Bradford Corporation Transport
AEC Regent V 2D3RA
I have a personal “adoration” for these BCT Mark V Regents – a liking in which I appear to be virtually alone !! The “Mononcontrol” vehicles were in the minority, the first twenty only, the remainder of the large fleet being of three pedal four speed synchromesh specification. The Bradford attractive livery and superb internal fittings, materials and seats cured any suggestion of “plain-ness” in the MCW bodies. However it was in the mechanical area that these buses were so appealing. They had the open exhaust system with exhaust brakes and made magnificent sound effects, both when slowing down or when pulling hard away from stops and up hills – Church Bank was a treat not to be missed. The wonderful pre-war vintage type sounds from the AEC gearboxes and arguably inadequate clutches completed this delightful mobile symphony. Sadly though they appear to have been loathed by drivers and passengers alike, apparently giving a very rough ride indeed unless expertly handled by someone with a real interest in the job. There is a fabulous chapter about them in Mr. J. S. King’s superb volume on BCT buses, in which their Southall character is well and truly assassinated from all quarters of the City.
I remember one Saturday evening visiting Saltaire Depot after the last trolleybus had left there for ever. The yard was full of brand new Mark Vs, and someone had taken the trouble to very accurately set every route number to “OIL” to rub it in so to speak.
Here is a picture of one of the synchromesh motors, number 168, making noisy (magnificent for me) but light work of Morley Street en route for Buttershaw.
Copy contributed by C. Youhill
A full list of Regent V codes can be seen here.
Bus tickets issued by this operator can be viewed here.
These were direct contempories of Sheffield 64 – 73 whose only sin was to have monocontrol rather than synchromesh boxes. In this respect, their 1960 sisters 435 – 460 had the edge. As an out and out Roe man, I am, nonetheless, a Weymann supporter. Apart from an aberration with the 1956/7 Regent III/V with lightweight bodies, all Sheffield Weymanns – including the two batches mentioned above – were finished to the highest standards. I never felt noisy or rough riding were apt descriptions of Regent Vs and I preferred the sounds of the manual versions – although the monocontrols did have a slight suggestion of the preselect sound!
Although I am unfamiliar, personally, with these vehicles, I can readily understand why drivers disliked their exhaust brakes if they were anything like the ones I knew. Maidstone & District, a company about which I do know a little bit, had some Guy Arabs with exhaust brakes, which made an appalling, quite deafening noise in the cab when the brakes were applied. Half an hour driving a bus fitted with one would give you a headache for the rest of the day. They were only an auxiliary, of course, and either the mechanism failed in use or was disconnected at Chatham Depot, where the vehicles were based. A truly dreadful feature.
Having driven Bradford 220 at Keighley Bus Museum many times I can understand why drivers disliked these Regent Vs. They are noisy, with very fierce brakes and a juddering clutch which makes them difficult to drive smoothly, especially in traffic or in hilly country (and Bradford has the odd hill!).
In Bradford Corporation Transport days they were notorious for breaking injector pipes, to the point where a fitter was employed virtually full-time in the City Centre just to keep up with breakdowns.
One of our (sadly deceased) former members who worked for YWD always referred to the Regent Vs as "overtime buses" he reckoned they were the finest bus ever invented for generating overtime for fitters!
I have to agree with Chris Youhill’s sentiments regarding Bradford’s Regent Vs as I too adored them! I recall them taking over from the lovely trolleys on the Saltaire/Bingley/Crossflatts services in the sixties. As a ten year old I was bowled over by the wonderful sound effects and impression of speed when riding on these beasts. The rear ‘stopping’ signs beneath the back windows instead of traditional brake lights were so modern. Certainly the attractive Bradford Corporation Transport livery showed the bodywork off to good effect, and they could hold their own with the West Yorkshire Lodekkas plying alongside, as far as interiors were concerned. Raucous? No-just full of character!
