Vulcan 6 Tonner
Classic & Vintage Commercials|February 2017

Peter Davies begins his in-depth profi le of a classic ‘premium middleweight’.

The Vulcan ‘6-tonner’ was a quality-built vehicle, engineered along traditional British lines and in a similar league to the likes of Albion and Dennis. It was perhaps a cut above its Bedford and Commer contemporaries and was priced midway between those and premium heavyweights from manufacturers such as Atkinson and Foden. It could aptly be described as a ‘premium middleweight’.

If one were to create a hypothetical British lorry of the early post war years, taking in all the average technical and visual features of that era, the result would probably be the Vulcan 6-tonner. After being introduced just before the outbreak of World War 2 as the ‘6-tonner’ it was later designated the ‘6VF’, with Vulcan petrol engine, or the ‘6PF’ when fitted with the optional Perkins P6 diesel.

The ‘6-tonner’ tag was dropped during the latter part of the war because it referred to the truck’s nominal payload capacity, which could not always be achieved on the 34x7 ‘Heavy Duty’ tyres available during wartime rubber shortages.

These were limited to 1397kg per tyre as against the 1524kg rating of the 34x7 ‘E.R’ tyres originally specified.

The nominal payload was consequently reduced to 5.25 tons (5335kg). In order to qualify as a fully-fledged 6-tonner it needed to be fitted with the optional 36x8s at extra cost. All this might have been of little significance when operators would happily overload a lorry back then and many a Vulcan ‘5/6 tonner’ would have regularly coped with 7 or 8 tons or more.

‘An uncomplicated lorry with a complicated pedigree’ would sum up the Vulcan 6-tonner. Vulcan Motors Ltd survived just fifteen years after joining Tilling Stevens in 1938. Before that the company was based at Southport and went under the name of Vulcan Motor & Engineering Co whose origins dated back to 1906.

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