fleet.
In Portugal, the AEC vehicles, mainly coaches and buses but also lorries, were assembled and bodied by União de Transportadores para Importação e Comércio, UTIC, and marketed under the UTIC-AEC badge, along many years.
After the English-made AECs disappeared from the UK market some very loyal British customers imported made-in-Portugal UTIC-AEC units.[citation (source) needed]
In the late fifties Spanish government restrictions to importations led AEC sales in Spain to became virtually nil. As a consequence AEC approached a Spanish truck manufacturer, Barreiros Diesel, to jointly produce buses and coaches based on AEC designs. The venture started in 1961, used Barreiros AEC as brand name, disregarding ACLO, and seemed very promising; production of AEC off-road dump trucks being planned too. Nevertheless, the Leyland takeover in 1962 soon undermined the agreement, as Leyland was partnering with Barreiros Spanish arch-rival, Pegaso; and eventually Barreiros looked for another collaborator in the bus arena, signing in 1967 an agreement with Belgian manufacturer Van Hool.
- AEC Routemaster Doubledecker
- AEC Regal
- AEC Reliant
Dump Trucks & Off road VehiclesEdit
The first models were AEC Mammoth Majors Mk.III which had a two spring articulated rear bogie.
- AEC Mammoth Major Mk.IV HD Tiper 1958
- AEC 10 cu yd dumper introduced in 1958 with Mammouth Major Mk IV chassis. Fitted with a heavier half cab rather than the road units std. pressed steel cab.
- AEC 18 Cu yd dumper
A AEC 690 6WD TD Dumptruck of the 1970s oneshown on the left.
- AEC LD55 Dumptruck 1975-1981 (after Leyland take over)
A AEC 1100 4WD A huge 4x4 15 cu yd Quarry Dumptruck of the 1960s as shown on the left next to a AEC Regent.
AEC Also Built a range of engines.
- AEC 9.6 ltr. Engine of 125 hp
- AEC 11.3 ltr. Engine of 150 hp
Lorries and other commercial vehiclesEdit
The 6-ton normal-control AEC Majestic (Model 666) was introduced in 1930. Majestic tankers
- Main article: AEC Mammoth
Later a distinction was made between the Mammoth Minor (6x2, with two rear axles), the Mammoth Major 6 (6x4) and the Mammoth Major 8 (8x4), which appeared in 1934. The Mammoth Major Mk II was introduced in 1935; the eight-wheeler could carry 15-ton loads. It remained in production until 1948 when it was superseded by the Mk III, which was mechanically similar but had the Park Royal cab.
- Main article: AEC Mandator
The AEC Mandator dates from the 1930s. The post-war Mk II was available as a lorry and a tractor unit and the name was used for tractor units built from the 1950s to the 1970s. GY 9542
See also: Matador
1960s-70s. FFW 808D
- Main article: AEC Matador
The original AEC Matador 5-ton 4x2 commercial lorry was introduced in 1932. The name was most famously used for AEC's 4x4 Matador artillery tractor, which were known by the nickname "Mat". These vehicles exploited AEC's experience with four-wheel drive that it had gained from its involvement in the British Four Wheel Drive vehicles marketed under the name Hardy.
The Matador name is very often used for the 6x4 military vehicles that are more properly designated the AEC Marshall.
AEC produced 9,620 artillery tractors; 514 6x4 bowsers for the RAF; 192 6x4 lorries (some of which had Coles Cranes mounted); and 185 similar vehicles for mobile oxygen plants. Many military Matadors were adapted for post-war commercial use, especially as timber lorries and recovery vehicles. AHO 881R DFP 472 another Marshall bowser
New civilian Matadors appeared after the war.
- Main article: AEC Mercury
The AEC Mercury (Model 440) was first built in 1928. This was a forward-control lorry with a wheelbase of 14 ft for 4-ton payloads. The Model 640 was introduced in 1930, with a four-cylinder petrol engine developing 65 bhp. Pratts (1930)
- Main article: AEC Militant
The AEC Militant - or "Milly" - was the 1952 replacement for the Matador, and continued in various forms until the 1970s. (The original Militant had been produced by Maudslay in the 1930s.) Militant WOT 428H
- Main article: AEC Mogul
The AEC Mogul was a normal-control tractor unit from the 1960s. The name had originally been used on Maudslay lorries.
- Main article: AEC Monarch
The original AEC Monarch was built from 1931 to 1939 at AEC's Southall works. The first version (Model 641) was superseded by the Mk II (Model 637) in 1933, with payload increased to 7½ tons. The Monarch was fitted with either an 85 hp four-cylinder 5.1 litre diesel engine or an 80 hp four-cylinder 5.1 litre petrol engine. This was a robust and well-designed lorry popular with both drivers and operators. Later variants continued into the 1970s. TL 3513 (1934) normal-control tippers KYE 402 (1949)
1950s beer tanker
- Model 201
- Model 428
- Model 501 & 506
- Model 701
- Y Type
- Main article: AEC Y Type
AEC's first purpose-built commercial vehicle was introduced in 1916. The improved YA Type appeared in 1917. More than ten thousand of these vehicles were supplied to the War Department by 1919. Many of these were acquired by civilian operators following the war. YB and YC Types continued in production until 1921.Osram Lamps
- See GWR railcars and British Rail British United Traction on wikipedia
UK Preserved Machines Edit
Quite a few AEC tractor units and lorries are preserved, some of the Heavy Haulage versions are used to pull Low loaders with other preserved machines on.
Several Mighty Antars are used to pull preserved Tanks at various shows during the summer. One can usually be seen at the Great Dorset Steam Fair every year. This machine has a distinct roar as it drives round the Ring and up the hill in the demonstration ring.
- AEC Mandator ASL 473 a Tractor unit built in 1954. This vehicle is in the livery of T.G. Morris & Sons of Leeds.
- Douglas - built specialist timber tractors based on AEC Militant units.
- List of Construction Plant Manufacturers
- Heavy Haulage
- Haulage Equipment Manufacturer
References / sources Edit
- Wikipedia for base article
- Classic Plant & Machinery Magazine V1 no3-5
- Classic machinery Network copies of brochures
- AEC Society
- Website remembering AEC
- The AEC Bus Site
- The AEC file - pictures
- Website of the AEC Matador and Militant Owners Club
- The British/Portuguese UTIC AEC Coaches
- Page on ALSA's ACLO buses
- Home of a famous Militant Mk1
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