Old Bus Photos

Demonstrator – Jensen JLP1 – 1 AEA

Demonstrator - Jensen JLP1 - 1 AEA
Copyright Unknown

Demonstrator
1949
Jensen JLP1
Sparshatt B40F

In December 1949 the first prototype of the Jensen JLP1 passenger chassis visited the Manchester area while on an extensive demonstration tour. The vehicle was unregistered and its (presumed!) the trade plate had been removed for this publicity shot and replaced with the false registration mark 1 AEA – in real life this wasn’t issued until 1960. It was distributed by North-West area Jensen dealership J R Evans of Cross Street, Manchester 2. Despite a fondness for Jensens (and other lost causes) I’ve never seen a photograph of the prototype during its demonstration tour before. Are there any others?
The JLP1 was an extended (27ft 6in) version of the JP1 personnel carrier offered to industrial and social welfare users. Less than 50 of the JP1 were sold and only five of the longer PSV version. All had aluminium chassis frames to reduce weight to slightly less than 5 tons – not bad for a 40 seat vehicle but aluminium was an expensive material which resulted in a price-tag 25% higher than that of a comparable Sentinel STC4.
The bus version was offered as a semi-integral, bodied by Sparshatt as seen in this view. The only order came from Hutchings & Cornelius of South Petherton for two vehicles, the first prototype (as seen here) which became MYA 391 in July 1950, and a second vehicle (which had already been built as a "speculative" sale) as MYA 816 in August.
The coach version was slightly more successful, with three being produced in 1949/50 for small operators in London (with a Strachans body), the Isle of Wight (with a Reading body), and County Durham (with ACB bodywork). Jensen soon gave up on goods vehicles and PSVs to concentrate on its sports cars.

(With thanks to Mike Shaw and George Turnbull of GMTS for finding the shot and allowing me to borrow it for scanning)

Photograph and Copy contributed by Neville Mercer


20/08/15 – 05:57

Thanks for posting, Neville. Another ‘blast from the past’ as they used to say on a radio station of the mid to late 1960’s. I understand that it’s still with us (the radio station, I mean, not this gem) At first glance, it looks rather Beadle or MCW Olympic in origins, so it’s interesting that the price comparison is with a Sentinel!

Pete Davies


20/08/15 – 05:58

A very interesting photograph indeed Neville, and thank you very much for posting, and thanks also to Mike Shaw and George Turnbull for granting permission to do so. I must admit to not knowing a great deal about JNSN, apart from it being the commercial vehicle arm of Jensen Motors of West Bromwich at one time, and I believe the bus/coach model utilised a combination of Perkins engine and David Brown gearbox. The Sparshatt body looks quite neat, but there does not appear to be a door fitted at the unusually-shaped entrance, which must have made for a draughty ride. (That would have confined any cigarette smoke well and truly to the rear of the vehicle!). Use of aluminium for the chassis/underframe obviously led to the impressive unladen weight, and is reminiscent of Bristol’s two LS prototype buses, which also had aluminium alloy underframes. Subsequent LS production models had steel underframes however – steel lending itself better to welding techniques and also being less expensive than aluminium.

Brendan Smith


20/08/15 – 10:32

Interesting post – JNSN certainly lived a shadowy life. Much was against the success of this vehicle. As usual, conservatism in the industry and 1950 was a bit late, post-war, for the benefit of distressed purchases. I can’t make out the entrance at all. There seems to be a bulkhead behind the driver, but only a half-height partition in front of the front nearside passenger seat, making for an even draughtier journey!
Interesting that Sparshatts and Reading both get a mention above. They were physically next door neighbours at Hilsea, Portsmouth. Reading eventually sold out to Sparshatts, who carried on with Reading’s order book, but did not take over their building, which slowly decayed over the years.

Chris Hebbron


24/08/15 – 06:01

I always enjoyed the occasional glimpse of a Jensen lorry on the road but never saw a bus. Without those silly black shapes over the wheelarches this well-proportioned example would look very good: neat and businesslike. I’m surprised they didn’t manage to get the weight below 5 tons. Wonder what the fuel mileage was like? With the Perkins P6, perhaps not all that wonderful. In the yard outside the 1964(?) Commercial Motor Show in London there was a Dennis Pax demonstrator bus giving rides. It had much in common with the Jensen: entrance ahead of front axle, light weight, Perkins P6; but a Dennis gearbox instead of the Jensen’s David Brown. Good try…

Ian T


24/08/15 – 09:30

Ian T – I can remember going up the Great Orme once on a Dennis Pax bus, rather basic, but built for a challenging job. It didn’t have an entrance forward of the front wheels, however.

