1938 Lanz Bulldog

Glenn R. Shaw
May/June 1988
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5 Veterans Row, Westbury, Tasmania, Australia 7303

It's been a cold, wet day out in the shed and upon reading the article on Mr. Eric Siren's 'Columbia' engine, I decided once again to prompt myself into writing about my latest project, a 1938 Lanz Bulldog.

The Lanz engine is (like the Columbia) a two stroke hot bulb type capable of burning any oil-based fuel that can be injected into the combustion chamber. This engine was first designed and built in 1921 by Dr. Fritz Huber, and the design lasted until 1964, being built in both diesel and semi-diesel types. My Lanz is a Model P 22-45 HP dual purpose (road/farm) model, fitted with an engine of 8-86 inch bore and 10 inch stroke. It is also fitted with a two stage governor allowing a normal speed of 540 rpm and a temporary maximum load of 630 rpm. The load on the engine can also be adjusted by altering the injector spray on the hot bulb.

Starting one of these engines always surprises the uninitiated, as on non-electric models a blow lamp is ignited and placed under the hot bulb for about three minutes (or until the bulb is cherry red). On dual purpose models this method is done away with by utilizing a trembler coil, plug and petrol injection. Two pumps are given on the fuel pump lever and then the steering wheel is removed and placed in the end of the crankshaft and rocked back sharply, causing the fuel in the hot bowl to flare and ignite starting the engine. Being a two stroke, the engine will start forward or backward. If the engine does fire backwards, the fuel is shut off until the engine rocks on top dead center and the fuel is then turned back on causing the engine to fire back the other way. If started on petrol, the engine is run until warm and then the petrol turned off and oil fuel turned on. The engine will now self-ignite and run indefinitely. During World War II, many of these tractors ran day and night on nothing more than sump oil; a reputation like that made them very scarce and sought after as the government ceased imports due to our being at war with the German manufacturers.

Australian agents Kelly and Lewis obtained rights to manufacture the Lanz tractor locally in 1948 as German Lanz's were still unobtainable. The 'KL' Bulldog was based on the 40 HP Model N lamp start three speed Lanz previously imported. Unfortunately, they were plagued with broken crankshafts, earning them the reputation of the 'poor man's Lanz'. Production of the KL Bulldog ceased when the Lanz version became available once again. About 800 KL Bulldogs were produced, and were quite different from the Lanz, being finished in red paintwork with yellow wheels. Radiator units were also different with local models fitted with straight fins and Lanz versions having honeycomb construction.

These tractors (both Lanz and KL) are still keenly sought after by Australian collectors. I was fortunate enough to obtain mine at an auction but I didn't hold out much luck of obtaining it due to other enthusiasts being prepared to pay more than I could afford. As I was unable to attend the sale, my father went to at least see how much the old girl brought. Imagine my surprise when I drove in the drive, opened the garage and came face to face with a 45 HP Bulldog!

My first words were to the tune of 'Hell, he got it!'

'Sure did,' said Dad from behind the tractor.

When asked how much we paid for it, he said, 'Too much,' but still we would not get the opportunity to obtain another.

As the engine was running when we bought it, I didn't tamper with it but set about cleaning and painting it to factory condition.

Restoration should be finished in early 1988 and then I can start on the Lanz's John Deere cousins awaiting restoration. John Deere took controlling interest of 78% of Lanz Mannheim, taking control of the company in 1958. Lanz ceased production in 1964.


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