1970 - A pan-European company
Systematic, far-sighted development laid the groundwork for Scania's triumphs during the 1970s. Scania became a pan-European company with a dense network of service points in Europe.
To a greater extent than most competitors, Scania evolved into a pan-European company during the 1970s, with large market shares in nearly all western European countries. Above all, Scania created a strong foothold in the long-haulage segment, very much due to its turbocharged 14-litre, 350-hp, V8 engine, which had the highest output of any truck engine in the European market in the early 1970s.
The new engine was introduced in 1969, when European truckmakers began an intense horsepower race. Behind the demand for higher output were higher gross weights and axle pressures as highway networks expanded. But public authorities were also increasingly demanding that heavy trucks should blend into the rhythm of traffic. Especially on Germany's Autobahn, where acceleration and cruising speeds had to meet higher standards.
"On random load analysis"
Largely thanks to Scania's powerful engines, in a few years its sales skyrocketed in major continental markets such as Germany and France. Nor was output bought at the price of high operating costs. On the contrary, the engines featured low fuel consumption, long service life and good low-speed pulling power that also improved driving comfort and lowered noise levels.
During the 1960s, Sverker Sjöström, who became the company's first technical director in 1961, was in charge of development work. An expert on strength of materials, he was recruited to Scania-Vabis in 1947 to help solve quality problems. He worked methodically and far-sightedly. As early as the 1950s, he carried out a long series of measurements of stresses on various vehicle parts while operating on test tracks and roads. He analysed the findings using statistical methods and correlated them with material fatigue data. In 1961, he presented his conclusions in a doctoral dissertation entitled: "On random load analysis".
Thanks to Sjöström's assiduous research work, Scania-Vabis built up systematised knowledge of the stresses affecting various vehicle components. Such knowledge was invaluable when developing new components for various market needs. Scania was able to introduce larger vehicles with higher payload capacities and higher axle weights without encountering problems in load-bearing components - i.e. frames and axles.
The turbocharged V8
Under his leadership, Scania-Vabis designers also increased the strength and torque capacity of transmissions. After systematic development work and extensive analyses of stresses associated with various engine outputs, vehicle weights and driving conditions, the company introduced lighter, cheaper, stronger types of transmissions that fulfilled the highest standards in Scania's tough market segment.
As early as 1958, Scania-Vabis had introduced a turbocharged diesel engine with a 10-litre swept volume, which initially developed 205 hp. The company then relinquished the principles behind its unitary engine programme. Straight 4- and 8-cylinder engines gave way to straight 6-cylinder engines with varying stroke and swept volumes.
Engineers then began development of a turbocharged V8 engine without any pressure from the market or support from management. Scania-Vabis' engine experts developed a compact, high-output, low-rev type of engine, since they were convinced that high output would enable more economical operation due to lower engine speeds, longer service life and less noise. This low-rev philosophy would also reduce gear-changing to a minimum. As it turned out, the engineers' backstage efforts were a major success. The engine was introduced in the market without any real quality problems.