Old Bus Photos

Newcastle Corporation – AEC Regent III – KVK 986 – 86

Newcastle Corporation - AEC Regent III - KVK 986 - 86
Copyright Unknown

Newcastle Corporation - AEC Regent III - KVK 986 - 86
Copyright Unknown

Newcastle Corporation
AEC Regent III
Roe H31/25R

Before the D.V.L.A. It seems to have been common practice that local authorities would issue registrations to bus companies En-block which would then be allocated as and when required, as a result, vehicles which were two or three years apart could have registrations which were numerically quite close. Unfortunately, I do not have access to their fleet records, but Newcastle Corporation would seem to be a good example of this. Newcastle registrations were BB – TN or VK. Post war motor vehicles were AEC, Daimler and the all Leyland Titans, bodies came from a number of sources including, Massey. MCW. Northern Coachbuilders, Park Royal Vehicles, Roe and Weymann, then of course there was the trolleybus fleet. I am speculating here, but it would appear they had most of the registrations between KVK 950 or thereabouts, and LVK 140 ish, but they were allocated between 1947 and 1949. My information suggests that among that number were three 1947 AEC Regent III with H31/25R Roe bodies KVK 984/6 – 84/6. Sorry, I don’t have any further details, I know Newcastle Corporation Transport had some pre-select Daimlers, but I’m inclined to think that these were a 7.7 litre with a crash box. 86 is shown here in its original 1947 blue, and again in the post 1949 yellow livery which had previously been the sole preserve of the trolleybus fleet. The Roe body was one of those timeless classics that would look good in almost any livery. I rather think that as well as those bodied by Roe, the MCW bodied Daimlers also had a window on the stairs, but if memory serves, at some stage they were all either removed or painted out.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Ronnie Hoye

20/11/14 – 11:43

Birmingham (JOJ) and Glasgow (FYS and SGD) reserved large blocks of registrations which were issued over several years. Almost all the FYS block was issued to buses and trolleybuses over the years 1949 to 1958, followed by SGD 1958 to 1964, when the year-letter phase began. Devon issued LTA registrations to Western/Southern National for buses new between 1949 and 1953.

Geoff Kerr

21/11/14 – 06:37

In Leeds while the buses were registered in blocks there was never a special series for them On the other hand all the city council ambulances were given the registration — 999!
In complete contrast West Yorkshire never used blocks of registrations even for a single batch of buses being quite content to take what the licensing office offered and if the number matched the fleet number it was very definitely good luck and not good management!

Chris Hough

21/11/14 – 10:20

Nottingham (after WW2 but not before) invariably had blocks of reg numbers that corresponded to the fleet numbers. All were in the KTV series until the big fleet of 72 Regent/Park Royals, supplied in 1953/54, took OTV 127-198, assuming the fleet numbers of Regents supplied 1934-36. Even then there was clearly some agreement with the licensing authority, since these followed on neatly from the 1949 series of Regent/Metro-Cammells KTV 97-126, which in turn took on fleet numbers previously carried by defunct 1931 Regents.

Stephen Ford

21/11/14 – 15:23

Portsmouth Corporation seemed to use whatever registrations were available in the pre-war and early post-war period. I suspect that the 1939 Leyland Cheetahs were numbered 41-46 to coincide with the allocated registrations BBK941-946. Post-war, Crossley DD42/5T No 28 was also coincidentally registered EBK 28. The others of the batch (EBK 23-27) carried numbers 11-15. The Corporation was "gap-filling" it’s number series at this stage. In the 1950’s, the Corporation had a policy of booking registrations in batches in ending 999. Thus we had 25 PD2s GTP 975-999 (58-82, 1952); 25 PD2s LRV 975-999 (83-107, 1956; 15 PD2s ORV 985-999 (108-122, 1958); 5 PD3s STP 995-999 (123-127, 1959), and 10 Tiger Cubs TTP 990-999 (16-25, 1959). After this the Corporation booked registrations that matched the fleet numbers in what was becoming the "normal fashion" across the industry from the 1960s (although I accept it wasn’t universal practice). As referred to above, it was usually ambulances or fire engines that had a "999" registration, not buses. The buses registered with a "999" didn’t go any faster than the rest, but 122 had a different and marvellous sounding exhaust note during it’s early life – certainly until c.1964/65 – very sporty! .

