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Epoch Industries - lore and model lineup thread (1867 onwards)


#1

Introduction

Epoch Industries was established in London, England, in 1867 by two brothers (Roger and Graham Epoch) who had inherited a large sum of money, being the only living kin of a distant relative. The first two decades saw the brothers investing and developing a wide range of business opportunities, none of which saw any real success. Whilst one brother was an rational industrialist, the other was a stereotypical dreamer and artist, however this combination worked in their favour eventually, as they found a niche in developing stylish yet affordable carriages for upper-middle class families. In 1886, word reached them of a new invention - The Automobile.

Whilst the general adoption of this new mode of transport was relatively slow (only the very wealthy could even afford to purchase one), the Epoch brothers found their calling, helping to design and build custom coachwork for clients who had specific needs or desires and wanted modifications to their vehicles. Their complimentary skills and attributes helped them to become one of the most sought after in London.

With the onset of WW1, the demand for what was a luxury service crashed, and Epoch Industries was forced to retool and refocus their business on assisting the war effort. The brothers, now joined by both their sons, attempted to design and build an armoured car for the British Army, which was not taken up, that quickly gained the name “the prettiest coffin on wheels” due to its beautiful design but paper thin armour, and delicate mechanicals.

Five days after the end of the war, tragedy struck. Roger’s son was driving the two brothers home after a large celebration at the main factory when their car left the road and crashed into a ditch, killing all three of them. As the only surviving family member, Graham’s son Walter was now in charge of the whole business. Without a real passion for it, the business stagnated and released nothing noteworthy until after WW2, once Walter had passed on the reigns to his son, Thomas.


Car Company Directory
#2

This thread will detail the history and models of the Epoch Industries company, and will be updated as I go through and develop models chronologically (most likely).

Any calculations for inflation etc will be using >This Website Calculator<.

If you see any errors or things that look like they are breaking internal logic or canon then please let me know.

That being said, I don’t have an exhaustive knowledge of standards or regulations for most of the world, so some cars will likely be not quite accurate for the era (e.g. I have no idea when rear brake lights were required in USA etc).


Generations [LORE, UE4] [FINAL RESULTS]
#3

- - - - - - - - - - - 1946 - - - - - - - - - - -

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1946 Epoch - Model 10

In 1946, Epoch unexpectedly released its first car that was 100% designed and built internally to the company. Realising that the market had matured, and that cars were within reach for the majority of people, Walter Epoch had focused efforts on building a stylish but understated vehicle that would focus on reliability and economy. Economies around the world were starting the recovery process, however the common people would struggle to be able to afford most vehicles that were being produced. Walter decided that whilst Epoch was a household name for well-to-do families, the time was right to switch focus on delivering transport to the masses. To this end, The Model 10 was developed; a tiny rear-wheel drive sedan, powered by a 500cc 3-cylinder engine through a 2-speed gearbox, but what it lacked in power and size, it had in practicality and frugalness. Epoch initially only released the Model 10 in a single trim and single colour (Noble Green), allowing for efficiency in production and maintenance, which allowed them to build the car at a cost of only $380. The Model 10 was released in UK, Europe, and the USA simultaneously, although the reception varied between each of these markets. Whilst the Model 10 was quickly identified by the public as a gem of a car in Europe, leading to stock selling out and the need to develop and maintain waiting lists for new vehicles, sales at home in the UK were average. Over in the USA, on the other hand, the Model 10 faired poorly, as the offering was misaligned to the American market’s preference for large cars and large engines. It did, however, start to develop a following for the brand amongst those who could never have afforded a car without the Model 10 on offer.

- - - - - - - - - - - 1948 - - - - - - - - - - -

In 1948, the engine in the Epoch Model 10 underwent a small revamp in order to fix a few manufacturing issues that were discovered. These modifications allowed for more reliability, and bumped the power up by about 6% (1.3HP), although more fuelling was required. This refresh also included a new optional paint colour code “Stormy Silver”. The new revised model was designated the Model 10/B, and the old model now referred to as the Model 10/A (and withdrawn from sale). Apart from the new engine and paint colour, the car remained identical to the original.

