Old Bus Photos

Midland Red – BMMO D10 – 943 KHA – 4943

Midland Red - BMMO D10 - 943 KHA - 4943

Midland Red - BMMO D10 - 943 KHA - 4943

Midland Red (Birmingham & Midland Motor Omnibus Co)

This fascinating vehicle was the first of two prototype underfloor-engined double deckers built by Midland Red in 1960/61. AEC had shown such a layout was possible, with its Crossley-bodied Regent IV underfloor-engined decker prototype of 1950, which conformed to minimum gangway headroom requirements, while remaining within vehicle maximum height limits. The AEC had a rear platform however, whereas the Midland Red D10 design took this one step further in having the entrance alongside the driver. As was expected of Midland Red, advanced features were to the fore and the D10 sported chassisless construction, power steering, semi-automatic transmission, disc brakes and ‘Metalastik’ rubber suspension. However, the most interesting feature was the offsetting of the midships-mounted BMMO 10.5 litre horizontal Diesel engine to the nearside of the vehicle. In order to avoid raising the lower deck floor level more than necessary, the highest parts of the engine, the flywheel and housing, were thus positioned to the side of the gangway (under nearside seats) rather than being directly below it. Consequently the slimmer parts of the engine, the cylinder heads, were beneath the gangway, allowing it to be lower. A second prototype was built in 1961 (4944: 1944 HA), and was originally to a two door / two staircase layout. The front entrance was of normal width but the rear exit was of a narrow design, and 4944 was converted to conventional single door/single staircase layout in 1962. (Intriguing how the HA registration followed the KHA mark, rather than the other way around). No more D10’s were built, but fortunately 4943 has been preserved, and is seen here in Harrogate at a Trans-Pennine Rally in, I think, the mid-70’s.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Brendan Smith

24/10/13 – 08:06

The D10s always appear to me to look quite tall . . . what was the overall height? and how does that compare with a Volvo Citybus or Leyland Lion DD?? Presumably, if BMMO had put the D10 into production "new bus grant" would have subsequently killed-off the under-floor design anyway (even if BMMO hadn’t been forced to cease vehicle production in 1971[?]). But here’s a thought: couldn’t the off-set engine layout have formed the basis for a lower-floor under-floor-engined single-decker – more suited to urban use then contemporary designs, and perhaps an alternative to rear-engined chassis?

Philip Rushworth

24/10/13 – 08:07

The D9 was sometimes called the Birmingham Routemaster, so this could be the Birmingham FRM. No one really mentions that the Q was a design not unlike this – but way before its time. Of course the Volvo D10M or B10DM (depending on age and in which factory it was built) was perhaps the most successful bus of this concept – but don’t forget the Leyland Lion either. Good that 943 is still with us, though.

David Oldfield

24/10/13 – 08:08

And, about 25 – 30 years later, came the Volvo D10M, as used by Southdown. Once again, Midland Red leads the field! Nice views, Brendan. Thanks for posting!

Pete Davies

24/10/13 – 09:29

Do I spy a Wulfrunian lurking in the background of the second shot.

David Oldfield

25/10/13 – 07:54

I think you did, David. Allowing for perspective look at the heights?


25/10/13 – 07:55

Have you noticed that every window bay in the lower deck and every bay except the front in the upper deck has a sliding window included (ok hinged vent in rear upper deck bay). That’s quite unusual. I worked in Stoke when the two D10s were at nearby Stafford yet I never went to look for or travel on them. Can’t believe it!

Ian Wild

25/10/13 – 12:49

Sometimes we could kick ourselves for missed opportunities, Ian.

David Oldfield

26/10/13 – 07:29

As far as I know all BMMO double deckers built from 1950 onwards, D5s through to D10s, had a full set of sliding vents both sides, with the exception of the all Leyland LD8s.

Tony Gallimore

30/10/13 – 11:52

Both of the D10’s ended their days operating from Stafford depot. One day my friend and I caught the train from Manchester to Stafford to spend the day riding on Midland Red buses; we visited Walsall and Wolverhampton. On returning to Stafford we had half an hour to wait for the train, and one of the D10’s was in service. We boarded it and travelled to the first stop, just to say we had ridden on a D10!
If the D10 had entered production, would it have been copied by other bus builders? It might have resulted in a shorter production life for the Atlantean and Fleetline.

