Old Bus Photos

West Riding – AEC Reliance – THL 921 – 921

West Riding - AEC Reliance - THL 921 - 921

West Riding Automobile
1961
AEC Reliance 2MU3RV
Roe B41D

In 1956 West Riding turned to the AEC Reliance for its limited bus saloon requirements, taking twelve with Roe B44F bodies characterised by a ‘droopy’ lower line to the windscreen. www.old-bus-photos.co.uk/
The Reliance then became the choice for the coach fleet with Roe C41C bodies, and in 1961 twelve of the 2MU3RV chassis type arrived carrying Roe B41D bodywork of which THL 921, fleet number 921 is an example. No more Reliances were purchased before West Riding sold out to the National Bus Company in 1967. This picture was taken in April 1970 before the corporate dead hand of Freddie Wood fell in 1972, after which the poppy red livery was inflicted upon West Riding.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Roger Cox


18/05/20 – 06:38

A stylish yet functional design enhanced by a smart livery. More attractive than the standard (Alexander in the cases of PMT and Trent) BET version of the time.

Ian Wild


17/06/20 – 07:19

These dual bodied Roe bodied Reliance saloons felt very solid indeed. They lasted until 1973 when they were ousted by new Leyland Nationals. None of the batch was repainted into National Bus Company red, and these along with the elderly Guy ArabIV of 1957 vintage stood out from the mainly repainted fleet by early 1973. They were probably the last traditional green single deckers in service.

MarkyB


18/06/20 – 06:45

I was recounting, only last week, to a friend retired from the industry that C H Roe were among the coachbuilding greats and, against a general trend and tide, retained a composite structure which produced high quality bodies of a generally attractive appearance; robust, well built and well finished. These, and the traditional deckers, were among the best bodies available (in every sense). Following in Crossley’s footsteps, the introduction of PRV frames (particular on the Atlantean and similar bodies on various front engined chassis) brought the nadir of Roe bodywork. They were ugly in the extreme and time revealed them also to be rot boxes. They did solve these problems – but not in the OBP era.

David Oldfield


 

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Aldershot & District – AEC Reliance – VCG 596H -596

VCG 596H

Aldershot & District Traction Co
1970
AEC Reliance 6U3ZR
Duple C49F

Having vacillated for some time before settling upon an underfloor engined saloon chassis, even buying some full fronted Dennis Lancet III coaches in 1953, Aldershot & District finally chose the AEC Reliance as its standard single decker, and stayed with this model for its coach requirements right up to its subjugation to Thames Valley (mis)management from January 1972 under the new guise of Alder Valley. Seen here in The Grove alongside Aldershot Bus Station is No.596, VCG 596H, the first of four 6U3ZR Reliances supplied in 1970 with Duple C49F coachwork sporting the (to my eye) hideous Detroit “inspired” front grille that spoilt many of the later Duple designs. Aldershot & District bought two more Reliances of the 6U3ZR specification in 1971, but these had the aesthetically more pleasing Plaxton C49F coachwork. VCG 596 passed to Alder Valley from 1 January 1972 as No. 49.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Roger Cox


22/12/18 – 06:37

I have to say that I like this coach! Functional, neat without meaningless frippery: where is the Detroit? Burlingham, Whitson, Yeates, other Duple perhaps…this is more Turin!

Joe


22/12/18 – 12:11

Joe – the "Detroit"-inspired part is the full-width chromed grille, which does look rather "overpowering" to my eyes. The chromed strip that runs the length of the body and at across the front at headlight level is also an excessive amount of polished metal.
In a monochrome photo, and wearing a livery with various colours, it doesn’t look so bad, but with a different "livery", and in colour, the effect is pretty dire:- https://thetransportlibrary.co.uk/index.php
I see from other photos that Southdown had the sense to specify their RUF-H batch of Leopards with the same body without the chromed strip on the sides, but they were stuck with the grille.
The polished metal soon went out of fashion, but the advent of the Dominant with curved side windows made the Commander look very old-fashioned in just a couple of years.

Nigel Frampton


26/01/19 – 06:48

The 36ft long AEC Reliance with the AH691 engine & the later AH760 power unit was a real drivers coach & the best premium weight coach on the market until the Volvo B58 surpassed it. With a Reliance the only thing to watch is they tended to run a bit hot on sustained motorway journeys. My boss instructed his drivers to keep an eye on the temperature gauge & if it starts to climb, drop a gear & keep it down to 55 to 60 MPH while it drops. Good advice, never had overheating on later Reliances.
Leyland Leopard, very good, but I think the chassis was more suited to a service bus body rather than a premium coach. As a coach, the gear ratios were all wrong on a semi auto Leopard, but in terms of reliability & strength of the chassis they were unsurpassed.