Michael Hampton

21/11/14 – 17:44

The West Yorkshire Road Car Company did use year block registrations in the period 1934 to 1939 and again from 1946 to 1956. An example for 1935 illustrates the method used. YG 8968 – 9015 registration marks were used for Dennis Lancet 1, Dennis Ace, Bristol G05G and Bristol J05G types. Another example used in 1952/53 were LWR 405 – 435 registration marks issued for a Bedford van, Bristol LS6G, Bristol KSW6B, Bristol KSW6G and Bristol LS5G types. Other letter groups with mixed bus types were BWT, CWT, DWU, EWY, FWX, GWX, JWU, JYG, KWU and OWX. I have omitted AWW as one mark missing in the sequence was AWW 160. After 1956 this practice of mixed bus types in registration groups ceased and shorter runs as described by Chris H were then the norm.

Richard Fieldhouse

22/11/14 – 08:58

I remember in 1967 Nottinghamshire used a block of registrations across 3 companies which as a youngster I thought unusual.
SRB 59F to SRB 65F Mansfield District Lodekkas,
SRB 66/67F Midland General REs,
SRB 68F to SRB 80F Midland General Lodekkas,
SRB 81F to SRB 90F Chesterfield Corporation Panthers.
Mansfield District and Midland General were linked so possibly you could argue it was 2 companies. Does anybody remember anything similar elsewhere?

David Hargraves

22/11/14 – 14:05

Interesting, David – especially as Chesterfield is in Derbyshire! I wonder if the Panthers were an order that was actually diverted to Chesterfield for some reason?

Stephen Ford

22/11/14 – 16:37

In 1967 wasn’t RB a Derbyshire registration? It only became Nottinghamshire later.


22/11/14 – 17:17

‘RB’ was a Derbyshire mark, and the Chesterfield Panthers naturally received Derbyshire registrations. Midland General/Notts & Derby vehicles were registered in Derbyshire up to c.1972, then Derby CBC in 1973/4 (was this after the Trent ‘takeover’?), then Nottingham LVLO.
Mansfield & District vehicles were registered in Derbyshire from 1967 to at least 1970.
Interestingly, the Chesterfield Panthers were fleet numbers 81-90, following on from Roadliners 71-80, so it may have been the Panthers which somehow dictated the above sequence.
I am sure there would have been many more instances of bus registrations following on from one fleet to another, not least because bus and coach registrations once constituted a much higher proportion of the total than they do now. Off the top of my head I recall that (c.1950) DRN241-90 were Ribble 1301-50 and DRN291-310 Preston 8-27 (all PD2s); DRN341-54 were Ribble 284-97 (Sentinels) and DRN355-67 were Scout (Royal Tigers, PD2s, and a Bedford). Don’t forget that there was ostensibly no corporate connection between Ribble and Scout in those days.

David Call

23/11/14 – 06:39

Newcastle Taxation Office allocated reversed JVK exclusively for Newcastle Corporation Transport buses and other municipal vehicles. The mark was first issued in November 1959 and remained in use until December 1963. Newcastle commenced suffix marks on 2 January, 1964.
One of the most intriguing registration features was Liverpool which issued FKF to Liverpool City Transport buses covering the D, E and G suffix.

