Old Bus Photos

Aldershot & District – Dennis Lancet III – GAA 611 – 975

GAA 611

Aldershot & District Traction Co.
1948
Dennis Lancet III J3
Strachan C32R

During the latter stages of WW2, all commercial vehicle manufacturers had new models awaiting production to take advantage of an anticipated post war boom in passenger and haulage markets. Dennis revealed EOR 743, its prototype of the Mark III Lancet, in the early months of 1945. A major improvement was the entirely new 7.58 litre O6 diesel housed in a longer bonnet in place of the 6.5 litre O4 in the pre war Lancet. From 1948 to 1951 Aldershot & District took a further 114 examples of the Lancet III with saloon bodywork, and these were complemented in 1948 by fifteen Dennis Lancet J3 coaches with Strachans C32R bodies, GAA 609-623, Nos. 973-987, which replaced the externally very similar O4 powered Lancet II/Strachans C32R vehicles of 1937-38. The post war Lancet was an exceptionally fine machine, and the 24 valve, wet liner, O6 engine was probably the smoothest running commercial diesel engine of the time. Coupled with the Dennis ‘O’ type five speed gearbox, it yielded excellent reliability, a high standard of refinement and good performance on the road. Notwithstanding the apparent complexity of the engine, the Lancet III became popular with and respected by many independent operators. In the 1961 photograph, GAA 611, No, 975, delivered in June 1948, is crossing Bridge Street, Guildford (now one way in the opposite direction) and about to turn right into the railway station. This coach was withdrawn in that same year. In 1953, having sampled a number of underfloor engined demonstrators, Aldershot & District stayed with the faithful front engined Lancet III and ordered fifteen 30ft by 8ft examples of the J10C with Strachans full fronted FC38R bodies. Finally, in 1954 the company bowed to the inevitable and turned to the AEC Reliance.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Roger Cox


13/06/22 – 06:34

Strachans produced a very distinctive and rather nice coach body after WW2 and this appears to be one of them but it looks so different with a full canopy at the front. It was far more familiar in half canopy form and I imagine it’s purpose as such was to provide better forward visibility for passengers on excursions and tours etc.
Full canopy coaches seem to have been popular with South of England operators, East Kent, Aldershot & District, Southdown, no doubt because of their many London services, they wanted something which looked rather more ‘business like’ and also capable of providing a clear and comprehensive destination display.
Full canopies were also popular with the Scottish companies on coaches but perhaps for different reasons in that they were also used extensively on stage carriage services.
I like this A&D Dennis, it’s a fine looking coach but I do think the side ‘flash’ is a little over done though!

Chris Barker


 

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Aldershot & District – Dennis Lancet III – HOU 905/909 – 179/183

Aldershot & District - Dennis Lancet III - HOU 905/909 - 179/183

Aldershot & District - Dennis Lancet III - HOU 905/909 - 179/183

Aldershot & District - Dennis Lancet III - HOU 905/909 - 179/183

Aldershot & District Traction Co.
1950
Dennis Lancet III J10
Strachans B38R

A rather sad set of pictures taken in 1967. Parked at the rear of the Aldershot & District premises in Halimote Road, Aldershot is a line up of Dennis Lancet III buses with Strachans B38R bodywork, headed by HOU 905/909, Nos 179/183, all awaiting disposal after a valued service life of seventeen years. The interior shot was taken within No. 183. There were twelve in this final batch of Lancets, HOU 899/901-911, Nos. 173/175-185, all delivered between October 1950 and January 1951, which were of the 8ft by 30ft J10 model (fleet No. 174 was the solitary A&D Dennis Dominant). They were powered by the advanced 7.58 litre six cylinder 100 bhp Dennis O6 diesel with four valves per cylinder which drove through the ‘O’ Type gearbox, a four speed sliding mesh unit with a preselective fifth gear designed on Maybach principles. The gear lever operated the ‘wrong way’ – upwards from right to left – which allowed for the throw of the gear lever required to engage fifth. Three of the batch were withdrawn in 1965 with the final nine going in 1967, by which time the AEC Reliance had already become firmly established as the A&D standard saloon chassis for thirteen years. Though I was working at Aldershot at that time, I regretfully didn’t get the opportunity to drive one of these, which seemed to see out their final days at Woking depot. The bus on the right of the Lancets is Loline I No. 353, SOU 461 of 1958. On the left is relaxed utility metal framed Weymann bodied Guy Arab II EOR 374 of 1945, originally No 884 of L22/26R configuration, withdrawn from service in 1958 and converted into a tree lopper. HOU 909 was sold for scrap, but the subsequent fate of HOU 905 is not known. Lancet HOU 904, No. 178, has been preserved.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Roger Cox


08/01/21 – 07:43

There is a full description of the Dennis ‘O’ type gearbox at – https://dennissociety.org.uk/nl/ogearbox.html

Peter Williamson


 

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Aldershot & District – Dennis Lancet – LAA 228 – 193

