Old Bus Photos

Bradford Corporation – Leyland Panther – NAK 512H – 512

NAK 512H

Bradford Corporation Transport
Leyland Panther PSUR1A/1
Marshall B45D

For 1969, Bradford Corporation ordered ten chassis of the rear horizontal engine variety, its first new single deckers since a couple of AEC Reliances in 1958. The ten new chassis were split between AEC’s Swift and Leyland’s Panther, but, since the chassis design of the two types was virtually identical apart from the engine manufacture and the radiator position – at the rear on the AEC and at the front on the Leyland – the exercise was probably intended to ascertain which power unit was best suited to the challenging Bradford terrain. All ten were equipped with Marshall B45D bodies. Seen above in April 1970 is the last of the batch, No. 512, NAK 512H which was delivered in December 1969. In the event, no further single deckers were to be bought by Bradford before the infliction upon all the West Yorkshire municipalities from 1st April 1974 of the all embracing WYPTE. In this new conglomeration, the five Bradford Panthers were the only examples of their type, and the PTE Director of Engineering, a certain Geoffrey Hilditch, soon sold them all to Chesterfield. A picture of one in service in that town may be seen here (a very long page, but about halfway down – search for Chesterfield in the browser :- www.mikesbuspages.com/municipalbuses.htm
In his book Steel Wheels and Rubber Tyres, GGH says that pictures of the Bradford Panthers in original livery are hard to come by – he should have asked me.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Roger Cox

11/09/17 – 06:38

Nice pic!
Stuart Emmet Another story on these 10 was they were bought to start OMO; however double decker OMO was approved legally soon after they were ordered, so they were redundant as far as that went. They spent their time inventing conversions to single decker routes and seemed to settle on the 61 as shown – about a 25-minute journey across town from Undercliffe to St. Enochs that went for around 5 mins over roads in the Canterbury Ave area that were not used by other routes.Effectively a peak hour route every 10 min from 0700 to 0900 and 1600 to 1800 with a few journeys between 1200 & 1400 hours that required 6 buses for the 10-minute headway. The rest of time they seemed to rest/in-filled as spares.

Stuart Emmet

12/09/17 – 06:46

From 1969, BCT participated in White Rose Express service X33, Bradford – Sheffield, which entered its area at Birkenshaw. The other joint operators reluctantly agreed, even though Bradford’s entitlement was no more than one journey per week! In practice, as explained to me by the late Stanley King, Bradford saved up their mileage until they were able to operate a bus for a whole week, replacing a Yorkshire Woollen duty.
BCT had few single deckers and I believe these Panthers and the contemporary Swifts were used. Does anyone recall seeing a photo of a Bradford bus on X33, as I’ve never seen one.

Geoff Kerr

12/09/17 – 06:47

Just about everyone was caught with the change of legislation which allowed DD OMO. Sheffield certainly was – initially with purchase of the Swifts and subsequently with the change of Bristol order from REs to VRs.

David Oldfield

13/09/17 – 06:46

In the lovely book Colours of West Yorkshire the author states that these were ordered because agreement could not be reached with the Unions to operate OMO double deckers. I.e. The legislation already permitted it but not the Unions until agreement was reached later on.

Sam Caunt

14/09/17 – 07:04

The Bradford manager at the time was not in favour of one man buses These and the Swifts were also used on the express X72 which ran between Bradford and Leeds at peak hours.

Chris Hough

15/09/17 – 06:45

I recall someone (who I believe was very knowledgeable) telling me that as late as 1981/2 that Bradford area buses of West Yorkshire PTE were around 80% crew operated.

Dave Towers

16/09/17 – 06:47

The change in legislation to permit double deck OPO was in 1966, and I doubt that an order for vehicles to be delivered in 1969 had been placed before that date – i.e. the fact that D/D OPO was possible would have been known.
I like to see a clear and readable destination display, but in this case I suspect that a slightly smaller window would have fitted the lines of the vehicle rather better!

Nigel Frampton

17/09/17 – 06:55

Another story was that the unions rejected the DD legislation but SD would be OK It was also said on delivery of these SD’s unions OKed the use of DD OMO How far this any of this is fact or fiction seems lost in time.

