Bickers of Coddenham
In 1969 Bickers bought two Guy GS buses, MXX 356 and 360 which were GS56 and GS60 in the London Transport fleet. Here is a picture of them in 1975. The following year they were both sold into preservation, though I believe that neither has been seen about in the last few years. Unless you know different that is, you know how to get in touch.
Photograph and Copy contributed by Roger Cox
21/12/11 – 20:05
Give me a big engined AEC or Leyland any day but these big hearted babies are full of character and deserve their place among the preservation greats. These two look a little mat paint/MOD and well used. Even more testimony to their initially build quality – but they look even better in LT/Country green, gleaming on a running day.
The modern day equivalent is a Mercedes Vario or IVECO Daily. In the words of one of my choir, who spent his professional life working for Tilling subsidiaries, "I know which ones will last longer."
22/12/11 – 06:24
I drove the Tillingbourne examples of the GS in the Guildford area, and I found them to be delightfully robust, positive little machines, though the clanky sounding Perkins P6 engine didn’t impress me very much. The GS was another of those buses with a "right to left" wrong way round gearbox, and I have always wondered who made it. Was it a Guy box, or something from another maker?
Also, was it yet another manifestation of London Transport’s flat earth outlook that led it to commission Guy to manufacture a specially designed 26 seat model? Dennis had been producing successful buses of this type for years, and the LGOC had purchased a fleet of around forty Darts in the 1930s. The logical move for LT in the 1950s would surely have been to obtain a P6 powered version of the established Falcon. The GS was (indeed still is – there are lots still around) a really good little bus, but I remain perplexed that it was ever ordered in the first place.
22/12/11 – 06:25
GS’s were certainly a hybrid ‘special. Based on a modified Guy Vixen chassis, it sported a Perkins P6 indirect-injection, 65 bhp engine, with 4-speed crash gearbox. It was a rare example of London Transport buying an ECW body, which it was supposed to buy in preference to other makes. However, off-hand, I can only think of RFW’s as the other example in post-war years. Even so, LTE put their stamp on it, as it bore a remarkable resemblance to the RF body at the rear.
22/12/11 – 06:26
There are some others from the same batch which survived for a fair time but not in a very good way. See them here www.travellerhomes.co.uk/
At least they had long and useful lives and as David says, they are rather attractive and purposeful souls.
22/12/11 – 08:25
As Roger says LT always had some rather odd ideas – the prewar rear engined Leyland CRs spring to mind with only twenty seats AND a conductor !! I too have always admired the little GS class, surely one of the most handsome small buses ever.
23/12/11 – 07:00
The CR’s were designed for OMO, but, post-war, with the huge increase in passengers, those OMO routes in Central Area were either abandoned/absorbed into other, busier routes or served by full-sized buses, rendering these ‘babies’ surplus. However, they were spread about and used, as a last resort, to replace full-sized vehicles which had failed, hence the two-man crews. Ill-suited to intensive work, and under-developed, they often crumpled under the strain. I made one journey, on just one, in such a situation. It coped!
23/12/11 – 09:37
Thanks for that Chris H – that’s something I never knew despite owning much bookware about LT – you’re never too old to learn as they say.
23/12/11 – 12:11
A nice coincidence is that Leyland’s light 6-cyl diesel used in the CR had the same bore and stroke (3.5" x 5.0") as the Perkins P6 used by Guy in the GS. Both engines were indirect injection and shared that light tinkling "threepenny bits" combustion note. The only ride I’ve ever had in a CR was at Cobham (held at Chobham) a few years ago, and the engine sound was remarkably Perkins-like. Another thing I learnt that day: the big-diameter rear hub houses not a double-reduction gear but a universal joint, so the CR evidently didn’t have a beam axle.
24/12/11 – 06:36
Douglas Corporation ran some Guy Gs style buses with Mulliner bodywork. They were fitted with large upright destination screens front and rear. This gave rise to their nickname of Wolsey’s camels after the then manager. Douglas also bought what I think are the only Leyland Comets in municipal service.
24/12/11 – 06:40
Chris Hebbron – re LT buying ECW bodies, there was also SLT 59, (CRL4/RMC4), the first Green Line Routemaster.
24/12/11 – 06:41
One unusual feature of the CR was a De Dion rear axle, with a universal joint at both ends of the half-shafts. I’ve no idea why it was fitted, maybe to produce a more stable ride for the engine at the rear. Here is a photo and diagram of how it worked (These axles were made from the 1890′s into this century without much change. Sports cars had them, but production cars like the Rover 2000 had it, too). See http://www.light-motor-cars.co.uk/
24/12/11 – 09:54
Thx, Bob, for the titbit on SLT 59. ECW must have struggled to meet that order on time! I always thought it looked smart with its framed side lower-deck windows, but had a feeling that the full-width lower rear window looked as if it wasn’t centred properly, or was that my imagination?
24/12/11 – 13:12
There are pictures of SLT 59 on the web including www.londonbuspage.com/ which has this and KGJ 603D which is obligingly pictured from the rear with what also appears to be an off-centre rear window: is this to stiffen the corner by the rear door?
Does anyone know anything about the ECW (presumably) system on the VR which sucked all the cig ends and packets out of the upper deck through a port at the back? Now that’s innovation….
10/11/12 – 06:51
In the 1980s I owned GS 36 it was a joy to drive once you got used to the gearbox, double de clutch comes to mind, sorry I sold it.
04/01/13 – 08:51
On 2/5/10 I took the above picture although I cannot remember where I took it. As I had retired to Cornwall in 2008 and was visiting all the shows I can only assume that it was in Cornwall. I used your site to try and identify the model and any other details available and when I selected the Guy GS model found a photo of 2 buses under the heading of Bickers of Coddenham and comments that the picture was from 1975 and with registration numbers MXX 356 and MXX 360. It further stated that the buses had been sold into preservation but not seen in the last few years. As the photo I took has MXX on its plate unfortunately the numbers are hidden. I just thought that it may possibly be one the buses in a new livery so I forwarded it for any information possible.
04/01/13 – 13:03
This bus is in the distinctive livery of West Bromwich Corporation, and you can just make out the fleet number 252. The registration would be MXX 340. It was acquired from London Transport in 1961.