- - - - - - - - - - - 1949 - - - - - - - - - - -

1949 brought about the final variant of the initial Model 10, termed the Model 10/C, which sold alongside the 10/B, and could be identified by its subtle changes to bonnet vent and indicator placement, as well as painted wheels. For this model, the Epoch engineers experimented with alternate carburettors and tuning techniques in order to coax even more power (another 1.2HP) out of the diminutive motor. In addition to this, the gearbox now boasted an extra gear (bringing the total up to 3 plus reverse); allowing the car to finally reach 100km/h[1], and the suspension was retuned for better on-road manners. Reliability was improved as a consequence, however the increase in both fuel usage and servicing costs by about 10% led to few people optioning for the 10/C, even if it was sold for the equivalent price.

[1] And only took a sporting 83 seconds to do so!


#4

- - - - - - - - - - - 1950 - - - - - - - - - - -

The Epoch Model 20 followed on from the Model 10, and was released to the UK and Europe in 1950 with a view to provide a vehicle that owners of the Model 10 could upgrade to. Initially this car was offered with a 56HP 116cui (42kW 1900cc) straight-6, which allowed the Model 20 to be driven much more comfortably. This car found a niche for people who wanted a car that was slightly more sporty, but did not have the money or desire to own a proper sports car. It retained a forgiving and practical nature, but now was able to keep up with traffic (unlike the rugged, yet agricultural Model 10). Styling cues were used to maintain a family resemblance, although the lateral grill was replaced with a larger “box grill” for increased cooling that the six-cylinder engine required. Again, the Model 20 was offered in a single trim, which allowed Epoch to keep costs to a minimum. Two colour choices were available initially (the same Noble Green and Stormy Silver), and the vehicle was delivered for $588. This was quite a step up from the cost of a Model 10, however it could be easily argued that the Model 20 was at least twice the car, if not better.

- - - - - - - - - - - 1951 - - - - - - - - - - -

For 1951, the USA received an exclusive “USA Only” trim that arrived detailed with additional chrome, a more sporting suspension tune, upgraded interior, and a twin-carb 140cui (2300cc) variant of the engine that was good for 85HP (63.6 kW). With a weight of approximately 2315lbs (1050kg), this new engine allowed the Model 20 to accelerate up to 60mph in 14.9 seconds, making it the fastest Epoch ever built.

Although this US version cost Epoch an approx $100 extra to make, it was decided that it would not be economically viable to import multiple models, and an up-spec trim would cater better to US tastes. This model also came standard in “Atomic Red”, which was an exclusive colour to the US market.

UK and European markets were offered the upgraded engine and suspension tune option in late 1951 for an additional $100, although this remained visually identical to the standard model, without the upgraded interior or chrome accents.

Whilst the handling and comfort of the Model 20 left a lot to be desired, the general reception in the USA was very positive, with sales surpassing expectations by a fair margin. Criticised for the uncomfortable ride and vague steering, along with handling that set a new benchmark in understeer (rivalled only by the Sinistra Emperor Mk.2 - a front-wheel-drive behemoth), these aspects were overlooked by the market, which saw unrivalled value and faultless reliability.


Generations [LORE, UE4] [FINAL RESULTS]
#5

Another release by Epoch in 1951, was the second generation of the Model 10, released as the Model 10-2A.

This model kept the majority of styling cues from the first Model 10, however it grew slightly larger in order to incorporate more passenger and cargo capacity. This model was available in the same colours as the Model 10, along with an extra option “Bahama Yellow”, which could be had for an additional $10 fee. Extra chrome trim was added, and the front grille was enlarged and reshaped, allowing for a bump in cooling capacity to allow for an evolution of the initial M10 engine. This engine (imaginatively codenamed M10-2) was based upon the same design, but with a displacement increase to 897cc (54.7cui), which allowed for a comparatively large increase in both power and torque. Whilst the most powerful of the previous generation (the M10/C) was rated at 18.5kW (25HP), the new M10-2 output around 24kW (32HP); a 30% increase, whilst returning much better fuel economy and reliability than any of the previous cars.