Don McKeown

07/11/13 – 08:00

Not sure if I have put this in the correct posting.

May I add some comments on the BMMO underfloor engine? As a Midland Red engineering supervisor at a certain garage operating CM6’s and numerous other types, for many years, there are one or two points that should be mentioned. One is that having worked on these and Leyland Leopards side by side, the huge difference in engine accessibility cannot be ignored. The BMMO engine was surrounded by acres of empty space, every necessary component was easily accessed, often from under the side without need for a pit. The starter motor for example, could be changed in five minutes flat. I know, I did it many times. Alternator, water pump, fuel system etc, ditto. Jobs that would take at least twice as long on a Leopard. And this brings me to point number two: the cooling system. The BMMO system was non-pressurised, it ran cool most of the time, largely due to the large water capacity – I think 17 gal. on S17/CM6 onwards-no cooling fan, and those masses of empty space to allow air in! And a cylinder head design which would tolerate a leaky gasket for days if kept topped up, despite a radiator of oily water.., at least, in local use. A blown head gasket on a Leopard spelled trouble! Usually a cracked cylinder liner unless you were lucky. It was a great shame that the magnificent BMMO 10.44 litre engine wasn’t adopted for a new standard NBC design: I believe a top secret rear engined prototype was built and tested at the beginning of the 1970s, but the Leyland lobby won the day, and we got the dreaded National… thanks for the chance to talk of old times…great times.

Michael F

07/11/13 – 09:35

Another sad indictment of NBC and BLMC Michael.

David Oldfield

12/06/14 – 08:24

"Intriguing how the HA registration followed the KHA mark, rather than the other way around."
Smethwick started reversed registrations in September 1955 with 1 AHA. Upon reaching 999 MHA in April 1960, they decided to start issuing 501 HA etc on cars, buses and trucks – the three-letter series continuing only on motorcycles.
They reached 9719 HA before adopting the year suffix system in August 1964.

Des Elmes

12/06/14 – 10:09

Fascinating to read Michael F’s account of the D10’s qualities and of its unfulfilled potential, and until reading Brendan’s piece I hadn’t appreciated how ingeniously the designers had positioned the engine to minimise intrusion. One question: surely such a concentration of weight on the nearside—not only the engine but the gearbox as well—must have caused problems? At least the AEC Q had an offside engine, tending to counteract the road-camber effect.

Ian T

12/06/14 – 14:15

I assume that Cleethorpes did not normally figure on Midland Red destination blinds – not double deckers at any rate?!

Stephen Ford

12/06/14 – 17:29

Ian, the location of the fuel tank on the offside would have surely contributed some weight balance to a degree. Thinking of unbalanced chassis, I wonder if the Bristol VRL might have suffered from handling problems with the concentration of so much weight in the overhung offside rear corner.

Roger Cox

17/06/14 – 06:55

Ian, Peter Nash’s fascinating book ‘Push Once – life in the bus industry’ mentions problems related to the D10’s engine being mounted off centre. Apparently this did cause brake linings and parts of the suspension system to wear unevenly, but the most serious problem appears to have been that "the engine location compromised the integrity of the frame leading to cracks in stress panels in later life". As the vehicles were in effect prototypes, surely this problem could have been overcome with further development? That said, Bristol-ECW encountered a few structural problems over the years with the LS semi-integral design, and eventually the model was replaced by the MW, which reverted to a traditional chassis frame.

Brendan Smith

25/06/14 – 08:27

There must have been some issues with cooling as at some point 4943 had been fitted with an electric fan, presumably thermostatically controlled. I dare say for the majority of time it was not needed, but I expect sitting in traffic queues may have made a difference, not that there were many of those in Stafford.


25/06/14 – 11:12

943 KHA_int_1

943 KHA_int_2

I took these pictures of D10 4943 in 2008. It can be seen the nearside seating was on a shallow platform, with the only real intrusion into the saloon of the mechanicals, in the form of a small ‘hump’ midway down.
Otherwise the floor area was remarkably clutter free.


