Encouraged by the success of its light commercial vehicles based on the AG chassis, Renault would venture into the heavy-duty vehicles market in 1909 with a new chassis, the BD.
The first heavy-duty vehicles
The BD chassis was originally designed for modernising the old horse-drawn omnibuses. Now, it would provide the basis for Renault’s first three-tonne truck, which would also introduce a number of original technical features. Specifically, the transmission would use a shaft drive with universal-joint coupling, though chain drive was still widely advocated at the time.
Extremely reliable mechanics
The engine, gearbox and mechanical sub-systems were derived directly from those used on Renault cars, though special attention was given to protection against dust and mud. The rear axle was a single piece of forged steel, and the shafts were mounted on special “annular bearings” in high-resistance material for reliability!
This type of chassis was the basis for the postal van, which in addition to the mail transport compartment also housed a tiny postmaster’s office with an armoured counter window.