Old Bus Photos

Coventry Corporation – Leyland Atlantean – CDU 348B – 348

Coventry Corporation - Leyland Atlantean - CDU 348B - 348Coventry Corporation - Leyland Atlantean - CDU 348B - 348

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

08/10/15 – 07:13

Talk about being late to the party!
According to "The Leyland Bus Mk2" (D. Jack) page 325, the O.680 engine was "not available in the PDR1/2, owing to torque limitations on the rear axle". The same page confirms it carried the Lowlander rear axle.

Allan White

09/10/15 – 07:18

Better late than never, Allan. All is resolved, I think.

Peter Williamson

20/10/15 – 09:07

CDU 354B

The attached photo shows another of the batch 354, CDU 354B in an unusual location at the rear of PMT Clough Street depot in Hanley (note the broken down PMT lowbridge Atlantean in the background.)
The reason was that PMT had recently installed a Dawson ‘Cyclone’ bus interior cleaner at Hanley Depot in an attempt to improve and speed up nightly interior cleaning. The unit was a massive vacuum cleaner with a bellows which was pushed out to the bus entrance by pneumatic rams, it was switched on and hey presto all the loose rubbish within the bus was sucked into the cleaner. A man with an air lance entered by the emergency door and agitated the less willing items of rubbish into the air stream. Coventry were interested in the concept and on 25th March 1971 sent up 354 (maybe with the previous days rubbish still on the bus??) to see how it performed. As the vacuum plant was situated immediately before the bus wash, a trip through the wash was necessary hence the photo.

Ian Wild

21/10/15 – 06:37

Brilliant, Ian!

Pete Davies

23/10/15 – 06:28

It was a long time ago Pete and I can’t remember how reliable the machine was. It can’t have been exclusive to PMT, does anyone know of other Operators who had one? I do recall that we had to cut apertures at odd places inside the buses eg at floor level in the offside partition at the top of the staircase. It can’t have been much fun inside the bus in a force 8 gale!! I don’t recall losing any seat cushions…..

Ian Wild

23/10/15 – 16:37

Trent Motor Traction at Meadow Road Derby, and United Automobile Services had them. Whether this was at all Depots I do not know.
Malcolm Hitchin MBE in his book ‘Keep the Wheels Turning’, recounting his 50 years in Trent engineering, mentions, that very early on after having the system installed, that, if they did not open the emergency door, before starting the vacuum, then it was possible that the pressure from the vacuum could suck in the bus windows.

Stephen Howarth

CDU 348B Vehicle reminder shot for this posting

12/11/15 – 14:23

Think these units actually had a self changing gear semi automatic box not a Daimatic.
Reason for the purchase of Leylands was that Daimler thinking they had a monopoly put in a price and refused to negotiate even when Leyland put the lower price in. There was much heated debate in the Council Transport Committee meetings and when the order was placed with Leyland there was a lot of aggressive words from Daimler Trade Unions. The follow-on order for Daimlers was placed before the Leylands were delivered.
I made it a task to ride on all the vehicles from both batches and upstairs they had for Coventry 3 single seats behind each other on the nearside.
Willowbrook did not make a good job of the body with lots of water ingress from very early on manifesting itself in brown streaks across the upside dome.
Body vibration was much more pronounced on the Leylands and from both batches I remember being stranded with linkage failures to the engine from the semi gearbox which I presume was pneumatic pipes working loose.
Full buses in rush hour running every 6 minutes dumping a full load in between stops was not a great experience for getting to school on time.
I ended up switching routes to one which had rear loaders just for reliability and avoiding of school detentions

Roger Burdett


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Coventry Corporation – Daimler CWA6 – EKV 966 – 366

EKV 966_lr
Copyright Ken Jones

Coventry Corporation Transport
Daimler CWA6
Duple H30/26R – Roe Pullman H31/25R (1951)

EKV 966 is a Daimler CWA6 dating from 1944. It entered service with Coventry Corporation Transport in 1945 with a Duple Utility body. It was rebuilt with new Roe Pullman body in 1951. It has been in store for many years and made a rare outdoors appearance earlier this year at the Coventry Corporation Transport Centenary rally. It is owned by Coventry Transport Museum

Roger Burdett has issued the following statement November 2012:-

I expect to move it to secure site at the beginning of January 2013 for work to start virtually straight away. It is coming to me on a 20 year loan and I have agreed a remedial plan with Coventry Transport Museum.
Major issues are the cracked block on the engine and the seats which require re-trimming.
The list of work however is quite extensive and cost estimated at a range between £50k and £80k + volunteer hours; depending on what we find on wiring and structure.
Visual issues for consideration are the downstairs windows and whether we keep what is on already (know they are not right) against finding other suitable ones to replace. Knackered Roe bodies are however few and far between; and of course trim material for the seats. Believe in 1951 it was trimmed with Lister check moquette like 126-165 and the nearest material to that is London Transport check.
The hydraulic brakes will require overhaul including refurbished master cylinders and of course £2k for new tyres flaps.
We will not know structure situation till we take side panels off but Roe have a good reputation for this. Chassis looks to be in good nick and does not have the flitch corrosion problem that hits CVGs
I estimate a return to the road sometime in 2014