25/06/14 – 13:11

Thx, Mark, for the photos. The floor is commendably level and clutter-free, with a complete lack of a dwarf-only area at rear of so many current buses! Mention of Stafford brings back memories of English Electric and 16MU RAF Stafford, where I was based until 1959, thus missing seeing this vehicle! I doo recall the sole, grossly-overloaded bus which ran all night on Sunday nights, ferrying returning airmen to camp. Like the King Alfred Regent V healing over, displayed recently, we often wondered if our bus was going to recover from its alarming angle! Standing passengers upstairs does NOT aid stability!

Chris Hebbron

25/06/14 – 13:11

Regarding Cleethorpes on the blind, many Midland Red garages ran summer dated Holiday services to resorts, for example the Eastern/Leicester area garages ran to such places as Skegness, Mablethorpe, etc; these services more often than not were run by Dual Purpose vehicles : the point being the destination blind would be the same one fitted to every type of vehicle (except full coaches which rarely ran on any type of stage carriage). There were also other far flung places on some garages blinds, as again the stock with comfier seating would quite often be used on Associated Motorways work where BMMO would be joint operator of a route, and such places as Bristol, Cheltenham, Glasgow, Manchester etc. would feature.


25/06/14 – 18:09

943 KHA_us

An interesting view of the underside of 4943, showing the deft positioning of the mechanical’s. The engine was placed the opposite way round to the single-deckers ie; cylinder heads towards the centre/crankcase to nearside, thus avoiding raising the floor level. Taken when new in Carlyle works – so ahead of it’s time.

Nigel Edwards

25/06/14 – 18:09

I remember seeing 16MU on the destination blinds of Stafford buses in the 80’s and wondering what it was, now I know!


23/06/15 – 06:39

The bearded gentleman leaning out of the bus is Keith Bodley, and I was probably not far away when this picture was taken.

Tony Martin

16/10/15 – 05:58

Having driven both D10s at Stafford "1965" I never found any handling problems, however one problem that did occur was with brake failure 4943 this was corrected though very quickly. One interesting point was D7 4162 was fitted with a turbo charger one could always tell the difference as with the engine under power it would have a whistling from the exhaust. Leyland Fleetline deckers were very unstable in windy conditions you were always correcting the direction of travel, also the single decker "Leyland National" would often not go over the slightly raised surface of bus stop laybys when it was raining no problem with any BMMOs though.Having travelled on many service buses throughout the last sixty years I have never found any modern PCV,s that matched the comfort quietness and lack of rattles of BMMOs.

Graham M

943 KHA_01 Vehicle reminder shot for this posting

29/04/21 – 06:10

I have always been intrigued by the D10s. Mr Sinclair seemed obsessed with horizontal engines but I really feel that the design that might have worked better would be the vertical offside side engine, under a longitudinal seat near the offside front wheel as per the AEC Q. The balance of the chassis would have been better and accessibility would have been easier. Plus, a proper rear overhang, rather than that of the Q, dictated by absurd length restrictions, would have improved traction as compared to the Q. With hindsight, the front entrance maximum capacity double decker was the way forward, and a lower saloon totally given over to seating would have been ideal.

Ian Docherty

29/04/21 – 10:06

The Q was angled rather than vertical and Sinclair and his mentor O C Power developed the AEC SE4 & SE6 (I think) for Northern in the 30s both following the side angled concept. Neither were successful mainly to the need for a higher floor and convoluted drive line to the drive axle. I think the D10 was a typical BMMO move to test the envelope like so many of their previous designs.

Roger Burdett

30/04/21 – 07:02

The AEC Q had an almost straight drive line to the differential on the rear axle which carried only single tyres. Even so, convoluted drive lines did not prevent the first generation of rear transverse engined buses becoming commercial successes. I have often thought that a re-engineered Wulfrunian with the engine located behind the offside front wheel might have been practicable, but Guy ran out of money for Wulfrunian development.

Roger Cox

01/05/21 – 05:41

Am I right though that the prop came out the gearbox at an angle? From my memory of working on a Q, I do not remember a diff hump in the saloon ie high floor. Was the gearbox mounted at the front or the rear of the engine? ie rodding or cable?

Roger Burdett

02/05/21 – 06:08

Q Chassis

Here is a drawing of the Q type chassis design. It cannot be seen here , but the differential was set close to the offside rear wheel.

