Old Bus Photos

Scarlet Coaches – Leyland Comet – MYA 590

Scarlet Coaches - Leyland Comet - MYA 590

Scarlet Coaches (Minehead)
Leyland Comet CPP1
Harrington C29F

Here we have another wonderful example of how a coat of paint can make such a difference to the way almost anything can appear. MYA 590 is a Leyland Comet CPP1 with Harrington C29F body. In the first view, it is in the livery of Scarlet Coaches of Minehead, and it is in the Southsea rally on 17 June 1984.

Scarlet Coaches - Leyland Comet - MYA 590

In this second view, it has been repainted blue and cream to star alongside Joan Hickson in the ‘Miss Marple’ film, Nemesis. This view was captured at Netley on 12 July 1987.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Pete Davies

09/03/17 – 07:02

I seem to remember that, during the 1950s, the livery change between the top colour and the lower was achieved by a ‘blend’ of the two colours down the rear corner panels.
This was fashionable at the time, although must have been incredibly difficult to achieve. Virtually impossible to achieve with brush painting, so presumably the gradual change from the light colour to the dark might have been a way of showing off the ‘new spray painting’ technique.
It’s not a feature I have seen on any currently preserved coaches, but this picture of the unnatural hard line between the two colours has sparked the memory of this old style.
Anybody else remember it?


10/03/17 – 17:39

Can anyone suggest why, given Leyland’s good name, the Comet was not more popular? Did the Tiger Cub sweep it away?

Ian Thompson

11/03/17 – 07:23

Pure guesswork on my part Ian. The Comet was a very successful commercial vehicle chassis, with production continuing through the forward control LAD and ergomatic cabs in both rigid and artic unit form. However, it gave coach bodybuilders less design scope, and lower seating capacity than the under floor chassis of a Royal Tiger or Tiger Cub

Ronnie Hoye

12/03/17 – 07:45

Thanks, folks!

Pete Davies

12/03/17 – 07:46

The Comet wasn’t in the same market as the underfloor-engined chassis. As a lightweight with a seating capacity probably limited to 32, it was competing with the Bedford OB and Albion Victor. It’s likely to have been more expensive than both, and didn’t really offer anything extra.

Peter Williamson

13/03/17 – 16:32

Later passenger variants of the Comet were forward control but aimed primarily for export. There was a Duple bodied ECPO12/2T in preservation once, this was one of a handful sold on the home market, the Albion Victor and the SB, particularly with a Leyland Engine, not to mention the Ford and Commer alternatives made it a non-starter over here although it was very popular in New Zealand with the Bedford SB8 and SB13 known as the "Poor Man’s Comet".

Stephen Allcroft

16/08/17 – 07:10

MLL 803

With regard to the piece by Roger Cox, a photo showing Comet OPB 536 next to Wimbledon Coaches or Allco’s RF 266 (MLL 803) taken at Cobham Bus Museum has recently appeared on my son Simon’s Facebook page, but I can find no further mention of it in preservation, unless anyone knows better!

Dave Kriesler

11/02/18 – 06:28

Thanks for the picture of MYA 590. It used to be parked in the open near the sea front in Minehead between tours, and must have been the best polished commercial vehicle I have ever seen. You could always see your face in it. The owner must have spent every night polishing, because I never saw any work being done on it during the day. Glad it ended up making popular films – it really deserved to be seen, even if in different livery.
Scarlets was a small company with usually only one bus – as far as I know, except when one was replaced and they ran two – perhaps just for a summer season. My brother suggests that in 1982-83 the Royal Veterinary College used a Scarlet bus which sounds very like MYA 590 to transport a student running team to Holland (in both years).

Sorry to go on, but your page has got me going. I have been reminded that Scarlet Pimpernel of Minehead and Blue coaches of Porlock (both with a single vehicle, it seems) merged in 1954, and continued until about 1970. Both Vehicles are now in Coventry, MYA 590 in Pimpernel livery and its stable mate (JYC 855) in Scarlet and Blue. (latest picture/record I have found is 2017 (of JYC)) With a 20 year career of summer day tripping over Exmoor (including the famous Countisbury Hill into Lynmouth) and winter theatre trips to Bristol, Bath and Western Super Mare etc, shows the quality of these vehicles especially as there was no back up if one broke down.They still seem to make regular trips down to the London Bus Museums open day at Brooklands in April, possibly under their own steam?

Huw Jones

11/02/18 – 08:40

It is just JYC that is based in Coventry MYA being in Surrey I think.
There is another Scarlet Motors Harrington on an AEC chassis complete in Bromsgrove but the owner has not taken it out for several years.
There is a Blue Motors Harrington Bodied Cheetah based in Sussex.
MYA+JYC last got together in 2015 or 2016 at Brooklands in their Harrington/Weymann anniversary get together.
JYC is on the road every two years and 2018 is an on the road year. Only confirmed appearance is in the Oct Isle of Wight Beer & Buses Weekend.

