After the AR76 were there national answers? Between industry, fitters and banned blows, Italy ...

(To Gianluca Celentano)
03/07/19

Among the big names in the production of Italian vehicles, there was a historic one, perhaps a little in the shade, but certainly with the right credentials to supply the '90 with a worthy replacement for the Fiat AR76. This is the Bremach brand. The evaluation, as we know, has fallen on the historical icon of the 4x4, the Defender, a choice, however, poorly digested in urban use, but above all criticized for having staked without reason on a non-Italian means.

Bremach could have provided the Defense with a reliable logistical tactic, perhaps working out some of its models of the period, but the images of the ultra-modern military top range launched in the 2008 are really exciting and innovative.
On the other hand, the incautious liberalization despite the cries for help from numerous Italian companies, followed by the debatable concept in which efficiency must always be the daughter of competition, the political and trade union silence of the 90 years, a coin minted in the image of the German mark without a simultaneous adjustment of costs here with us, are among the factors that have upset the Italian market by opening it to the purchase of foreign media. An exchange not exactly on par in some cases.

T-REX 4x4 and Spider

Truly a successful LTV, but here he had no luck.

With a compelling name that seems to come from the fantasy of Marvel to also supply the Spider-Man of an excellent 4x4, it is a true predominantly desert off-road vehicle with an optionally double cabriolet cab. Too bad the manufacturer, the Italian Bremach, closed its doors in the 2018, leaving Iveco with the military and specialist production of the similar Ducato and Daily.

Bre Mach, a name made up of the names of the Brenna founders from Varese associated with the historic Macchi brand - formerly Aermacchi - began to establish itself on the market in the '56 and soon its excellent work vehicles began to receive good feedback both in Europe than in America.

Among the most famous productions of the Varese-based company that moved to Castenedolo (BS) was the Macchi motorcycle MB1, a direct competitor of Guzzi Hercules and the Job N-GR and TGR 35 truck, logistic workers involved in the 4x4 rescue or on construction sites, covering some, even the NATO green military livery.

Specialized particularly in frames, torque reducers, transmissions, braking systems, but also in a design that is more attentive to functionality than aesthetics, Bremach used Iveco engines and often internal components derived from Fiat.
The T-Rex, according to the news, takes shape with the collaboration of the German Krauss-Maffei Wegmann, but comes from the pencil of Steeve BERNAUD-HEYD, former designer of Bugatti and Ferrari; the initial use of the T-Rex was planned for the civilian market, but its operational and reliability characteristics made it immediately appreciated as a Light Tactical Vehicle, fully included in the role of an advanced reconnaissance vehicle.

The name T-Rex of Bremach's Light Tactical Vehicle-Heavy Duty, was associated with the fearsome prehistoric Tirannosaurus Rex, - T-REX in fact - and perhaps its extinction did not bring luck to the Castenedolo company.

Three proven engines, one F1A 2.3 liter from 116 cv, one 3 liter common rail from 146 CV and the top of the range the most powerful, FC1 3.0 cc from 170 cv, the same as the Lince LMW first series. Interesting the availability of the manual gearbox to 6 gears ZF S 400 with overdrive and reducer, or an automatic Allison 1000SP to 5 gears.

Modern and innovative

The structure, to contain the weights, was created using sound-absorbing and thermo-acoustic panels, but also components in perspex and, among the specialties, Bremach has included an armored version for the Defense falling under the NATO top secreet parameters.

The T-REX is a different vehicle and from its frame there is a load-bearing structure that recalls an exoskeleton concept that can also be seen in the space-frame lines on the load-bearing parts.

In the instrumentation, there is a strong appeal to combat aircraft, where the controls are placed on easily removable steel panels, a bit like on the LMV Lince. The front axle has been moved as far forward as possible to increase the angle of attack and make it an exceptional 4x4.

Denny Madau, the Prototyping and Testing, do not use half words: "My job? Drive to the destruction! "

I don't know the causes of the failure, even if they are perhaps intuitable, however I believe that the final product was quite comparable to the medium and commercial range of Iveco. A notable collaborator and competitor.

Many conformations can be applied to the chassis with a PTT range between 35 and 60 quintals and up to 6 places for the military.
However, Bremach's 4x4 would seem to have impressed the Armed Forces of Saudi Arabia, which included him among its Light, but the surprise is the logo placed on the grille. In fact, in those countries STI appears ... what is it?

