International Harvester also offered a 354 option for its Loadstar range. Perkins ambitions in North America were aided by their new boss. In 1959, the company had been taken over by Massey Ferguson, which many of us think of as a British tractor maker but was actually owned by Canadians. Back at home, Commercial Motor organised a head-to-head comparison between the 354 and Gardners 5LW in an 18-ton garage door opener grease
The lighter, smaller Perkins gave better on-road performance with a higher cruising speed but it couldnt better the venerable Gardner on fuel economy. Being light of course, it did allow for a slightly higher payload. "Another joint venture with Austin-Rover that never reached production was Iceberg, the long-running project to dieselise Rovers well-respected petrol V " The R6 troubles, general economic uncertainty and increasing competition meant that by the end of the 1950s Perkins wasnt in the healthy state it had been 10 years before, though it was a far bigger company, producing around 100,000 engines a year and shipping them all over the world. Frank Perkins finally retired from day-to-day management in 1959, but before he went, he urged the garage door opener grease to diversify, so it wasnt entirely dependent on diesels. Two projects went ahead.
One was a range of two-stroke outboard engines bought from Oliver, the American manufacturer which would become a Perkins customer for its big tractors. The other was a small gas turbine, built under licence from another US company and intended as an emergency water pump. The turbine was an interesting idea, but wasnt a great success and was dropped in 1 These attempts at diversification were well intentioned, but at its heart Perkins remained a diesel engine manufacturer -it was rumoured that the longest serving employees and managers had the proverbial diesel fuel running through their veins. More central to Perkins business than outboards or mini-turbines was the engine rebuild section, which had been working since 1938 and took in 10,000 customer engines a year for rebuilding. Meanwhile, bigger trucks with heavier garage door opener grease and a growing motorway network meant customers were demanding more power.