Tribute to Paul Berliet to celebrate the centenary of his birth

For the 43rd edition of Rétromobile, the Berliet Foundation is presenting the “Centaur”, a Berliet maxi-code roadtractor which caused quite a commotion among professionals and the general public alike at the 1978 Paris Motor Show. 

"What on Earth does this truck have that so inspires the crowds so that next to it, cars just look unbearably sad?" wondered Auto-Journal on 12 March 1979.

“The Centaur”, based on a Berliet 350 tractor, features innovative aesthetics and outstanding comfort, making for a gleaming high-end long-haul truck, a forerunner of the 21st-century models that most builders have since adopted.

Accentuated with reinforced polyester, featuring a vertical stainless-steel exhaust and grill, vertical air inlets – also in stainless steel – on the roof, its KB2400 cab developed in 1969 is also adorned with a brace of fog lights, four long-range lights, five orange-coloured roof-lights and two high-power headlights, as well as four “marine" type chrome-plated horns and tinted windows and windscreen.

Optionally, the passenger compartment is boldly fitted out with a host of refined features, providing the driver with outstanding comfort and room to relax: kitchenette, refrigerator, cooker, mini-shower and sleeping bunks on a mezzanine level. This elevated cab stayed in production until 1990.

 

The Centaure’s technical characteristics:

-          14.8 L V8 135 x 130 Berliet direct-injection turbo engine / 356 hp at 2000 rpm / supercharged by an exhaust turbocompressor.

-          Berliet B 18 gearbox / 2 x 8 front ratios, including 16 synchronous and 2 extra-slow + 2 rear

-          Berliet double reduction rear drive axle with hypoid drive axle and reducers on the hubs.

-          Gross train weight: 38,000 kg.