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Truck Engine Sound Nostalgia

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After the reaction to the V8 Mack video featured in last week’s PowerTorque, it is clear that truck engine sound nostalgia is going strong in Australian trucking circles.

This week we bring you another of those classic engine notes, the Commer Knocker, an iconic engine in the history of trucking here in Australia, which was developed for the UK truck market, only to be tweaked and adapted to handle the much tougher trucking tasks expected of an Aussie truck.

This video gives us a taste of the level of sound inside the cabin, evidenced by the ear plugs being worn by the well known classic truck nut in the driver’s seat. This gives us just a taste of the world in which the truck drivers of the fifties and sixties lived and the kind of conditions they had to live with.

The Commer truck brand owned by Rootes was developed in the UK was looking to design a compact engine to fit under the company’s QX cabover design. It became the iconic TS3 engine which was developed and modified over the years with higher power ratings, which were needed in markets like Australia at the time, but which we would now expect to be offered to us in a ute.

The innovative two stroke design with six opposed pistons in three cylinders is the reason for the unique engine sound. The fact that it was incredibly loud under load was clearly not a concern at the time, but would surely be rejected today.





This video gives us an idea of just how the Commer Knocker works:


The period after the Second World War was one of engineers testing the limits of engine design and coming out with new engine layouts and innovative engine control systems, in an era when all of the engine’s system were mechanically controlled, with zero electronics. This was a period of experimentation with no single approach to engine design dominating.

Wikipedia suggests that the ‘Knocker’ moniker comes from the engine’s popularity in Australia and New Zealand, but the name has now been adopted by Commer enthusiasts around the world.


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