LAA 228

Aldershot & District Traction Co
1953
Dennis Lancet III J10C
Strachan FC38R

In 1948, Aldershot & District took delivery of fifteen Dennis Lancet J3 coaches with Strachans C32R bodies. These replaced the externally very similar Lancet II/Strachans C32R vehicles of 1937-38, the main difference being the longer bonnet of the Lancet III which housed the 7.58 litre O6 in place of the 6.5 litre O4 in the pre war model. These post war machines were very fine coaches giving a high standard of refinement. The 24 valve, wet liner, O6 engine was probably the smoothest running diesel engine of all time, and, coupled with the Dennis ‘O’ type five speed gearbox, it was capable of excellent performance on the road. However, by the early 1950s, the traditional half cab, heavy duty, front engined coach was regarded as passé in major fleets, having been supplanted by the fashionably new underfloor engined machine. Even small independents had begun taking the superficially more modern Bedford SB. In 1950, Aldershot & District bought one of the only two Dennis Dominants ever completed (a third was constructed in chassis form only and subsequently dismantled), but had been obliged to look elsewhere for an underfloor engined chassis when Dennis decided not to produce that model in quantity. In 1953, wishing to upgrade its image, but still undecided about the underfloor configuration, Aldershot & District tried out a number of underfloor engined machines from a variety of manufacturers – Guy (Arab LUF), Atkinson (PM 744 & 745), Leyland (Tiger Cub) and Dennis (Lancet UF). Surprisingly, in view of later developments, AEC was not represented in these trials. The story of the Aldershot and District demonstrators may be found at this link.
Instead the company sought to update the coach fleet with 15 full fronted examples of the 30 feet long and 8 feet wide J10C Lancet, with Strachan FC38R bodywork, Nos.188-202, LAA 223-237. These were attractive coaches of traditional appearance, though the effect was spoiled slightly by the cheap looking wire mesh grille, the apparent frailty of which seemed to to be endorsed by the dents that it soon acquired in service. Like all Lancets, these coaches were excellent, smooth running, reliable machines, though the drivers’ cabs reputedly became unpleasantly hot, particularly so in the summer months. Aware that these coaches presented an outdated image in a world increasingly dominated by modern, underfloor engined vehicles, Aldershot & District succumbed in 1954 to the lure of the AEC Reliance, purchasing twenty-five examples of the MU3RV model with the 6.75 litre AH410 engine. Angular Strachans Everest C41C bodies were fitted with a high floor level and corresponding waistline. The arrival of the Reliances resulted in the relegation of the full fronted Lancets from regular express work to other duties, and they were all withdrawn in 1963 after a relatively short life of ten years. In the photograph, taken at Victoria in 1960, No.193, LAA 228, its windscreen significantly open wide, is laying over in the company of one of the Strachans bodied Reliances. Behind is LCD 857, one of Southdown’s Beadle rebuilds with FC35C bodywork, 30ft long and 8ft wide on 7ft 6ins chassis sections. This coach was constructed using the units of pre war Leyland Tiger TS8 EUF 96, and retained the 8.6 litre oil engine. Like the full fronted Aldershot & District Lancets, this vehicle (and its fellows) was sold in 1963.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Roger Cox


04/11/19 – 06:15

How surprising in 1953 for such buses/coaches to be delivered to a "substantial" company? Times had already moved on e.g. Ribble with its Leyland/Leyland coaches in 1951 and Tilling with the LS/ECW "beauties" in 1952. A nice story Roger, thank you.

Stuart Emmett


05/11/19 – 06:12

SOU 446

This picture, taken in 1961 in The Grove alongside Aldershot Bus Station – now long gone, the current bus station is a pitiful apology of a facility – shows the Winchester outstation based 1958 Dennis Loline I 338, SOU 446, with East Lancashire H37/31RD body, passing a pair of the fine 1948 Lancet III coaches with Strachans C32R bodies; these were displaced by the 1953 full fronted machines from express duties to private hire and excursion work. 984 GAA 620 and its fellow fourteen coaches were all withdrawn in the year of the photograph, 1961; the Loline survived in A&D service for a further ten years.

Roger Cox


08/11/19 – 10:27

Full-fronted Lancet J10C has thankfully been in preservation for some years. There remains work to be done before we see its welcome appearance at rallies. Thanks, Roger, for the mid-’50s demonstrators link: before reading Eric Nixon’s piece I had no idea how many types had been assessed. The Atkinson is my biggest surprise! But I still can’t help wishing that, like East Kent, they had gone for underfloor Lancets.

Ian Thompson


11/11/19 – 07:09

I think the half cab Lancet III in Roger’s second photo looks much better than this last fling from 1953. Obviously an additional window bay has been inserted to achieve the extra length but it causes the body to droop excessively towards the rear giving a strangely unbalanced look. The side flash doesn’t help either!

Chris Barker


 

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Old Bus Photos from Saturday 25th April 2009 to Friday 1st July 2022