Old Bus Photos

Tynemouth and District – AEC Regent II – FT 6152 – 152

Tynemouth and District - AEC Regent II - FT 6152 - 152

Tynemouth and District
AEC Regent II
Weymann H30/26R

After the Intake of early 1940, no more vehicles arrived at Percy Main until 1946, in the meantime, seven vehicles were transferred to other Northern General Transport depots, eight more were requisitioned by the Ministry of War Transport. A total of 15 from a fleet of around 110 was a sizable chunk. For a while, spares availability became a problem, so it was not uncommon for vehicles awaiting parts to be cannibalised to keep others going. The first post war intake arrived in 1946 in the form of five H30/26R Northern Counties bodied 5GLW Guy Arab III’s. However, as has been mentioned before, Northern General Transport allowed its subsidiaries a degree of independence with vehicle choice and spec, so it was not long before Percy Main reverted to AEC.
Between 1947/8 they took delivery of 29, H30/26R Weymann bodied Regent II’s, which at that time amounted to roughly a quarter of the fleet. The first batch delivered in 1947 were FT 5698 to 5712 and numbered 128 to 142, the 1948 intake were FT 6143 to 6156, numbered 143 to 156. 141-142 & 156 carried the Wakefields name but were otherwise identical. The Regent II chassis had a 7.7 Litre diesel engine, four- speed sliding mesh gearbox and friction clutch, buying wasn’t complicated, it was bog standard with no other options available, so it came down to a straightforward decision of take it or leave it. Like most vehicles of the period, by today’s standards they were unrefined, but they were well built rugged and reliable, and demanded a degree of respect, anyone foolish enough to try to abuse them would generally find that the Regent was made of stern stuff. They also had one essential ingredient that modern vehicles don’t have, a conductor! As anyone who has ever worked a dual crew bus will tell you, conductors will be the first to complain if the ride is anything less than acceptable. The choice of body was a different matter with umpteen options on offer, Percy Main opted for Weymann, the build quality was top notch, and arguably one of the best looking bodies of the period. they were no strangers to it having bought similar vehicles in 1940: 152, was from the 1948 intake and is seen here in its original livery. By the time of its first repaint ‘about 1951’, the black lineout had been dropped and the fleet name was much smaller, but the gold coach lines were still in vogue. Note the flip down metal DUPLICATE plate under the overhang, apart from the later Routemasters; this was a standard fitting on all Northern General Transport group half cabs

Photograph and Copy contributed by Ronnie Hoye

28/07/14 – 07:57

It’s surprising how many Percy Main depot buses have appeared in model form. AEC Regent 135 (similar to the above photo) was issued by Corgi many years ago. They also issued Leyland Olympian 3593 from a later era. Britbus weighed in with Coastline Atlantean 3458. E.F.E. have been the most prolific with Leyland PD2 / Orion 230, AEC Renown as Tynemouth 333 and yellow Northern 3743, Atlantean / MCW yellow Northern 3194 as well as yellow Northern National 4444 and Coastline Wright Low Floor 4769. Quite an impressive representation really for one depot.

Keith Bruce


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R W Jackson – Leyland Royal Tiger – GVN 952

GVN 952

R W Jackson (Cleveland Coaches), Guisborough
Leyland Royal Tiger PSU1/15
Strachan C41C

Strachans (Successors) was in a bad way in the early 1950s. Many of the vehicles supplied to operators in the 1946-1949 period had proven less than robust (due to poor quality timber), a fault shared with bodies produced by Santus and many of the smaller coachbuilders of the time. Nevertheless it was obvious that the firm would have to offer bodywork for the new underfloor engined coach chassis, and in 1951 the company produced its first five such bodies, all on Royal Tigers. Four went to Valliant of Ealing as WMT 321-324, and the fifth to Jackson of Guisborough (east of Middlesborough on the inland road to Whitby) as illustrated here. The "Cleveland Coaches" fleetname came from the Cleveland Hills which were there for several million years before Ted Heath invented the county of Cleveland!
It wasn’t a bad design, although one suspects that the front corners owed more than a little to Windover’s "Kingsway" design. No more of this style were built as Strachan introduced their new "Strathrae" design in early 1952, and this was then replaced by the better known "Everest" model in 1954. Does anybody know what happened to GVN 952 after Jackson sold it? And does anybody have a shot of one of the Valliant machines?

Photograph and Copy contributed by Neville Mercer

25/07/14 – 05:48

The reversed flashes round the front wheelarch give this coach a curious pushme-pullyou look! Of course full fronts were a new challenge for most coachbuilders at that time.
At least we know the chassis would have been solid and reliable!