Photograph and Copy contributed by Ken Jones

11/12/12 – 16:24

366 was withdrawn from service in 1959 but retained by the maintenance department as a mobile workshop with fleet number 02. The platform door was panelled in as were the lower deck windows. It was little used as such but in 1970 was passed to the Transport Museum, the door was reinstated and replacement windows were fitted. The number 366 was affixed in addition to 02.


23/04/18 – 06:20

Now restored and in beautiful condition. Seats fantastic and it certainly motors well.
I managed rides at both Quorn and Aldridge.

Tony Martin

27/04/18 – 05:53

Shows how optimistic I was saying 2014 when in fact it became 2018. We lost a whole year due to issues getting the downstairs window frames fabricated replacing the Orion windows in the picture.
I overlooked I would need new window cappings for the inside of the frame as well. In typical Roe fashion these all became marginally different as Roe did not jig build their bodies.
Then we found the engine block had two cracks-one easily repaired and the other proved impossible. I sourced a Gen-set and my team rebuilt it to the Automotive Spec.
But all worth it when I see comments like Tony’s.
It should appear again at Wythall on Whit Sunday complete with my other two completed Coventrys-244+334

Roger Burdett

28/04/18 – 07:34

Just a quick line to reinforce Tony`s comments on EKV 966.
I had the pleasure of riding on her last Saturday at Quorn, and enjoyed the best ride I ever had on a preserved bus.
Beautifully restored, and the sounds were pure "music" ! The last time I heard such "music" was 1958, when Bradford withdrew its last CWA6s.
Thanks for the enjoyment Roger.

John Whitaker

28/04/18 – 07:35

Well done, Roger, for your tenacity, another quality needed for vehicle restoration! For those of us who won’t be able to see here in the flesh, How about a favourite photo of yours to put with this post?

Chris Hebbron

01/05/18 – 05:49

Where are you based I may bring it to a Bus Event near you?
If you send me your email address I can fill your in-box.

I am not a great poster of photos but Ken Jones has on SCT61

Roger Burdett


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Coventry Corporation – Daimler COG5 – EVC 244 – 244

Coventry Corporation - Daimler COG5G - EVC 244 - 244

Coventry Corporation - Daimler COG5G - EVC 244 - 244
Copyright Ken Jones

Coventry Corporation Transport  
Daimler COG5/40
Park Royal B38F

This bus was new in 1940, as fleet number 244, and sold on to Derby Corporation in 1949 where it took fleet number 47. Being non-standard in Derby, it was used mainly for driver training. Passing to Derby Museums, it was off the road from 1979 onwards. In 2009 it was placed on long term loan to Roger Burdett in return for restoration, and it returned to the road in the Spring of 2012. Roger has had the vehicle immaculately restored into Coventry Corporation Transport livery both inside and out and looks as good as the day it was delivered if not better. This is the first time in 63 years that it has carried this livery.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Ken Jones

A full list of Daimler codes can be seen here.

30/10/12 – 15:23

This vehicle is scheduled to be at the Lincoln rally this coming Sunday 04/11 along with Coventry Double Decker 334.

Ken Jones

31/10/12 – 08:49

Coventry = Daimler buses (well, usually!) and Roger Burdett = outstanding restoration. What more needs to be said?

Pete Davies

31/10/12 – 10:23


David Oldfield

31/10/12 – 17:31

What a Wonderful livery, an Excellent paint job makes you feel you could put your hand into it. The interior is just as good with a lovely clean ceiling.

David J Henighan

02/11/12 – 07:30

All of Roger Burdetts buses & coaches all excellently restored to a good finish
Also Ken Jones for his photographs he’s taken of Rogers vehicles.

Steve Jillings

05/11/12 – 15:17

An excellent event at Lincoln yesterday, despite the cloudy and sometimes wet weather.

Geoff Kerr

05/11/12 – 15:55

I meant to say I rode on it into Lincoln. Another website gives the seating as B38F, a high figure for a half-cab; 35 is more usual. but there wasn’t much legroom!

Geoff Kerr

Thanks Geoff I have filled in the ??s, it is a bit high isn’t it.

15/11/12 – 14:57

Coventry were renowned for pushing seating to the limit. The CVAs from 1947 had 60 seats and CVGs in the late 50s were up at 63.
The COG seating is tight 38 seats in a 26ft vehicle is nearly unique. Lack of seat comfort is why I am unlikely to take it to rallies outside the Midlands.

