Old Bus Photos

Kitsons – Crossley SD42 – KTE 444

Kitsons - Crossley SD42 - KTE 444

Kitsons (Gee Cross, Hyde)
Crossley SD42/7
Duple C35F

I photographed this coach near to Stalybridge Station in March 1966, but until recently, the only information I had was what could be seen in the photograph. Searching the web for more information, the first thing I found was that somehow, someone had got hold of a copy of my photo, which didn’t make sense, as I had no recollection of having provided anyone with a copy. The thumbnails in Google Images was at first sight the spit and image of my picture. The coach is clearly in exactly the same spot, taken from exactly the same location, and exactly the same Austin A40 is parked next to it. However, opening up the picture to the same size made it clear that the two images are simply a remarkable coincidence. The other picture was taken several months later, and there are two distinguishing features. Firstly the A40 is facing the other way, and secondly, sadly, someone has made a serious dent in the Crossley’s radiator.
Of interest to me is the chrome radiator, which I am not aware of having seen on any other Crossley. Presumably it was an optional extra on coaches.
Importantly, the picture and the comments with it gave me some information about what the coach was used for. It appears that it was on regular hire to Stockport High School to ferry sports teams around.
Looking at Bus lists on the web, it is clearly one of three similar vehicles delivered in December 1949 to Broughton and Walker of Great Harwood, registered KTE 443/444/446 but more interestingly, KTE 441/442 were similar chassis (and body, although C33F) delivered in October 1949 to Robinson, Great Harwood. Were these perhaps a joint order, or were the two firms linked?

Photograph and Copy contributed by Alan Murray-Rust

07/01/18 – 10:19

More peculiar than the chrome radiator, a lot of later Crossleys had them, so it was probably a customer option. More peculiar is the autovac, something I have never seen before on a Crossley. Given the dubious reputation of the Crossley HOE7 engine, has it been changed for something else?

John Anderson

08/01/18 – 07:13

Broughton & Walker was part of the Holdsworth Group which owned Robinson’s of Great Harwood. They were to all intents and purposes part of Robinson’s, in the same way that Walton & Helliwell of Mytholmroyd was directly run by O.& C. Holdsworth of Halifax. Looking at chassis and body lists it will often be seen that the Holdsworth Group bought batches of a type with consecutive numbers and allocated them to their various subsidiaries.

John Stringer

08/01/18 – 07:14

Oldham Corporation had both single and double deck Crossley buses with the chrome radiator with vertical centre strip.

Philip Halstead

08/01/18 – 07:15

The picture appears to be more complicated. We had an ex-Darwen Crossley that had been cut down for use as a gritter and that had an Autovac – I remember how it gurgled to itself when we shut the bus down. However, I look at photos and see there’s no Autovac on the bulkhead which means it was under the bonnet. As a consequence it’s difficult to tell which Crossleys have one and which don’t. That also doesn’t explain why the one in the photo has one visible on the front bulkhead.
Knowing what I do about the operator, I think it’s highly unlikely there was anything but a standard power unit under the bonnet.
I note also that this one has had its front wings trimmed back slightly.

David Beilby

08/01/18 – 07:16

The chromium plated radiator shell became an option from 1949. It was usually applied to single deck coaches, but an alternative version without the central dividing strip was offered mainly for double deckers. Older chassis were sometimes retro fitted.

Roger Cox

08/01/18 – 07:16

Could that be an Autovac in 1949… or?
Would still be grateful if anyone can tell me what a Potts Patent air Exchanger is, as found on Tony Peart’s 122?


08/01/18 – 15:49

Surely the car is an A35 as the A40 had a larger back window.

David Wragg

08/01/18 – 16:28

No David, I think its definitely an A40 Somerset. The A35 had, pro rata, a larger rear screen than the A40 Somerset.

John Darwent

08/01/18 – 16:30

And on my A30 and A35 the boot had hinges at the top not the bottom.


09/01/18 – 06:22

Potts was the MD at Doncaster at the time number 122 was being built. The Patent Air Exchanger is an early form of air conditioning. It consists of a large fan unit that effectively blew fresh air collected at the front of the bus and forced between the upper deck floor and the lower deck ceiling, before venting out of the rear platform. Next time you get to see the bus have a look at the perforations in the ceiling panels where the air comes out. I don’t know if it worked upstairs as well) Tony told me it was a battery flattener (engine off) but was happy to demonstrate it working many years ago.