Stuart Emmet

18/09/17 – 07:19

I started working at Bradford City Transport in the Traffic Office in October 1973. The story of OMO at BCT is intriguing. I cannot comment on the position of General Manager Edward Deakin in relation to OMO, although I could find out as Bob Tidswell his PA is still heal and hearty. I can say that Traffic Superintendent John Hill was not very enthusiastic about OMO, and from all accounts the T&GWU branch was not very keen, either. Around 1971 or 1972 the position of Asst. Traffic Superintendent became vacant and Brian Eastwood, who was Traffic Superintendent at Maidstone Corporation, was appointed to the post. Maidstone had undertaken extensive conversion to OMO and BCT felt that Brian’s experience in this regard would be extremely useful. Many years later Brian told me that when he arrived at Forster Square – BCT Head Office – there was little enthusiasm for OMO. Earlier this year I had lunch with Brian and he said that many of the new ideas that he tried to bring to Bradford fell on stony ground. Maidstone had a very large circle OMO sign on the front of their Atlanteans and Brian arranged for one of the signs to be sent to Bradford for evaluation. John Hill rejected the idea. Bob Tidswell once told me that Edward Deakin had a policy of splitting chassis orders between manufacturers – and thus having small batches – on the basis that if one chassis type developed a serious fault then the impact on the operational fleet would be minimised. Some of the single-deckers were allocated to Ludlam Steet and were used on the 272 service to Leeds, the 61 and sometimes other routes operated from the depot, such as Eccleshill, Fagley and Haworth Road. They were used on the White Rose service and at weekends for private hire work at weddings etc. When the PTE was formed John Hill became Metro Bradford District Manager and the position of District Traffic Officer was given to Bert Henry from Leeds City Transport who was very keen to expand OMO across the Bradford route network.

Kevin Hey

19/09/17 – 06:01

Still trying to get "facts" and the best come across so far, is from the JS King book. The following is a timeline summary:
BCT ordered the Swifts and Panthers (503-512 ) to start OMO and had the unions OK 8 and 10/1969. The Swifts and Panthers arrived but went to work with conductors on 61, 83 and 27-29/32. Cannot find a reason why they were not used for OMO. These buses were also available for breakdown cover for the other operators on the joint with 7 other operators "White Rose" express to Sheffield; BCT having only one journey a week which they "banked" so they could then a bus operate all week.
Mr King notes the SD were already "white elephants", as by now DD OMO was acceptable, so seventy 33 foot DD were ordered, with union acceptance of OMO for these 2 door 33 foot vehicles.
The DD start to arrive (401-470) but unions said no as are too long and the drivers’ view of exit door was insufficient. So OMO introduction postponed once again.
SD work on the peak time only Leeds express (272) joint with Leeds CT who operated SD OMO, but BCT used conductors
31 Dec 1972
OMO finally starts using 30 foot DD (315 to 355) on routes 36-38 and 40-42 20 May 1973
OMO starts on joint working with Leeds on the 72 route
This appears is a strange story, that however, shows the management/union environment at the time.

Stuart Emmet

19/09/17 – 06:02

Re Kevin Heys comments. There was a regular evening trip on service 46 to Buttershaw.
OMP operation commenced in Bradford with the conversion of the 72/78 services between Bradford and Leeds which were jointly operated with Leeds City Transport. This started in late May 1973. I cannot recall them being used on White Rose services during my time in Bradford in 1973.

Stephen Bloomfield

22/09/17 – 07:15

I suspect that when BCT ordered dual doorway buses the ‘agreement’ with the T&GWU was merely one of outline or agreement in principle to discuss the matter. It would appear that a detailed agreement with signatories was not secured until 1972. The initial conversions at the end of 1972 used single door Fleetlines, but evidently the T&GWU was prepared to allow two-door buses to be used on services to Leeds when these were converted in May 1973. The feeling I detected at Bradford was that neither management nor the T&GWU were keen to pursue OMO. Management believed that OMO made the service worse for passengers, while the T&GWU was against a reduction in potential members and staff – members – losing overtime.

Kevin Hey

21/11/17 – 08:30

Just a reminder that the 5 Panthers transferred to Calderdale in early PTE days. There was a serious blind spot problem with the blank front corners and all were modified with small corner windows. Memory fails me but I wonder if a serious/fatal accident blamed on lack of visibility occurred. I recall that these weren’t bad buses, hadn’t done a lot of mileage with Bradford.The biggest problem was (the lack of) pit length and accessibility with 36′ long buses in the Dock Shop at Skircoat Road. They were also a bit limited on allocation because of road/junction/camber problems on many routes. Someone out there will remind me how long they ran in Halifax prior to sale to Chesterfield where they put in a good number of years service.