Roger Cox

03/05/21 – 07:03

Thanks for the drawing Roger (C). The single rear tyres would no doubt help in keeping the driveline as straight as possible, as it would allow the diff to be further over to the offside. It’s not something I’d even thought about until seeing your posting. It would also explain why Roger (B) couldn’t remember seeing a diff hump in the floor line.

Brendan Smith

03/05/21 – 07:03

I think the offset differential was one of the main reasons for the Q having single rear tyres.
Was the diff actually mounted on the outside of the chassis frame?

Eric Bawden

03/05/21 – 07:04

Q rear

Q front

Are these of any use?

Tony Fox


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Midland Red – BMMO CL3 – UHA 196/220 – 4196/4220

Midland Red - C3L - UHA 196/220 - 4196/4220

Midland Red - C3L - UHA 196/220 - 4196/4220
Copyright Diesel Dave

Midland Red (Birmingham and Midland Motor Omnibus Co)
Plaxton C36F (1961/2)

I thought I would send you these two photos that I took in Eastbourne in the late 60’s showing two of Midland Red’s CL3 touring coaches, these started life in 1954 as C3 class vehicles with C37C bodies by Willowbrook. During the winter of 1961/2 sixteen of the type, from a total of I think sixty three, had their bodies removed their chassis extended and new Plaxton C36F bodies fitted they were then reclassified as CL3. They entered service in the summer of 1962 in a livery of all over pale stone colour with red being confined to the fleet name lettering but for the next season they reverted to what most people would consider to be their proper colour of red and black as shown in the photo of 4196 the only remnant of the stone being the narrow band below the windows. The other photo of 4220 taken at a later date shows a different livery with the black replaced by a insipid maroon and the stone coloured band removed which to me made them look somewhat drab as the black roof always seemed to me to be the finishing touch of class to Midland Red coaches.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Diesel Dave

05/03/13 – 14:41

I agree Dave, the black roof was the finishing touch. It worked equally well on North Western livery too

Les Dickinson

05/03/13 – 16:29

Dave, There was a practical reason for replacing the Black roofs, though I totally agree they finished a resplendent livery. As with the C5’s on Motorway duties it was removed for ‘passenger comfort’ – Black being a great conductor of heat ! Some of the C5 coaching stock also had a white panel (centre roof) over the later darker maroon.

Nigel Edwards

06/03/13 – 06:54

I have to agree that the black roof looked a lot better. What a pity it didn’t "work" in the passenger comfort department. I used to work with Architects who won design awards for their schools. Roofs leaked like sieves but they looked good. Perhaps, one day, we’ll have something that looks good and works as well: sorry, I was forgetting the all-Leyland PD2!

Pete Davies

06/03/13 – 09:28

Yes Pete, but look how long ago that was – and Colin didn’t have the benefit of computers or a PhD to help (?) him…..

David Oldfield

06/03/13 – 15:31

These coaches carried no name badges, although technically speaking they were, with their long windows and forced air ventilation, Panoramas. The Embassy-style grille was required to supply air to the C3’s front-mounted radiator, Similar bodies fitted to Bedford VALs were badged ‘Val’.

Philip Lamb

06/03/13 – 16:42

From a (sadly) bye-gone golden age of Plaxtons.

David Oldfield

19/03/13 – 07:25

Slight correction-they were CL3s, not C3Ls.

Phil Drake

Copy changed thanks for that Phil


20/03/13 – 16:33

On the 19th March 2013, around 15:00 hours, an AEC Plaxton bodied coach drove up Baslow Road in Totley Sheffield (S17). It was a middle to later 1960s coach, I was so excited I forgot to take the reg no, but I recognised the style as a Panama Elite or similar. We used to go to many football matches in the 70s on these. It was driven by a lady who waved back when I gave her the thumbs up. It was full of more elderly people. Some seats were reversed to make a table type seating arrangement. I think it had table lamps. Although possibly a 53? seater, it was full but may have had not much over 30 people on board. On the boot lid it had Cheshire in large letters. How come you never have your camera when you need it. It is a 30mph zone, but was more than capable of keeping up with traffic.