09/01/18 – 06:23

This is an interesting photo: the ‘twin’ photo which initially fooled Alan is to be found here: www.flickr.com/photos/ The Austin A40 has travelled far from its original stomping ground, PJ being registered in Guildford, Surrey. And the poster is also interesting in that it has two accurate ‘possessive case’ plurals, the first apostrophe being after the first ‘s’, but the apostrophe being before the second ‘s’, because children/men/women are rare plurals without an ‘s’ on the end! BTW – the society still exists. But I see I’m boring you!

Christopher Hebbron

09/01/18 – 08:16

In the ‘Flickr’ version, the engine cover has either not been closed properly or the vehicle is in a state of distress . . .

Pete Davies

17/01/18 – 05:40

Yes, in the ‘Flickr’ version, it looks like there has been an impact to the front. The registration plate is bent, and possibly the radiator itself has moved back a bit at that point. The result is that neither the bonnet top or side can now be fastened down, hence the "state of distress" so aptly described by Pete! So what happened in the months between the two pictures being taken? We’ll probably never know! Hopefully the coach was carefully repaired.

Michael Hampton

17/01/18 – 05:41

I would guess that Alan’s photo showing the Crossley in reasonable condition is the earlier of the two. The Flikr pic shows the bonnet structure on the point of disintegration and the number plate has been re-profiled by accidental damage. This location must have been the regular parking place for the coach and the Austin. And well spotted, Chris, about the correct application of the apostrophes, something decidedly rare these days.

Roger Cox

17/01/18 – 05:41

Pete- it is either because of the bump mentioned here (look at the lower part of the radiator) or an advanced cooling system- not sure if Crossley needed it but Daimler engines seemed to.


17/01/18 – 05:42

Mike B- thanks for the info re POTTS PATENT. I’m yet to see 122 at close quarters: it did have a few later close cousins at Leicester Ave I think (but presumably only 7ft 6in wide!) but not seen "Potts" before. It is interesting that a municipality which couldn’t cope with enclosed radiators, automatic changes or 8ft bodies for many years had previously bought a bus with so many "revolutionary" features for that time. What became of Mr Potts and when, because that’s probably the answer?
The real need was surely upstairs where the fag fug made breathing difficult!


17/01/18 – 05:45

It is a pity that the reputation of the HOE7 continues to be unjustifiably traduced. It is certainly true that the earlier versions of the HOE7 were not that successful, but the later downdraught version was a good engine. AEC engineering designers certainly played a large part in that. Birmingham for example managed to get between 18 and 19 years out of their downdraught DD42/6s. According to Messrs Eyre, Heaps and Townsin (Crossley OPC 2002) Birmingham rated their HOE7s rather better than their Daimler engined CVDs. I drove a few thousand miles in HOE7 powered Crossley in the late 60s/ early 70s, and considered their hill-climbing abilities more than acceptable.

John Grigg

17/01/18 – 05:46

The vehicle was certainly in a state of distress when the Flickr photo was taken, with the radiator substantially stove in. Also, that picture has the A40 the other way round, confirming the model.
Thank you to those who have sorted the matter of the chrome radiator.

Alan Murray-Rust

17/01/18 – 11:59

I’ve read of Crossley’s HOE7 in different places. Why does it always conjure an impression of one of Birmingham’s Crossleys?