Ian Wild

22/11/17 – 07:22

The first of the Bradford Panthers to arrive in Halifax was 2511 in October 1974, followed by 2508/10/12 in November and 2509 in December – all still in BCT blue and cream livery. They were allocated solely to the 5/6 West End Circular route, which required four vehicles during the daytime just going endlessly round and round, so presumably the fifth one was usually either parked up or ‘day in’ for maintenance. I don’t think the trade union would allow them to be used on any other route – I certainly don’t remember seeing them anywhere else.
Unfortunately one of them was involved in a fatal accident when operating a 6 (clockwise) journey and turning right from Heath Road into Free School Lane – just a couple of hundred yards from Skircoat Garage. They had very thick front corner pillars which caused a terrible blind spot for the driver. The bus had begun to take the right turn and was not cutting the corner when a young chap on a moped approached from the right and appeared to stop at the junction with the intention of going straight ahead after the bus had turned. However he must have decided to chance it and accelerated across the front of the bus, but due to the blind spot the driver couldn’t see him and a terrible accident ensued in which the lad was killed. The bus driver was shown to have been blameless.
The five were immediately taken off the road and, as Ian says, small (very small) windows were let into the pillars. My records only show that they were withdrawn during 1975, but that they passed to Chesterfield Corporation in the September. They ran them quite successfully until 1985/86 after which they saw even further service with CityBus in Manchester.

John Stringer

24/11/17 – 07:23

That sounded a terrible, tragic accident indeed for all concerned John, and it still amazes me that in this day and age just how many modern cars have quite serious blindspots, especially to the rear. West Yorkshire had a 1964 Bristol RELH6G express coach (ERG1/1001: AWR 401B) refurbished by Willowbrook in 1977, which included a new peaked front dome, Duple-type windscreen and revised front dash panel, grille and headlamps. On return to West Yorkshire, and before re-entry into service, the Duple screen was removed and the original ECW ‘wrap around’ version reinstated. This was not connected with night-time reflections as is often stated, but due to a serious blind spot either side of the windscreen. The Duple screen had curved sides, which on a Duple (or Plaxton) body would not have been a problem, as the body pillars/sides were also curved and therefore matched. The ECW body had straight pillars/sides, but the curved Duple screen was matched up to the front pillars using an infill panel at either side, which flared out towards the top. The local ‘Man from the Ministry’ would not pass the vehicle as he felt the blind spots were a serious hazard, hence the change back to original spec. We’ll never know, but the thoroughness of that Ministry Inspector may well have prevented a serious accident at some point, and even saved a life, for which we should be very thankful.

Brendan Smith

29/12/17 – 07:47

The reference to the Panthers being used on the White Rose appeared in a recent book- though I couldn’t find the reference when I looked for it, inevitably. I moved to Sheffield in 1969 and used the X33 regularly but never saw or heard of Bradford actually working on the White Rose; more significantly no record of such a working ever appeared in local enthusiast publications of the time and I never heard fellow enthusiasts mention it.’Joint operation in South Yorkshire’, published by the Omnibus Society in 1974, is also silent on the issue, despite mentioning that, for instance, Ribble provided duplicates on Yorkshire Traction’s X19 (Manchester-Barnsley). It would be intersting if anyone can produce chapter and verse on Bradford’s involvement.

Phil Drake

29/12/17 – 09:48

There was mention somewhere to the effect that the Bradford share, based on the miles of the route in Bradford, was small, therefore Bradford saved up the miles which meant something strange like one bus every x weeks or similar. Will try and find the reference for you. Additionally, Brasford was able to provide breakdown cover for any buses having issues.

Stuart Emmett

30/12/17 – 08:46

Extracts from J S King (1995) Bradford Corporation Motorbuses pages 99 and 100. John King (RIP) is the acknowledged expert on all matters Bradford (trams, trolleys and buses).
Mexborough & Swinton had proposed a network of routes along the then new M1. A consortium of interested parties was formed with M&S, Sheffield JOC, Rotherham, YWD, YTC, WR and Hebble and a service from Sheffield to Bradford via Dewsbury was agreed.
On hearing of this Bradford applied and got consent but as the route in Bradford was less than 10% of the whole giving one journey a week, Bradford decided to accumulated mileage until there had enough for one bus for one week when they took over a YWD duty.
Sheffield, Barnsley and Mexborough were to now appear on all future Bradford buses, meanwhile, 505 to 512 were made available and were occasionally used.
A trial run by Bradford took place on the 14th October 1969 and service started four days later.