Thank you for your support Brendan – much appreciated indeed.
Fine Machines!.. Unloved by most people, but simple to work on, Melodically on Parr with a popular Beethoven!.. As regards the exhaust brake?.. I did come across a brand new one boxed up in our stock sometime ago.. in time I shall track it down and install it!
Mick Holian – B.C.T. 220 Custodian
I know from Sandtoft and elsewhere Mick that you DO know how to drive these characterful machines properly, 220 in particular, so keep up the good work !! You won’t remember me, but you once long ago very kindly allowed me to turn back the clock and sit again behind the wheel of Leeds City Transport 980 in the museum at Keighley. Then we had a useful chat about a certain aspect of Mark V accelerator pedals.
Well, Well, Well! Yes I do recall that conversation Chris!.. that’s sometime ago isn’t it?… I sorted the problem with some rubber hose & new springs! to say the clatter on the over run was a niggle was a massive understatement… it drove me mad! And yes I remember being scalded by the Sandtoft Natives for making too much noise & driving too fast!
You will be pleased to know that I have been quietly rebuilding the front of Leeds City Transport 980 from parts sourced from an Ex-Southampton turned glider winch Regent V, The museum is planning to use it on a class 6 from early 2011, If I have my way? which I should as I’m doing the work? it will be presented in the livery with the red wheels.. fingers crossed! can’t wait to hear that go through its gears!
I am also hoping to have Bradford Corporation Transport 355 Fleetline make an appearance later this year, its coming together nicely, take care Chris, really good to hear from you & watch this space!
Mick Holian- Keighley bus Museum.
Many thanks Mick for your kind message and news of very impressive progress – I agree that 980 will be most authentic and impressive in the "red wheels" livery. I’ve never yet been to the new Keighley premises and must do so soon. My first experience of the Mark V "pedal chatter" was with the six new ones which we had at Samuel Ledgards, 1949-54 U. These had synchromesh gearboxes and the large flat pedal as opposed to the smaller "ball" type. The half mile where the quirk was at its worst was when descending the A65 from Horsforth to Kirkstall Forge. There were at that time a good many hidden ripples in the road surface, and during braking the free rattling of the accelerator pedals was actually sufficient to cause the engine to pull against the brakes – a very strange sensation indeed.
After the really top of the job Mark III the Mark V was a different animal, bigger heavier and with the AV690 engine they were a let down, a 50′s obsession in the industry with fuel consumption had them fitted with synchro boxes.
Generally with easier steering, softer feel brakes they were nicer than contemporary Leylands but not as mechanically strong.
The Met Cam Aurora body was not good, they rotted badly, rained inside, had poor heaters and were often described as fitters friends.
WYPTE examined fitting Dorman V8 engines in an effort to improve performance but opted to put 95 Metropolitans into Bradford instead, they were mechanically even worse! especially the HR501 hydraulic gearbox.
The last two were much much better with mono control and 760 12.47litre engines VROOM!!!!!!!!!!
The mists of time have caused most folk to forget that the first forty Scania Metropolitans were ordered by Leeds City Transport – an absolutely astonishing move for such a conservative and careful operator. They were delivered to LCT, but not placed in service, just before the formation of the PTE in April 1974, and many were first stored at Middleton Garage where they huddled uncomfortably together – many top decks touching – as their air bags were of course empty after a while. I know they had a wonderful performance, but I believe the fuel consumption didn’t bear thinking about. Despite their very limited success, I thought they were most handsome vehicles.
One of Leylands better legacies was that, through licensing manufacture of what were excellent engines – particularly the 0.600/0.680 family – the line lives on in the superb modern units produced by both Scania and DAF/PACCAR.
The Metropolitans suffered by being quick and encouraging a sprightly style of driving which was not very economical. This might have been forgivable, but the bizarre use of a two speed torque converter transmission gave these machines a big "drink problem".