Chris Hebbron


26/08/2015 17:22:16

Jensen has popped up on this site before, but not in a form to be indexed. There was a question about them which provides a bit more info from David Oldfield and Peter Tulloch and some scratchbuilt models by Iain Simms. I am always intrigued by the radiator grille which seems the opposite of the discreet identities we are generally used to, and I wonder if it was OTT for some operators- RR might have been OK. I dimly remember seeing it on pantechnicons too?

Joe


23/11/15 – 06:31

My father worked for Martins the Cleaners based at Apperley Bridge Bradford. I remember they had a few Jenson pantechnicons and these were followed by Commer Avengers and Ford R226.

Geoff S


23/11/15 – 14:46

With Regard to Ian T’s comment, we at Glasgow Vintage Vehicle Trust recently were donated a number of mid 1960s editions of Passenger Transport courtesy Model Bus Federation Scotland. In one of them Alan Townsin road tests a Dennis Bus for rural services. It was a Dennis bodied Dennis Pax IIA PSV model and had as you say a Dennis gearbox but the engine was a Perkins 6:308 the direct injection development of the P6.
It was photographed in Dennisville, Guildford carrying registration HPC 153C but that does not show on BLotW which has a list of all Pax IIA buses, the majority wheelchair accessible school buses for London Authorities.
AIUI the surviving Llandudno bus has a 6:354 and a David Brown Gearbox.

Apologies. I appreciate BLotW is an evolving site. HPC 153C does now appear if you search for it. but not in the Pax IIA list. NO chassis number is listed so it might be the one sold to Merseyside Fire Brigade on the other list.

 

Stephen Allcroft


 

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Demonstrator – Daimler Fleetline – 565 CRW

Demonstrator - Daimler Fleetline - 565 CRW

With – Newcastle Corporation
1963
Daimler Fleetline CRG6LX
Alexander H44/34F

565 CRW; 1963 H44/34F Alexander bodied Daimler Fleetline CRG6LX demonstrator:
Over the years, Newcastle Corporation had quite a number of Daimlers, both double and single deck, with a variety of bodies from different coachbuilders, but with the demise of the half cab in favour of front entrance rear engine buses they stayed very firmly entrenched in the Leyland camp. However, that’s not to say that they didn’t dip a toe in the water. This Daimler demonstrator pictured at Tynemouth is on loan to Newcastle Corporation. The service 11 ran from Newcastle Haymarket to Tynemouth, and was shared by NCT and NGT’s Percy Main depot. When it first started in 1928, the operating licences were divided equally between Newcastle Corporation, Tynemouth and District Transport, and Wakefields Motors Ltd. Wakefields subsequently became part of the NGT group, but all their operators licences remained in their name, so officially, three Percy Main vehicles on this route either had to carry the Wakefields name, or display an ‘On hire to Wakefields’ sticker, needless to say, this was a formality that was frequently overlooked.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Ronnie Hoye


24/02/14 – 07:50

7000 HP_2

Two Demonstrators were shown at the 1960 Commercial Motor Show, one was a chassis, the other a CRD6 model, with chassis No.60000, the well known 7000HP, in Birmingham City Transport livery, shown above.

7000 HP_3

This bus later ended up with the Blue Bus Services (Tailby and George) fleet at Willington in Derbyshire, and was totally destroyed in the disastrous fire in January 1976. See here:- www.stephenhowarth.co.uk/ 

324 YNU

Blue Bus Services (Tailby and George) also took 5 more Fleetlines one of which was the first production chassis – 60003, bodies by Northern Counties in 1962, 324 YNU. Seen here in the 3rd picture negotiating flood waters (just shows they are not a modern problem as the press would have us think), on the Derby to Burton via Etwall service, later to be numbered 46 by Derby Borough Transport on the takeover by that concern in 1974.

Stephen Howarth


25/02/14 – 14:42

Thanks for posting this, Ronnie. I found it rather intriguing! The vehicle shown is, indeed 565 CRW, and I have a bought colour shot of her in a livery with slightly more cream. What intrigues me is that I have vague memories of a Daimler/Alexander demonstrator with an awkwardly similar registration, namely 595 CRW. Were there really two of them, or is my memory card in need of replacement???

