East Kent Road Car Co Ltd
AEC Reliance MU3RV
It’s a fine warm day on 12th July 1969 as this East Kent coach stands outside Lichfield cathedral on a private hire (assumed as it is unlikely at 12 years old to be on an extended tour). The entrance door and forward emergency exit are both open allowing a cooling breeze to pass through the coach. It looks very smart for its age with a livery and fleetname which exudes pride and quality. The dead hand of NBC corporatism had much to answer for in years to come.
Photograph and Copy contributed by Ian Wild
20/02/14 – 06:49
A superb photo of a superb coach. Thanks, again, Ian. It could almost be a publicity shot or the cover of a holiday brochure. As a mere Northerner, can any of our Southern experts help me out? In terms of outright quality and reputation, where did Beadle rank compared with Burlingham and Harrington, let alone Duple or Plaxton?
20/02/14 – 06:50
I could be miles off the mark ‘as usual’ I know it’s centre entrance, but to me it has more than a hint of the Weymann Fanfare about it, especially around the windows. It’s certainly a handsome beast that would look good in almost any livery, even the ‘Corporate Image Brigade’ would have a job to make it look bad, but I’d bet it wouldn’t be for the want of trying.
20/02/14 – 09:13
Jack Davies was forced to leave Weymann under "shady circumstances" and ended up at Beadle. Shortly after, the Rochester was put on the market – a Fanfare clone.
22/02/14 – 08:00
The recent posting of an East Kent Reliance reminded me of this photo taken on the A259 road across Romney Marsh in the mid sixties. It shows AFN 497B a Reliance 2MU4RA with a Duple Commander I C34F body one of a batch of ten delivered in May and June 1964 these took over the touring duties of the Reliance/Beadles. Photos of this batch of coaches seem few and far between as my admittedly limited searches have so far drawn a blank.
I think that the Duple Commander body evolved with a minor hiccup in the Mk 2 with it’s overly heavy grille through the very stylish Mk 3 into the superbly elegant Commander IV of the early seventies one of the classics of the period, we all know what followed in the Dominant not bad but a definite backward step and the build quality was very suspect.
The comments regarding the rich colours of the superb East Kent livery apply equally to these and all their other vehicles until that awful paintbrush wielding dead hand of the NBC corporate colour scheme struck like a plague of mediocrity.
22/02/14 – 09:24
Your critique of NBC paintwork and Duple coachwork is both poetic and true, Dave.
23/02/14 – 06:47
These two coaches are a perfect example of the post war pre NBC differences between Tilling and BET Group coach fleets. Apart from vehicles acquired through takeovers, Tilling group companies had their hands tied, and other than cosmetic differences down to livery and trim, all their coach fleets were just variations on the same ECW box. Not that there was anything wrong with them, and I suspect that many BET Group companies would from time to time have opted for ECW bodies given the opportunity. However. looking at BET, the variety they had was endless, over the years BMMO and NGT had a couple of in house designs, and throughout the group virtually every coachbuilder was represented at some time or other, some even dipped a toe into the water with Bedford SB’s, Ford and Commer, but for the main part they stayed with the mid to heavyweight end of the market. Days that have sadly gone, but nostalgia is not what it used to be.