The biggest weakness – which was never solved to the end of MCW days – was a tendency for the metal frames to rot. This often gave "modern" MCW products a shorter life than they perhaps should have enjoyed.
I am so happy that I found this site by accident, although quite a veteran myself I’m in the modern passenger transport industry – a driving instructor for Arriva, the Shires.
I am in awe of the knowledge of your principal contributors.
As a boy in Shipley W Yorks., I used West Yorkshire’s 66 service to Forster Square, Bradford and Bradford Transport’s trolley to school in Saltaire.
Oh what happy days Bill – I was a young conductor on West Yorkshire (Ilkley Depot) in 1960/1 and many’s the time our Lodekka drivers were left gasping in the offside lane by the wonderful Bradford trolleybuses as they "mischievously launched at speed" from the stops in Manningham Lane and Frizinghall. I spent my last fourteen years of a fabulous and enjoyable forty four year career as a driver for South Yorkshire Road Transort/Caldaire/British Bus/Arriva "serving Yorkshire" at Pontefract Depot (now demolished).
Leeds 150 short AEC Regent V delivered in 1956/57 were all light weight affairs but the body style was pure Roe being a natural follow-on to the AEC Regent III delivered in 1954 The lightweight vehicles in later years were absolute rattlers with every opening window and seat back vibrating as they idled, particularly on hills. The first 30ft AEC Regent V were a very different kettle of fish being bodied by MCW and being unusual as they carried exposed radiators. They had a massive presence in the flesh and were and still are amongst my favourite Leeds buses.
I was a student in the late 70s in Bradford. Unfortunately by that time the Bradford blue had been replaced by the none too attractive green and cream of WYPTE. Nonetheless, I always wondered how they ever managed to climb the hills out of the town centre. 2168 was a regular on the 63/636 up to Heights Lane and Sandy Lane and hearing the gears crash as it set off up Oak Lane out of St Mary Rd. Compared to the CVG6s which also operated the route they were noisy beasts but had loads of character. Ah, fond memories!
I agree entirely with Chris Hough about the fifteen exposed radiator Mark Vs at Leeds – they were magnificent motors and in my opinion very handsome too – although after all these years I am now used to endlessly defending the "Orion" type bodies which are much maligned for some reason. I try not to decry batches of buses per se in their entirety, but oh how I loathed the gutless rolling little lightweight Mark Vs at Leeds. Mind you its perhaps fortunate that the Leeds policy of "cutting engines down" restricted them to only just over 30 mph. That rearward facing seat for five was nothing short of obscene, with passengers’ knees unavoidably jammed between those of people sitting opposite. As I said earlier in this topic, there can be few batches of vehicles with as much individual character and impressive performance as the wonderful Bradford Mark Vs – I’ve always loved ‘em !!
As I’ve suspected for a long time, Chris Youhill is a man after my own heart. My preference is always for a big engine with plenty of torque. An AEC man to my marrow, I have never been much of one for the medium weights – particularly the deckers. We never had any in Sheffield, they would never have coped with the hills!
The photograph of 168 labouring up Morley Street with the sun shining after a spell of rain is superb.
Services 9/10/12 Buttershaw-Stanningley were operated jointly by Horton Bank Top and Thornbury Depot. I would hazard a guess that 168 was a Thornbury vehicle.
I was the last person to be employed in the BCT Traffic Office at Forster Square. I joined the undertaking on 1 October 1973. By this stage the bulk of the Regents were to be found at Ludlam Street and Thornbury Depots with small allocations only at Bankfoot, Bowling Depots etc. Ludlam Street operated the following rosters: Eccleshill (43/44), Fagley (14/34), Haworth Road (29/32/33/35), Huddersfield (63/64) Leeds (72/78/272), Tyersal (30) and The MBMR (Motorbus Miscellaneous Rota – ‘The Old Mans Road’). Funnily enough the Stanningley roster at Thornbury was full (as were most Thornbury rosters, except Wibsey which covered the 45/46) except for one driving line against a conductor whose name I cannot remember but whom no one was prepared to work with on a regular basis.