Pete Davies


25/02/14 – 17:14

SGD 669_2

Here’s another demonstrator on the 11 Tynemouth to Newcastle, arriving at the Haymarket. Photo by Bob Mack.
Atlantean SGD 669 started life as Glasgow Corporation LA91 then returned to Leyland for use as a demonstrator, afterwards moving on to the Fishwick fleet in Leyland as their no. 34.
IIRC it was in Newcastle during 1964, AFTER the Corporation had committed to this style of bodywork in 1963 on the first trolleybus replacement Atlanteans (1-12 JVK) so I’m not sure what it was demonstrating at the time! Or was it working with Tynemouth, Ronnie?
Does anyone know why this vehicle was chosen for its wider role? Did it initially have any features different from the Glasgow standard? I think (fatal!) that its green panels were changed to matching yellow for its time in Newcastle, so perhaps other modifications happened as well. Did it run in Glasgow colours while in Halifax?

Tony Fox


26/02/14 – 07:40

Glasgow had loaned different Atlanteans to Leyland for demonstration work. Theirs were 30′-8" long and with this stylish Alexander body would have conveyed the modern image of a bus that Leyland would wish to portray. Glasgow and Leyland came to an agreement to part with LA91, replaced later with LA202, presumably to make a vehicle immediately available to Leyland. A six-month wait would risk letting Daimler seize the opportunity. As a demonstrator its Glasgow livery was certainly changed to one more like the Newcastle one, without the green.
I am pretty sure there was no 595 CRW, or at least a Fleetline with that number, but 565 CRW certainly demonstrated in two liveries as it appeared at Halifax in both guises.

David Beilby


26/02/14 – 07:41

Can’t say for certain, Tony. I started at Percy Main in January 1967, so this was before my time, however, by 1963, T&D had 22 PDR1/1’s, which was roughly a quarter of the D/D fleet. In 1963, they took delivery of the first of two batches of Weymann bodied CRG6LX Fleetlines, followed by three batches of Alexander bodied versions in 65/7&8. I lived close to Percy Main depot, and took a keen interest in what went on. From memory, demonstrators were usually to be found working the very busy stop start Whitley Bay to Lobley Hill Gateshead service 1, which was a greater test of stamina than the equally busy but less demanding service 11. If you want my opinion, I would say that it was with NCT rather than Tynemouth.

Ronnie Hoye


26/02/14 – 07:43

Pete, there were no other Fleetline demonstrators around at the time of 565 CRW. I think it replaced 4559VC, a Northern Counties-bodied example which went on to spend many years with Procter’s of Hanley.
Tony, although SGD 669 is nowadays widely-referred to as being ‘ex-Glasgow’, I have to cast doubt on the notion that it actually reached there. Leyland had already, on separate occasions, borrowed two Glasgow Atlanteans, I think they were LA6 and LA83. It was then announced that Glasgow had agree to ‘sell’ LA91 – but it is my recollection that at that time deliveries had not reached that point, and, if that was the case, LA91 would still be in build. Also, it does seem unlikely that Leyland would buy back an already-delivered vehicle when identical ones were still being completed at the rate of, probably, two a week.
SGD 669 took up its demonstration duties in mock Newcastle Corporation livery – there again, why repaint a bus after a week or two in service, when one could be painted to order from scratch?
You’ll see that I said Glasgow had agreed to ‘sell’ LA91 – but it was ultimately replaced by LA152, which was effectively added to the next order for fifty similar buses. So the situation would appear to have been a bit more involved than a simple ‘sale’.
To the question of whether it ran in Halifax in Glasgow colours, I’m obviously doubting that it ever received those colours, and I’m pretty certain that it didn’t do any demonstrating in them.
There’s actually already a page on OBP devoted to SGD 669. www.old-bus-photos.co.uk/?p=581

David Call


26/02/14 – 07:45

When the Atlantean was demonstrated in Aberdeen it was painted yellow and cream Newcastle style.
From memory it had also been in France, the wording on the offside was "Ici Le Leyland Atlantean 78 places".
565 CRW saw service with both Grahams of Paisley and Moffat and Williamson of Gauldry.

Stephen Bloomfield


26/02/14 – 12:10

565 CRW demonstrated at Halifax three times. The first time, in April 1964, it was in a different livery to that depicted above, using a deep brownish maroon and a rich cream. It returned to Halifax in October 1964 to demonstrate to Hebble in the same livery. It returned to the Corporation again in September 1965, by which time it had been repainted in the Edinburgh style with a lighter, more Edinburgh-like red, but with more of an ivory relief colour, rather than Edinburgh’s white. It paid a longer third visit in August/September 1966, just prior to the Corporation’s own first Fleetlines being delivered, still in the same livery. I think much of its extended stay involved some engineering familiarisation.
SGD 669 demonstrated to Halifax in May/June 1964. It was in a Newcastle-style livery, and I recall the interior was rather plain with a lot of darkish green rexene. It returned to the area to demonstrate to Hebble in October/November 1964. There is a nice photo of it working for Halifax Corporation here: www.sct61.org.uk/hxsgd699

John Stringer


26/02/14 – 13:06

Something has just struck me regarding the Alexander body. On such a modern design for the period, why did they continue with rear mudguards when others had abandoned them? It looks particularly odd given the lack of matching ones for the front wheels.