Andrew Spriggs


26/01/19 – 09:59

Not sure about the overheating: if you had a Sunbeam Imp with the usual gasket problem, going faster improved the air cooling effect!

Joe


06/03/19 – 07:17

I think the overheating problems associated with the Reliance were mainly confined to the wet lined AH470 engine, later replaced by the more successful, dry lined AH505.
The least said about the Hillman Imp, especially the very early examples, probably the better.

John B


26/09/19 – 05:53

I have always seen what you refer to as the Detroit-style grille (I have to agree with Joe that it is more Turin than Detroit) as a clean and elegant successor to the grimace-like grille applied to later Bella-series Duple bodies, itself a massively disappointing successor to the original Bella grille which to my mind was a natural update to the earlier butterfly design.

John Kemplen


 

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Leeds City Transport – AEC Reliance – KUA 46 – 46

Leeds City Transport - AEC Reliance - KUA 46 - 46

Leeds City Transport
1964
AEC Reliance 2MU2RA
Roe B41D

Seen in April 1970 is Leeds City Transport No. 46, 46 KUA, an AEC Reliance 2MU2RA with Roe B41D bodywork, one of four, Nos. 44 – 47, 44 – 47 KUA delivered in 1964. These followed an earlier order for six similar vehicles in 1962, Nos 39 – 43, 839 – 843 CUM. I understand that all these Reliances had quite a short life of around 8 years or so with Leeds.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Roger Cox


03/12/18 – 07:13

I can’t comment on the others, but 45 and 47 went to Aberdeen. I have a view of each from the late Arnold Richardson’s collection.

Pete Davies


04/12/18 – 06:33

All four were new in August 1964 and withdrawn in December 1970.
44 and 45 went to Aberdeen on 30th June 1971, being followed on 7th July by 46 and 47, retaining the same fleet numbers.

John Kaye


05/12/18 – 07:46

Oh dear, that destination box doesn’t look comfortable, balanced up there.

Petras409


11/12/18 – 07:43

These Reliance’s really came too late. They were in effect an update of the standee single deckers 29-38, to the same 30ft. length when 36 ft. had become available. Getting 41seats into the shorter length, with dual doors meant they had poor access/exit and tight seat spacing. As with many AECs of that design they were not comfortable, or liked by passengers or drivers. Just two years later, the first 36 ft. Swifts with wider doors, easier steps and 48 better spaced seats arrived. They may not have been great, but they were better. In a year or so there were 50 Swifts in operation and 39 to 46 were consigned to relief work and then sale.

Andy Buckland


13/12/18 – 05:53

Several of these also ended up in Scotland with Greyhound of Arbroath.

Chris Hough


07/01/19 – 07:12

I’ve sometimes wondered what was so wrong with the AEC Swift and the Leyland Panther that caused many operators to not get on with them, prematurely retire them (especially London’s AECs) and overall have bad experiences, while the conceptually similar Bristol RE seems to have commonly led a full life with its original operators.
It’s not as if they did not incorporate standard components in use elsewhere.

Bill


12/01/19 – 08:23

In the absence of a more comprehensive reply from someone who knows more, I will say that one of the differences between Bristol’s approach and the Panther/Swift approach was the position of the driveline and its effect on weight distribution. In the Panther and Swift the engine and gearbox were at the extreme rear of the overhang, whereas the RE had the engine further forward, with the gearbox in front of the rear axle.

Peter Williamson


16/01/19 – 07:27

The Panther also had a much weaker frame causing bending and breaking. Even in preservation I can think of a couple where following you can see the curve.

Roger Burdett


17/01/19 – 07:09

The radiator for the Swift was not at the front, as in the Panther or the RE, but tucked away behind a panel in the bodywork behind the offside back wheels.
Although this arrangement probably insured against air locks in the cooling system, it restricted the flow of cooling air over the surface of the radiator and could result in the engine overheating.

John B


18/01/19 – 06:30

My Foden which has the Rad in the same position still airlocks so concur John B comment.

Roger Burdett


18/01/19 – 06:32

In the Bristol RE the drive went forward from the engine to the gearbox located in front of the rear axle, and then back again to the differential. This gave a prop shaft of decent length to accommodate the suspension travel of the rear axle, something that competitive designs (the worst being the Seddon RU) lacked. Contrary to popular belief, the RE did not pioneer this layout. The Rutland Clipper of 1954 used a similar arrangement.

Roger Cox


 

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Old Bus Photos from Saturday 25th April 2009 to Sunday 27th September 2020