Andy Fisher

26/11/13 – 13:16

4220 was based at Nuneaton garage for a while in the early 1970s. By 1972 it had been sold to a small coach operator in the Manchester area. I don’t think they knew what they were taking on… late one Saturday night we received a call from Rugby asking us to attend a breakdown at the A5/A46 junction, where a certain ex-4220 had expired while on a private hire with its new owner, to its old stomping ground. The owners claimed there was an agreement whereby they could call on Midland Red to provide backup in such an eventuality. The Rugby staff took this as fact and asked us to supply a replacement vehicle if they recovered 4220 as we were without our towing vehicle. So we attended taking LC11 Leopard coach 6243 WHA 243H and driver who conveyed the passengers home to Lancs, while 4220 was found to have a dropped valve/seized engine and was towed to Nuneaton. On the Monday there was a bit of a stink as no such agreement existed…the owners were told to bring a substantial sum for the repairs and vehicle hire, or else 4220 would not be released to them. The money paid, 4220 left, certainly in better shape than before, with new piston and cylinder head, and I never saw it again.

Michael F


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Midland Red – SOS SON – GHA 335 – 2416

Midland Red - SOS SON - GHA 335 - 2416
Photograph by ‘unknown’ if you took this photo please go to the copyright page.

Midland Red (Birmingham & Midland Motor Omnibus Co)
Brush B38F

Another image by an unknown photographer. It shows Midland Red 2416 (GHA 335), a SOS SON of 1940. Apparently seen in its final days – acting as a "Trainee Vehicle" – it still exudes an air of quaint gentility in spite of it having been rebuilt in the late 1940s. (It makes an interesting comparison with the other picture of a SON of this site in its wartime condition).
This view seems to show the driver under reversing supervision at an unknown location (help required please).
Its sister, 2418, is preserved as part of the Wythall collection.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Paul Haywood

03/10/12 – 06:19

Why is it that, every time I see one of these radiators, I think "AEC"? Maybe it’s because I’m a Londoner by birth, despite the Lancashire origins!

Pete Davies

03/10/12 – 09:56

An amusing observation, Pete, that all readers will understand. I looked at the photo, as I did at the earlier one, and wondered about the destination display. The lack of information might be explicable because the vehicle is on driver training, and the similar lack of display on the other SON might (just) be explicable in terms of wartime conditions. However, why is there no destination box at all? The roof line seems to be begging for one. What was Midland Red’s practice?

Roy Burke

03/10/12 – 17:54

Roy, did it perhaps come from the era of slipboards mounted diagonally across the bonnet?

Stephen Ford

03/10/12 – 17:55

If you look at the other wartime SOS-in-service on this site, all is revealed about the destination boards (I had to look first)…. but it still looks as if they meant to have a proper box and changed their minds!


03/10/12 – 17:55

Yes, Roy, this lack of destination screen has always puzzled me. None of the MR half-cabs had them but, as we can see, the body seems to have been designed for a very shallow one. All these buses used destination boards, positioned in slots more or less where the "L" plate is, even after they were rebuilt in the late 1940s. When we consider that, by this time, MR were one of the most progressive operators in the UK – we have to wonder why they retained this archaic arrangement.

Paul Haywood

04/10/12 – 07:33

Not just the destination arrangement but the vehicle itself looks archaic. The last operator to buy SOS chassis from MR was Trent who took their last ones in 1940. Throughout the thirties, most of the Trent ones were antiquated looking. No doubt they were sturdy, no doubt they were economical, but when compared to their neighbours, East Midland and Barton with their impressive fleets of Leylands, I’ve always thought they must have been something of a joke.

Chris Barker

06/10/12 – 07:45

I agree with Chris that Midland Red’s in house SOS designs always looked archaic in comparison with contemporary competition, and the 1920s shape of radiator that, until 1937/38, preceded the "AEC clone" type shown above made the machines look even more ancient. The destination display matter is intriguing. By 1929, the Midland Red fleet consisted entirely of single deck vehicles, and to cope with increasing passenger loadings, the company introduced its first double deck design in 1931, subsequently producing fifty in 1932/33. This design, the DD-RE (I am given to understand that the often quoted designation REDD is erroneous) had a conventional destination display at the front between the decks, yet new single deckers continued to appear with the slip board arrangement on the bulkhead behind the engine bonnet. Someone at the top of the company must have had an intransigent attitude to persevere with this system for so long.

