At close to the turn of the last century the Glasgow firm of Alley and Maclennan moved to Shrewsbury and changed their name to Sentinel. They developed a steam cart that became known as the Standard and because it was so much better than most of what had gone before they sold a shed load of them and made a lot of money. However, by the early 1920s the Standard was old hat and had a number of design issues (trival matters like no brakes to speak of were becoming more important as roads got busier and loads got heavier). Sentinel put their thinking caps on to design something new and then went bust. The company was kicked back into life with a name that was only slightly different put their thinking caps back on and came up with the next model. It had features that were super. Its engine was super, the cab was super and it even had a foot brake which were super. There could only be one name for a waggon (two Gs because Sentinel couldn't spell either) that was this super and that is what we are discussing here.
The Super deserved its name because despite a number of odd design features it was pretty much the sweet spot. A decent cab and brakes but without the problems of the later models. I've posted this one a couple of times already but I can't be bothered uploading another example of a Super - they all look about the same. This is a Super Sentinel with a coke body on it.
For the uninitiated the general idea is the boiler sits right at the front in the cab and is fired from the top. The bunker is in the cab too. You then have the twin cylinder engine slung under the chassis with a chain driving each rear wheel. Steam waggons are bad for all sorts of reasons which is why lorries have pretty much always run on diesel. They do have a few advantages. They are quiet, they produce more torque than you have heard of and they don't have gears. Open the throttle and go. They are a joy to drive on the road. Particularly in traffic.
And here's the one we built back in the early 1990s. What I mean by "built" should become apparent as we go on.
You will note a few key differences. This one has windscreens. This was a period option and are essential. It also has pnematics rather than solids. Many waggons were returned to the factory to be converted from solids to pneumatics which allowed them to run at a legal maximum of 20mph instead of 12mph. We drive our waggons on the road so solids are a non-starter. You will also see that this one is very short. Some were cut down to drawbar tractors in period, however, in our case the shortness of the wheelbase was forced on us because where it lived at the time we couldn't get anything longer into the shed.
It was finished in 1995 and we did about 3500 miles in it - the above photo was taken about 130 miles from home. We got bored of it in 2000 and sold it to a chap who did about 12,000 miles in it. The old girl is living down south somewhere now. We moved onto the restoration of the later S Type Sentinel (photo elsewhere) and a couple of years ago we decided that we would build another Super because they are bestest.
This time round we will build it longer because the ultra short wheelbase of the last one wasn't brilliant on the road. Think SWB Series III Land Rover with tired springs and you'll know where I am coming from. So what we are aiming for this time round is something with the wheelbase and body of the Charringtons one up there with the windscreens and pneumatics of the one below it. Oh, and steam brakes and electric lights which are all period options/factory modifications.
There is a bit to catch up on so it will take a few posts. If it gets too dull let me know and I will stop.
Oh, and I am crap at taking pictures.