Kevin Hey

23/11/14 – 09:32

Newcastle Corporation in fact had a pretty good record of matching registrations and panel numbers, as they called them, but only from 1937 onwards. That year saw the arrival of 174-95, Daimler COG5s with MCCW, NCB or EEC (low-bridge) bodies, registered FVK 174-95. The practice continued up to 244 then fell away a little for numbers 245-50, utility-bodied vehicles delivered in 1942 and 1943 as JTN 505/6, JTN 607/8 (Guy Arabs) and JTN 619/20 (Daimler CWG5s).
A new numbering series started from 1 in 1945 but single and double digit registration numbers generally weren’t used. Buses up to 86 had three-digit registration numbers, with the last one or two digits matching the panel numbers. Perhaps in those days there was already a demand for ‘cherished’ low number plates for the few who could afford a posh car to go with them and had the influence to fix it when registering their vehicles! 1 to 86 were registered JVK 421-5, JVK 613-58 and KVK 959-86. Note the gap 6 to 12, more of which anon. From no. 87 onwards the numbers were synchronised.
It’s not really the case that use of the KVK 9xx series was spread over several years. It only covered 3 batches of vehicles in the 59-86 range (59-72 the fourteen Birmingham-style CVG6s, 73-83 eleven more CVG6s with Roe bodies and 84-6 the three Regent/Roes you refer to). These were delivered out of sequence; the two Roe bodied batches in mid-1947 and the Birminghams in mid-1948. More interesting in terms of variety is the 13-58 range, covering no fewer than five batches, all registered JVK 613-58 and delivered between December 1945 and June 1946. Eighteen of these, 41-58, were the single-deckers required for tram replacement on the Scotswood-Throckley route where the narrow and fragile road bridges at Lemington, from which the trams had long been diverted, precluded the use of double-deckers. Of these, eight were Guy Arab 5LWs with Massey bodies (51-58) so that’s another marque to add to your list! 41-50 were AEC Regal/Harringtons. Here’s an undated pic of Regal 41 or 44 on what looks like an inspection visit to Sugley Bridge at Lemington. I think that’s a Regent/Park Royal semi-utility of the 37-40 batch lurking in a side street. All those buildings in the background still exist.

41 or 44

As regards 84-6, I THINK that they might have been part of the small number (70?) of London Transport RT specification chassis released to provincial operators in 1946/7. 84-86 had the RT chassis designation 0961. Provincial Regent IIIs were allocated 0961/2 in 1947, later to become 9612. See Non London Transport RTs for more background. Here’s a higher resolution zoom-in of your shot of 86 showing the gear pre-selector just below the steering wheel. Squint and you’ll see it!

KVK 986_3

All in all Newcastle took delivery of 245 motor buses (1-11/3-136, 164-73, 251-350) and 186 trolleybuses (443-628) from 1946-1950, enabling a clear-out of many pre-war vehicles and of course the last of the trams in 1950. Note that the new panel number series that started in 1945 had reached 136 by 1948 but with a further 100 buses due for delivery in 1949 and 1950 the 60 or so surviving pre-war vehicles (147-250, with gaps) would have required re-numbering. This was avoided by switching back to the original 1-250 series and using 251 to 350 for the 1949/50 deliveries, with 164-73 (see question 2 below) later becoming 364-73 when new AEC Regent Vs arrived in 1956. You’ve guessed it – the AECs were numbered 137 onwards… Just to spoil the story, 351-3 (PD2/Orions) had appeared in 1954 as UTN 851-3.

Now, can anyone help with a couple of questions:

1. Why was there a gap from 6 to 12 in the post-war panel number series? Newcastle had managed in 1945 to acquire five Daimler CWA6 chassis numbered 1-5 (JVK 421-5) and fitted them with second-hand pre-war bodies in 1945/6/7, then re-bodied all five at Mann Egerton in 1950. The next new vehicles to arrive after 1-5, in late 1945, were numbered 13 onwards. The 6-12 gap was eventually partially filled four years later in 1949 when six all-Leyland low-bridge deckers arrived, being numbered 6-11 and somehow acquiring matching registrations LVK 6-11. Was a batch cancelled before delivery c1945 that might have become 1-12 (or 6-12) and if so what were the details?

2. What was the reason for the arrival in 1948 of the odd batch of Daimler CVD6s single-deckers with Willowbrook bodies, numbered out-of-range as 164-73 (LTN 464-73)? These were diverted from local independent Venture who had already ordered 60 of this combination. The 164-73 range matched that of the ten pre-war Daimler COS4 single deckers (the S designated locally manufactured Armstrong-Saurer engines) that had been transferred to United AS in 1938 with the Branch End set of services, thus creating a convenient panel number gap. Given the eighteen single deckers that arrived in 1946 why were ten more acquired so soon