Pete Davies

23/01/18 – 06:28

No, the reputation of the HOE7 has not been unjustifiably traduced. The initial design incorporated the principles of Saurer’s four valve cylinder head, and was outstandingly successful. On the strength of demonstrations by the prototype DD42/1 orders flooded in and Crossley fully anticipated capturing the bulk of Manchester’s future bus requirements. However, when Saurer requested a licence fee for the use of its cylinder head design, Crossley Motors MD Arthur Hubble refused to pay and a hurried two valve redesign was instigated. This crippled the breathing, caused serious crankcase back pressure and led to very high oil consumption, resulting in an unreliable unit that was deficient in power output. Customers who had been impressed by the prototype found that the beast they were receiving was something of a curate’s egg, good in parts (the chassis was excellent apart from heavy steering) but seriously abysmal in the engine department. Many early recipients, notably Manchester, didn’t trust Crossley ever again and never went back for more, though the less demanding nature of coach operation did not tax the engine so severely. When AEC took over Crossley in 1948, it did not have an engine of around 8.5 litres of its own, so it instructed its new subsidiary to rectify urgently the deficiencies of the HOE7, and also offer the DD/SD42 with Gardner engines as options. Hubble, ever resistant to AEC “interference”, soon (and probably deliberately) crossed the equally autocratic Hugh Gardner, who adamantly refused to supply Crossley with any LW engines. AEC then ran out of patience with Crossley and itself produced the design for the greatly improved “downdraught” HOE7/5 in 1949. This differed quite significantly from earlier versions of the HOE7, and conversion of old engines to the downdraught head was an extensive and costly exercise, so most remained unaltered. Incredibly, despite at last having a competitive power unit, Crossley still continued to supply some outstanding customers with the earlier version of the engine, presumably to use up stocks of old components. The downdraught HOE7/5 certainly did remedy the basic faults of the Crossley engine, but by late 1949, when this engine was fully available, the heyday of bus orders was over, and, largely because of its earlier failings, the Crossley Motors undertaking was in terminal decline. Had the original four valve engine been offered as the standard power plant from first production, then the impact of Crossley upon early post war bus deliveries would undoubtedly have been much more significant.

Roger Cox

24/01/18 – 06:02

"My personal honour is more important than the future wellbeing of the company and its workforce…!" A sadly common disease in industry of all descriptions.

Stephen Ford

24/01/18 – 06:03

A few years on, some operators – mostly municipal ones – re-engined their Crossleys with other types presumably removed from older withdrawn vehicles. I’m sure I’ve heard of Gardner 5LW, AEC 7.7 and Leyland 8.6 engines being substituted. If the main deficiency in Crossleys was related to their HOE7 engine and it was otherwise an excellently engineered bus (and especially if it had a well built Crossley body), then this should surely have then made them into good buses. Yet we never seem to hear of how these re-engined Crossleys performed – I’d be very interested to learn, though I don’t suppose there will be many former engineers or drivers with experience of them around these days. I did once drive the former Rotherham Crossley – HET 513 – whilst it was in the care of Geoffrey Hilditch at Halifax. Presumably, being the last DD42 built, it would have had the later redesigned engine, but other than having heavyish steering (though probably no more so than a CVG6) and maybe its performance on hills was not exactly sparkling, I found it a fairly pleasant bus to drive, with the easiest of gearchanges, good visibilty due to the low bonnet line, and possibly the best suspension of any halfcab I’ve ever driven. It got so near to being a really good bus.

John Stringer

24/01/18 – 09:34

The Portsmouth Crossleys were delivered with turbo transmitters, which I understand would have limited performance even more! Those with Crossley bodies (25 of them, new in 1949) were re-engined c.1957-59 with Leyland engines from withdrawn TD4s. In this guise they were switched from cross-town routes such as G/H and O/P to trolleybus conversion routes such as 19/20, this demanding route being extended. Many of the batch also had seating increased from 52 to 58. I think that this amply bears out evidence of the effect in the improved performance from the change in engine for these buses. There were six with Reading bodies which retained original engines and transmission, and were retained on cross-town routes and school specials, etc. I was a schoolboy at the time, so unfortunately driving experience is nil!

Michael Hampton

27/01/18 – 06:23

Roger, thank you for a fascinating insight into the sorry saga of the Crossley HOE7 engine. I don’t know a great deal about Crossley, but am aware through reading various bus articles over the years that there was a problem with at least one of its engine types. It is a real shame that the apparent foolhardiness/stubbornness of Arthur Hubble’s "spoiling the ship for a ha’porth o’ tar" in effect brought the Company down, especially as you say that the prototype proved popular and orders started to flow in. I seem to recall that Dennis had success with its ‘four valves per cylinder’ engines, designed with Saurer involvement. Would I be right in thinking that Dennis simply paid Saurer the licencing fee for the right to build a superior product? Just as Arthur Hubble, with hindsight, should have done?