Roger Cox

09/10/12 – 08:19

In connection with Midland Red destination boards on SON vehicles, I remember that about 1950, there used to be an open box in Leominster Bus Station in which appropriate ones were stored for use as required. Nowadays, such an arrangement would provide a ready supply of offensive weapons!
Service numbers were displayed using stencils in a back-lit box in the front nearside window. Only two stencils of each figure were carried, hence there were no BMMO routes numbered 111, 222, 333 etc.

John Hodkinson

15/10/12 – 07:53

BMMO were in the forefront of advertising their services – although it seems Donald Sinclair didn’t necessarily approve of O.C. Power’s tastes in such matters. So why the blinking heck didn’t they see fit to actually advertise clearly where each bus was actually going? – dark night, fog . . . stencil and wooden board??

Philip Rushworth

29/01/13 – 06:30

The location is Rutland Road, Bearwood. Training Instructor Grainger is watching an obviously trustworthy trainee reverse out of the back entrance to the garage, adjacent to the training school – presumably the route through the garage was blocked.
Mr Grainger took me for my driving assessment when I joined the Midland Red in 1973, which I passed with colours if not flying, then certainly flapping in the breeze!

Lloyd Penfold

29/01/13 – 10:04

Lloyd – how good to get not only the exact location, but a name as well! Thank you. The photo has a late 1950s feel to it, so Instructor Grainger would still have at least a decade of active service left. It’s amazing to think that, presumably, he would have had to be proficient in driving these arcane specimens and the C5 motorway expresses!

Paul Haywood

29/01/13 – 15:24

LLoyd, funny how a name triggers the memory (now at 78 suffering somewhat). Mr Grainger took me in Fedd BHA 453 on 13th March ’57 – I kept the record of my training from 11th-28th March 1957 – and again on my ‘pre-test accessment’ on 28th then passed me to Mr Gowan and D7 4453 (XHA 453) for the test, passed OK. Wonder if you recall any of the other instructors : Messrs Shanain, Skinner, Yardley, Callaghan, Powell, Bennett, Mynard and Birch? It was a short but happy training month as I recall.

Nigel Edwards

22/03/14 – 08:26

Midland Red managed without illuminated destination indicators because it was a system where each route was so well known and each stop so clearly marked that it was hard to get the wrong bus by mistake:if in doubt you simply asked the conductor! I was about 12 when the last SONs were in service and I clearly remember that the vehicle batteries could just cope with starting the engine, the interior lights went right out and often had to be switched off in order to start! I doubt if the system could have coped with more lights! Remember that visibility was not exactly a priority in those days, when only a dim red stop/tail light was provided, and this was in a partly rural area. The departure stops were carefully worked out,to the extent that certain stops on a road were used by certain services only. There was one Stop I used near my home in town, which was provided for just the one cross-town route only… other services along that road, and there were many, just ignored it! A couple of my family worked on the buses in that era and never had a problem with destination boards: you just carried the ones you needed on that shift, not a full set!

Michael F

20/04/15 – 07:03

Another idiosyncratic point about SOS half-cabs was the way that the radiator was always offset to the nearside of the centre line of the vehicle by various amounts – particularly noticeable on the three FEDDs that had been given the ‘full frontal’ treatment while retaining the exposed radiator! (EHA 290 / 292 / 297)

Larry B

20/04/15 – 09:25

Larry, sorry to disagree but the SOS radiator was on the centre line, the optical illusion is due to the half cab being really a third of the width of the vehicle. The lack of a balancing mudguard on the offside adds to the illusion. As far as the FEDDs are concerned, from memory, the same illusion existed. BMMO cabs of the period were renowned for being cramped and it has been said elsewhere that the SOS/FEDDs were not the company’s finest products.

Phil Blinkhorn

21/04/15 – 06:23

Phil, the earlier SOS types with the rectangular radiator certainly had the radiator offset to the nearside whilst keeping the starting handle on the centre line. The picture of an ON at this link illustrates the point well:- www.flickr.com/photos/8755708 Midland Red seemed to take a perverse delight in the jarring aesthetics of its pre war designs. As you state, the cab tapered sharply towards the front of the vehicle to line up with the radiator offside, and the mudguards (one could scarcely call them ‘wings’ on such an ugly duckling) were different on each side. Whatever their mechanical virtues, these machines looked awful and the tedious overall red livery just compounded the problem.