Phil Blinkhorn


26/02/14 – 14:11

If memory serves, Phil, the rear wings were rubber, and so less prone to accidental damage when removing the wheels, especially the inners.

Ronnie Hoye


27/02/14 – 07:38

565 CRW_2

Here is Daimler Fleetline 565 CRW in King Cross Road, Halifax en route from Hebden Bridge to Brighouse when on hire to HPTD in the summer of 1965. The picture was taken late in the evening when I spotted the bus and just managed to get off a shot (with entirely guessed exposure settings) as I walked home, hence the indifferent quality of the picture.

Roger Cox


28/02/14 – 07:54

The hopper windows were uncommon in those days, I can’t recall any local Operators using them (ECW fitted them to Lodekkas etc). Was this body tagged on to one for regular Alexander users (Glasgow or SBG?) Maybe they specified them? They look much neater tan sliders.

Ian Wild


01/03/14 – 13:36

565 CRW had an A-type body with body number A/1363. Alexander’s body numbering was a bit erratic at the time as they kept changing the system, but the only other A-types ordered around the same time seem to have been A/1663 for AA, Ayr (XSD 430); A/1963 for McGill, Barrhead (AHS 16B); A/2063 for Graham, Paisley (HXS 864). Looking at photos of these three on the web show that all had normal sliding windows.

John Stringer


29/06/14 – 07:17

I am sure 565 CRW worked for Harper Bros (Heath Hayes) as a demonstrator for a while in the mid sixties, but if my memory is correct there was a lot more cream livery on it then.

Keith Harley


20/11/15 – 14:12

Significant information just published in Buses Mag December 2015 page 84 reveals that 565 CRW was shown at 1963 Scottish Motor Show in Glasgow Corporation colours, finished to Glasgow spec.
Having a life-long interest in Fleetlines I was not aware of this but Alan Millar confirms this was the case. Buses Illustrated January 1964 issue page 7 states "By the time this column went to press no order had been placed by G.C.T. for another Fleetline" (GCT already had SGD 730, new in May 1963) "But the Show model was finished in G.C.T. colours and to G.C.T. specification" Has anyone seen a picture of 565 CRW in Glasgow colours?

Jim Neale


565 CRW Vehicle reminder shot for this posting


25/10/16 – 14:22

I always liked that Alexander body style on Atlanteans and Fleetlines. Bury had 15 on Fleetline chassis, 117-131, later Selnec 6317-31. They were the only ones in the combined fleet after the PTE took over with the highbridge version of the body, although North Western had quite a few with the low height version. Bury had one of those for a short time, YJA 2, in overall advertising livery for Quicks for Ford.

David Pomfret


 

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Demonstrator – Seddon Pennine IV – RBU 502F

Demonstrator - Seddon Pennine IV - RBU 902F

Demonstrator - Seddon Pennine IV - RBU 902F

Demonstrator
1968
Seddon Pennine IV
Pennine B45F

Something to give Roger Cox the shudders ! In late 1968 Halifax Corporation borrowed the prototype Seddon Pennine IV demonstrator, though I wonder if the intention was simply to give the manufacturer some operational experience of their new model. Surely manager Geoff Hilditch could never have been serious about the department acquiring any. I believe this body design remained unique, as shortly afterwards the model was offered as a complete item with a more distinctive style. Hilditch later collaborated with Seddon in the introduction of the heavier duty rear-engined Pennine RU model, and the prototype of that soon appeared in Halifax on trial.

In the first photo it is seen passing along Waterhouse Street in the town centre. In the second, rather snatched and blurry shot, it is seen at speed on the A58 between Stump Cross and Hipperholme whilst operating the dreaded Meredith & Drew private hire return journey.

Photograph and Copy contributed by John Stringer


25/08/13 – 11:32

Good to see this bus in reasonable condition. It later became Seddon’s own works bus, used to bring staff to the factory off Shaw Road in Oldham. In this role it replaced the earlier Seddon that ran as West Riding 738 (EHL 500). Both of these vehicles were clearly non-PSVs as shown by their deteriorating condition. RBU 502F I don’t believe ever got repainted and ended up with several plywood "windows". It was still there when I was in the late seventies.

