Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Zip Van With Cerlist Diesel

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Zip Van With Cerlist Diesel

    My first post is to ask a question. I am a writer working on a story for Diesel World Magazine on the Cerlist diesel. It's the second in a new monthly column I am starting there on old diesel engines called "Vintage Smoke."

    In researching the Cerlist, I found information that at least one Studebaker Zip Van was repowered with a Cerlist Model 3 diesel (3-cylinder, 170 ci, 85 hp, 170 lbs-ft). Cerlist built 2-stroke, loop scavenged diesels in 2, 3, V4 and V6 configurations (54-150 hp) and had a V8 prototyped. They were revvers and peak power was at 3000 rpm. A very innovative engine, it was used in the Jeep M-Series Forward Control built for the USMC in '63. They were multi-fuel and ran on #1 or #2 diesel, JP-4 or gasoline with no adjustments. The engine was designed by Hans List, an Austrian, and his company, AVL, licensed the engine all over the world, including to Cerlist (the name being a combination of Cerf, the top guy at Cerlist, and List). Cerlist went into business in 1956 and sold out to Waukesha in 1963, but Cerf stayed on as Sales Manager. Cerlist engines were built until 1973.

    Anyway, in researching online, I came across this forum and some comments about the Zip Van diesel and that a guy named Asa Hall had owned it to about 2005 until it was sold. Can anyone hook me up with someone who might be able to tell more about that particular van, history and background and perhaps hook me up with the current owner? I have a vintage pic of it and want to pack as much info as I can into the caption. I was interested to learn that the Zip Van may be the last vehicle produced in the U.S. with a Studebaker nameplate.

    Many thanks,

    Jim Allen
    Last edited by FourbyFounder; 02-15-2017, 12:47 PM.
    Jim Allen

    Soldier, sailor, auto tech, off-road driving instructor, photographer, magazine writer, book author, farmer, aspiring curmudgeon.

  • #2
    Jim,

    While you're waiting for someone to answer your specific questions in your third paragraph, you might consider contacting Andrew Beckman, archivist at the Studebaker National Museum to see of there's any information he can provide.
    Mark L

    Comment


    • #3
      Being that Studebaker had a fairly long relationship with using Detroit Diesel 3 and 4 Cyl. Diesel Engines in their Med. and Heavy Duty Trucks, it would seem unlikely that the Factory would undertake a Prototype program to test Cerlist Engines in their Zip Vans.

      This could have been an individual.
      StudeRich
      Second Generation Stude Driver,
      Proud '54 Starliner Owner

      Comment


      • #4
        Some photos in Post #18 here: http://forum.studebakerdriversclub.c...al-Lark-Diesel

        Craig

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by 8E45E View Post
          Some photos in Post #18 here: http://forum.studebakerdriversclub.c...al-Lark-Diesel

          Craig
          Unfortunately, those pics lost their link.

          I have an image of a new Zip Van with Peter Cerf and a prominently displayed "Cerlist Diesel" badge on it. It came from an archive of material from the Waukesha Engine Historical Society. Waukesha bought Cerlist in the Summer of '63,about the time this was all happening, so at the time the pic was taken, which had to have been in late '63 or early '64 (the image is not dated), Cerf was either the the Executive V.P. At Cerlist Diesel, Inc., or the Sales Manager of the Cerlist Engine Division of Waukesha (the job he took when Cerlist was purchased). At the time, they were pushing to get Cerlists in anything they could. Cerf was either working a deal with the U.S. Government, and the USPS gave him a Zip Van to convert, or he was working with Studebaker. It's not clear from the remaining records which, hence the reason I am reaching out to Studebaker people in the know. If the surviving van has some data plates or documentation with it, we might be able to date it better.
          Jim Allen

          Soldier, sailor, auto tech, off-road driving instructor, photographer, magazine writer, book author, farmer, aspiring curmudgeon.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by FourbyFounder View Post
            I have an image of a new Zip Van with Peter Cerf and a prominently displayed "Cerlist Diesel" badge on it.
            If so, it should also have external radiator shutters that protrude about an inch in front of the grille opening. It was made by Cadillac; totally unrelated to the GM product.

            Craig

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by 8E45E View Post
              If so, it should also have external radiator shutters that protrude about an inch in front of the grille opening. It was made by Cadillac; totally unrelated to the GM product.

              Craig
              What does GM and Cadillac have to do with Cerlist?
              Jim Allen

              Soldier, sailor, auto tech, off-road driving instructor, photographer, magazine writer, book author, farmer, aspiring curmudgeon.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by FourbyFounder View Post
                What does GM and Cadillac have to do with Cerlist?
                None, as I stated.

                'Cadillac' is the brand name of the thermostatic radiator shutters this particular Zip Van with the Cerlist diesel installation used. It was not used on any with the 170 c.i.d Studebaker engines, which makes it easily identifiable.

                Think of 'Kysor' radiator shutters. It has nothing to do with Detroit Diesel, but many trucks equipped with Detroit diesel engines are equipped with them.

                Craig

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by 8E45E View Post
                  None, as I stated.

                  'Cadillac' is the brand name of the thermostatic radiator shutters this particular Zip Van with the Cerlist diesel installation used. It was not used on any with the 170 c.i.d Studebaker engines, which makes it easily identifiable.

                  Think of 'Kysor' radiator shutters. It has nothing to do with Detroit Diesel, but many trucks equipped with Detroit diesel engines are equipped with them.