Tony Fox

23/11/14 – 11:40

Many local taxation offices used 1-99 for motor bikes or local authority vehicles. North Western had LDB 701-LDB 800 allocate in January 1957 and used LDB800 in mid 1960 by which time Stockport was issuing RDB, again NWRC. was allocated a batch which took about 20 months to use.
Manchester Corporation was allocated JND 601-JND 800 in the autumn of 1948. JND 751-JND 800 were used between 10/48 and 02/49 on a batch of Crossleys.
JND 601-JND 700 appeared on a batch of PD2s split between MCW and Leyland bodies between 05/51 and 02/52. In the meantime, JNA 401-JNA 500 had appeared on a batch of MCW bodied PD1s between 01/49 and 05/49! JND 701-JND 750 were allocated to a batch of Daimler CVG6s, bodied by MCW which arrived between 09/50 and 03/51.
In 1953 Manchester received the allocation of NNB 101-NNB 299. NNB 101-118 and 120-125 were placed on a variety of Northern Counties bodied Royal Tigers. 119 and 126-129 were not used. The buses were delivered between 05/53 and 10/53.
NNB 130-NNB 135 were also Royal Tigers with Bond and Burlingham airport coaches, delivered 08/53 -10/53.
NNB 140-NNB 169 were PD2s with NCME bodies delivered between 11/53 and 06/54. Previously NNB 170-NNB 209 had arrived between 07/53 and 10/53 as PD2s with Leyland bodies.
NNB 210-NNB 299 were Daimler CVG6s split between 80 MCW unique to Manchester bodies and 10 MCW Orion bodies delivered between 11/53 and 02/55.
The unused NNB 136-NNB 139 eventually appeared in August 1956 on Tiger Cubs with Burlingham airport coach bodies.
After this, registration batches were requested once a delivery date was firmed up so registrations were very much in date. There was one last glitch. Fleet lines 4701-4760 should have been delivered as DNF 701C-DNF 760C in 1965. Late delivery meant that only 4701-4706 arrived in 1965. 4707-4712 arrived in January 1966 and 4713-4730 arrived in February. The registrations had already been allocated so the vehicles were all taxed in December 1965.
The delays continued and 4731-4760 were then allocated FNE 731D-FNE 760D. 4731-4740 all arrived in December 1966. 4741-4760 were not delivered until January 1967 but were taxed in December 1966 to avoid a registration change.

Phil Blinkhorn

24/11/14 – 06:40

I bought a car back in the mists of time and asked for a "nice" number: so the dealer just phoned the taxation office and said "Can I have a motorcycle number please" and there we were…


24/11/14 – 06:42

Stockport Taxation office allocated DB 5000-5299 to North Western Road Car Co. issued over the period February, 1924 to March, 1929. This was followed by the block DB 9301-9500 between March, 1929 and March, 1932. Stockport completed the general DB sequence in 1930 and this superseded by JA.

Kevin Hey

25/11/14 – 06:39

On the other side of the Irish Sea, Coras Iompair Éireann frequently booked big blocks of Dublin registrations, as did its predecessor the Dublin United Tramways Company.
Between 1937 and 1940, the DUTC booked four blocks of ZC registrations totalling 250, as follows:
*ZC 701-750: Leyland Lion LT7 (fleet nos. N91-103) and Titan TD4 (R1-37)
*ZC 3751-3800: Titan TD4 (R38-50) and TD5 (R51-87)
*ZC 6601-6700: Titan TD5 (R88-187)
*ZC 8851-8900: Titan TD5 (R188-234) and TD7 (R235-7)
In 1948 and 1949, CIÉ booked two blocks of ZH registrations totalling 230:
*ZH 4440-4539: Titan PD2 (R291-390)
*ZH 6301-6430: Tiger OPS3 (P31-160)
However, P47 ended up being registered ZJ 1182 instead of ZH 6317. I’m guessing it did not enter service as soon as it was delivered, but was instead stored for some time beforehand.
Three blocks of ZJ registrations totalling 230 were booked during 1949 and 1950:
*ZJ 1351-1400: Titan PD2 (R391-440)
*ZJ 4405-4454: Titan OPD2 (R441-90)
*ZJ 5901-6030: Tiger OPS3 (P161-290)
P242 ended up being registered ZO 9646 instead of ZJ 5982 – again, I’m guessing it was stored for some time before entering service.
A single block of 163 registrations in the ZO series was booked in 1953:
*ZO 6801-6963: Tiger PS2 (P291-361), Royal Tiger PSU1 (U1-88) and Titan OPD2 (R541-4)
When three-letter registrations were introduced in 1954, CIÉ became somewhat modest – booking in blocks of only 70 until 1958…
*JRI 11-80: Titan OPD2 (R581-650)
*BIK 251-320: Titan OPD2 (R651-720)
*OIK 925-994: Titan OPD2 (R729-98)
*CYI 601-670: Titan OPD2 (R799-833) and PD3 (RA1-35)
…then in blocks of just 60 until 1961.
*OYI 801-860: Titan PD3 (RA36-95)
*CZA 661-720: Leopard L2 (E1-60)
*HZA 221-280: Titan PD3 (RA96-152) and AEC Regent V (AA1-3)
However, in 1964, it booked EZH 1-255 for its first C-class Leopard PSU3s, which became the first vehicles to carry matching registrations. Then in 1966, it booked its biggest block, VZI 1-340, for its first D-class Atlanteans.
In 1967, it booked EZL 1-230 for its first SS-class Bedford VAS5 and SB5 school buses. PZO 261-522 were booked in 1968 for SS261-522, followed by UZU 523-646 in 1969 for SS523-646.
Reversed registrations began in 1970, and CIÉ wasted no time in booking 1-213 IK for its M-class Leopard PSU5s, and 341-410 IK for Atlanteans D341-410. In 1972, 411-554 ZD were booked for D411-554, and in 1973 701-770 ZI and 603-753 ZO were booked for SS701-70 and D603-753 respectively.
By this time, CIÉ’s relationship with Leyland was deteriorating, and so a lull followed until the tie-up with Bombardier and GAC. In 1981, 2-201 JZL were booked for Bombardier double-deckers KD2-201, followed by 202-300 OZU in 1982 for KD202-300.
Finally, in 1985, EZV 2-120 were booked for GAC rural buses KR2-120 (the ZV code had been allocated to Dublin in 1981 along with SI, ZG and ZS, as it was running out of registrations featuring its original codes). By then, the current year-county-serial registration system was on the horizon, as was the transfer of CIÉ’s bus operations to Dublin Bus and Bus Éireann.