David Beilby


25/08/13 – 14:53

How right you are, John. I consider the Pennine IV to have been the most horrible vehicle of my experience, though the Cummins engined Leyland Lynx runs very close in second place. It was basically a crude, fragile, lorry derived design with primitive suspension and decidedly wayward steering characteristics. The ear splitting din from the Perkins 6.354 engine mounted in the front overhang made the Regent V sound like a trolleybus by comparison. I cannot believe that, having inspected this Emett inspired aberration, Geoff Hilditch even remotely considered it suitable for the taxing topography of the Halifax bus network. Robert Seddon had been very supportive towards GGH at an early stage of his engineering career, and it is fully understandable that he, GGH, would have wished to assist in the development of Seddon’s more determined incursion into the main bus manufacturing market. Though the Pennine IV sold reasonably well as a lightweight, medium duty coach, those who acquired the thing as an inexpensive bus soon found that it was not up to the job. Seddon then went on, with GGH’s encouragement, to produce the RU, and this, also, ultimately proved to be something of a broken reed. Only the heavier weight Pennine VII produced for the Scottish Bus Group showed that the firm could make a fully robust psv. I recall that my very first experience of a Seddon coach was in 1958, when, as an ATC cadet on summer camp at RAF Colerne, near Bath, I went on a chartered trip with the rest of the squadron to Wookey Hole. The vehicle that took us was a Seddon, probably the R6 powered Mark 11, as it had the engine mounted under a rather high floor of a front entrance coach body. My main recollection of the ride is the seemingly continual gearchanging (it had a two speed axle into the bargain) required of the torqueless, screaming engine that kept the driver fully employed throughout. I did take a picture of this machine with my Brownie 127, but the negative fell somewhere by the wayside during parental home removals when I worked elsewhere in the land. I wonder if anyone now can identify this beast or the operator.

Roger Cox


25/08/13 – 19:52

RBU 902F_3

Here is a photo of RBU 502F, which I photographed in Fred Winters scrapyard at North Cave in East Yorkshire, taken in 1982, still carries Seddon names on the side, but none standard windows.

Mike Davies


26/08/13 – 17:12

It is interesting to note that the front wheels in particular are inboard of the body sides by quite a margin. With the weight of the engine in the front overhang, a relatively narrow track and presumably 8ft wide bodywork, does anyone know what it handled like?

Brendan Smith


27/08/13 – 05:39

Yes, Brendan. The Pennine IV handled like a pig. I drove one from Gomshall in Surrey to Loughborough, and the steering needed constant correction to keep the thing in a straight line, not helped by the bouncy suspension which could barely cope with the weight of the overhung engine. It had the worst road behaviour of any vehicle I have ever driven.

Roger Cox


27/08/13 – 05:40

Didn’t KMB take 100 Pennine IVs with pretty-much off-the-peg Pennine bodywork around 1970? I think the only concession to Hong Kong conditions were full-depth sliding windows, whilst drivers sweltered behind BET windscreens, and the Perkins (V6?) engines sweltered behind grilles designed for temperate climates . . . I think nearly all were rebuilt with in-house fronts incorporating flat/opening windscreens and larger radiator grilles within a few years.
Halifax JOC’s [sic] Pennine RUs had a high/flat floor (they were kitted-out as DPs): did they have a high chassis frame or did Plaxton support the body floor in some way? and did any other RU operator opt for this high floor line? They also had narrow two-piece glider doors – in short, non of the advantages offered by the RU, but all the engineering problems . . . surely, Halifax’s usual Leopard/Reliance chassis choice would have done the job better. What struck me when they were introduced – and I was 5/6 at the time, so memory might be fading a bit here – was the way the lower back panels stepped out and that they didn’t have "modern" rear lights but the "old" two-piece/oblong units sort-of set into the rear panel . . . is anybody getting the gist here? I’m wondering now, I think they’d be 10 metre, so the step-out couldn’t have compromised length, but was it necessary to inset the rear lights into the body to accommodate the length of the rear overhang? (presumably the RU, squeezing everything behind the rear axle, had a longish overhang?). I think they may also have had coach-glasses below the rear window containing the registration and, either side, the Halifax coat of arms . . . I’m sure that’s the case, because it stuck in my young mind as being "inappropriate" for a bus (as opposed to a coach).
I guess that if I could be bothered to trawl flickr etc then the answers might be there, but I can’t, and anyway its much more interesting to see what this site might come up with . . . or not!

Philip Rushworth


27/08/13 – 11:40

There is a photo of mine posted on ‘another website’ showing a rear view of one of the Halifax RU’s – complete with the stepped out panel. Here’s the link.