Roger Burdett


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Maidstone & District – AEC Reliance – 251 BKM – SO251

Maidstone & District - AEC Reliance - 251 BKM - SO251

Maidstone & District
AEC Reliance 2MU3RV
Harrington B42F

By the mid 1950s, bus patronage was beginning to show signs of serious decline, and the Traffic Commissioners were empowered to grant dispensation for the use of buses with more than the traditional 20/26/30 seats on (what was then called) OMO operation. The first large saloons bought by Maidstone & District specifically for OMO were eleven Harrington Contenders of 1955 powered by the distinctive TS3 two stroke engine. Then, having gained experience with the all conquering AEC Reliance on coach duties, this chassis became the firm M&D choice from 1957 for OMO saloon work. Initially, the selected bodywork supplier was Weymann, then Beadle, before Harrington was chosen to build the bodies on a batch of twenty five in 1958. Here is 251 BKM, SO251 in the M&D fleet, seen in July 1973 after disposal to the dealer, Trevor Wilcox Brown, the proprietor of Tillingbourne Bus Company. This Reliance, a 2MU3RV model fitted with a Harrington B42F body, was never operated by Tillingbourne, but was quickly sold on to another dealer in Middlewich. I undertook the delivery run from Gomshall to Middlewich, and was impressed by the alacrity with which the machine tackled the hills around Amersham – I always skirted round to the west of the Great Wen – though the top speed was understandably rather modest on the motorway. The picture shows the bus somewhere around the Chipperfield area in Hertfordshire (if my high mileage memory is still functioning). En route on the motorway, I was somewhat disconcerted to find that the accelerator ceased to return to shut down the engine speed, so I pulled in at the next service area and investigated. By lifting up the inspection flaps in the floor, I established that the return action was provided by a simple coil spring linking the throttle rod to a lug on the chassis. The locating loop on one end of this spring had just snapped off, mercifully leaving the remaining part hanging down. I scoured the ground around the lorry park to see what I could find to effect a rudimentary repair and was rewarded by the discovery of a length of rigid but pliable wire. This I managed to force between the last two coils of the broken end of the spring, bent it round to secure it, and then made a loop with the other end before fatiguing off the surplus length (all done with the fingers – I had no tools with me). That bit of Heath Robinson engineering got me safely and uneventfully on to my Middlewich destination.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Roger Cox

17/10/16 – 07:26

Smart, purposeful looking bus.
Perhaps the Middlewich dealer sold it on to an unsuspecting operator, who may have run it with your rudimentary bit of wire doing its job, for many years, Roger!

Peter Murnaghan

17/10/16 – 09:10

255 BKM

A member of this batch, 255 BKM, was sold to Clynnog and Trefor Motoer Services in North Wales, where it lasted for many years.

Don McKeown

18/10/16 – 08:00

253 BKM was saved for preservation in 2008 after festering in Somerset for many years.
Now safely stored inside "somewhere in Sussex" pending restoration.

Malcolm Boyland

Reference vehicle S2 this was delivered to Tonbridge depot along with S3-4 and 5, All four from new as we already had S1 also from new. I think that it was probably because the M&D were using the idea of new busses would encourage us drivers to accept larger vehicles on one mam operation. They were right because we were also the first depot in the fleet to accept the use of double deckers on o.m.o. work.
If my memory serves me correctly these were Bristols.
I was a driver at Tonbridge from 1961 until the closure of the depot. then transferred to Borough Green and then Tunbridge Wells until the mid nineties when I had to retire due to ill health.

Mick Green


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Neath & Cardiff – AEC Reliance – WWN 191 – 56

WWN 191

Neath & Cardiff Luxury Coaches Ltd
AEC Reliance 2MU3RA
Harrington C41F

Neath & Cardiff coaches were affectionately known as ‘Brown Bombers’ and they certainly made short work of demolishing the miles along the M4. This AEC Reliance (2MU3RA083) carries a handsome Harrington C41F body (2309) and was new to Neath & Cardiff in 1960.
I am not sure if this striking (for me) livery would eventually give way to the uninspiring NBC livery. After eventual withdrawal by the NBC she still had a varied career until being brought back to the Swansea Bus Museum, on whose 2016 Running Day in original Neath & Cardiff livery we see her.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Les Dickinson

16/09/16 – 17:13

N&C were taken over by South Wales before the corporate identity was introduced.

Stephen Allcroft

06/10/17 – 07:43

Used to love seeing these at Cardiff Bus Station (RIP) in the sixties. But surely they weren’t doing many miles on the M4 when first delivered?


20/01/18 – 06:07

In the days when N&C were operational, the M4 motorway terminated at Tredegar Park at the western edge of Newport. The only motorway west of there was the elevated section of the M48 at Port Talbot. I don’t recall N&C operating along this elevated section.

By the time that the motorway network expanded into Wales, N&C operations had been subsumed into those of South Wales Transport and Western Welsh

Frank Potter


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Old Bus Photos from Saturday 25th April 2009 to Sunday 19th August 2018