I recall vividly that the Eccleshill, Fagley and Haworth Road rosters had few regular drivers, which was something of a puzzle. Now, looking back, I wonder whether this was due to the Mark Vs, which were often to be found allocated to these duties. I suspect that the drivers felt that working a duty on these rosters with a Mark V on overtime was just reward for the effort involved.
Always loved the Regents, living in Fairweather Green as a kid we tended to get Leylands on Thornton Road but the AECs were always a favourite. Im more of a lorry enthusiast and surprise surprise a big AEC fan
Re. Bradford`s Mk V Regents; I rode on these regularly, and they always made me think how inferior they were compared with the refinements of the Mk.111 !! However, they were something to enthuse over, and became something like a "Bradford Standard". I could never forgive them though for their part in the demise of the BCT trolleybus system!
I did about 4 years at BCT in the early sixties , and remember the Regent Vs as fantastic work horses – but the brakes were rather "savage". I worked out of Ludlam St. but also had a 12 month spell out of Duckworth Depot mostly on the Thornton route – many fond memories.
26/08/11 – 07:21
I remember the original batch of PKY-registered Bradford Mk. V’s bursting impressively and noisily on to the scene on the 64 service when travelling from Brighouse to Huddersfield with my mother to visit my grandfather. I was seven years old, already a bus enthusiast, and I was very impressed with them.
I started driving for Halifax Passenger Transport in 1973. There were still more than half of their own Metro-Cammell bodied Mk V’s in service, and they were OK, though getting a bit tired and leaky. There were also three ex-Hebble ones – one having Northern Counties bodywork – and these went much better, and were far nicer to drive.
Then shortly after the formation of WYPTE, Metro Calderdale found itself with a serious vehicle shortage, and a number of interesting buses were borrowed from other districts for a few days. Amongst these were several ex-Bradford Mk. V’s, all still in blue and cream. This didn’t go down very well with most of the drivers, who generally detested AEC’s. They were returned after a week or so, but then in October 1975 two more – 2209 & 2213, also in blue – appeared, this time officially transferred.
2213′s stay was only to be very brief, coming to a sticky end when it failed to negotiate the right-angled bend over the disused railway bridge at Holmfield Mills one frosty morning. 2209 stayed for six months. I got to drive it a couple of times and it was brilliant compared to ‘our own’ Mk V’s.
Then a further three came in February 1976. 2136, 2137 and 2138 they were in PTE livery, and they stayed with us until the July. I have always been an AEC man, but these were a revelation. Yes they were noisy, whiny and raucous, had jangly accelerator pedals and may not have been as technically durable as they could have been, but they had so much in-your-face character and were an aural delight.
In fact, I have driven buses in Halifax for over 38 years now, and if I had to nominate my all time favourite bus from the point of view of absolute driving pleasure, it would definitely be 2137.
On Saturdays we had a duty which came out of Garage at 10:43 then worked Boothtown ‘flashbacks’ – three per hour in between the 76 Bradfords. I always tried to persuade the Shed Foreman to allocate me a Bradford Mk. V, and he usually obliged in order to get rid of one to a driver he knew would not ring it in. This could well be a really tedious duty, especially if lumbered with a tired out old PD2, or a thoroughly horrible early Fleetline, but with a Bradford Mk. V I was like a pig in you-know-what all day. In those days Boothtown Road was built up just about all the way, and the trick was to adjust the engine revs, gearing etc. to create maximum aural effect, so that the raucous, growling, booming exhaust reverberated off the stone buildings. Our own Mk. V’s did not have the ‘booming’ exhaust feature and so were nothing like as gratifying.
