Commer was a British manufacturer of commercial vehicles from 1905 until 1979. Commer vehicles included car-derived vans, light vans, medium to heavy commercial trucks, military vehicles and buses; the company designed and built some of its own diesel engines for its heavy commercial vehicles. This business belonged to Commercial Cars Limited a company incorporated in September 1905 by directors H C B Underdown and director of Direct United States Cable Co with H G Hutchinson a director of Royal Exchange Assurance to manufacture: commercial cars, charabancs, fire engines and every kind of industrial vehicle. In 1920, it was described as the first Company to specialise in the manufacture of internal combustion industrial commercial vehicles. In order to go into volume production a site was bought in September 1905 at Biscot Road, Luton. Construction of extensive new workshops began on the five acre site, complete by late 1906. Commercial Cars became a member of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders in August 1906.
It was one of the first manufacturers of commercial vehicles in the United Kingdom, its speciality being the Commer Car. At Olympia's Commercial Motor Show in March 1907, Commer exhibited a motor-bus chassis with a 30–36 horsepower engine and a gearbox invented by Mr Linley, the works manager. Dog-clutches made the change rather than the spur wheels; as well as the bus chassis Commer displayed a char-a-banc for thirty passengers and delivery vans being run by a substantial enterprise. A new "large and powerful" lorry, E43, registration BM 787, took part in the Great Commercial Motor Trials in September 1907, it had a constant mesh gearbox. Unladen weight was 3 tons 13 cwt, the engine had four-cylinders, its output was 33 horsepower at 800 rpm, it was driven by side chains. Length 20 feet, width just over seven feet and height two inches under six feet; the platform was twelve feet long. The newspaper noted. Production of the first truck, the 3-ton RC type started in 1907; this was modernized into the SC and so on through the YC range, known as the "Barnet" series of trucks.
Their first bus was made in 1909. With the outbreak of the First World War the factory turned to the manufacture of military vehicles for the British Army, by 1919 more than 3000 had been made. Though obliged to undergo financial restructure in 1920 in the hope of avoiding creditors, the business was unable to avoid repayment of a debt of £75,000 due to the Treasury, raised in order to pay 60 per cent Excess Profits Duty on wartime activities. After agreeing terms with the Receiver in 1925, Commer was bought in 1926 by Humber. In 1931 Humber became a 60-percent-owned subsidiary of the Rootes Group; the Commer name was replaced by the Dodge name during the 1970s, following the takeover of Rootes by Chrysler Europe. After Peugeot purchased Chrysler Europe in 1978, the Commer factory was run in partnership with the truck division of Renault, Renault Trucks. For some time, it continued to produce the Dodge commercial truck range with Renault badges, there was a small amount of product development.
Dodge production was cancelled in favour of mainstream Renault models, there was a switch to the production of Renault truck and bus engines in the early 1990s. Many Commer vans and lorries are notable for being fitted with the Rootes TS3 engine, a two-stroke diesel three-cylinder horizontally opposed piston engine, which came to be known as the "Commer Knocker" owing to the distinct noise it produced. Newer Commer vehicles had Perkins and Cummins diesel engines, less Mercedes diesel engines; the N-series was introduced in 1935, was used by the British armed forces in World War II. Production was not recommenced after the war. Cab-over and bonneted trucks were both fitted with petrol or diesel engines; the six-cylinder petrol engine was available in 4,086 cc versions. The Perkins Leopard diesel engine was available; the range included N as well as the lighter-duty LN range of trucks, as well as the PN-series of buses fitted with diesels. There was the 4/5 ton PLNF5 introduced in 1938; the LN was capable of carrying weights similar to those of the corresponding N-series trucks, but had a lower overall max weight and was "definitely not intended to carry an overload" - a tacit recognition of British truckers' habitual overloading of their trucks.
The LN-range was designed to operate within the 1930s 30 mph speed limit for heavier lorries. After the introduction of the 4/5-ton LN5, the 5½-ton N5 was discontinued. However, the market decreed otherwise and the N5's revival was announced in February 1938; the Commer Superpoise range was introduced in 1939, with both semi-forward and full-forward control options. The line included trucks of 1 1/2 to six tons capacity powered by 6-cylinder diesel engines. A new Superpoise range with payloads of between two and five tons was introduced in 1955. Commer produced buses and is recorded as delivering four to Widnes in 1909; the Commando was released after the Second World War, the Avenger on 28 February 1948, fitted with the TS3 engine from 1954. The Commando was used as a Crew Bus by the Royal Air Force following the Second World War with a 1 1/2 Length Observation deck; the Commer Light Pick-Up was a
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Correct as of September 23, 2016