Stuart Emmett

08/01/18 – 07:21

Sorry about the delayed reply, but thanks to John Stringer for details of the fatal accident with one of the Panthers whilst in Halifax. It makes you wonder how they ever got through initial certification, I’m almost certain the blind spot would never have been accepted by the Yorkshire TA Certifying Officers. I recall a couple of Halifax Leopard/Weymann buses being ‘overhauled’ as an emergency measure by Willowbrook. They came back with new 6 year certificates (12/13 year old buses by this time) with far less work than we had to put in to obtain a grudging 5 years. This difference in standards in different Traffic Areas continued up to the day I retired!

Ian Wild


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Southern Vectis – Bristol LH – NDL 769G – 833

Southern Vectis - Bristol LH - NDL 769G - 833

Southern Vectis Omnibus Company
Bristol LHS6L
Marshall B35F

Seen here in the summer of 1969 when almost new, NDL 769G was one of four Bristol LHS6L buses delivered to Southern Vectis with 7ft 6ins wide Marshall B35F bodies of curiously old fashioned appearance. The flat glass windscreen with angled corner glasses was reproduced at the rear. To my eye the utilitarian result had something of the air of a welfare vehicle or a mobile library. Only nineteen examples of this design were constructed. Twelve similar bodies with 33 seats on LHS6L chassis were supplied to Western National in 1972. Gash of Newark took two, one in 1973 and the other in 1975, but these were 8ft wide. Harvey of Mousehole took a single narrow example in 1977. In all cases the chassis was the LH6L with the 6.54 litre Leyland 400 engine, or, from 1971, the more powerful 401, which was coupled with a Turner five speed synchromesh gearbox. The bus shown above was bought by United in 1977 and is currently in preservation, though the livery it now wears is, in my opinion, an offence to the eye – see what you think at this link.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Roger Cox

25/01/16 – 06:33

Interesting view, Roger, Where was the photo taken, please? I’m guessing Newport. The best that can be said of the "United" livery is that it is at least in what might be described as in patriotic colours although the style of application won’t be very high on most folks’ idea of ‘good taste’. Talking of "United" the captcha for this response is 58HN, a Darlington registration

Pete Davies

25/01/16 – 06:34

I agree entirely, Roger. The current livery is simly awful.

David Wragg

25/01/16 – 09:17

Yes, Pete, the location is Newport. The church in the background is Newport Minster. Please forgive the omission. This style of body has always puzzled me. Marshall constructed a large number of single deck bodies of (what one might call) basically BET appearance with curved glass windscreens, and I supposed that the reason for the flat screens lay in the narrow 7ft 6ins width of the vehicles. However, Gash took two with the same front and rear end design, and these were 8ft wide. The narrow Bristol BN and BS classes of London Country and London Transport respectively had curved front windscreens and flat glass at the rear, though these vehicles were delivered from 1973 onwards. Surely this curved screen was available in 1969. I doubt that the relative costs would have been a factor. The complicated rear screen on the Marshall would have negated any (debatable) cost saving when replacing the various flat glasses at the front. I imagine, also, that this Marshall feature was structurally weaker.

Roger Cox

25/01/16 – 10:50

Marshall also produced a "coach" version mainly for WNOC in particular that had curved glass in the windscreen.

Chris Hough

25/01/16 – 14:00

David W – I couldn’t agree more, Except that I would not use the word "livery" – rather a freelance graffiti exercise, and a bitter disappointment compared with even the NBC version of United’s livery.

Chris Youhill

26/01/16 – 06:52

I have seen a Leyland National with a ‘paint job’ similar to the United one, but I’ll not send you running for a darkened room by offering it for publication.
[Unless someone’s mother in law is threatening a visit, and the reader is suitably desperate!]