The previous Model 10-C 3-speed gearbox was tweaked and reutilised, allowing the car to reach a top speed of 108 km/h and reducing the 0-100 time to 31 seconds (still slow, but fast enough to now be called a car and not a motorised carriage!). The suspension system was carried over from the previous model, although tweaked for slightly more comfort, which meant that the Model 10-2A was really starting to show its utilitarian roots.

The reworked body, along with the new engine, increased the cost of the Model 10-2A to $560, which some buyers balked at. Whilst this model was sold in enough numbers in Europe to be profitable overall for Epoch, it was a definite failure in the USA, and was withdrawn from sale by 1953 with less than 500 vehicles sold in total.


#6

- - - - - - - - - - - 1953 - - - - - - - - - - -

Epoch went through a period of restructuring in the early 1950’s, leading to a three year gap where no new models were released. For 1953, the first vehicle post-restructure was actually a refresh of the Epoch Model 20 (released as the Epoch Model 20/B) for the UK and European market, which had been subtly restyled along with a refreshed engine update (including a 106cc displacement increase). Focusing on improving the sportiness of this vehicle, unfortunately the already low comfort and efficiency suffered not inconsiderably. What made this vehicle more attractive to buyers, however, was the effective reduction in effective price by about 10% (taking into account inflation) when compared to the original 1950 model.

- - - - - - - - - - - 1954 - - - - - - - - - - -

A follow-on refresh of the USA trim allowed the Epoch Model 20/B to be released in the USA in 1954. Engineers in the USA managed to tweak the 140cui (2291cc) engine to even higher outputs, bumping the power up from the original 85HP (63.6kW) to an impressive 121HP (90kW). The new engine was much more responsive and sporting, with a redline about 400rpm higher as well. Unsurprisingly, reliability and fuel economy suffered, but as the baseline wasn’t bad to start with, this was not an issue for the vast majority of people. Whilst the acceleration was definitely fast (0-100 in 12.4 seconds), the suspension of the vehicle was really starting to show its age and simplicity, with the Model 20/B unable to keep up with modern rivals on any twisty road.


#7

1954 also saw a refresh of the Model 10, this time with two variants; the Model 10-2B and the Model 10-2C sold in parallel. The Model 10-2B boasted improved safety over the Model 10-2A, as well as an effective reduction in both purchase price and servicing costs, although visually it remained identical and mechanically it contained only minor improvements. The Model 10-2C, however, was quite different. Whilst it presented itself as a similar vehicle on the outside, some minor exterior trim modifications allowed it to be identified for those in the know. The base engine remained the same as the Model 10-2B, however it had been thoroughly reworked and retuned in order to allow it to produce over 35% more power and a much more sporty delivery. This power bump, along with a modified gearbox, allowed the Model 10-2C to reach 100 km/h in 20.6 seconds, and maintain a top speed of 122 km/h. The underpinning chassis and suspension setup, however, was now so out of date, that even rural parts of Europe were beginning to pass by the Model 10, giving preference to new designs that allowed for comfortable travel with similar reliability and maintainability.


#8

- - - - - - - - - - - 1957 - - - - - - - - - - -

Rumours started circulating in 1956 that Epoch had been secretly working on a new large-displacement engine, and a higher class of vehicle to utilise it. At the beginning of 1957, Epoch finally confirmed this rumour, and pulled the covers off its latest model, the Epoch Model 30 4.8. This vehicle maintained the general style of previous Epoch cars, however it managed to emit a much more stately and refined aura. Completely new from the ground up, the Model 30 4.8 utilised double wishbone suspension on the front (with a coil-spring solid rear axle) and progressive springs, making it the most comfortable and best handling car that Epoch had ever produced by far. Released in two trims, the 4.8 L and the 4.8 S, these offered a focus on comfort and performance respectively. Both trims were powered by the same massive 4788cc (292cui) straight six engine, which was rated at 107Kw (143HP) when in L trim, and 127kW (170HP) when installed in the S.