Des Elmes


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PMT – AEC Reliance – 761 CVT – C8761

PMT - AEC Reliance - 761 CVT - C8761

Potteries Motor Traction
AEC Reliance 470
Willowbrook C41F

PMT had five of these coaches plus one similar acquisition on a Leyland Tiger Cub chassis from the takeover of Dawsons, Ash Bank. They suffered as always with AH470 engines with cylinder head gasket and wet liner seal failures. This is why this photo was taken adjacent to Llandrindod Wells Railway Station on a summer evening in June 1971. A similar Reliance had taken a party of Scouts on a weeks expedition to Tenby and inevitably the engine had failed in South Wales. I was summoned at short notice to take a replacement vehicle arriving at South Wales Transport Ravenhill Depot shortly before midnight. I chose the scenic route rather than the M6/M5 as I didn’t fancy becoming another engine failure casualty at the side of the Motorway. During 1971 and 1972 three of these Reliances were modified for one man operation and repainted in bus livery. The conversion included jack knife doors the motor for which would only fit in the space occupied by the nearside front passenger seat hence reducing the capacity to 39. As the vehicles were 13/14 years old by this time one wonders if it was really worth the effort. I recall 762 which was allocated to Biddulph Depot put in some quite respectable mileages as an omo saloon.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Ian Wild

16/11/14 – 09:44

An odd design which seems to transition from the early 1950s at the front to the late 1950s at the rear.

Phil Blinkhorn

16/11/14 – 11:21

JCN 449

Northern General had a batch of very similar C37F Willowbrook Viking coaches on an AEC Reliance 2MU3RV chassis, so as I understand it, they would have had the larger AH590 engine. Delivered in 1959, they were JCN 445 to 454, numbered 1845 to 1854. About 1967, it was decided to convert them for use as OPO vehicles, but the changes were far more radical. I don’t know if the conversion was carried out ‘in-house’ or whether they went back to Willowbrook to be done, but the whole front end was chopped off, and a new service front grafted on, I believe they were also up-seated to 41. Here is an example of the end result, I believe they remained in service until around 1975

Ronnie Hoye

16/11/14 – 18:03

Were the gasket/liner problems eventually cured by AEC?

Chris Hebbron

17/11/14 – 06:47

In a word, Chris – No! AEC’s involvement with wet liners began in 1935 with the introduction of the ‘6.6’ A172 engine (actually of 6.75 litres) in the lightweight Regal II. This engine proved to be decidedly troublesome, and the wet liner problems were carried through into its postwar ranges developed from about 1953. In the end, AEC reverted to dry liners in the AV/AH 505/691/760 engines. By contrast, Dennis employed wet liners in its ‘Big 4′ petrol and O4/O6 diesels from the mid 1930s onwards, and all were generally free of the troubles that plagued the AEC efforts.