Pete Davies

26/01/16 – 06:53

The "current" livery was chosen by United as this bus was used on a "town" service in Newton Aycliffe, which was very successful It was discontinued after a few years…
No doubt someone will come up with more information.
Just for the record I drove for United out of Darlington for 10 years and would possibly had stayed a bit longer but had to leave to care for my wife after she suffered a life changing event….some good memories and some not so good

John Wake

26/01/16 – 06:54


Photo; VOD 88K Bristol LHS/Marshall of Devon General O&TC.
It is so good to see the oddities and rarities of vehicle styles from the past, as a contrast to the Southern Vectis LHS/Marshall, I offer this Devon General preserved in the pre-National Bus Company red version of the British Transport Commission livery. This view was taken at Yeovil Junction railway station on the border of Somerset and Dorset during July 2010. These narrow Marshall bodied vehicles were ideal for rural routes but were never taken in great numbers by the main transport groups of the time.

Ron Mesure

27/01/16 – 06:20

Devon General only became a Transport Holding Company subsidiary in 1967 on the occasion of British Electric Traction selling its bus interests to the Ministry of Transport. By the time this bus was delivered the company was a subsidiary of the National Bus Company. Prior to late 1972 the NBC had operated without corporate liveries.

Stephen Allcroft

27/01/16 – 06:22

I think we can be reasonably sure that the body order for these LHSs went to Marshall because of the narrow width requirement. ECW were building bodies for LHS around the same time (for Lincolnshire and Luton Corporation), but these were 7′ 10" wide, as were the contemporary bodies on the longer LH chassis at that time.
I am not sure if the narrow version of the BET windscreen was available at that time, but I believe the principal problem was the height, rather than the width. The basic structure of the body looks to be similar to the Marshall Cambrette bodies built on Bedford VAS chassis for Coventry and East Kent a few years earlier. The radiator of the Bristol LH range was set relatively high, so that Marshall would not have had very much scope to extend the aperture for the windscreen downwards, while an enlargement upwards would have intruded into the destination display area. The only other option would have been to use the shallower rear screens of the BET curved variety, but I am reasonably sure they were even shallower, and the aesthetics of the vehicle would have suffered, not to mention the driver’s field of vision! The multi-pane version adopted was already being used for export vehicles, so I suspect the adaptation for these LHSs was a simple and effective solution.
The 10 Bristol LH coaches that Marshall bodied for WN (with mixed BDV-L and NTT-M registrations) had a different body structure with a shallow roof and deeper side windows, which meant that the BET screens could be accommodated. I would hazard a guess that the structure of these was derived from those that Marshall built for the MoD, usually on Bedford SB chassis, though I believe that some later vehicles were built on underfloor-engined chassis.

Nigel Frampton

06/09/17 – 06:52

United acquired both 832/3 NDL768/769G from SVOC and numbered them 1451/2 for demand variable services from Ripon depot in 1977 where they were sparingly used. They were then sent to Darlington depot where they were to be used for a new service serving Newton Aycliffe.
1451 was replaced by a newer ex Trent LHS/ECW also in the distinctive Newtonian colours (as befits a new town) but 1452 survived. NDL769G eventually passed into preservation replaced by, ironically, another ex SV LHS in 838 HDL415N.
The ECW LHS’s continued on the Newtonian until deregulation when Merc minis brought a larger network of services though still with Newtonian fleetnames. Three LHS’s (now joined by HDL414N) were sent to Ripon (again coming full circle) where the livery was amended to Ripon City Bus. The LHS’s were then swapped with Western National though the livery was then applied to some standard LH’s (1705/6) at Ripon depot.
There was ANOTHER similar patriotic livery applied to three vehicles (one was the National) but thankfully not perpetuated!



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Birmingham City – A E C Swift – KOX 663F – 3663

Birmingham City - A E C Swift - KOX 663F - 3663

Birmingham City Transport
A E C Swift 505 MP2R
Metro-Cammell B37D+30

KOX 663F, is an A E C Swift 505 MP2R built in 1967 with Metro-Cammell B37D+30 standing bodywork. New to Birmingham and then West Midlands as 3663 it was acquired by Mid Warwickshire Motors before being preserved and has just been fully restored in West Midland livery.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Ken Jones

13/04/14 – 18:30

Another candidate for the Ugly Bus page! Top-heavy treatment of the front end…. Was this for extra headroom? ….and the side route box and blank panel/window by the exit. Does it really have no doors?


14/04/14 – 07:43

Both sets of doors are open.

Roger Burdett

14/04/14 – 07:43

Slightly less ugly than the same bodybuilder’s effort on the Liverpool Panthers.