John Stringer


28/08/13 – 06:07

I didn’t move to Huddersfield until 1972 but I can’t recall the three Halifax Seddons having this unusual rear end arrangement at that time. At the time of the PTE takeover (yes, 1974 and outside the strict remit of this site), Huddersfield had two further Seddon RUs on order to be bodied by Pennine. We were instructed by Geoffrey Hilditch as PTE Engineering Director Designate to transfer the body order to Plaxtons who produced bodies similar to those recently delivered to Rotherham Corporation also on RU chassis. Whilst I can’t recall the floor layout, I am certain that those buses did not have the protruding rear panels as shown on Halifax 315. Could these have been to create a small luggage boot?? Engine access would have been restricted.

Ian Wild


28/08/13 – 06:09

Thanks for that, John – well, thanks for both sign-posting your photograph and for having the fore-sight to photograph the rear-end, anticipating my musings of 40+ years later. In my mind, the coach-glass just had the crests either side of the registration, but can I make out Halifax in Gothic script above the registration? (the glass is deeper than I remembered); neither do I remember the reversing lights, nor the removable centre panel, nor the squared-off-compared-to-BET-standard rear window – but I think my memories were pretty accurate . . . . now, if only my mother would have given-in to my entreaties to ‘ride on one of the "white buses" to Huddersfield’ I might be able to recall what the interiors were like. The final "Halifax Passenger Transport" timetable (pre-WYPTE) contained a "glossy" colour section illustrating/detailing Halifax buses over the years: one of the Seddons was illustrated, and the description included the phrase (or similar) " . . . the design is still regarded as experimental . . ." – sadly, by 1974, I think the experiment was largely over as regards the Pennine RU drive-train.

Provincial took quite a number of Pennine IVs to replace its re-built Guy Arabs. Anyway, when I was trawling on-line to satisfy my curiosity as to how many, I discovered that the model had been offered with 3 choices of engine: Perkins V8 (eg., KMB); Perkins in-line 6 (eg., Provincial); and Deutz 6-cylinder (a sop to win the Provincial order?) – were any Pennine IVs actually built with the Deutz option?

Philip Rushworth


28/08/13 – 15:07

The reign of the Deutz engine at the Gosport and Fareham (aka Provincial) company came to an end with the retirement of Mr H Orme White in 1967 at the age of 81. His successor, Mr Woolford, looked to get rid of the elderly AEC and Guy crew operated buses, several of which had been rebuilt with Deutz air cooled engines, and introduce a replacement fleet of one person operated single deckers. The Seddon Pennine IV/Perkins 6.354 was chosen, presumably because it was relatively cheap, and no doubt, it was felt that Seddon machinery would be more durable than the offerings from Bedford (history would prove otherwise). When these vehicles were delivered, the Deutz era at Hoeford was well past, so it is unlikely that a Deutz engined option for the Pennine IV would have enticed the then management of Gosport and Fareham. In the event, the G&F undertaking was swallowed up by the Wiles Group in 1969, and, thanks to Nigel Turner’s researches (see his comment on the ‘Gosport and Fareham (Provincial)’ gallery on this site) we now know that the Wiles (later the Swain) Group was one of the identities of the asset stripping Hanson Trust. Less than a year later, on 1st January 1970, G&F was sold to NBC. The possibility of a Pennine IV being offered with a Deutz air cooled engine utterly beggars belief. The racket given out by these engines became legendary. The Perkins engined version was deafening enough. A Deutz engined version would have required the entire passenger complement to wear industrial ear protection.

Roger Cox


29/08/13 – 06:36

Mention of the Deutz engine being fitted to Seddons rang a distant bell from the time years ago when I used to read the weekly ‘Motor Transport’ newspaper and took a bit more of an interest in trucks than I do these days. I recall a variant of the 13:4 truck chassis (to which the Pennine IV was probably related) which was sold under the Seddon-Deutz identity and was clearly aimed at wooing overseas customers, so it seems likely that it could have been offered in the Pennine IV also. I have found a link to a website showing an item of literature about the truck version (though unfortunately it reveals little else) here: http://www.commercialmotor.com/big-lorry-blog/that-maggie-was-a-seddonanothe

