The French truckbrand Berliet, now part of Renault Trucks once produced impressive ‘Sahara proof’ trucks. Fortunately, there are a large number of Berliet trucks preserved in the private Museum of Berliet, '' Fondation M. Berliet 'in Lyon, France.
The museum is located in the farmlands and you just have tob e able to find. In a large number of large sheds in which you would assume that a agricultural machines are located there are rows of classic Berliet trucks. By the way, not only trucks, but also buses, locomotives, army vehicles and all sorts of oddities. There are even Mack and Simca-Unic trucks, and even a Chinese license built Berliet. The most impressive vehicles are the Berliet trucks from the time of the French occupation of large parts of Africa. Huge trucks that once tamed complete deserts are neatly arranged in the museum.
Huge dimensionsBetween all the beauty in the private museum the most impressive truck that we ever saw is the. The T100. It is a huge truck with a width of five meters and a length of 15.3 meters. The truck is 4,40 high and it has a 6x6 layout. The wheels are fited with Goodyear tires of the dimension 37,5x33R. These are tires with a diameter of 2.2 meters and a width of one meter. For the drive, there is a Cummins V12 engine with a displacement of 30 liters under the hood. The ability of this sample is 700 hp. Today, that is not very special, but in the fifties it was spectacular!
Looking for oilThe truck was developed to search for oil in the Sahara expand. In the 1950s there was especially by the French eagerly sought for oil. These expeditions necessitated specific and heavy equipment to the oil along on drilling. To this material to the oil fields to transport designed Berliet, the famous French truck producer from Lyon late 1956 the T100. The whole design and production of number 1 took place in just nine months. That was quite an achievement because on this scale, there was little experience with powertrains and tires. The truck was presented at the "Salon de l'Automobile de l'automne 1957, 'a big show in Paris. The Berliet was, however, much too large for the exhibitionhalls of 'Le Parc de l'Exposition. For Berliet reason to build a complete new hall with the name ''Hall saharien."
technical ingenuityThe largest truck in the world, a title that the Berliet T100 proudly wore, was in all respects enormously. The drive took place on all wheels, but the front wheel drive was switched off. The cabin could seat four people and the body was flat. Central to the body there is a huge fifth wheel. The Cummins V12 -dieselmotor, with 12 cylinders was equipped with two turbocompressors. The 700 hp were good for a maximum speed of around 34 km / h. One thing you do need with these large wheels is power steering. In this case the steering pump is powered with a seperate engine, made by Panhard. This could also be at a stilstaande or idling hoofdmotor be sent. The turning circle of 13.2 meters was not less of. If there was a gearbox Clark halfautomatic on board with four course forward and four reverse, of course, equipped with a high and low gearing.
Disc brakesVery special is this truck already has disc brakes! The brakes are of the brand Messier, a manufacturer of disc brakes for the aircraft industry. Years later the Berliet brand was also a pionieer with disc brakes for road- going trucks. From the first model T100 there are only two built, one of which is in the museum. Number two is missing. In 1959, it was a built as a tipper truck with a fifty cubic meters Marrel tipper body. This truck was used to working in an opencast mine in Bessines. Number four was a T100 with a forward control model with five seats and a sleeper cab. The windshield was into three parts and this truck was fitted with the V12 engine. Later still Berliet experiments done with a Turboméca helicopterengine with an output of 1000 hp!