In January 1963, Swedish truck maker Scania-Vabis introduced the LB 76 cabover series of heavy trucks and tractors, mainly to serve the key export markets, where overall length restrictions had come into effect. No cab-over-engine model in the product line simply meant no opportunities to expand the business abroad.
The 76-series was offered with a 4×2, 6×2 or 6×4 drivetrain. Respectively the L, LS and LT when talking conventionals; LB, LBS and LBT for the cabovers.
They were all powered by an inline-six diesel engine with a displacement of 11,021 cc. The D11 engine was naturally aspirated, the DS11 was the turbocharged version. If it said super on the grille, you got the turbodiesel. Initially, its maximum power output was 225 hp. Increased to 240 hp in November 1964 and from 1967 onwards, the DS11 was good for 255 hp.
The 76 had the truck maker’s G600 five-speed, synchronized transmission. The 76 Super always came with a two-speed differential.
This whole machine oozes robustness and high quality, no shortcuts anywhere. Literally as strong as steel, from the front bumper to the rearmost crossmember. When looking for a cheap truck, Scania-Vabis certainly wasn’t on the shortlist.
The LBS 76 was rated at a GVW of 22,300 kg (49,163 lbs). To put things in perspective, a modern heavy-duty 6×2 chassis -with a standard front axle- is rated at a gross weight of 26,500 kg (58,422 lbs).
As can be seen here, Scandinavians and liftable tag axles go way back.
Travelling further back in time, Scania-Vabis was formed in 1911 as the outcome of the merger between Scania and Vabis. Word is that no fancy agency was hired to come up with the new company name.
No tilt cab yet. Or cab suspension, for that matter. Naturally the new cab did meet the stringent, (in)famous 1960 Swedish cab strength regulations, essentially an official implementation of the testing procedure that Volvo already followed for their heavy vehicles since the late fifties.
Part of the crash test was swinging a 1,000 kg pendulum barrel into the A-pillars and into the back of the cab, after which the doors would stay shut and could be opened without any force. A static weight of 15,000 kg sitting on top of the roof was another intense exercise. Sharp-pointed/-edged cab damage after the full test was unacceptable. No wonder most outsiders didn’t even bother to try entering the Swedish market.
Utterly spartan by today’s long-distance standards. Yet when developing these cabs, soundproofing, engine heat insulation and ergonomics were certainly not forgotten. For example, the seat has an adjustable suspension system. And note the firm handles inside the cab, on both sides of the door opening.
The Scania-Vabis tractor is coupled to a 1961 Netam-Fruehauf semi-trailer with a temperature controlled J.S. Burgers body. A stunning combination, and that’s an understatement. A vrieswagen is a freezewagon (simple), that’s exactly what it does.
The semi-trailer’s wide spread tandem axle set-up with dual wheels was commonplace in Europe, prior to the arrival of the tridem axle/super single semi-trailers in the second half of the seventies, which are still predominant these days.
The coachbuilder’s signature. The company was founded in 1925 and was renamed Burgers Carrosserie in 1976. Their specialization is designing and building fully enclosed bodies for the trucking business.
And the Scania-Vabis vehicles? Rebranded Scania in 1969, right after the truck manufacturer merged with Svenska Aeroplan Aktiebolaget (better known as SAAB).
The 76 was superseded by the 110, also powered by the D11 or DS11 engine. The conventional model stayed virtually the same, whereas the COE got a brand new, much bigger tilt cab. Pictured a 1972 Scania LB 110 Super. Quite a dramatic change!
The new flagship was the 140 cabover (LB-LBS-LBT 140) with a 350 hp, 14 liter V8 turbodiesel. These days, Scania is a member of the globally operating Traton SE family, a subsidiary of the Volkswagen Group.