Andrew Goodwin

26/07/14 – 06:45

It’s worse than that, Andrew. Adding to your observation is that the way in which the body flows downwards at the rear as in the front, giving a distinct impression that two fronts have been glued together! It even seems to have an early Morris Minor front grill fitted!
It’s not quite an ‘Ugly Bus’ contender, but close.

Chris Hebbron

26/07/14 – 06:45

The Aldershot & District Dennis Dominant HOU 900 had similarly styled front and rear wings as built in 1950, but, in the course of its career, the "Tracco" removed these strange embellishments in favour of straightforward, simple wheel arches. On the matter of Strachans quality, it cannot have been as bad as some of the ‘mushroom’ bodybuilders of the forties and fifties, as the Dominant lasted for some fifteen years with A&D, and was apparently sold on for further service, though I am not sure where it went.

Roger Cox

26/07/14 – 06:46

It’s a very impressive looking coach but it could have looked so much better with deeper windscreens. It’s strange how so many coachbuilders at the time felt the need for the bottom edge of the screens (on underfloor engined chassis) to curve upwards to the centre and yet others proved it was quite unnecessary. Perhaps it was a carry over from producing full front bodywork on front engined chassis.
The side has a decent line to it, the reversed flashes around the wheelarches do look a bit odd but no doubt another quirk of the time was that the front end had to match the rear. It certainly looks to be of substantial construction but that was nothing to go by as far as Strachans were concerned!

Chris Barker

27/07/14 – 06:50

According to available fleet lists, Jacksons were taken over by Saltburn Motor Services in 1957 and their four vehicles included this one. Saltburn operated it until 1962 but there doesn’t appear to be any further details.

Chris Barker


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Coventry Corporation – Leyland Atlantean – CDU 348B – 348

CDU 348B

Coventry Corporation
Leyland Atlantean PDR1/2
Willowbrook H44/32F

This is one of a batch of 22 very contentious Leyland Atlanteans with Willowbrook H44/32F bodies delivered to Coventry Transport in January 1965, the issue being that they were Leylands delivered to the home city of Daimler who since the war had been almost the only supplier of buses to the company. The order may have been made to apply some pressure to Daimler for some reason which appears to have been successful as a similar batch of Fleetlines with near identical bodies were delivered within six months these were followed by more Fleetlines with ECW and then East Lancs bodies until the mid seventies, I think one of the Atlanteans appeared at the 1964 Earls Court show.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Diesel Dave

20/07/14 – 17:32

In Commercial Motor magazine dated 11th September 1964 the following report was published.


"Leyland Motors Ltd. has introduced a new version of the Atlantean rear-engined chassis which is fitted with a drop-centre rear axle, permitting a straight-through, stepless gangway in the lower saloon.
Delivery is now being made to Coventry Corporation of 22 buses of this type, fitted with 76-seat bodies by Willowbrook Ltd. Overall height of the new vehicles is 14 ft. 0 in. unladen, 4 in, less than the normal ‘highbridge’ Atlantean, yet ample headroom is still provided in each saloon.
One of Coventry’s new Atlanteans will be shown on the Willowbrook stand at the Commercial Motor Show, and several other examples employing the new chassis will also be seen. Side and front elevations of the new Willowbrook bodied Atlantean are shown in the accompanying drawing. Ample luggage space is a feature of this body."

Stephen Howarth

21/07/14 – 07:26

Dave, if your theory is correct then the issue with Daimler may well have been price. I have heard that Salford’s change of allegiance from Daimler to Leyland in 1963 was for that reason, although they of course never went back.

Peter Williamson

21/07/14 – 07:27

Could the idea be sold in Coventry, then, Stephen, because the Atlanteans had Daimler running gear and the great BL meltdown had begun? Or am I wrong?
These do look like uglibus candidates- I haven’t seen one, but Yorkshire Traction had some…. www.flickr.com/photos/  
The glass fibre fronts & domes look like add on body kits. Interestingly the Coventry examples look distinctly under ventilated, whilst Tracky go to the other extreme.


21/07/14 – 07:29

These Atlanteans were of the newly introduced PDR1/2 model which was fitted with a Daimler dropped centre rear axle and gearbox, which was intended to facilitate lowheight bodywork without the need for a sunken side gangway at the rear, which was a feature of early lowbridge Atlanteans based on the PDR1/1 model. I don’t think Coventry had any need of lowbridge vehicles, but the inclusion of Daimler components would have standardisation benefits when the fleet later included Fleetlines. Presumably this was always the intention. Manchester Corporation also bought the PDR1/2 model (132 of them) alongside their 130 Fleetlines with MCW "Orion" bodies. I always thought these had a rather odd mixture of sound effects.
Many years later, I would drive Daimler Fleetlines with Leyland Engines (bought by Crosville from Southdown) which felt more like Atlanteans than Fleetlines, the engine sound on these tended to dominate the gearbox sound. These buses also had direct air gearchange and a step from the platform to the lower deck – both "Atlanteanish" features.
I thought these Willowbrook bodies were a very attractive design, enhanced by the Coventry livery. They introduced a more conventionally shaped service number blind, after years of the rather odd arrangement with equally sized and shaped destination and service number screens.