Brendan Smith

27/01/18 – 06:25

There is no doubt as Roger Cox says, that the post war saga of "what might have been but never was" as far as Crossley is concerned, is a valedictory lesson, but then there have always been personalities in the bus industry with more ego than common sense.
I can only speak as I found almost 50 years ago that the FINAL version of the Crossley engine was a fine bit of engineering. Now as to who takes the credit for that whether it be Crossley, AEC, Saurer, or any individual, I know not; and I still believe that particular engine has been unjustifiably maligned because of the wider problems of and within the company.

John Grigg

29/01/18 – 06:35

I often travelled on the Portsmouth Crossleys, both with Crossley engines/Brockhouse Turbo-transmitters and Leyland engines. It is difficult to compare performance of both types, because the original setup required no delays through gear-changing, compared with the Leyland engines/gearboxes. Portsmouth routes being flat would not challenge their hill-climbing abilities.My view is that the conversions took place in order to save fuel, since these engines were running up to the governor whilst accelerating, although they did freewheel along briefly until the next reason to slow or stop. Without the ability to use engine braking, I imagine that brake shoe wear was greater than otherwise, too.

Chris Hebbron

28/10/18 – 08:13

Joe asked in an earlier posting "what became of Mr. Potts and when?" Tom Potts was the first Transport Manager of Doncaster Corporation, apparently took office in 1920 and claimed the chair until he retired in 1953, to be replaced by Tom Bamford. For further info., see the 3-part article on Doncaster Corporation in ‘Buses Illustrated nos. 60-62, for the months March – May 1960!

Dave Careless

04/11/18 – 07:07

My 1967 ‘Little Red Book’ lists A. Kitson & Son at 222 Mottram Road, Stalybridge.
Proprietor: J Kitson
Rolling stock: 3 coaches
Chassis: 2 Crossley, 1 Leyland
Bodies: 2 Duple, 1 Burlingham
Fleet livery: Green/Ivory

Roger Taylor


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William Ivens and Sons – Crossley – LWE 669

William Ivens and Sons - Crossley - LWE 669

LWE 669_2

William Ivens and Sons
Crossley SD42/7
Yeates C35F

William Ivens and Sons (Timber Merchants) Limited of Rugby had in 1961 a works service from the Long Buckby, Northampton direction into Rugby and the bus was usually was parked up nightly in the Corporation Street car park. The two shades of blue Crossley SD42/7 with Yeates C35F body had been new to Hirst & Sweeting of Sheffield in 1949 (who were to sell out to Sheffield United Tours in 1967). LWE 669 also so spent some time with KW of Daventry after it left Sheffield; other than this, little else is known?

Photograph and Copy contributed by Stuart Emmett

09/10/17 – 07:31

LWE 669 was new in 06/1949.
It was sold in 04/1954 to Oliver Luxicoaches Ltd of Loughborough. It then passed to KW Coaches Ltd of Daventry as number A4 in 01/1957.
It was withdrawn in 06/1959 and sold to Ivens & Sons of Rugby. Last licensed 12/1962.
Details from PSV Circlr publication PB27
Fleet History of S.U.T.

Dave Farrier

10/10/17 – 06:09

Thanks Dave
I was sure someone somewhere would know its history.

Stuart Emmett


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Northampton Corporation – Crossley – VV 9146 – 146

Northampton Corporation - Crossley - VV 9146 - 146

Northampton Corporation
Crossley DD42/3
Roe H31/25R

Although Northampton were well known for their liking of the Daimler/Roe combination, in the 1930s they had purchased several batches of Crossleys, so perhaps it is not surprising that they purchased a batch of ten DD42/3 chassis with Roe bodies in 1946.
One of them, fleet number 146, VV 9146, has survived into preservation and is seen here in Great Houghton on an Heritage Weekend service, 9/9/17.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Tony Martin

02/10/17 – 07:31

To put it mildly, this was a heap of junk before the present owners (one of whom is a former Crossley employee) started work on it. The dedication involving in restoring it to its present condition is unbelievable. It has to be said though, it isn’t very fast!

