Tata Mercedes Benz

by Guruprasad

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1954.
The first Tata-Mercedes-Benz truck rolls out.

Tata Motors (which was TELCO those days) collaborated with Daimler-Benz to manufacture trucks in India, and the first truck (shown in the pic) was rolled out within 6 months. The deal was for 15 years during which Tata could use Benz engine and had to put the Benz logo in front grill. It was popularly called the “Tata-Mercedes-Benz” truck (TMB) and was considered to be of superior quality by the industry.
Logo of the Joint Venture (JV):
http://www.cartype.com/pics/1628/full/tata-mercedes_emblem_79.jpg

These trucks not only catered to domestic market but for exports as well (to countries like Sri Lanka)
A photo of such a truck being exported:
http://www.theautomotiveindia.com/forums/attachments/nostalgic-era/3593d1268405853-indian-auto-industry-history-timeline-tata-export.jpg

In 1969, when the JV with Benz came to an end, Tata started using its engine (which was a replica of Benz engine). By then, Tata had also opened up its research centre paving way for a series of trucks from the Tata stable over the next few decades.
Although Tata ended the Benz deal in 1969, it retained the same chassis and shape. So from the outside, it looked like the Benz logo was replaced by Tata. Notice the curvature of front Bonnet and the round headlight. We can still find these trucks even now on urban roads doing petty tasks (they are too worn out and slow to be used on highways these days).

A photo of such a truck today with Tata logo (means it was manufactured after 1969. Notice the round headlamps)
http://www.truck-photos.net/picture/number4243.asp

In 1977, they launched a much sophisticated truck and changed the front design which embedded rectangular headlights in front (unlike the round ones which used to protrude out) and the bonnet was much wider. It comes under Tata S series (1210S) and there were improvements for subsequent versions like SE (1210SE) and so on.
A pic of such a truck from the 1210S series and these are pretty common on roads these days:
http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3206/3046912862_9e414542a9.jpg

As the demand for trucks grew and technology progressed, Tata came up with many models of trucks. One of the most popular being LPT series which are sold even today and has a flat front:
http://lh5.ggpht.com/_9Z_YjBoDoLE/SoeBW4HmGDI/AAAAAAAABCc/uu-NHh_9cbY/DSC01214.JPG

Another popular series is the 407 with a front sloping bonnet:
http://i.pbase.com/u41/mbarooah/large/39569536.OR5B6527.jpg

Tata was very clever in reusability. Whenever they came up with a model, they used to reuse the same front engine assembly and front chassis to make multiple versions of it catering to different usage purposes which were popular. Either they would already have such a fully built truck catering to the need or the customer is free to go to a coachbuilder and get a custom made coach for it.

For example the SE series bare chassis is like this:
http://cv.tatamotors.com/showcase/mcv/trucks/images/se1613cturbotruck-big.jpg

It has been used for normal usage like this:
http://imcdb.org/i062474.jpg

Tipper variant with hydraulic unloading:
http://www.daisygroup.co.in/tracks/truck_big_1613_tipper.jpg

custom coach for extra load:
http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3115/2928101414_0a77997c90.jpg

Now that we are done with the historical and informative part. Here is the thought provoking part to make you think.
These trucks play a very crucial role in taking our country forward. And the truck drivers are our unsung heroes who have shouldered the responsibility of ensuring circulation of goods monotonously and in turn keep the country’s economy ticking. Just like how players like Sachin, Sehwag patiently complete every single run and put up gigantic scores to make our nation proud about its cricket progress, these truck drivers patiently complete every single kilometer to cover gigantic distances over days to make our nation proud about its economic progress.
Just like how we have our Indian Army soldiers working away from their families to defend our nation’s pride, our truck drivers are working away from their families to defend our nation’s economy. Hats off to all the truck drivers for their role in the development of our nation.

When we come across a truck driver next time on road, lets give him a smile instead of an annoying honk :)

Here is a music video in tribute of all the Indian truck drivers:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m0f07j4vzrM

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