Old Bus Photos

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!



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Southampton Corporation – AEC Regent V – 369 FCR – 349

Southampton Corporation - AEC Regent V - 369 FCR - 349

Southampton Corporation
AEC Regent V 2D3RA
East Lancs H37/29R

369 FCR is a Regent V of the 2D3RA variety, with East Lancs H66R bodywork from 1963, in the fleet of Southampton City Transport, fleet number 349. She’s seen in Vincent’s Walk on a sunny lunchtime in January 1976, between duties on the 15 to Swaythling via Bassett Green. The blinds have been set on the way into City Centre, but the bus needs to turn round.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Pete Davies


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Brighton Corporation – Leyland Panther Cub – NUF 137G – 37

Brighton Corporation - Leyland Panther Cub - NUF 137G - 37

Brighton Corporation
Leyland Panther Cub PSRC1/1
Strachan B–D

This photo shows No 37 one of Brighton Corporation’s three Leyland Panther Cubs No’s 36-38 registration NUF 136-138G with Strachans B–D bodywork, listed on some other sites as B43F which is obviously incorrect as it can clearly be seen to have a centre exit. A further four with Marshall B43F bodies followed on as No’s 39-42 registration NUF 139-142G so maybe 36-38 were to the same layout. The Panther Cub was a fairly rare beast as less than a hundred were built in total and of those only seven had Strachans bodies three for Thomas Bros of South Wales and a demonstrator YTB 771D which was bought by Eastbourne Corporation some time after being used by them as transport for delegates at the 1967 MPTA conference held in the town (Municipal Passenger Transport Association). I worked for Eastbourne Corporation at that time and drove YTB both during the conference and after it was bought by them and numbered 92 and always found it to be a pleasant lively vehicle to drive if a bit raucous.
The manager at that time Mr R. R Davies said the interior Formica panelling pattern looked like a coffee bar.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Diesel Dave

06/04/14 – 11:29

The Panthers we had at Percy Main were the B48D Marshall Camair bodied PSRU1A1R version, and they too had somewhat garish interiors. Whoever designed the cab layout obviously never had to drive one, if they did they must have been a contortionist. Being a semi auto with no clutch pedal, the designer must have been under the impression that they would only be driven by drivers who didn’t have a left leg. The gearchange was positioned in such a way that it was almost impossible to get into or out of the dammed thing unless you had supreme manoeuvring skills, and once in you couldn’t get comfortable as you had nowhere to put your left leg.

Ronnie Hoye

06/04/14 – 18:23

I know just what you mean Ronnie. At Halifax we had three ex-Yorkshire Traction Marshall-bodied Leopard PSU4′s which had exactly the same layout. In order to get installed into the cab seat I used to have to climb onto, then over it into the tight space at the other side with both legs, sit down then swivel anticlockwise into position. Then, unless you wound the seat almost down into the floor, your upper legs were jammed tight under the large steering wheel rim, which would rub against them as you steered. Then of course you had to go through the reverse of all that procedure when you came to get out.
Having said all that, though cab ergonomics have improved a bit since then, I honestly can’t say that I’m ever comfortable in any of today’s buses, and nearly always finish a stint in one with pains in my back and legs.

John Stringer

06/04/14 – 18:23

I think all 7 were dual door originally. Someone else may know whether they were subsequently rebuilt as single, as happened in many fleets

John Carr

07/04/14 – 12:46

I have happy memories of travelling to school on Manchester Corporation’s Panther Cubs on Middleton local service 142. Queens Road Depot had nos. 72/74/76/78 and 80 (BND 872C etc) and any one of these would appear each morning on the 142; far more interesting than travelling on the school bus, which was always a PD2. The performance was impressively lively; I remember that one driver always started in 3rd gear, and another started in 2nd but then went straight to 4th.
I don’t know about the driving position causing problems, Manchester’s Panther Cubs had the miniature gear lever attached to the steering column. However the front platform doors were operated by the driver’s left foot (the centre exit doors being opened by a sixth position on the gear lever), I can’t remember seeing any of them struggle to reach the door pedal.

Don McKeown

07/04/14 – 15:16

I think your drivers were trying to wreck the gearbox as they disliked the Panther Cubs. I was once on a Halifax Dennis Loline III fitted with a 5 speed semi-auto gearbox and the driver started from each stop in 3rd gear, thinking it was 2nd as on a Fleetline. Giving plenty of body vibration! bus and passengers alike!

Geoff S

08/04/14 – 07:51

5-speed semi-autos could be a problem in fleets that also had 4-speed ones. Bristol Omnibus had 4-speed RELL buses and 5-speed RELH coaches and DPs. When the RELHs were cascaded to bus use, the drivers treated gears 2,3,4&5 exactly like 1,2,3&4 on the RELLs, changing up far too early and never letting the engine get into its stride. They must have wondered why these former "express" vehicles were so much more sluggish than the local ones!

Peter Williamson

10/04/14 – 07:38

NUF 136G

NUF 137G

Here are two more pictures from 1970 of the Brighton Corporation Strachans bodied Panther Cubs. 36, NUF 136G is seen at Preston Park, with the impressive railway viaduct behind it, and 37, NUF 137 is in Old Steine, Brighton.

NUF 141G 

The later Marshall bodied version is represented here by 41, NUF 141G heading north on the A23 towards Preston Drove, with an array of British built cars in the background – those were the days!

Roger Cox


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Old Bus Photos from Saturday 25th April 2009 to Wednesday 16th April 2014