Nigel Turner

03/10/17 – 05:58

Plenty of opportunities to sample it here: www.youtube.com/

Peter Williamson

20/10/17 – 07:00

Two Crossleys in succession is quite a treat. Greatly enjoyed Peter W’s Youtube link, where the induction noise is more noticeable than on the Reading Crossleys, but the gearbox music is just the same.
Superb piece of restoration, this Northampton bus. One of my very favourite bodies on what—despite its engine woes—is also a favourite chassis. Nice steering, brakes and clutch, dead easy gearbox. A real pity that the management didn’t fork out and pay Saurer the licence fees, but even then the weak crankshaft would still have posed problems, and the much lighter Morris-Saurer engines fitted to Hants and Dorset’s Morris-Commercials were apparently not that successful. I remember seeing them at Lymington, but never got a ride. Do any MC-Saurers (from any operator) survive?

Ian Thompson

23/10/17 – 06:02

I recall going into a shed in the 1980’s,which was part of Botley’s Park Hospital, Ottershaw, Surrey (which, like many mental institutions, had a farm, but long closed by then). I found three old vehicles in there, two complete and one being just a chassis, with Armstrong-Saurer on it. It looked more lorry than bus, but who knows. I reported them all to a vehicle preservation organisation and six months later, all were gone, but to where? So Saurer vehicles were made here on Tyneside for a period, from 1930-1937, according to Grace’s Guide.

Chris Hebbron

28/10/17 – 16:49

The Swiss firm of Saurer had a modest impact upon the British automotive industry. In the late 1930s the Crossley company embarked upon the design of a completely new passenger chassis that was to become the DD/SD 42. The company’s Chief Engine Designer, W.C. Worrall, was then diagnosed with tuberculosis, a very serious disease at the time, treatment for which entailed taking up residence in a completely unpolluted atmosphere. Industrial Manchester fell somewhat short of the qualities sought from a health resort, and Worrall was sent to recuperate in Switzerland, where he had worked previously for Saurer. Whilst there he visited the works of his former employer and was thereby stimulated to incorporate features of the Saurer four valve cylinder head design in his new Crossley HOE7 engine. The sad subsequent story of what happened later after Worrall’s return to Manchester, when Crossley Motors MD Arthur Hubble refused to pay a Saurer licence fee, is well known, and therein lay the essence of the company’s decline and demise.
The only link between the Morris Commercial built Saurer diesel engines of 1948 onwards (which intimately became the Leyland 4/98 and 6/98 ranges) and the earlier Armstrong Saurer range of lorries was the licensed manufacture of engines to Saurer design. The Armstrong Whitworth saga is rather complicated. In 1904, Sir W.G. Armstrong Whitworth (primarily an armaments and shipbuilding company) took over the manufacture of the Wilson-Pilcher car which continued to be available until 1907, but the firm introduced its own car and commercial models from 1906, powered by engines between 2.4 and 7.6 litres. About 20 Armstrong Whitworth 32hp buses were delivered in 1906 to the Motor Omnibus Company of Walthamstow, better known by its trading name of Vanguard. This chassis type, which had a four speed crash gearbox and chain final drive, was also available as a three ton lorry, later uprated to four tons. By 1914 a one ton van with worm final drive had been added to the catalogue (figures refer to the payload, not, as today, the gross vehicle weight), but the firm’s commitment to automobile production was less than wholehearted. During the Great War Armstrong Whitworth concentrated on ships, armaments and aircraft – the aeroplane division was formed in 1912 – and from 1919 adapted its Newcastle Scotswood works for a determined assault into railway locomotive and road roller manufacturing. In 1927 Armstrong Whitworth merged several of its engineering interests with Vickers, when the aircraft and motor divisions of the former AW concern were sold off to J.D. Siddeley as Armstrong Siddeley. (Vickers already had its own aircraft manufacturing arm.) Armstrong Whitworth had earlier entered into a licence arrangement with Saurer of Switzerland in 1919 for the manufacture of diesel engines which were first fitted to diesel locomotives and railcars, but, in 1930, the firm decided to re-enter the automotive market with the Armstrong-Saurer range of lorries built at Scotswood. These massive looking, normal or forward control machines were available with four or six cylinder indirect injection engines coupled with four speed gearboxes in four, six or eight wheeled versions. Air brakes, overdrive or Maybach auxiliary gearboxes and double reduction final drives were optional. The main emphasis was on the diesel engined models which had names beginning with the letter ‘D’ (Diligent, Defiant, Dauntless, Dominant, Durable, Dynamic, though later models were called Active, Effective and Samson), the much rarer petrol versions using ‘P’ as the initial letter (Pioneer, Persistent, Powerful). Very few were bodied as buses or coaches, but, in 1932, a 13ft 2ins wheelbase, normal control Dauntless with the 6 cylinder diesel of 8.55 litres, producing 90 bhp at 1800 rpm (the alternative four cylinder engine developed 52 bhp from 6.8 litres) was fitted with a luxuriously appointed Ransomes, Sims and Jeffries single deck body for demonstration purposes. In 1933, Armstrong -Saurer declared that it was considering entering the single and double deck passenger vehicle market, but later that year the Armstrong-Saurer diesel engines were offered as options in the Dennis Lancet and Lance chassis. New direct injection versions of the Saurer engine appeared in 1934, a 5.7 litre four cylinder of 70 bhp and a 8.55 litre six of 120 bhp at 1800 rpm, and ten single deck Daimler COS4 and one double deck COS6 thus powered were delivered to Newcastle Corporation in 1935. They were converted to AEC engines during WW2. In 1934 Dennis produced its own direct injection four cylinder O4 diesel of 6.5 litres, which, like the Saurer, had four valves per cylinder, though the design must have differed from the Saurer patents because no license fee was ever paid by the Guildford firm.
Despite its premium prices, the Armstrong-Saurer range earned a solid reputation with hauliers for quality, but sales were a struggle in the depressed 1930s. Railway locomotive production was also in decline, and the Scotswood workforce fell from some 3000 in the early 1920s to just 500 by 1935. Rumors concerning the future of Armstrong-Saurer production at Scotswood began circulating in that year. Despite official denials, these proved to be well founded, and the entire Armstrong-Saurer range was withdrawn in 1937 when the Admiralty bought the Scotswood works and leased them back to Vickers-Armstrongs in order to concentrate on military work in the rapidly worsening political climate of the period.