Roger Cox

17/11/14 – 06:47

2MU3RV was still the AH470, Ronnie – 2U3RA was the AH590. Both of these had wet liners and gasket head problems. The AH691 and AH760 were new dry liner engines which did not have the same problems. Sadly the reputation was tarnished and many did not return to AEC. Also, like the later Leyland Panther, others persevered and overcame the problems.

David Oldfield

17/11/14 – 09:51

Thx, Roger. It’s amazing, from what you say, that folk continued to buy AEC’s with these engines, if they were so troublesome, although I admit that post-war distress purchasing would retain undeserved loyalty to a large extent. Were LTE’s engines of this type? I’ve never heard of problems with those Incidentally, did AEC/Leyland ever offer ‘outside’ engine options at ordering stage, such as Gardner? I’ve never heard of any, but who knows?
David O, strange that, following on with gasket/wet liner problems, which existed for decades, AEC cured Crossley’s engine breathing problem within months!

Chris Hebbron

17/11/14 – 11:37

The AV (vertical) engines never suffered to the same extent as the horizontal AH engines and substantially LTE had no problems with RMs (once the teething problems were ironed out) – including the AV590. Neither did Sheffield with its Regent Vs and Bridgemasters. [In passing, the AV version of the AH691 was actually a wet-liner and really an "out-boring" of the AV590.] It is surprising that they carried on so long before they eventually reverted to dry-liners – and as I said lost friends along the way. Those who stayed were rewarded by the AH691/760. AEC were not alone in having problems with putting an engine on its side. I am a "fan" of the O.600/O.680 – but this was not without its problems either – as Stephen Barber has alluded to in his Wallace Arnold Books. Conversely, there was enough faith in the later AEC engines to offer them, initially, as an option, in Series 2 REs and VRTs. The famous Werner Heubeck at Citybus who force BL to continue the RE for Northern Ireland was known to be very interested in an AH691 RE but BL back out at the last minute and cancelled the option – much to Heubeck’s anger. [Something similar is thought to have happened with the VRT – when someone showed interest, the option was withdrawn.] As for Gardners, there were the famous Rochdale D2RAG Regent Vs and the less famous Glasgow and Aberdeen D2RVG Regent Vs.

David Oldfield

17/11/14 – 16:50

Huddersfield JOC took delivery of 16 Regent’s and 37 Regal’s with 6LW engines between 1935 and 1939.

Eric Bawden

17/11/14 – 17:19

Forgot those, Eric. Crossley engines were another, and simpler, matter. AEC basically knew the problem – Crossley refused to pay royalties to Saurer and so mangle the design of the piston/cylinder head to make it different. AEC simply came up with a design which solved the problem without infringing the rights of Saurer. [I’m not an engineer, so I cannot elucidate.]

David Oldfield

18/11/14 – 06:23

As I have always understood it, the bored out 11.3 litre version of the AEC AV590 wet liner engine was the AV690, which was introduced at the same time in 1958. It was most commonly employed in commercial vehicle models such as the Mammoth Major V and in many export PSV’s, but was optional in the 2D version of the Regent V, and in horizontal AH690 form in the 2U and 4U larger Reliances, though it was not differentiated in the model designation.
The AV/AH691 was the 11.3 litre dry liner engine which was announced in late 1964 at the same time as its smaller equivalent the AV/AH505. The AV691 was then offered as an option in the Regent V and Renown, models, which were then designated Regent 691 (prefixed 3D) and Renown 691 (prefixed 4B) though none of the latter were built.

John Stringer

18/11/14 – 06:23

David, the wet liner 11.3 litre was the AV/AH 690. The 691 was a dry liner in vertical and horizontal formats. Even the switch to dry liners did not resolve AEC’s engine reputation. The AV/AH 505 in particular soon revealed weaknesses in service. A cover plate was fitted on the top of the block under the cylinder head, and this plate was held in place by a number of set screws. The inevitable expansion and contraction of this component in service caused the screws to fail, leaving a hole that allowed coolant to escape. This, if not spotted and remedied, could result in a seized engine. The design defects were progressively eliminated, but AEC’s reputation as an engine builder was not enhanced.

