Old Bus Photos

East Kent – Dennis Lancet – HJG 6

East Kent - Dennis Lancet - HJG 6

East Kent Road Car Co. Ltd.
1954 – 1957
Dennis Lancet UF – Guy Arab IV
Duple C41C – Park Royal H33/28RD

East Kent’s first foray into underfloor engined vehicles occurred in 1951 when six Leyland Royal Tigers with ornate but rather uncertainly styled Park Royal coach bodies arrived in 1951. In 1953 came two more Royal Tigers, this time with well proportioned Duple C32C Ambassador bodies. Thirty more similar Duple coach bodies, the first six being C32C, the rest C41C, arrived in the following year, but this time mounted on Dennis Lancet UF LU2 chassis, East Kent having been an enthusiastic customer for the front engined Lancet in pre and early post war years. These coaches were registered HJG3 to 32 – East Kent did not use fleet numbers, but duplication of the number element of the registrations was always avoided. This Lancet UF order was the largest Dennis ever received, and the total production figure for the model was a mere 71. Factors influencing this outcome were the low driving position, the high pressure hydraulic braking system and the idiosyncratic Dennis ‘O’ type gearbox, a four speed crash unit with a preselective overdrive fifth. That gearbox had been a feature of the vertical engined Lancet and East Kent drivers were fully familiar with it, but, in the UF model, its remote location together with the engine halfway long the chassis made clean changes by ear difficult to achieve. Nevertheless, these Lancet UF coaches were very refined, fast and reliable, achieving a service life of up to 17 years.
East Kent’s pre war standard double decker was the Leyland Titan TD4 and then the TD5. During the war East Kent was effectively in the front line, and the fleet suffered extensive damage through enemy action in the air and from artillery firing across the Channel from the French coast. Utility Guy Arabs were allocated to East Kent to meet vehicle losses and the rugged dependability of the marque so impressed the company that the Arab became the standard post war double deck chassis up to 1957. The BET preferred supplier system then oversaw the transfer of subsequent orders to the AEC Regent V, though three Bridgemasters were also bought, all with Park Royal bodywork. Thenceforward the melodious murmur of Gardner engine and Guy gearbox was supplemented by the atonal scream of the AEC transmission. MFN 896 was an example of the last batch of Guys, one of 20 Arab IVs of 1957 with Park Royal H33/28RD bodywork of outstandingly classic proportions. The first AEC Regent Vs that followed in 1959 were the PFN registered ‘Puffins’ which wore a full fronted version of the traditional Park Royal design, but thereafter the Regent body deliveries witnessed a decline from the sublime to the ridiculous by carrying the hideous Bridgemaster derived highbridge design that so offended Southampton Corporation that it quickly transferred its long standing patronage from Park Royal to East Lancashire. The ugliness of the design was accentuated later when these Regents were turned out in NBC poppy red.
The picture was taken in Canterbury in 1967 when East Kent was still a BET company, and shows 1954 Lancet UF HJG 6, by then reseated to C41C, alongside 1957 Arab IV MFN 896, with another Arab of the same type to its right. These Arabs originally presented a full destination blind display, but by 1967 the aperture had been reduced to a single line. On the right hand edge of the photo are two of the ugly duckling Park Royal Regent Vs of 1961 onwards that eventually totalled 121 in the fleet.

More details of the Dennis Lancet UF and the earlier Dominant may be found here:- https://www.dennissociety.org.uk/nl/dandl.html.

A detailed article covering EKRCC operations, principally in the Dover area, is here:- https://doverhistorian.com/2016/12/16/east-kent-road-car

Photograph and Copy contributed by Roger Cox


21/01/21 – 06:24

I’m so pleased to see someone saying what I’ve long thought about the the later Regent Vs. I was a schoolboy in Folkestone in the early ‘60s, and whereas the MFN Guys were my favourites and I quite liked the PFN Regents, I thought the later Regents were freaky and designed by somebody who would probably have done well in some other occupation. On the other hand I was pleased to see the back of the lowbridge PD1As; travelling upstairs on one of those could be a depressing experience.

Don


22/01/21 – 07:38

If it wasn’t for the Duple single decker I was all ready to say "Edinburgh Corporation". What a similarity of livery colours, livery application, double decker bodywork, etc.

Bill


01/02/21 – 06:34

Just to say that this photo is taken at ‘The Garth’ in St Stephens Rd Canterbury.