Phil Blinkhorn

14/04/14 – 08:44

Doors… I can see a handrail to each right and a well-light at the bottom- but above that I look straight through the bus. Is there room on the left, obstructing the driver’s view?… Now it can be told?


14/04/14 – 08:44

Two pictures for your consideration

KOX 663F_2

one showing that the vehicle does have doors

KOX 663F_3

and one internal shot showing the standing area.

Ken Jones

14/04/14 – 18:19

Thanks Ken- looks like one flap on each side then? Ceiling marvellous shade of Nicotine, reminiscent of top decks. Is that your silver handled cane?


14/04/14 – 18:19

Pity it’s ugly – certainly an unbalanced design – because it’s a superb restoration from the photographic evidence. The Liverpool Panthers might beat them in the ugly stakes but the Southport Panthers, with deeper screens, were quite handsome for their time.

David Oldfield

15/04/14 – 06:57

Not my cane and not my bus before anyone asks – they haven’t made a Swift in N gauge yet!

Ken Jones

15/04/14 – 06:57

It looks to me as if Met Cam have used the lower front end of a double deck Fleetline as supplied to Birmingham – probably at the customers request in the interests of standardisation

Ian Wild

15/04/14 – 06:57

I must be fair and agree with David: uglybus maybe, but it looks a lovely job. I have however been staring at Panthers & Swifts on this site and wonder why this bus has so much infilling between screen and peak- look at the Leeds Roes- just enough. Never mind.


15/04/14 – 06:58

Looking at a photo of a Southport MCW-bodied Panther here http://tinyurl.com/m4xqajb, it looks like the same windscreen to me (although in the curved Manchester version rather than the Birmingham vee-form). But I can see three subtle differences which make it fit better. The blank space above the screen is split up by the way it is mounted, the front half of the bus has deeper windows and the remaining height difference is accommodated by the livery application. It just shows what a little thought can do.

Peter Williamson

15/04/14 – 10:49

…..and longer (panoramic?) side windows, Peter. Always make a better impression than multiple short windows. [Only the Y type "got away" with it, but the panoramic side window – normally coaches – version was much better.]

David Oldfield

15/04/14 – 10:51

These buses were built to the operator’s specification using many standard parts in the interest of economy and ease of maintenance. The flat screens for example, like much of the front end treatment, are shared with the BCT double-deck fleet and were used because they were much cheaper to replace than curved ones. The shell is that used to body mainly Panthers, but also some Panther Cubs and some Swifts and is a close copy of the ubiquitous BET design.
It is a great credit to the owners that they have restored this bus, which is now, and arguably always was, an interesting rarity. If we were to judge all historic artefacts on their aesthetic appearance alone, and only retain what looks nice, bearing in mind of course that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, an immediate end would be put to those interminable antiques programmes on the TV!
Let’s hope that the owners don’t read the comments left here – If I were one of them, I would feel insulted.

KOX 663_4

The bus does look much better in more favourable surroundings, as I’m sure that you gentlemen will agree.

Philip Lamb

15/04/14 – 18:11

I’m not sure why anyone should feel insulted. It is a most attractive restoration of a rather unpretty bus, but a lack of prettiness is no reason not to restore- or I would be rejected by the NHS! As it is, it tells a fascinating tale of fleet management, which has unfolded here- and how this and other operators resolved such questions. Consider the rather odd looking PS1 deckers-utility over looks? Or single deck Fleetlines? Bridgemasters, Wulfrunians were all unpretty but of their time. Was there a balance between appearance and economy through standardisation? Good material for discussion- so we can all be wannabee General Managers!


16/04/14 – 06:49

Can’t understand why anyone would feel insulted over the ugly bus comments. Preservation of anything is normally for reasons of historic value. Availability, familiarity, rarity are other factors. Looks rarely come into it and shouldn’t have any bearing with a true preservationist

Phil Blinkhorn

16/04/14 – 06:50

Thank you Joe for your balanced comment. There’s no reason for anyone to be insulted by any of the comments on this link – mine or anyone else’s.
There is, of course, a reason for the body being on both Swift and Panther. It’s the same bus. They shared a frame and only the engines and gearboxes were different. It was the first entirely new bus (in 1964) from the Leyland Motor Corporation, after the merger of Leyland and ACV in 1962.