Finally one Saturday, word came that they had to go back to Bradford. There were not enough garage staff to oblige so being a spare driver that day I was asked if I would take one over to Ludlam Street. Silly question of course, and I grabbed 2137 and headed in a roughly Bradford direction. This must have been the longest journey a bus ever made between Halifax and Bradford ! Eventually I reached the City Centre and decided as a final gesture I must take it around Forster Square and sweep up Church Bank as I had seen – and particularly heard – them do so many times in the past. The sound effects still echo in my mind to this day. Brilliant !
26/08/11 – 09:23
Nice story John, I can still hear that exhaust!
26/08/11 – 10:07
What a wonderful story John, and you are obviously as fond of the Bradford Mark Vs as I am. There can be few models/batches in PSV/PCV history with as much gutsy and unashamed character as these buses – they seemed to cheekily proclaim "Hold onto your hats for a thrilling ride, and if you can’t take it get a taxi !!" You did right to fit in a memorial ascent of Church Bank and I too, can still hear the magnificent concerto. I believe that there were frequent vacancies for organists at the Cathedral as few could compete with the Southall Symposium !! Somewhere I have a very old cassette which I recorded one Saturday night on a Bradford Moor bound Regent – propelled by undoubtedly the worst driver ever – he should never have passed his test, but for enthusiast pleasure purposes it was magnificent ride never to be forgotten.
26/08/11 – 14:27
The regular vacancies for organists at the Cathedral were due to the clergy from hell. [I mean it can back up my comments with evidence!] You can’t blame it on the Regent Vs.
26/08/11 – 18:03
I have really enjoyed the correspondence on Bradford`s notorious Mark Vs, especially the comments from those "in the know" who drove them!
As an enthusiast, I well remember the first ones in 1959, the PKYs, and the 5 1961 UKY batch. They all seemed to be quite heavy and substantial buses, and made nice noises (!!). They were ordered by the Master himself, C.T.Humpidge, and were the first dd. motorbus orders since the 1952/3 HKW batch of Mark 111s, and consequently re-ignited a lot of enthusiast interest in what was still the "Trolleybus era".
126-135 though, were ordered by Mr Wake, and made the most unpleasant reverberating noise, and, replacing trolleys on the Bradford Moor route, seemed almost static when climbing Church Bank. The trolleys just glided up!
The following 90, up to 225 in 1964 were more like the 126 batch, and what I can say, with certainty, is that most Bradfordians expressed a hatred for them, as did, I believe, the engineering staff.
This is not to say that there wasn’t a certain attraction about them. I was a regular rider, and cannot remember any other batches which suffered so many breakdowns and problems, but it is this notoriety which, as an enthusiast, attracted me to them.
I would say, looking back, that most of the Bradford bus enthusiast fraternity were of the trolleybus ilk. I was as far as BCT was concerned, and it is perhaps this which colours our remembrances of them. They were trolleybus replacement vehicles. How dare they! I am sure, however, that they did not demonstrate that level of sophistication which the Mark 111s had, or the PD2/3, and subsequent Leyland and Daimler deliveries. Nice, however, that they are so well remembered, and I must visit the preserved one at Keighley! Does anyone know when the last survivor ran for the PTE fleet?
26/08/11 – 18:04
The mention of Halifax brought back memories of my own experiences with the HPTD Regent Vs. I was a Traffic Clerk at Skircoat Road in the mid nineteen sixties, and we office types (having been put through the PSV test by GGH) would volunteer to cover the second half of late turns in the week, or a full late on Saturdays. I much preferred to do a turn on the Brighouse – Hebden Bridge run whenever possible, and a Regent V was frequently the beast that turned up on taking over the wheel. They were easy to drive, having much lighter steering than a PD3, and the all synchromesh box was a doddle to use, but the noise from the engine and gearbox was unimaginable at times, including the hellish racket from the accelerator pedal when one was braking or descending hills. The very light clutch needed careful handling to avoid judder on pulling away. Also, unlike those of the Regent III, AEC brakes of that period were not progressive. Depression of the pedal brought no effect until suddenly the the brakes came on fiercely. Easing off the pedal then did nothing until, with a hiss of air escaping, the braking effect was lost. Why AEC lost the ability to design smooth progressive air brakes I do not know, but this was a feature of AEC air braked buses, including the Reliance, for years afterwards. I am not a great AEC fan, and the Regent V is part of the reason for this. Geoff Hilditch of Halifax was not an admirer of the Regent V either.
