WHEN a new organization headed by A. L. Philp and Frederick J. Haynes took charge of Durant Motors, almost a year ago, it was generally felt that important revisions would be made before long in both policies and products. Both changes are represented in the 1930 line of Durant cars. Instead of the five chassis models which were offered by Durant Motors in the past, only two will be built in 1930. Both are sixes, the 614 selling in competition with the lowest-priced cars in the six-cylinder field, while the 617 ranges in the $1,000 class. Both have new body lines and new mechanical features.
The leader of the Durant line, the 614, has a Continental engine developing around 60 hp. Features of the engine are a medium compression ratio, an exceptionally rigid crankshaft, and oil distribution without the use of piping. The transmissions of the new models are of the three-speed type. The rear axles are of new design, of the built-up type, with a very stiff malleable differential carrier and double tapered roller bearings at each rear wheel.
Steering gears have tie rods that cannot drop off. Brakes are Midland Steeldraulics of the latest type and with reinforced drums. Springs are of silicon-manganese steel with Tyron shackles.
Frames have several new features. There is a crossmember immediately ahead of the rear engine mounts. At the front end, the side rail lower flange has been widened considerably and turned down to serve for the attachment of the lower gussets of the front crossmember.
Slightly sloping windshields of the VV type are fitted on closed models and forward-folding windshields with cowl ventilators on the roadster and touring car. Doors overlap scuff plates at the bottom and are provided with windlaces at the sides to shut out drafts. The dash is insulated, and there is a rubber mat in the front compartment.
Headlamp tie rods are curved. De luxe models have fender parking lights, whereas standard models have parking bulbs in the headlights. Rear ends are dressed -up with a metal valance over the tank and spring horns.
The steering wheel is of the new three-spoke type and the only control on it is the horn button. Button controls for the light switch spark, throttle and choke are carried on the instrument board. Depressible beams are operated by a foot dimmer switch.
Reverting to mechanical details, exhaust valves are of silicon-chromium steel; the distributor arms form the clamps for the distributor heads, permitting rapid adjustment of the spark timing; front end chain drives are of the short, two-point type, the generator being driven off the water pump, which in turn is driven by the fan belt.
Pistons are of Bohnalite type and have two compression rings (grooved to form an oil seal), in addition to the oil regulator and oil scraper rings. The fan is oil-lubricated. Spark plugs are metric. A thermostat is fitted in the cylinder head and an AC fuel pump and an air cleaner are fitted.
Companion-flange type universals are now used at the front as well as at the rear. Spring seats and brake backing-plate carriers are welded to the 3-in. axle tubes; bearings are Timken throughout, with double Timkens, shim-adjusted, at the wheel ends.
The new type Steeldraulic brakes have a T-section shoe half on the self-energizing side, in place of the former channel section. Drums are not machined, as it has been found, it is claimed, that leaving them with the die-finish reduces scoring. Emergency brakes operate on all four wheels.
Timken bearings support the worm shaft of the worm and-sector steering gear, which has a reduction ratio of 14 ½ to 1. Pitman shafts are 11/8 in. in diameter. Tie rods have the male part of the ball joints assembled from the bottom, so that if the retaining plugs should drop out, the tie rod will not drop off. There is about ½ in. more spread between front wheel bearings than in the former Durants.
Mechanical changes are less numerous on the 617. The four-speed transmission with which this model is equipped has been redesigned to give standard shift. The emergency low is now latched out, and the reverse is in its normal position. The design is based on the Durant 70, but it has a new frame, and the bodies also are new. Engine mounts are no longer of the shim type, but have the rubber vulcanized to metal plates.