Roger Cox

21/04/15 – 09:42

Roger’s link well illustrates the early production offset radiator but my point was regarding the bulk of SOS production, including the illustration on this thread. Larry stated that the radiator was always offset and this myth is perpetuated by many enthusiasts looking at photos because the optical illusion caused by the eccentric design of the cab, dash panel and mudguards misleads the eye.
Measurement of this thread’s and many other photos clearly shows that the vertical chrome strip in the centre of the radiator is at the centre of the width of the vehicle.

Phil Blinkhorn

22/04/15 – 07:25

Phil That is interesting because the starting handle aperture on the original photo at the top is not on the centre line of the radiator. Does that mean that the engine wasn’t on the centreline?

John Lomas

22/04/15 – 07:26

Phil, take a look at this frontal view of a FEDD with the later centre strip radiator. The middle point of the vehicle is surely the starting handle hole, with the radiator offset right up against the nearside dumb iron. //www.classictransportpictures.co.uk/photo_9863080.html

Roger Cox

22/04/15 – 07:26

Sorry Phil but I’m not convinced. If you look at the radiator position in relation to the spring dumb irons (which unarguably are symmetrical) the rad is closer to the near side spring than the offside.

Andrew Charles

GHA 355_lr Vehicle reminder shot for this posting

23/04/15 – 07:05

I have looked at Roger’s link image of the FEDD, and I traced a line down from the upper deck window centre strut, as this seemed to be fitted centrally. This links up nicely with the starting handle hole, and shows that the radiator centre strip is clearly off-set to the near side. My understanding from reading years ago was that most if not all SOS forward control vehicles had a narrow cab, but eased the driver’s position a little by having the engine (and therefore the radiator) mounted towards the nearside. Wasn’t the pre-war Dennis Lancet similarly constructed, with an engine and radiator to the nearside?

Michael Hampton

23/04/15 – 07:06

To me, the centre line of the FEDD radiator agrees entirely with the pillar between the two front windows upstairs, which appears to be in the centre of the body. The cab is certainly less that half the width of the body, which rather distorts the balance of the lower deck. It looks as if the springs are not equidistant from the centre line.

Chris Hebbron

23/04/15 – 07:08

The only pre-war SOS buses with a centrally mounted radiator were the OLR class, which were coaches converted during the war to half-cab from full bonneted normal control, which is why the radiator was fitted centrally.

Tony Gallimore

23/04/15 – 07:08

Roger, Andrew and John, please measure the distances between the centre line of the radiator and the extremities of the vehicles, nearside and offside in both the photo on this thread an the FEDD photo.
As for the position of the starting handle hole there are many examples of Leyland prewar single and double deckers where the starting handle hole is offset yet no-one seems to say the radiators are also off set.

Phil Blinkhorn

24/04/15 – 06:30

Phil It was because of your insistence that the rad is central that I raised the question of the engine being offset.
Ford definitely offset the engine from the centreline on the 83e vans(away from the driver, they even had 2 holes as standard to allow for LH and RH drive) Morris also had an offset engine in a van of comparable size to the Ford.

John Lomas

24/04/15 – 06:32

Sorry, Chris H, but I don’t buy the idea that the position of the offside front chassis member and spring was further outboard than its nearside equivalent. The handling consequences would have been rather "interesting", unless one was driving, of course. This picture proves the point, I think:- www.sct61.org.uk/ttrc3333  
Phil, I concede that the starting handle isn’t centrally placed on the chassis, but I maintain that the radiator is offset to the nearside. If you check the dumb iron positions on the FEDD picture, they are definitely equidistant from the vehicle sides. It’s the radiator that’s askew.

Roger Cox

24/04/15 – 06:34

I accept the challenge and think I’ve found the perfect photo to illustrate the point.
In the TPC book ‘Midland Red’ Vol 1, page 126, is a photo of full front FEDD EHA 290, the radiator’s central filler cap is clearly to the nearside of the central windscreen pillar and the accompanying text states "….showing the radiator offset to the nearside."
There are a number of reasonable quality front end photos of both double and single deck models which highlight that the rad is mounted closer to the nearside front spring than the offside unit, the significance being that the springs are symmetrical to the centre line of the chassis.

Andrew Charles


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