27/08/11 – 07:20
Oh Heck David – I’m in deep water here am I not ?? My comment about the ability of the Mk Vs to "see off" the Cathedral organ was meant to be a comical one – I had no idea that there had actually been a high turnover of organists caused by the "opposition clergy" to who you refer.
27/08/11 – 07:21
Roger says in his last post that Geoff Hilditch was not a fan of Regent Vs In his guise as "Gortonian" in the sixties and seventies he rightly states the Regent III was one of the best buses he had the pleasure of working with. My home town Leeds certainly got the best out of their 30ft AEC/Roe Regent Vs However the short light weight tram replacement examples dating from the late fifties were nowhere near as good being absolute rattlers by the end of their lives. Now the MCCW bodied 30 footers of 1960 were a whole different kettle of fish and to mix metaphors were definitely my cup of tea!
Truth is always stranger than fiction, Chris.
My spies in the South confirm that Sheffield had no particular problems with Regent Vs and Charles Halls states that engineers regarded the late ones as among the best vehicles they had run. Regent IIIs were evidently better, but so were later dry-liner Reliances (AH691/AH760)….. and I wouldn’t give a Medium (really light) weight decker house room anyway (whether AEC or Alexander Dennis)!
28/08/11 – 15:48
This may be an urban myth but I was always told that Yorkshire Woollen cut down the engines of their Regent Vs and that AEC ordered that their AEC triangle badges be removed. A certain person who is today a PCSO who worked in the paint shop at Dewsbury kept them in his locker.
29/08/11 – 07:52
Philip, it may be an urban myth but it’s a widely known one.
28/09/11 – 07:06
Re Aec badges on YWD Regents.
Quote from Buses Illustrated Dec1964
"The AEC Regent Vs are being "spoiled", we hear.
The chromium radiator surrounds are being painted red and the grilles black. The famous AEC triangle is being removed".
14/11/11 – 07:53
Sorry but can’t share your enthusiasm for Bradfords manual Regent V’s bought by the ex St Helens Manager (Wake) for Trolleybus replacement although I must admit they lookrd very attractive in Bradfords Blue and Buttermilk. AEC’s straight cut gears gave an almost 30′s sound.
The manual gears were not really suitable for stop start on Bradfords hills and with the help of ex trolleybus drivers clutch life was appalling until AEC fitted Mamorth Major (Very Stiff) clutches, To try and improve things the last two 224 and 225 were expensively converted to AV691 engines and Monocontrol gears but no more were done due to cost.
My mother used to refer to them as "those jerky buses" and often waited for one of my beloved AEC Regent III’s with very musical preselectors from Bank top shed.
The last batch 195-225 were better trimmed in "felt pen friendly" light blue and dispensed with the fierce exhaust brakes of the earlier ones..
28/11/11 – 10:35
Oh Dear ! People are very polarised about the merits or otherwise of AEC Mark Fives it seems, but sometimes I feel the point is completely missed.
It all depends on your point of view. As a bus driver, but also an enthusiast, I found that driving a good one was simply a most enjoyable experience, particularly in the sound effects department. Very sensuous even. Sorry, but I just did ! This despite all their indisputable shortcomings – unreliability, self-detaching injector pipes, weak and temperamental hydraulic clutches, general noise level, rattily accelerator pedals, bonnet lids that blew open in crosswinds, keen brakes and poor accessibility for maintenance due to their tin fronts….. and so on.
