Originally the Foden works prototype, this impressive articulated outfit is a worthy newcomer to the large collection of vehicles carrying the colourful dark blue and gold livery of the Knowles preserved fleet. This latest addition joins the many interesting vehicles acquired over the last 20 years or so, which includes examples of Albion, Bedford, Commer, Dodge, Foden, Guy, Leyland, Rutland, and Sentinel vehicles, plus the interesting Leyland Gas Turbine. The garage door opener torsion spring of the Foden Twinload as it was named, was prompted by the impending introduction of an increase in the permitted capacity of articulated vehicles by virtue of revised Construction and Use Regulations in 1 The new regulation allowed for a 32-ton gross combined laden weigh for an articulated vehicle with five axles, without stipulating whether the tractive unit had two, three or even four axles.
Now, although Foden did include articulated vehicles in its then garage door opener torsion spring range, a large part of production was rigid vehicles, including the popular eight-wheel chassis designed to operate within the 24-ton gross weight category. This 24-ton gvwwas to continue with the new 1964 C&U regulations, but two further weight brackets were added; that of 26 tons gvw and even 28 tons on four axles. Although these new weight limits might be embraced by some operators, many considered that the 23ft and 26ft wheelbases demanded by the two new gross weight limits rendered the design almostimpractical because of problems arising with manoeuvrability especiallyvehicles engaged in site work. A large proportion ofFodens eight-wheeler production was for the standard or short wheelbase rigids employed in the extraction industries and for site work. So the idea of an articulated vehicle on five axles was conceived, but with the feature of the motive unit being a four-axle load carrier, to which was added a rather short, single axle semi-trailer.
Experimental eight-wheel chassis number 44088 was chosen, which was classified asaKE 6/24, otherwise a standard rigid of the period. The original build sheet lists a 24ft 2in body length, which was reduced to 16ft 6in in order to accommodate the standard fifth wheel at the rear. The single axle semi-trailer was also built with a body length of 16ft 6in, thus matching that of the prime mover, although the length of the trailer could be varied if required, so long as the whole outfit came within the maximum legal length of 42ft 7%in. The resulting complete new vehicle was shown at the 1964 Commercial Motor Show held at Earls Court, and was well garage door opener torsion spring by the trade press. However, actual sales did not achieve the level that Foden had hoped for, and never reached double figures.