John Stringer


29/08/13 – 06:37

Roger, I just want to be clear about this – you don’t think that a Deutz-engined Pennine IV would have been the most refined vehicle on the market? In one of the wonderful ways of this site, I hadn’t realised that the Wiles Group was the acorn from which Hanson Trust grew. At its peak Hanson Trust included Courage Brewery, Golden Wonder snacks, hotels, and much more, on both sides of the Atlantic – but they over-reached themselves with a bid for ICI in which some shady business practices were exposed, and I now understand that they’ve contracted to be a largely UK-based supplier of brick/concrete/aggregate to the construction industry.
The Hanson family’s bus/coach operations, petrol stations, car/PSV driving school, travel agencies, and road haulage operations (principally based around Huddersfield) all remained family-owned businesses outwith the Hanson Trust. JET petroleum, one of the first discounted petrol retailers, was started by a consortium including the Hanson family but was disposed of when it had grown to a size where substantial investment in refining capability would have been required.
Anyway, back to the Pennine RU (if not the Pennine IV): according to Vol2 of Duncan Roberts’s history of Crosville (TPC/NBC) problems with the short drive shaft inherent in the RU’s design led to Crosville’s specimens being modified by having the engine set back by 8-10in to accommodate a slightly longer drive-shaft, which resulted in a slight bustle effect in the bodywork . . . could this have been a late modification to Halifax’s RU’s pre-delivery? something that was incorporated into the overall body-work design/dimensions in the later vehicles to which Ian refers?

Philip Rushworth


29/08/13 – 19:15

Crosville had the largest fleet of Pennine RUs at 100 some of which were dual purpose Crosville did not go back and quickly disposed of the ones they owned The next largest fleet was the 49 owned by Lancs United These had Plaxton bodywork with a very old fashioned front with a two piece separate wind screen Prior to this LUT had bought both REs and LHs so the choice was somewhat surprising At the time the RU was seen as a version of the RE which would replace the expected model cull by Leyland to make room for the National which was just off the drawing board

Chris Hough

29/08/13 – 19:16

Philip, I suspect that any operator that bought a Deutz engined Pennine IV would have gone bankrupt within a week; nobody would have ventured to take a second trip on such a raucous machine. Seddon did offer a version of the Pennine IV with the engine, a turbocharged Perkins 6.354, set lower at the front beneath a high floor level, and called it the Pennine 6 (reverting to Arabic numerals), but I believe that few were sold in the UK. A picture of a Willowbrook bodied example may be seen here:- www.flickr.com/
It is noteworthy that a more substantial/wider track front axle seems to have been fitted to this model. The Wikipedia entry for the RU confirms that the Crosville examples were modified as you describe. I think that they just about managed to get a ten year life out of them. It is surprising that, given Seddon’s decidedly chequered history as psv manufacturers, the Scottish Bus Group entrusted the firm with the design and manufacture of a Gardner engined "Leopard clone". In the event, the Pennine 7 proved to be a robust and reliable model. Turning to the subject of Hanson, my initial encounter with this name came when, as a Traffic Clerk at Halifax in the mid ‘sixties, I came across it as a bus operator and haulage contractor in Huddersfield. Much later, in 1984, Hanson bought out the old London Brick Company, famous for its fleet of red AEC lorries, for a song when the share value fell below its asset value (notably the land). Now the vast acreage of former brick clay workings between Yaxley and Peterborough is the location of a horrible, high density, new town development named ‘Hampton’ (whoever dreamed up that name should get out a bit more.) Brick making remains only on a very reduced scale at Kings Dyke near Whittlesey.

Roger Cox


01/09/13 – 14:08

Roger, giving some thought to things, just how much of a Seddon product was the Pennine VII? When did the first Pennine VIIs enter service – 1973/4? Seddon had acquired Atkinson in 1970 . . . and presumably the designs to the Atkinson Alpha. SBG wanted an underfloor saloon with manual gearbox following withdrawal of the Leopard PSU3/3R in 1970/71 – Seddon wouldn’t have been required to design de novo, just polish-up (eg. get rid of the vacuum brakes) the old Alpha design (last built 1962/3 for Sunderland). Does anybody out there know just how much – if anything, I stand to be corrected – the Seddon Pennine VII owes to the Atkinson Alpha? Did any of this factor in SBG’s thinking? . . .
Again an aside, generated by trawls initiated by this site: I hadn’t known that, until Atkinson’s takeover by Seddon in 1970, Leyland had held 15% of the shares – presumably since the time of Atkinson’s reconstitution in 1933.