The Model 30 was actually Epoch’s hedge-bet, as there were conflicting signs within economic forecasts. Whilst the market was demanding larger and larger cars, with more and more powerful engines, the general outlook for both the US and European markets was volatile and hard to predict. In order to try to survive either way, the Model 30 was designed to be fast, powerful, and comfortable, but also to remain well under the costs of competitors. It may have been Epoch’s most expensive car to date, but it was the pinnacle of what they could do and remain true to their corporate mission of offering cars for the everyman.

In the US market, the Model 30 found mixed praise, with many reviews being quite positive about the value-for-money proposition that the Model 30 made, and even declaring it “the car we’ve been waiting for from Epoch”. Unfortunately, whilst the vehicle was far more desirable than prior offerings, it was now competing against cars that were a whole class above what Epoch was used to. Epoch’s lack of experience with the new suspension layout and performance focused engine lead to the Model 30 being criticised harshly for its poor drivability and thirsty fuel usage. This led to a dedicated engineering team being stood up in order to attempt to address these issues specifically for subsequent models.


#9

- - - - - - - - - - - 1958 - - - - - - - - - - -

In 1958, Epoch took their first steps into modern design and engineering. Having tested the waters with their independent suspension design the year previously with the Model 30 4.8, Epoch now released a Model 10 successor featuring fully independent front suspension and a modern 1289cc (79cui) inline four engine rated at 32.2kW (43HP). This car also was the first to carry Epoch’s new model designation, and was sold as the Epoch M10 A1300. Unlike other similar offerings at the time, Epoch retained the traditional rear-wheel-drive layout powered through a 3-speed gearbox, which proved to be more of a controversial choice than expected. Whilst this layout meant that interior space and comfort was reduced, Epoch had attempted to mitigate this by shaping the rear of the small car to imitate a wagon/van. This allowed the rear seats to sit further back, leading the M10 to have superior room length-ways compared to competitors, albeit with less space across the width of the car.

In the production and manufacture of this car, Epoch had inspected every process, making adjustments and changing procedures in order to minimise waste and rework. Simple things were implemented, such as utilising identical brake and indicator fixtures and just varying the glass colour when installed, using identical handles for both the doors and rear opening, and reducing the size and complexity of chromed bumpers. All of this effort led to a reduction in cost, allowing the car to be produced for only $610 ($5292 adjusted).

Shortly after the M10 A1300 was released, Epoch unveiled a sporting version of the same model. Designated the M10 A1500, this car featured a 1499cc (91cui) variant of the same engine with 50kw (67HP) of power, as well as a 4-speed gearbox, which led to a price increase to $732 ($6347 adjusted). Immediately recognisable by its lack of chrome, replaced with black-painted fixtures, and more aggressive wheels and exhaust. These improvements, along with more aggressive suspension, allowed the M10 A1500 to accelerate to 100 km/h in 13 seconds flat, and gave it handling characteristics that surprised and embarrassed many others on and off the racetrack. Customers were far more forgiving about the lack of space within this model, however the short wheelbase combined with the rear-wheel-drive layout caught many inexperienced drivers out, especially on wet roads.

- - - - - - - - - - - 1959 - - - - - - - - - - -

1959 saw the M10 lineup expand with the diminutive Epoch M10 A1300 Trayback. This small workhorse was basically a regular M10 A1300, with the rear roof and interior removed and a tray lining welded in place. Rushed out the door in order to fill a small, but growing market niche, the Trayback model was rough and unrefined (the welds were still easily visible in the rear tray), but it had a load capacity of almost equal its own kerb weight.


Cult of Personality [LORE] [FINAL RESULTS]
#10

obraz
So cute.