Roger Burdett

15/11/12 – 15:51

Is it not a COG5/40, the variant single deck Daimler with a very compact cab/engine section, so designed to gain maximum (40 = 40 seats) seating capacity, and only fitted with a Gardner "5"?
Coventry had finalised the design configuration for a 60 seat 4 wheel double decker by 1939, although Daimler were also developing a 6 wheel double deck chassis, the COG6/60 as a 60 seater (plus) for Leicester, when war broke out.
Back to the COG5/40 this was readily identified by its vertical radiator, when the contemporary deckers had sloping radiators, and was represented in several fleets, Lancaster being one.
One of the most attractive preserved buses I have ever seen, and I am still sorry I could not make the recent Lincoln event to see it!

John Whitaker

15/11/12 – 16:52

A good number of North Western pre and immediate post war Bristols previously with 31 and 35 seats were rebodied by Willowbrook in the early 1950s and received 38 seats in their new bodies. Though the chassis were lengthened to 27ft 6ins they were hardly the most comfortable of vehicles.

Phil Blinkhorn

16/11/12 – 15:42

In answer to John’s question it is a COG5/40 but I am not sure the 40 referred to seat numbers

Roger Burdett

I have changed the code adding /40.

17/11/12 – 07:08

John Whitaker is correct. According to the ever reliable Alan Townsin in his book on the Daimler marque, the ’40’ did refer to the potential seating capacity of the COG5/40, but this optimistic figure was achieved only by two buses built for Lancaster Corporation in 1936, which had a rearward facing seat for five at the front. Several bodybuilders achieved a capacity of 39, however, though one imagines that legroom would have been decidedly constrained. As John has accurately stated, the engine was always a 5LW behind a vertical radiator which lacked a fan (the Gardner was always a cool runner), and the engine bay and bonnet assembly was thereby reduced in length to 3ft 11.5inches, a full 8 inches less than that of the COG5 double decker.

Roger Cox

17/11/12 – 08:45

Derby Line up

I thought Roger and others might like to see the attached photograph of a vintage line-up.
It was taken at Derby’s Ascot Drive depot on 29th November 1970. We had travelled down in preserved Oldham Crossley 368 (FBU 827) – a vehicle I was to later own for some years – to collect Derby Crossley 111 (CRC 911), which had just been bought for preservation by Mike Howarth. This was, with the possible exception of Joseph Wood’s example, the last Crossley double-decker in service and also had one of the last Brush bodies built.
A small hand-over ceremony was arranged with the Fleet Engineer at Derby, John Horrocks, who was himself an enthusiast and preservationist and owned Derby Daimler 27 (ACH 627), which is the fourth vehicle in this line up after Roger’s Coventry Daimler.
Happily all four vehicles still exist today although it saddens me greatly that Oldham 368 hasn’t been on the road since about eight months after this picture was taken. Fortunately for a 1950 bus I believe it has yet to spend a first night outdoors, remarkably it has always been kept under cover. The corrosion in this case started bottom up, with combatting the effects of road salt being the main focus of all the work I did on it.
Incidentally, the chassis numbers of these two Oldham and Derby Crossleys were just three apart.

David Beilby

17/11/12 – 14:34

A splendid picture, David. I have a tremendous respect for those such as you who take on the huge task of bus preservation. Only those who have tried it can truly appreciate the effort, expense and dedication involved. We are all the richer for the results.

Roger Cox

17/11/12 – 16:05

…..and so say all of us, Roger.

David Oldfield

06/02/14 – 08:35

What a joy it was to see the photo’s of Coventry buses. As an ex employee before nationalisation, I’m now retired and moved back to COV after spending time with Midland Red and East Kent (Office & Platform) I am trying to obtain a fleet list for Coventry Transport for the period 1955 to when it became West Midland. If anyone can help I would be most grateful.
I will be posting an article on Pool Meadow in the 50’s and 60’s, which was where all bus enthusiasts of every age spent there leisure time. Anyone who was around at that time,I would be pleased to share our memories.


07/02/14 – 06:47

You can find a complete list of every CCT bus from 1914 to 1974 at //www.cct-society.org.uk/corporation/buses.htm.


EVC 244_lr Vehicle reminder shot for this posting

16/06/20 – 06:58

Just wondering about two Coventry buses in Bangkok, one had been converted to a tow vehicle, the other was a standard Bus. This would have been 2012 I think, we were traveling down river on a water bus and I noticed the Coventry livery as we passed. Unfortunately there wasn’t time but I have often wondered how they came to be there. As I left Coventry in 1970 it did spark my interest but since then I have never had the chance to follow it up

Bill Ballington


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