Philip Rushworth


02/09/13 – 08:00

Philip, thanks for that idea about the Atkinson pedigree of the Pennine 7. I am sure that you are correct, though the thought had not struck me before. Seddon had never built a traditional heavy duty psv chassis, nor one with a horizontal underfloor engine, yet the Pennine 7 went into service quickly, had no teething troubles of significance, and gave years of reliable service, a situation utterly at variance with the history of unpredictable psvs of genuine Oldham origin. The service record of the Pennine 7 has more in keeping with the Atkinson legacy of rugged dependability than the Seddon saga of underwhelming engineering design. Certainly, the Atkinson board fought strongly against the hostile takeover bid by Seddon in 1970, sadly to no avail. Earlier attempts to take over Atkinson by ERF and Foden were successfully resisted. Some sources quote the Leyland shareholding figure in Atkinson as 20%, and it was Leyland’s acceptance of the Seddon offer that allowed the splendid Preston firm to fall into the dubiously capable clutches of the Oldham upstart. This page makes interesting reading:- web.warwick.ac.uk/services/ The malign influence of the Stokes era at Leyland spread far and wide. Perhaps Leyland detected the underlying weaknesses at Seddon, took the money, and anticipated an early demise of its enlarged, over ambitious, Oldham competitor. As it turned out, the independent Seddon-Atkinson company lasted only a further four years before selling out to International Harvester of the USA in 1974.

Roger Cox


02/09/13 – 08:00

Your thoughts regarding Atkinson’s possible input into the Seddon Pennine VII design are fascinating Philip, and maybe the Atkinson Alpha just could have been updated by Seddon-Atkinson, you never know. After all, Leyland Leopard and AEC Reliance chassis evolved steadily throughout their long production lives, with various modifications to engines, brakes, gearboxes, axles etc, as vehicle lengths (and weights) increased over time. Your aside re Leyland’s 15% shareholding in Atkinson reminded me that Gardner had a small shareholding in ERF for many years. Also, following the Foden brothers split in the early ‘thirties, Gardner supported Edwin Richard Foden when he founded ERF in 1933, by supplying engines to him on credit terms. This was not offered to other Gardner customers at the time, but Gardner presumably realised the potential of ERF’s strong commitment to the development of Diesel-engined lorries. The link up was to prove beneficial to both parties for many years.

Brendan Smith


03/09/13 – 09:00

I believe that the Pennine 7 was purely a Seddon product. I worked there at the later stages of its production and they were all built at Oldham, whereas the Gardner-engined 400-series lorries were always built at Preston (then, at least). I even designed a spring packer for the Pennine 7 to help balance one batch which were proving troublesome – I can’t remember with certainty which but it may have been the Plaxton-bodied version.
Apart from the fact that they were underfloor-engined chassis with a Gardner engine, there was little in common between the Alpha and the Pennine 7. The frame was completely different on the Pennine as it was cranked to accommodate the wide 6HLXB engine. Alphas had either Atkinson’s own gearbox, a weird and wonderful contraption but very compact, or a David Brown box. The Pennine 7 had a ZF box. Late versions of both had semi-automatic boxes which I think were self-changing gears.
I think, but can’t confirm, that the front axle was a Seddon-designed one on the Pennine, with an Eaton rear axle. The Alpha had Kirkstall axles.

David Beilby


03/09/13 – 16:30

David, thanks for that detailed response – my curiosity is satisfied!

Philip Rushworth


02/07/14 – 06:33

While it may at first seem strange that the SBG ‘entrusted’ Seddon with the task of producing an underfloor engined single decker to their requirements, one has to remember that they probably didn’t have a lot of choice at that time. Leyland clearly weren’t interested, while the other established British manufacturers didn’t have a ready made heavy duty UFE chassis – I’m thinking Bedford and Ford there, neither of whom (I guess) would have wanted to build something with a Gardner engine. Other than that, they would have had to go to a foreign, or foreign-owned, manufacturer – or there was Seddon. I don’t think there would have been anyone else at that time. I suppose one other possibility might have been ERF, who did build buses, but not for the British market.
The SBG had already become involved with one foreign-owned manufacturer in such a project (the Ailsa), and probably didn’t want to be seen buying too much foreign produce at that time – SBG was, after all, a state-owned body. Volvo wouldn’t have built a version of the B58 with a Gardner, or Leyland, engine, although that chassis might, at first sight, seem to have met SBG’s requirements. A few years later, Dennis were actively looking for opportunities in the UK bus market, but there didn’t seem to be any sign of that in the early 1970s.

Nigel Frampton


RBU 902F_2 Vehicle reminder shot for this posting


31/10/16 – 08:21

Several Seddon buses went to Central America in the late 60’s. Places like San Salvador, Nicaragua. They went up to 8,000 feet on journeys.
My boyfriend/husband was the engineer at the time and went with them, We have the photos.

Janet Wood


31/10/16 – 15:10

I’m sure we’d like to see a couple, Janet, if you feel like posting them.

Chris Hebbron


 

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