                  Craig
                  Ahh! Yes, it is only partly visible but it has louvers. I'd post the pic now but I am constrained until after the story is out. At that point, I can post the pic. It shows a Zip Van in full USPS regalia, so my initial theory has been that the conversion was instigated by the USPS and not Studebaker. But I'd like to know for sure. Cerlist had many government connections and besides the Jeep M-Series FC trucks, Jeep M-38A1s had been converted and the engine was under consideration for an experimental tactical rig being proposed in the prototype/bidding process that led to the Gamma-Goat. I know that a Cerlist was also tried in a Checker cab. There were other test conversions I have not verified yet and am trying to track down.

                  What other clues can you give me about the Cerlist Zip Van. Was a lot of talk about it here a few years back and that it was sold. Would really like to track down the current owner to see about data plates, engine numbers, etc, because that could help me date the conversion (Cerlist Inc or Waukesha). Maybe there was some paperwork or documentation that came with the vehicle.
                  Jim Allen

                  Soldier, sailor, auto tech, off-road driving instructor, photographer, magazine writer, book author, farmer, aspiring curmudgeon.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by FourbyFounder View Post
                    I know that a Cerlist was also tried in a Checker cab.
                    Checker did use Detroit 3-53 diesels in a few cabs, but they may have experimented with some Cerlists.

                    If you are near the NATMUS Museum in Auburn, the Checker to the right in my photo is equipped with a diesel, but I didn't look under the hood to see who's engine it had: http://forum.studebakerdriversclub.c...hecker-Aerobus

                    Craig

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by 8E45E View Post
                      Checker did use Detroit 3-53 diesels in a few cabs, but they may have experimented with some Cerlists.

                      If you are near the NATMUS Museum in Auburn, the Checker to the right in my photo is equipped with a diesel, but I didn't look under the hood to see who's engine it had: http://forum.studebakerdriversclub.c...hecker-Aerobus

                      Craig
                      Documentation exists about the Checker conversion (see SAE white paper 590141, dated April 23, 1959 by Peter Cerf).

                      I am not far from NATMUS and will be up that way in May to deliver a talk at ACD. Have done several shoots there, including that Studebaker 4x4 (see http://www.fourwheeler.com/features/...kward-glances/ ). I remember that Checker but, like you, didn't look under the hood. I was in good with the Curator, so he would have let me. Since it was from 1969, I doubt it would be a Cerlist but I think the information placard mentioned it was a GM engine.
                      Last edited by FourbyFounder; 02-16-2017, 06:00 AM.
                      Jim Allen

                      Soldier, sailor, auto tech, off-road driving instructor, photographer, magazine writer, book author, farmer, aspiring curmudgeon.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by FourbyFounder View Post
                        It shows a Zip Van in full USPS regalia, so my initial theory has been that the conversion was instigated by the USPS and not Studebaker. But I'd like to know for sure.
                        I have no doubt in my mind the use of a Cerlist engine was instigated by the USPS, and not Studebaker. Studebaker was already in bed with Detroit, using the 53-series diesels in their 1-1/2 and 2 ton trucks, and as previously mentioned, a handful of Larks with Perkins engines. And they were experimenting with a Cummins diesel as well: http://forum.studebakerdriversclub.c...erti-papers-20

                        Therefore, adding a fourth diesel engine manufacturer on the own would not have made any sense. If I remember right, Off-Highway Products also produced a similar sized vehicle for the USPS once the Studebaker contract was finished, and they may picked up on using Cerlist diesel in their units.

                        Craig

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by 8E45E View Post
                          I have no doubt in my mind the use of a Cerlist engine was instigated by the USPS, and not Studebaker. Studebaker was already in bed with Detroit, using the 53-series diesels in their 1-1/2 and 2 ton trucks, and as previously mentioned, a handful of Larks with Perkins engines. And they were experimenting with a Cummins diesel as well: http://forum.studebakerdriversclub.c...erti-papers-20

                          Therefore, adding a fourth diesel engine manufacturer on the own would not have made any sense. If I remember right, Off-Highway Products also produced a similar sized vehicle for the USPS once the Studebaker contract was finished, and they may picked up on using Cerlist diesel in their units.

                          Craig
                          Well that's my working theory too but, unlike you posting on a forum, I cannot profess a theory too strongly in a mainstream publication without backup documentation, something that can lead people to incorrect conclusions. If I don't find out for sure, I have to be wishy-washy about it and I hate that.

                          The timing is what give me the most pause in considering it was instigated by Studebaker and that's why I am trolling for dates. Auto manufacturers are never too locked in to one supplier... especially when someone comes along with something better (for the same money) or cheaper (with comparable performance). So it's not completely out of bounds with reality that Studebaker would consider Cerlist and do some testing in spite of any relationships with GM.

                          That said, Studebaker was on the ropes by the time the Zip Van was coming out and it's not likely there was a lot of forward thinking going on at the time, so experimenting with new engines would not have been high on the priority list. From what I have read, the Zip Van was a pretty fast development and used mostly existing Studebaker mechanical parts... a very cost effective approach for a company in financial distress... and I can't imagine Cerlist being able to jump into that effectively with a proposal that entailed Studebaker writing checks to an outside vendor rather than to it's workers or raw materials suppliers.
                          Jim Allen

                          Soldier, sailor, auto tech, off-road driving instructor, photographer, magazine writer, book author, farmer, aspiring curmudgeon.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I believe that the two best sources of information on the diesel Zip Van, that I haven't seen in several years, is;
                            1) the person that bought it from the Asa Hall estate - I was at the auction, but I can't remember who that was, or
                            2) Andy Beckman, the Archivist at the Studebaker National Museum.
                            Gary L.
                            Wappinger, NY

                            SDC member since 1968
                            Studebaker enthusiast much longer

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              For the diesel illiterate, what advantages/disadvantages were there to the Cerlist over a Detroit or a Perkins, or a.. whatever?
                              Ron Dame
                              '63 Champ

                              Comment

                              Working...
                              X