#11

Hahahaha that was my intention! Glad to see it worked.


#12

I really like how you found a way to match the mini body to your previous generation design. I think it’s a neat design that doesn’t fall into the trap of “looks like a Mini, nice…”.

Keep up the good work!


#13

That’s such a good looking car! Great use of the Mini-style body without making another Mini. Absolutely love it!


#14

I was going to say that too, but @HighOctaneLove and @BoostandEthanol was before me… It’s probably the best effort on this body I’ve seen so far in not looking like a Mini…

Not even all IRL car manufacturers had as much success as you had in not making it look too much like a Mini. :stuck_out_tongue:


#15

Thanks guys :slight_smile:
It did take me about 4 attempts from scratch deliberately trying to not make a mini before I got one that was acceptable, then a lot of tweaking!


#16

Shortly after the M10 A1300 Trayback, Epoch also released a new model line for 1959. The Epoch M40 A2000 and the M40 Special. The M40 vehicle was a dedicated commercial offering, with only two seats fitted and a torquey 1980cc (121cui) inline 4 engine. Whilst performance was obviously not the goal, the engine produced a healthy 53.7kW (72HP), and could dispatch 0-100 in 17.1 seconds (unladen). With a load capacity of over 1000kg (2200lbs) alongside a towing capacity of over 860kg (1896lbs), and costs coming in at only $842 ($7249 adjusted), this stylish and reliable little van proved immensely popular, and was even utilised extensively across the UK by the postal service.

The M40 Special (or M40s) was sold as the premium and more comfortable trim, and was offered with extra servings of chome and well as a surprisingly luxurious and elegant interior. Whilst this model offered a 2+2 seating layout, both the front and rear seats were well padded and offered in full leather. A full-transistor radio system that could pick up both AM and FM stations, and put cars over twice the price to shame was fitted as standard, along with four speakers. Extra bracing was also added, making the car stiffer and safer, as well as more compliant suspension. All of this combined reduced the load capacity from 1000kg (2200lbs) down to about 550kg (1212lbs) and increased the cost to $940 ($8093 adjusted), making the M40 Special a bit of a niche offering within an already small niche market.


#17

- - - - - - - - - - - 1960 - - - - - - - - - - -

The Epoch Model 30 was refreshed for 1960, with engineers and designers attempting to address the concerns and shortcomings of the previous model. Released under the new designation of the Epoch M30, this update came in luxury or sport trim levels, each featuring more subtle styling along with a relatively downsized inline six, and costed at $964 ($8163 adjusted) and $973 ($8239 adjusted) respectively.

The luxury trim (M30 2.1 L) was fitted with a 2100cc (128cui) engine based upon the previous Model 20 powerplant, although now producing 62kW (83HP). Both top speed (179km/h down to 146km/h) and acceleration (12.7 seconds down to 18.5 seconds) were reduced from the older Model 30, however the fuel economy was improved drastically (from 22.2L/100km to 14.8L/100km) and the car was a lot more drivable.

The sport trim (M30 3.3 S) featured an improved variant based upon lessons learnt with the previous 4.8 unit, although this time reduced down to 3297cc (201cui) in capacity. Whilst the reduction in capacity reduced the overall power figure, the engine was much more lively and responsive, and was considered a definite step up from the previous, almost ‘brutish’ offering. A power figure of 97.5kW (131HP) was quoted, and allowed the M30 3.3 S to accelerate to 100km/h in 12.9 seconds and reach a top speed of 176km/h (down from the previous generation’s 11.3 seconds and 192km/h respectively). This looked to be a step backwards on paper, but when driving both the previous and current cars back-to-back, it was immediately apparent that the latter was more composed and could utilise its power more effectively.


#18

The irony in the M10 A1300’s exterior design is that despite using the Mini body, it looks less like a Mini than anything else due to clever placement of external fixtures.


#19

…so it’s ironic that it doesn’t look like a Mini.

Eh?


#20

Classic abg7.