Roger Cox

31/10/17 – 07:10

I have challenged before, and will challenge again, the widespread notion that Crossley failed because of its engine problems. In the early postwar years, Crossleys sold as well as they did because there was a high demand for buses. When they became part of the ACV group, AEC engineers quickly sorted out the HOE7 engine, and if the demand had still been there, word would have got around and they would have continued to sell. But the fact is that the bottom dropped out of the bus market in 1950, resulting in over-capacity in the industry, and in that situation Crossley were uniquely vulnerable because buses were their only product. Daimler made cars, Bristol were protected by a guaranteed market, and every other bus manufacturer was also a lorry builder. Crossley were totally dependent on the shrunken bus market, and that is why they failed.

Peter Williamson

01/11/17 – 07:07

The Crossley DD/SD42 was a very sound chassis design, but quickly revealed deficiencies in the engine department and in its steering, which was very heavy. In the immediate post war period the demand for passenger chassis was exceptionally high, and, on the strength of the performance of the HOE7 ‘Saurer head’ engine, orders for Crossley chassis poured in. 3119 chassis were built between 1945 and 1951, but the concentration of production was in the years before the weaknesses of the HOE7 engine became widely apparent. It is true that the demand for new buses fell off sharply after 1949, but I maintain that the poor reputation of the engine did contribute to the decline of the Crossley Motors company, particularly in the double deck field. Somewhat surprisingly, since Crossley had not been a significant player in the pre war coach market, the single deck SD42 sold quite well to independent coach firms, whose operations were less punishing than all day stop start work on heavily laden municipal bus routes, and whose drivers tended to be rather more respectful towards their machinery. The Crossley Motors board did read the market trends accurately from 1945, and seeking a more secure foothold, entered into negotiations with Maudslay in 1946, which dragged on into 1947 when AEC expressed an interest. In 1948 AEC took control and began reshaping the business in line with its own procedures, which were not entirely to the liking of the Crossley directors and employees. There is surely no doubt that the long term continuation of independent Crossley models was not part of the AEC plan. In the meantime, early purchasers of the DD42 were becoming more than a trifle disenchanted with their buses, and did not offer repeat orders. Notably Manchester, potentially a very valuable customer, did not come back again after its 1946/47 deliveries. Stockport, in whose area the Crossley new Errwood Park factory was located, strongly resisted taking any more vehicles from the firm, but eventually and reluctantly conceded another order after a rather suspect tendering process in which Crossley slightly undercut Leyland. Yes, in frustration over Crossley’s lack of progress in sorting out the HOE7’s problems, AEC did come up with the downdraught engine, but hardly quickly, for this did not appear, and then only spasmodically, until 1950, by which time the Southall die had been cast against the passenger vehicle dependent Crossley marque.