Don McKeown

21/07/14 – 15:21

At the time of the order Daimler was an independent company that was part of the Jaguar group along with Guy. At the time Leyland Motors was a very profitable concern it all went pear shaped after the shot gun marriage between them and BMC in the late sixties. Although Leyland were already being starting to give the industry what they wanted and not the other way round.

Chris Hough

21/07/14 – 15:28

When Coventry issued the tender for this order, they specified a low floor design, presumably thinking that only Daimler could deliver such a vehicle. However Leyland, no doubt spotting the opportunity to sell to Daimler’s home city hastily put together their own low floor design. They won the order on price but delivery was delayed by development problems. This is not the livery that these buses carried at delivery. The maroon was originally only applied to the lower skirt, a band above the lower windows, another below the upper windows and the roof. The destination blinds also differed, as shown on the blueprint image.

John McSparron

22/07/14 – 06:53

The Yorkshire Traction vehicle shown in the link above was one of four that were diverted from a Devon General order, indeed they entered service in Devon General livery and ran in that form for some time.
Before eventually finishing up in the nondescript NBC colours shown in the photo they did run in traditional YTC Livery of BET crimson and light cream, a combination that really suited this bodywork.

Andrew Charles

22/07/14 – 06:54

Most sources say that although the PDR1/2 did have a Daimler gearbox, the drop-centre rear axle was the Albion Lowlander unit rather than the one from the Fleetline.
With regard to the odd sound effects in Manchester, the only engine officially offered in the PDR1/2 was the O600, since the Daimler gearbox, at that early stage in its history, couldn’t take the extra torque of the O680 in Atlantean fettle. However, Manchester wanted O680 engines for durability rather than extra power, and specified a specially derated version at 130bhp. This may account for their subdued and breathy engine note, which allowed the gearbox to sing more prominently than in some other applications.

Peter Williamson

I am sure that Peter W is correct that the PDR1/2 was fitted with a Daimler (‘Daimatic’) gearbox, but not axle.
Further to Don McK, I don’t recall that the inclusion of a Daimler gearbox in the PDR1/2 was a consideration in the decision to buy it – the decision was based solely upon a significantly lower tender price from Leyland, and, even then, the order was placed only after furious council debate.
I’ve always presumed that Leyland deliberately tendered low in order to capitalise on the potential publicity, and this it certainly did – for several months, for instance, there was a standing advertisement on the rear cover of ‘Buses Illustrated’, the message of which was ‘Coventry, home to the British motor industry, chooses Leyland..’, or words to that effect. Leyland did, at least, acknowledge that Coventry, and not Leyland, was home to the British motor industry, and its advertising strategy seems to have failed to impress, since I think the Fleetline comfortably outsold the PDR1/2, the latter proving problematic.

David Call

25/07/14 – 12:19

This style of body by Willowbrook had a very long life it was used as late as 1976 to re-body a bus damaged in the Derby depot fire.

Chris Hough

26/07/14 – 06:42

I would challenge the theory that the Daimler gearbox in the Atlantean PDR1/2 could not cope with the torque of the O.680 engine. At that time, the standard Atlantean setting for the O.680 was 150 bhp at 2000 rpm, with a maximum torque of 485 lb ft at 1000 rpm. The corresponding figures for the contemporary 6LX were 150 bhp at 1700 rpm, and 485 lb ft torque at 1050 rpm. Thus the Gardner delivered identical output at rather lower rpm. Any derating of the O.680 in the Atlantean PDR1/2 must have been undertaken for economy reasons, bearing in mind that the Leyland engine required an extra 300 rpm to produce the same power as the Gardner. Reducing the governed speed of the O.680 to 1700 rpm would have reduced the output to 130 bhp.

Roger Cox

27/07/14 – 06:41

I don’t think any early Fleetlines had 6LXs rated at 150bhp. Manchester’s were rated at 132bhp, presumably with a corresponding reduction in torque, and I thought at the time that that was the standard Fleetline rating. But if the reduction in the O.680′s power was taken care of by simply lowering the governed speed, then I agree that there would be no reduction in torque there.
The idea that the PDR1/2 wasn’t offered with the O.680 option must have come from somewhere, and the Daimler gearbox certainly was strengthened before the CRL6 Fleetline came on the market. Perhaps someone just put two and two together and created a bit of folklore.

Peter Williamson


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Old Bus Photos from Saturday 25th April 2009 to Monday 28th July 2014