Clive Bowley


 

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E J Baker – Bedford WLB – CMG 30

E J Baker - Bedford WLB - CMG 30

E J Baker
1935
Bedford WLB
Duple C20R

This Bedford WLB was bought new in May 1935 by T. E. Garner of Ealing London W5. It was taken by the Ministry of Supply during WW2 and seemingly given a military registration. When the MoS disposed of it in February 1943 it was re-registered JTA 608 and sold to E. Saunders of Winkleigh, Devon. The subsequent history is a little obscure, but the vehicle came into the ownership of preservationists Messrs Burt and Mitchell by 1964 before passing to E. J. Baker of Bordon, Hants, in April 1966. Baker apparently sold it on to Taylor of Tintinhull, Somerset, in October 1966, who restored the original registration by May 1967. However, the picture above, taken on an HCVC Brighton Rally, shows the vehicle still in Baker’s livery with its CMG 30 registration. Was the vehicle sold by Baker after re-registration, or did Taylor not repaint it? It is thought that this coach then languished in a barn for about 25 years before Colin Rowland of Rambler Coaches, St Leonards, East Sussex purchased it in November 2008 and restored/repainted it in green livery. I am indebted to the expert contributions of John Wakefield on the internet for much of these history details, and I will be pleased if John wishes to rectify any errors in my text.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Roger Cox


16/11/20 – 06:06

I photographed this gem in the Weymouth rally on 1 July 1979, when it carried both the CMG mark and red/cream livery.

Pete Davies


19/11/20 – 06:41

A list of Bedford production during the 1930s may be found here:- www.psvcircle.org.uk

Roger Cox


25/11/20 – 07:56

Is the CMG a recognized. War dept/MoS or w.h.y registration? Looks civvy to me.

Victor Brumby


26/11/20 – 06:23

Now in preservation with Colin Rowland (ex Rambler Coaches) Hastings.

John Wakefield


28/11/20 – 07:02

CMG 30 was its original civil registration. It would have have been allocated a military registration. When disposed of by the military presumably its original documentation was missing so it was given a new registration by its new owner. At some stage a subsequent owner must have traced its original identity and had the registration changed back to the one originally carried.

David Hick


 

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Aldershot & District – AEC Reliance – VCG 596H -596

VCG 596H

Aldershot & District Traction Co
1970
AEC Reliance 6U3ZR
Duple C49F

Having vacillated for some time before settling upon an underfloor engined saloon chassis, even buying some full fronted Dennis Lancet III coaches in 1953, Aldershot & District finally chose the AEC Reliance as its standard single decker, and stayed with this model for its coach requirements right up to its subjugation to Thames Valley (mis)management from January 1972 under the new guise of Alder Valley. Seen here in The Grove alongside Aldershot Bus Station is No.596, VCG 596H, the first of four 6U3ZR Reliances supplied in 1970 with Duple C49F coachwork sporting the (to my eye) hideous Detroit “inspired” front grille that spoilt many of the later Duple designs. Aldershot & District bought two more Reliances of the 6U3ZR specification in 1971, but these had the aesthetically more pleasing Plaxton C49F coachwork. VCG 596 passed to Alder Valley from 1 January 1972 as No. 49.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Roger Cox


22/12/18 – 06:37

I have to say that I like this coach! Functional, neat without meaningless frippery: where is the Detroit? Burlingham, Whitson, Yeates, other Duple perhaps…this is more Turin!

Joe


22/12/18 – 12:11

Joe – the "Detroit"-inspired part is the full-width chromed grille, which does look rather "overpowering" to my eyes. The chromed strip that runs the length of the body and at across the front at headlight level is also an excessive amount of polished metal.
In a monochrome photo, and wearing a livery with various colours, it doesn’t look so bad, but with a different "livery", and in colour, the effect is pretty dire:- https://thetransportlibrary.co.uk/index.php
I see from other photos that Southdown had the sense to specify their RUF-H batch of Leopards with the same body without the chromed strip on the sides, but they were stuck with the grille.
The polished metal soon went out of fashion, but the advent of the Dominant with curved side windows made the Commander look very old-fashioned in just a couple of years.

Nigel Frampton


26/01/19 – 06:48

The 36ft long AEC Reliance with the AH691 engine & the later AH760 power unit was a real drivers coach & the best premium weight coach on the market until the Volvo B58 surpassed it. With a Reliance the only thing to watch is they tended to run a bit hot on sustained motorway journeys. My boss instructed his drivers to keep an eye on the temperature gauge & if it starts to climb, drop a gear & keep it down to 55 to 60 MPH while it drops. Good advice, never had overheating on later Reliances.
Leyland Leopard, very good, but I think the chassis was more suited to a service bus body rather than a premium coach. As a coach, the gear ratios were all wrong on a semi auto Leopard, but in terms of reliability & strength of the chassis they were unsurpassed.

Andrew Spriggs


26/01/19 – 09:59

Not sure about the overheating: if you had a Sunbeam Imp with the usual gasket problem, going faster improved the air cooling effect!

Joe


06/03/19 – 07:17

I think the overheating problems associated with the Reliance were mainly confined to the wet lined AH470 engine, later replaced by the more successful, dry lined AH505.
The least said about the Hillman Imp, especially the very early examples, probably the better.

John B


26/09/19 – 05:53

I have always seen what you refer to as the Detroit-style grille (I have to agree with Joe that it is more Turin than Detroit) as a clean and elegant successor to the grimace-like grille applied to later Bella-series Duple bodies, itself a massively disappointing successor to the original Bella grille which to my mind was a natural update to the earlier butterfly design.

John Kemplen


 

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Old Bus Photos from Saturday 25th April 2009 to Thursday 15th April 2021