David Oldfield

16/04/14 – 11:09

I consider this bus to be of an interesting – "different" – but perfectly acceptable appearance, especially compared to some of today’s double deckers from certain factories, vehicles which are simply a mass of incongruous bits and pieces disguised to a degree by ghastly "liveries." The Birmingham Swift’s livery is dignified and unsullied in the extreme, and the ceiling material in my view is delightfully restful and attractive and a welcome change from the almost universal garish matt white of today – I’m sure this material was chosen by BCT rather than having anything to do with nicotine Joe.

Chris Youhill

16/04/14 – 18:24

Perhaps David O you should have started your thread with ‘I think it is ugly’ rather than ‘pity its ugly’ that way it is defined as your personal opinion rather than Carte Blanche opinion on the bus as clearly opinion on this bus is divided and just maybe less people may feel a little offended – just my thoughts!
Clearly a lot of time, money and hard work has gone into an excellent restoration of a relatively rare vehicle. I rather like this bus and I would also agree with Ian Wild with regards to the front end treatment.

Richard McAllister

16/04/14 – 18:25

I think some of the difference between this Swift and the Southport Panther are due to the fact that the Panther has a front mounted radiator and therefore needs the attractive grill fitted by Metro Cammell and also has deeper destination apertures which decreases the size of the blank panel above the screen, the deeper windows in the front part of the body also lessen the large side panels aided by the band of colour below the window line which may not look as good on the O/S. To me the use of curved screens on the Panther make little difference to the overall appearance, but the Swift’s restoration is a credit to a huge amount of time and effort by many people WELL DONE.

Diesel Dave

16/04/14 – 19:02

The ceiling colour is similar to that employed by LT on its Routemasters and is there to combat nicotine. This only worked in part. I used to sell a PVC/aluminium product called Tedlar which was supposed to defeat nicotine by being wipe clean but the cost of the product and the cost of cleaning was too much for the 1960s bodybuilders and operators.

Phil Blinkhorn

17/04/14 – 06:29

David’s comment about the windows being shorter than on the Southport Panther has caused me to look at this a little more closely, and I have come to the conclusion that the Swift’s body was designed very much from the inside out. The door apertures are much narrower than on the Panther, and the exit door is mounted further forward. Presumably this was to give the internal layout that the operator desired, but the result is that it would have been impossible to fit longer windows in the front half, and therefore at all (since this was well before the advent of the Borismaster ethos where every bay can be a different size!).

Peter Williamson

26/04/14 – 18:15

Thanks for the interest and comments. My brother David and I funded and Trailways of Bloxwich, West Midlands, transformed the Swift. To me it’s a beauty !
No offence taken ! The walking stick belongs to Trailways owner Ron Faherty !

Robert Carson

27/04/14 – 08:13

Well, Robert, you can both be proud of the finished product and of Trailways for doing such a fine job. I did wonder if the walking stick was something West Midlands Travel provided on all their buses to help all disabled passengers!

Chris Hebbron

28/04/14 – 09:49

KOX 663_4

Here is KOX 663F when owned by the troubled Mid Warwickshire Motors. It is seen in Mereden on an enthusiasts’ tour.

Tony Martin

24/12/15 – 12:11

The usual stamping ground for single-decker BCT buses like this was the 27 route because it required so many low railway bridges to be negotiated – notably in Northfield and outside the Cadbury factory. The 27 was my daily transport to and from school and during the 1960s and early 70s BCT would use the route to trial all kinds of manufacturers test offerings, asking passengers for their opinion. There were Ford R192s (BCT later bought a couple) and even on one occasion a Volvo.

Ray Trendy

KOX 663F_2 Vehicle reminder shot for this posting

01/01/16 – 16:51

I think the "issues" with the frontal styling arose because the Swift chassis was (at the rear) relatively high, but this one has a low driving position. Hence the correspondingly low positioning of the windscreen, relative to the overall height of the vehicle, which needs to allow for the height of the floor in the rear section.
As David O says above, the Swift and Panther used the same chassis frame, but Swifts had radiators in the side adjacent to the engine, and I believe this caused them to have higher floors at the rear. Other bodybuilders had this problem with Swifts, for example, Southampton’s East Lancs bodied batch numbered 7-10 also had an "extra" section between the windscreen and destination box.

Nigel Frampton


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Old Bus Photos from Saturday 25th April 2009 to Tuesday 23rd October 2018