The little known STEYR

The Steyr-Daimler-Puch Spezialfahrzeug is a historic Austrian company, manufacturer and installer of special and military vehicles which, once marketed, should bear the abbreviation STI frontally, like the military Daily or Eurocargo 4x4 lots supplied in the United Arab Emirates. As happens for the revisitations made also for civil vehicles of well-known brands; AMG BRABUS ABARTH MOTORSPORT, also the Austrian company Steyr based on customer requests makes substantial changes and, from its headquarters, a review of the number one of the LMV, the Puch branded Mercedes G Class, was also released.

According to the sources of Austria forum, the Steyr group, from the 2003 is controlled by General Dynamics European Land Systems, also absorbing other names of the Defense production, such as Movag and the Spanish Santa Bárbara Sistemas. However, being an Austrian company subject to the regulations on neutrality, it seems there are provisions that prevent military marketing in countries in crisis, even if in Zimbabwe, before the EU embargo of the 2001, about sixty Armored Personnel Carrier were marketed.

Italian fitters

Under the strict NOS regime, no-liability secrecy, and the NATO Security Clearance, established civilian companies operate and produce military installations even here with us. A simple tarpaulin for a logistic truck, the application of antennas or details on the frame structure are operations that the parent company can delegate to selected external companies. The SANMARCO Industrial, Scattolini group, for example, is able to carry out extra work on the modules that make up LMV LINCE and the VM90 but also to deal with sides and set-ups of platforms and boxes for military logistic trucks.

A similar activity is proposed by another historical name that you have surely known during the military. This is ISOLI SpA of Padua, a company specializing in hydraulic lifting equipment, both in the civil and military sectors. Thanks to steel structures with patented shapes, the company sets up on the Astra ACTL frames, cranes with lifting capacity even of 70 ta 6 m extension; remember ASTRA SM 88.45 TCM 400 or the HD8 84.48 II 8X4 TCM C700M. Even the APS systems - Flatbed Truck - are a prerogative of the company very well established in the Armed Forces not only Italian.

Among the tank installations, the SACIM of Cesena and the EURO MEC Srl of Mantua are worth mentioning, for the mobile water purification plants, now essential with emergencies.

China or rather the East ...

A rapidly expanding colonizing economy that perhaps represents an advantage but also (or above all) a threat to the global economic balance? Everyone will have his ideas but it is interesting to report the agreements with Nanjing Automobile Corporation that originated NAVECO, the Chinese pulpit of FCA commercial vehicle production.

Also Malaysia, known in the Automotive sector for the Petronas brand, is experiencing an economic splendor and maybe there will be news in this direction ...

Italian models in the world

The Italian automobile joint venture is fortunately appreciated as its technology, in this regard we will remember the history of the common rail injection system sold to Bosch. A context where it is curious to know that some Fiat engines are equipped on Opel vehicles, such as the Signum, the Suzuki SX4, rather than the Cadillac BLS 180cv or on some Ford Ka on an 500 basis, just to give a few examples of the long list.

Even militarily this concept seems to have common lines, it can happen in fact to come across on the web or during a trip abroad in the IVECO CAVALLINO of the Argentine Ejército, in fact a eurotrakker, or in some specimens of MUV 70.20 in compelling conformations rather than on the PBICB, the VTLM Lince of Russian nationality.

Even our chameleon VM90 seems to have been appreciated by the Canadian army, albeit with modifications to the cabin; in South Africa, instead, the APC Mikor would equip - there are no clear data - engines FC1, that of the Daily and Lince.

Even military or former military vehicles have a new life, in fact some militias from other states use the historians ACM80, RG-12 Nyala or Daily and perhaps, it makes a certain effect to observe them with different plates and StanAg, to move in contexts unknown to us.

But there is more to Cuba, the historic civilian buses Fiat 421A and U-effeuno that circulated in Milan, are now part of the local public transport company and it is not impossible to identify the logo of the municipality of origin yet. I remember having made some trips with a long column of orange buses to take the buses to Genoa, where they would be embarked for Central America. A humanitarian choice, and perhaps also a method to avoid the subsequent demolition costs.

Interesting then the Daily and Ducato vans marked DODGE RAM for the US market. I believe that over the years the 70 is 90, in the USA, the OM turbo Zeta truck and a modified Fiat Citroen 242 have also been marketed, also, albeit ugly, very well known in our FF.AA.

I would like to recall the admirable commitment of the general of the city, Francesco Paolo Figliuolo, the logistic commander of the Army but above all of all the soldiers in service under this command, often little named, but heroes in all respects and today above all, in synergy with the third sector. Thank you guys!

Photo: Bremach / STI Steyr / Isoli