OVER THE HILL

Diesel World - - Vintage Smoke -

1,800 max (52 @ 1,600 con­tin­u­ous). The con­tin­u­ous torque out­put of all en­gines were vir­tual straight lines from 600 to 1,500 rpm, de­liv­er­ing 60, 108, and 175 lb-ft, re­spec­tively. All of them had a 15.5:1 com­pres­sion ra­tio. Some were equipped with in­di­vid­ual com­pres­sion re­leases for each cylin­der so they could be hand-started.

In April of 1942 Hill Diesel was pur­chased by the Ed­wards Com­pany of New York, with 78-year-old Ran­som Olds re­tained as the chair­man of the board. In re­al­ity, Ed­wards, a builder of power rail­way mo­tor cars with a plant in North Carolina, was owned and run by the Cum­mins Diesel En­gine Cor­po­ra­tion of New York. Con­fused? We were un­til we learned that this was a com­pany be­gun in 1934 as a dis­trib­u­tor for Cum­mins diesels and had ac­quired

Ed­wards in 1940. In Au­gust of 1942 they changed their name to the Rogers Diesel and Air­craft Cor­po­ra­tion, oper­at­ing both com­pa­nies un­der their own names. The Ed­wards Plant was con­verted for the man­u­fac­ture of wartime air­craft parts.

To con­fuse things even more, Drake Amer­ica Cor­po­ra­tion ac­quired Hill Diesel in 1948 as one of its first cor­po­rate ac­qui­si­tions, and Hill limped along in Lans­ing un­til Oc­to­ber of 1952, when Drake shut it down. It isn’t clear why. Very soon after shut­ting down, Hill’s re­main­ing as­sets were sold off and its ex­ten­sive parts in­ven­tory changed hands many times over the years. Of the many thou­sands of Hill Diesels built over the years, the Model R is prob­a­bly the eas­i­est to get parts for. Hill re­mains one of the best, but least known, of the de­funct diesel en­gine man­u­fac­tur­ers.

 A Hill 4R com­mer­cial gen­er­a­tor set from about 1941; you can see sev­eral dif­fer­ences be­tween this and the later unit. The 4R gen­er­a­tor unit was pro­duced right to the end of Hill Diesel in 1952.

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