Büssing was one of the oldest and most renowned German truck manufacturers. After WW II they resumed production with big conventionals very similar to their pre-war models. From time to time Revell of Germany re-releases an outstanding model of one of these conventionals, namely the 1952 Büssing 8000 S13.
Today, however, Büssing is the synonyme for a completely different truck design.
In 1951 Büssing presented the Büssing 12000 U13 as the world’s first production underfloor engine truck. By comparison almost any truck (nota bene mostly conventionals) of other manufacturers in these years appeared obsolete:
- The cab without doghouse offered incredible space. It was even high enough to stand upright in it. Its ultra-modern cubic design and its large windows gave excellent visibility.
- Far from the engine the driver enjoyed a riding comfort second to none: no noise, no heat, no vibrations, no fumes. Without the engine weight on the front axle the air-assisted steering gave outstanding manoeuvrability.
- Engine accessibility for service and for repairs was unique.
- The engine position improved traction and road holding of the unloaded vehicle considerably.
Though the 12000 U13 was too expensive too be sold in really large numbers it became the ancestor of many heavy and medium-duty Büssing underfloor engine trucks.
Technically ingenious the line of underfloor engine trucks, however, can be considered as the main reason why Büssing failed economically. The underfloor engine made it difficult to drive the front axle and the engine hanging under the chassis restricted ground clearance. Therefore this design was not usuable for the building trade. Thus Büssing was compelled to produce three different types of trucks to match all customers’ needs: underfloor engine trucks, conventionals and coes. For a smaller company this scattering was fatal. In 1971 MAN purchased Büssing and continued to produce underfloor trucks up to 1994.
Two 12000 U have survived. They are the undisputed highlights of any vintage truck meeting in Germany.
My scratch build shows the earliest version of the 12000 U13 as shown on this contemporary picture.
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For full visibility of the engine I “removed” the engine cover - as most owners and later on even Büssing did. The intricate chassis, the open platform body and the cab without existing drawings made the project rather time-consuming. Though I could use some identical or modifiable parts of the Revell kit I spent more than 1000 hours building my model.
Among all approximately 250 models still in my hands (I really wonder how many models I have built during the past 55 years) this is my favourite model. If I were compelled to give all models away except one I would certainly keep this one.
I hope you like it too.
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1937 Mercedes-Benz L 10000 Scratchbuilt 1/24