As a passenger or general observer, but also an enthusiast, I still believe that Hebble’s earlier Mark Fives – the rear entrance ones with the Mark Three type A218 9.6 engines were the most aurally spectacular buses I have ever encountered, with their loud, growly open exhausts and booming exhaust brakes which could be heard long before you ever saw them. They were also very lively performers. Some of the best, most exciting bus journeys I ever had were between Halifax and Bradford on these buses, being driven with vigour. This despite their harsh riding characteristics, thin uncomfortable seat cushions, and very basic, lightweight and ultimately rust-buckety Orion bodywork – the first two having the most unprepossessingly ugly and uncomfortable lowbridge version. Actually, these two were not as lightweight (at 7tons 5cwt) as the three highbridge ones (at 6tons 16cwts).
Non-enthusiast drivers, which accounted for the majority, generally detested them – certainly they did at Halifax. However, Mark Fives were in a minority there, outnumbered by PD2′s and PD3′s. Most Halifax drivers tended to adopt a ‘Leyland Style’ of driving, and were not inclined to adapt to the different requirements of the AEC’s. Ex-Hebble drivers, previously used to little else, appeared to be more sympathetic towards them. You had to drive an AEC like an AEC.
Non-enthusiast passengers riding on them probably just found them very noisy and a bit hard riding. Non-enthusiast passers by and people living nearby their routes probably found them unacceptably raucous.
Certainly from a purely non-emotional, operational, engineer’s or passenger’s point of view they were often far from ideal. The previous 9.6 litre Mark Three with preselector gearbox was certainly considerably more reliable, durable, refined and easier to drive – in my opinion one of the best city buses ever. I have driven several different preserved ones in the distant past – ex-Halifax, Huddersfield, Morecambe & Heysham, Liverpool and London Transport examples – and they were all great buses, although the Halifax one was a bit noisy and had Park Royal bodywork constructed from matchsticks. Its framework creaked alarmingly and seemed to move in several directions at once, and the experience was like driving a large, rotting preselector garden shed on wheels. I believe it’s a lot better nowadays.
From the late 50′s Halifax would almost certainly have been far better off with a fleet of Daimler CVG6LX’s with semi-automatic gearboxes – like neighbouring Huddersfield – especially if they could have had Roe bodies as well. Excellent, reliable, indestructible, powerful, worthy Gardner-engined chassis, yet from my experience as a enthusiastic driver (we had some ex-Leeds ones for a while), well……a bit lacking in character. Dull even, some have said. Similarly equipped Guy Arabs would have been similarly worthy, and would probably also have whistled too. Bristol FLF Lodekkas were also really sound, engineers’ buses, but we couldn’t have those.
Then what was a Regent V anyway ? It came in many forms. It could be medium or heavy duty. Tin-fronted or with traditional exposed Regent III front. It could have the earlier A218 9.6 unit from the Mark Three, and the similar but larger A222 for export. AV470, AV590 or AV690 wet liner engines, A few late ones had the far superior AV691 dry liner unit (surprisingly the excellent AV505 was never offered in place of the AV470). Some even had Gardner 6LW’s and mechanical preselector boxes, and even the 5LW was offered quietly. They could have synchromesh or Monocontrol semi-automatic gearboxes. They could be 27 or 30 feet long, 34 feet for export. Right or left-hand drive. The Mark Threes and Fives were a bit ‘mix n’match’ in the 50′s, and Alan Townsin (The Oracle) stated that the only crucial distinguishing feature that determined a Mark Five from a Mark Three was the use of four inch wide front springs, instead of three and a half inches. Some combinations were quite good, others not so.
There were undoubtedly ‘better’ buses, but the thing about being an bus enthusiast is that you can be as irrational and illogical as you like in your choice of favourites. You don’t have to be too concerned about reliability and all those things – just appreciate them, warts and all, just as you do with your family and friends. Great, isn’t it ?
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