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Homepage. This page: A classic British truck and its driver, photographed circa 1960.

Commer TS3.

My thanks once again to Henry for digging out another family photograph. In this instance, his father-in-law is shown stood alongside a real classic commercial, a flatbed version of the two-stroke (supercharged) Commer QX, or TS3 as it was usually known. The TS3 was actually its engine, rather than the lorry's model identification. This fully loaded vehicle was in use with W & J Clark (Contractors), and registered as MRG 968, dating it to 1958/1959. The QX was available as either 5-ton or 7-ton rated.
For a working vehicle, this Commer was in fine condition and probably fairly new at the time of the photograph being taken. The paintwork gleams, and so does the windscreen. It's interesting to see how the cargo was loaded in those days - all by hand, and no pallets to enable use of a forklift truck. Drivers in those days had it tough, no power steering, noisy and often draughty cabs, roadside repairs that they often had to undertake themselves, and being faced with the prospect of hand loading their payload before venturing out, and unloading at the destination too.
(Please click the thumbnail to view the full-size image.)
A Commer TS3 lorry
The QX range of lorries was introduced in 1948, powered by a six-cylinder petrol engine. Customers attracted to the benefits of running diesel rather than petrol engines, lead to the firm looking at their options for introducing an oil-burner to the range. 1954 saw the introduction of their reply to this demand, the TS3-powered QX, powered by a unit originally designed by Tilling-Stevens (hence the "TS") and produced at their factory in Maidstone, the firm - like Commer - by now part of the Rootes Group empire.
From its 3.26 litre capacity it produced a healthy 105bhp, its compact layout enabling Commer to accommodate it beneath the QX's cab floor. The two-stroke engine's configuration was anything but conventional. It employed three horizontal cylinders, each of which housed a pair of pistons. Contributing to the TS3's distinctive engine note was a Wade Roots-type supercharger, driven by a shaft that, on occasion, would break - perhaps the type's main achilles' heal. Overall though it was a tough and dependable unit, and one that served the Rootes Group well for the life of its production.
Visit page 17 in the vintage gallery, or return to the gallery's main index page. Thanks for sending the photo over.

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