Roger Cox

04/02/18 – 07:13

I remember visiting a bus museum near Hall i’ th’ Wood in Bolton some time in the mid 1980s and a Northampton Crossley was one of the buses there, in unrestored condition. I don’t know which one it was, could it have been this one?

David Pomfret

05/02/18 – 16:57

Only just seen your post of 1/11/17, Roger. Although you only mention the directors of Crossly, Roger, I can only assume the Arthur Hubble was still there after the AEC takeover, since I recall you saying elsewhere that he caused friction with Gardner’s management at much the same time. I’m surprised that the senior management were allowed to stay when AEC took over, but, perhaps, it was more common then. Nowadays, they go willingly with a good handout, but then it was less likely, I imagine. But I’m sure in the bus industry, that Hubble’s truculent and mean-spirited attitude was well-enough known to have justified arranging for his rapid departure!

Chris Hebbron

06/02/18 – 13:39

Only really of relevance to those close to Colchester, a former Crossley employee (and joint owner of VV 9146) will be giving a talk on Feb 9th about his time with the company which promises to be very interesting. I doubt that there are many ex employees still around given how long it is since the company’s demise..

Nigel Turner

07/02/18 – 05:48

Chris, all the original Crossley Motors directors were of advancing years by 1948. Sir Kenneth Crossley was almost 70, Arthur Hubble 60, T.D. Wishart (chassis designer) retired in that year, Major Eric Crossley retired in 1948 and died in the following year. No doubt AEC retained the residual management at Crossley to see out the production of existing models, which, hopefully, faced a better future with the AEC designed downdraught engine of 1949. AEC’s longer term plan for Crossley can be only conjectured, but I doubt that the Stockport firm was seen as a continued supplier of complete vehicles in a declining market. As with Leyland then and later, the absorption of other companies was an exercise in reducing competition as much as expanding productive capacity.

Roger Cox

07/02/18 – 16:32

Nigel: many thanks for mentioning Tony Melia’s talk at Friends’ Meeting House, Colchester, 7:15pm Friday Feb 9. Sounds unmissable—well worth travelling the 220 miles from Oxford to Colchester and back. (By train and not in one day, of course!)

Ian Thompson

09/02/18 – 07:08

Thx, Roger. One wonders if the improved engine stimulated demand for a period. Whatever happened, at least the profits went to AEC.

Chris Hebbron

09/02/18 – 17:06

I see that we get again that all the Leyland closures were to reduce competition- try amending that to reducing losses and concentrating investment to compete against the rest of the world-which we still failed to do.
As you can see from the Crossley thread there was precious little new engine development (as against evolving product) even pre-war as they bought in overseas development

Roger Burdett

18/02/18 – 06:17

Thanks again to Nigel Turner for mentioning Tony Melia’s talk on his time at Crossley Motors. Spellbinding! Not just Tony’s perfect recall of the works and vehicles, but a wonderful insight into how apprentices were treated in those days, how fairly inexperienced workers were expected to use their initiative to get round any problem that might crop up and—of course—a total lack of Health & Safety. Some good character studies, too. Plenty of laughs.
Any Bus Enthusiasts’s Society lucky enough to secure Tony Melia for an evening has a real treat in store.

Ian Thompson

18/02/18 – 17:01

It was good to meet Ian Thompson at Colchester and I’m glad he enjoyed the talk by Tony Melia, actually I’m sure that everybody there did so.
Despite being in his ninetieth year, Tony spoke fluently for two hours which is no mean feat. Some of his stories about road testing the bare chassis over the Snake Pass make you wonder how he survived to his thirtieth birthday let alone his ninetieth.

Nigel Turner


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