Roger Cox

18/11/14 – 06:24

Ronnie – that’s a proper bus conversion done by Northern, however as they were done in 1967 they would operate for quite a few years to get the money back. We only started conversions in 1971 and as I said, perhaps a bit late in the day – but don’t forget PMT had the largest fleet of Roadliners in the world and anything had to be tried to mitigate the chronic unreliability.

Ian Wild

18/11/14 – 06:25

Chris, for a short period in 1956/7 the AEC Regent V was offered with the option of a Gardner 5LW or 6LW engine. There were only three takers; Glasgow and Dundee Corporations bought examples with vacuum brakes and spring operated preselector gearboxes (model D2RV6G,) and Rochdale Corporation had examples with air brakes and air operated preselector or semi-automatic gearboxes, model D2RA6G. The Rochdale examples were described in my article on this site.

Don McKeown

18/11/14 – 10:19

The prototype Crossley HOE7 engine design came about when the firm’s engine designer, W.C. Worrall wwas diagnosed with tuberculosis prior to the outbreak of WW2. He was sent to Switzerland to recuperate, and, whilst there, visited the Saurer factory, where he himself had once worked. Saurer gave him permission to use the company’s advanced four valve head and toroidal piston cavity in his new engine design. Shortly after Worral’s return to Britain, war broke out, limiting Crossley’s commercial options, but three prototype engines were constructed with combustion chamber detailed design being made by Leslie Bennett, a mathematician and combustion specialist. Thus Crossley had done all the right things and succeeded in a designing a powerful and reliable unit. Then, as the new SD/DD42 chassis production began to get under way in 1944, Saurer, entirely reasonably, asked for a royalty or licence payment in recognition of the fact that the Swiss company’s patents were employed in the head design. The exact details of the fees involved have since been buried in the passage of time (probably deliberately). The Crossley MD, Arthur Hubble was having none of this, and refused to comply, instead ordering that the cylinder head of the new engine be redesigned completely to avoid any payment to Saurer. The new head had two valves per cylinder instead of four, and the toroidal piston cavity was reshaped with sharp concentric ridges, the (misplaced) theory being that these would improve the swirl effect. The new head was married up with the original block intended for the Saurer type head, and the result was a motor strangulated by hopelessly contorted airflows. In addition, poor coolant circulation led to overheating and high back pressure in the crankcase. This ill advised redesign ended the involvement of Saurer, but left Crossley with a exceptionally poor engine. When AEC took control of Crossley, it lost patience with Gorton’s refusal to attend to the cylinder head deficiencies and undertook remedial design itself. It is an overstatement to suggest that AEC simply solved the problems with the Crossley engine. The downdraught cylinder head was not a cheap conversion, and, although it did improve the airflow characteristics and reliability issues to a very great extent, the HOE7 could never be turned into a truly good motor. What baffles me somewhat is the fact that Dennis used a four valve head and toroidal piston cavity in its O4 and O6 diesels, yet no payment was ever made to Saurer. Presumably the Dennis design differed sufficiently to escape the Saurer patents.

Roger Cox

18/11/14 – 15:50

Aberdeen Corporation did have five Gardner engined AEC Regent V’s with Crossley bodies (205 – 209). In 1959 they purchased five AEC Regent V’s with AEC engines and Alexander bodies (271-275). By 1963, they also had been fitted with Gardner 6LW engines.
I seem to recall that Maidstone and District also converted some coaches in the same manner as that done by Northern General.

Stephen Bloomfield

19/11/14 – 05:57

Stephen, I think the Maidstone vehicles you refer to had Harrington bodies but the end result was quite similar.

Ian Wild

24/11/14 – 17:03

On the subject of seized AEC Reliance engines I Drove for Stanley Gath Coaches of Dewsbury in the late 1970s. Due to a vehicle shortage one weekend a AEC Reliance/Plaxton was hired from Kirby Coach dealers of Sheffield. Returning from Blackpool on the Saturday night the engine seized up on the M62. Rather then owning up to this, a visit was made to a scrappers at Barnsley and a similar engine was obtained and shoe horned in. I dare say no one was ever the wiser.

