Southdown Motor Services Ltd
Leyland Titan PD3/4
Northern Counties FCO39/30F
This Titan PD3/4 in the Southdown fleet is seen in somewhat strange surroundings. She is adjacent to a public park outside Dock Gate 4 in Southampton on 23 August 1982 while on hire to Southampton City Transport on park and ride duty in connection with the Tall Ships Races. Portsmouth and Thamesdown loaned buses for the event – I saw some of the Portsmouths but none of the Thamesdowns. My apologies to those of our number who cannot abide the NBC green . . . She has Southdown’s normal Northern Counties body of (in this case) FCO69F layout. She dates from 1964.
Photograph and Copy contributed by Pete Davies
29/06/15 – 06:55
Like many, I prefer buses with half cabs, but I quite liked the Southdown ‘Queen Mary’ Titans in their original form and I think that this one may have curved windows at the front which really didn’t go with the overall design. I also hated National green.
29/06/15 – 10:24
Thank you, David. I, for one, have never quite understood how a full front could possibly help with cooling the engine (and/or the cab!) Now, it could be achieved quite easily with a half cab. Still, design is what matters, rather than fitness for purpose. There are schools in Southampton which won design awards, but the roofs leak like sieves!
30/06/15 – 06:43
At least this NBC Green is fresh, with a gloss. Probably done specially for the occasion! Three weeks hence and it would be faded and matt finish!
Of course, I exaggerate, but only slightly!
Nice to see a three-quarter rear view of a Queen Mary.
30/06/15 – 09:53
This is an interesting question Pete. Forward control "Queen Mary" lorries became almost universal in this country but I suppose the driver tended to be over rather than alongside the engine. Nevertheless smaller goods vehicles had the engine in the cab. Was it also a question of designing buses for looks- with poor insulation and airflows? On the other hand, half-cabs gave better access and better visibility, especially on the kerbside- allowing for some tin-fronts, but at the cost of looks and municipal pride. Then we got Wulfrunians, Ailsas and a whole lot of rear engines… problem solved?
30/06/15 – 09:55
Thank you, Chris. There were two of these in overall advertising livery, "Maritime Britain" which are too dreadful for publication, as well as some of the early ‘flat front’ VR members of the fleet. I have one in mind for a future offer.
01/07/15 – 06:29
There are hundreds of photos of the iconic Southdown Northern Counties/Leyland Titan PD3/4 showing the front near quarter but not so many of the rear end. At first glance I wasn’t sure if I was looking at a Bristol VR top half or a Bristol FLF bottom half. I was never a fan of the NBC livery or the fact that so many interesting liveries were lost, if only we all had digital cameras in those days.
02/07/15 – 05:56
There’s an old saying -"An ounce of image is worth a pound of performance". By the early 1960s in the psv world, the ‘modern look’ was enshrined in the likes of the Atlantean, Fleetline and Wulfrunian, none of which remotely rivalled the traditional front engined chassis in terms of reliability or cost effectiveness. Southdown, amongst others, sought to achieve the best of both worlds by fitting full fronted bodywork to front engined machinery, progressively pursuing this policy to the bitter end with curved glass and panoramic windows. The public, it was thought, would be taken in by appearances. It was the adoption of one person operation for double deckers that finally knocked this philosophy on the head. I agree that the best of the Southdown PD3 "Queen Marys" (there is a school of thought that vociferously refutes this nickname, but it was widely used nonetheless) were the original flat screen versions. The desperate later efforts with curvy glass and panoramic side windows looked like creatures from the Heath Robinson Design Bureau to my eye, akin to fitting wide tyres, twin headlamps, bonnet airscoops and a rear spoiler to a Reliant Robin.
02/07/15 – 08:35
Well said, Mr Cox!!!