Philip Carlton

25/11/14 – 06:31

Thx, folks, for the answers to my queries.

Chris Hebbron


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Wakefields Motors – AEC Regent II – FT 6156 – 156

Wakefields Motors - AEC Regent II - FT 6156 - 156

Wakefields Motors
AEC Regent II
Weymann H30/26R

Having completed its journey, 156 is seen here turning round at Whitley Bay Bandstand before returning to North Shields Ferry Landing. The service 8 was known to crews as ‘the track’ because it followed the exact route of the Tynemouth and District trams. The AEC Regent II chassis was well built, rugged and reliable, and was available in two options, take it or leave it. The engine was a 7.7 litre diesel, and the transmission was a 4-speed sliding mesh gearbox with friction clutch. It was an entirely different matter when it came to choice of body. NGT Percy Main depot opted for the H30/26R Weymann. This is one of twenty nine of the type delivered to them between 1947 & 48; the 1947 intake were FT 5698 to 5712, 128/142, and 1948 were FT 6143 to 6156; 143/156; they were all ‘Tynemouth’ apart from 141 – 142 & 156 which carried the Wakefields name. The first vehicles to carry this style of livery layout were the 1958 Orion bodied PD3/4’s, so the photo is after that date, but just look at the collection of coaches in the background.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Ronnie Hoye

10/11/14 – 06:58

Good to see a Regent II. I used to take them for granted in Reading, where they were the mainstay of the motorbus fleet from 1947 to 64, but they seem rare today. Was the choice of 5 bays a matter of date, of chassis design or of operator’s choice?

Ian T

10/11/14 – 08:23

According to "Weymann Part 2", these were delivered (due to shortages) without destination blinds and with metal panelling covering the "empty holes".

David Oldfield

10/11/14 – 11:47

I think that the matter of 4- or 5-bay bodywork is a matter of date. The 5-bay was standard in the immediate post-war years, on AEC and other makes. I am fairly sure I read somewhere that Weymann re-designed the body as four-bay for the AEC Regent III chassis, but did not build it on other makes/types, at least initially. Perhaps those with access to the "Weymann Part 2" book will find some detail, as my memory may be in "error mode" on this one.

Michael Hampton

10/11/14 – 13:31

Michael, I don’t know when the change came about, but Percy Main’s 1952 Guy Arab III’s ‘FT 7381/90 – 181/90 were four bay type. They were also P/M’s first 8ft wide D/D’s, and the first with sliding cab doors.

Ronnie Hoye

10/11/14 – 13:32

I think, originally, that AEC and the body-builders colluded to make a four bay body – but it relied on body fixing points. Guy and then Leyland eventually caught up by building chassis with compatible points and then Daimler. [Bristol was obviously a different case.] What was more interesting was the reversion to five short bays with the appalling early Orions.

David Oldfield

14/11/14 – 14:56

What was the difference between a Regent II & III’s. We had Regent III’s in Sheffield around the same year. They had pre selector gearboxes though.

Andy Fisher

15/11/14 – 05:41

AEC Regent. Mark I, II and III.
AEC Regent 661 petrol engine was built from 1929-1942, powered by an AEC A145 7.4 litre engine, many of the early examples had the open staircase later enclosed and the typical 30 seats over 26 seat layout became the standard design on a 27 foot long by 7 feet 6 inch wide chassis with over 7000 built.
AEC Regent Mk II 661/O661 was developed in the late 1930’s at 27 feet 6 inches by 7 feet 6 inches with the A173, 7.7 litre 6 cylinder diesel oil engine, resulting in the London Transport RT 1-151, the Regent II was curtailed during the second world war but recommenced after the war with only 700 built.
After the war AEC with London Passenger Transport Board had developed the AEC Regent III O961 with the more powerful AEC 9.6 litre engine. 8261 were built over the next 10 years, most of these were the iconic RT for London Transport.

Ron Mesure

15/11/14 – 05:42

The Regent II had a 7.7 litre engine, sliding mesh gearbox and vacuum brakes. The Regent III was its successor, and could be supplied with the same spec, in which case there was very little difference between the two. Most Regent IIIs however had the 9.6 litre engine, and many of these had air brakes and air-operated preselector gearboxes (especially in Yorkshire!). In this form the Regent III was a development of the London RT type which had its origins just before the war.

Peter Williamson


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