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Greenslades Tours – AEC Reliance – FFJ 13D

Greenslades - AEC Reliance - FFJ 13D

Greenslades Tours 
AEC Reliance 2MU4RA
Harrington C40F

Sadly the very last Harrington body to be built, No 3218, was this Grenadier C40F example on an AEC Reliance 2MU4RA chassis for Greenslades Tours of Exeter registration No FFJ 13D. This photo was taken on the 24th April 1966 at the British Coach Rally on Madeira Drive Brighton whilst the Concours judges were making their inspection. The elegant lines of the body and the restrained but attractive livery are even 48 years later a lesson todays designers and colour stylists might well learn lessons from, but being a cynical 75 year old I doubt it will happen.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Diesel Dave

15/09/14 – 07:02

Can’t better Dave’s comments – and nearby were the Devon General 2U3RAs as well. I’m all for Van Hool/DAFs, Setras and Scanias but oh for a world where there were up to date, quality AECs, Bristols, Leylands and Guys with Burlingham, Harrington, (real) Plaxton, Weymann and Roe bodies sitting on them. There is no excuse for selling the family silver – having things built on the continent or in the far east because wage rates are cheaper. What about a bit of pride in our own abilities. [The Germans and the French would not let it happen!]

David Oldfield

15/09/14 – 07:03

This was indeed a very attractive livery, featuring an unusual shade of green. The designation 2MU4RA denotes a "crash" gearbox, which seemed a backward step after most Reliances had synchromesh gearboxes.
The boot lid is interesting. I remember that Yelloway always specified two piece boot doors hinged from the sides to avoid people bumping their heads on the top hinged flaps more commonly used in the fifties and sixties. This design could be an attempt to avoid the problem.
The Grenadier body was a development of the better known "Cavalier" and to me was even more attractive. I agree, Dave, it is so sad that Harrington ceased production of coach bodies, at a time when their products seemed to be more popular than ever.

Don McKeown

15/09/14 – 12:00

The parallel lift boot door was a Harrington patent device, more usually used for side lockers because of often restricted space in coach stations.
It was obviously optional, as witness the side lockers on this example, and presumably cost more.
I wonder why Plaxtons didn’t take over this patent?

Andrew Goodwin

15/09/14 – 12:00

The last sentence of Diesel Dave’s caption mirrors my thoughts precisely, and I am three years even further down "Cynical Avenue" and proud of it !!

Chris Youhill

16/09/14 – 07:57

Sadly, Chris, I am but a babe in arms – but a cynical nearly 62 year old!

David Oldfield

16/09/14 – 07:58

The Harrington Grenadier was the last coach body with a curved window line, a peculiarly British trend which began in the 1930s. There were plans for it to be replaced by a development of the Legionnaire if Harrington had stayed in business.

Peter Williamson

16/09/14 – 07:58

As Andrew says the parallel lift mechanism was indeed a Harrington patent and some coaches I drove had a plate stating that fact. Regarding the side locker doors in a larger photo they are of the parallel lift type, I think they look as if they are hinged is because they were in the locked position which was achieved by lifting as normal and then pulling the top of the panel outward presumably to prevent accidents to fitters working underneath. Similar mechanisms can be seen on modern, but foreign, coaches although electrically powered.

Diesel Dave


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Wakefields Motors – AEC Reliance – FT 9000 – 200

Wakefields Motors - AEC Reliance - FT 9000 - 200
Copyright Unknown

Wakefields Motors
AEC Reliance MU3RV
Weymann C41F

I’ve recently been to an Historic vehicle rally at Seaburn, and as usual I came back with a load of photos, some I took and others I bought. But I managed to get hold of one that has eluded me for a while, and that is a colour photo of one of Wakefields Weymann Fanfares. Isn’t that simply glorious, understated, simple, and elegant. Modern designers take note!
I have posted one of these vehicles before but I think the colour shot warrants a further posting. You can view my previous posting and comments at the following link FT 9002 – 202

Photograph and Copy contributed by Ronnie Hoye

28/08/14 – 05:47

Lets raise (another) cheer for the Fanfare – or possibly a fanfare for the Fanfare? Super photo. Obviously I’m all for the original and best Reliance version but what else was on offer? Guy Arab LUF, Leyland Leopard (or Tiger Cub). You really couldn’t lose, whichever version you went for.

David Oldfield

28/08/14 – 10:35

As you will know, David, Wakefields had six on a Reliance chassis, and parent company, Northern had ten on a Guy Arab LUF with Gardner 6HLW engines. Northern specified a lower capacity 37 seat version, at first the were used on extended tour work and spent much of their time away from their home base. Off season, they were frequently to be found earning their keep on the Trans Pennine Liverpool Express route. This was pre motorway days, and any east-west route to Liverpool was a long hard slog. Mechanically, they were well up to the job, and some would argue they offered a degree of passenger comfort that has never been matched. At busy times, they were often joined by their Wakefields cousins, who, along with their Percy Main crews, were drafted in as duplicates on the route. As for longevity, in 1964, all 16 were refurbished by Plaxton, the AEC’s were withdrawn at the end of the 1968 season, and the Guy’s at the end of 1969. It’s such a pity that none seem to have survived into preservation.

Ronnie Hoye

01/09/14 – 08:45

I’ll happily raise another cheer for the Fanfare any day. I’ll not only endorse Ronnie’s comment about passenger comfort, but for the LUFs on the Tyne-Tees-Mersey express I’ll raise an extra cheer for musical entertainment!

Peter Williamson


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East Kent – AEC Reliance – MJG 42

East Kent - AEC Reliance - MJG 42

East Kent Road Car Co Ltd
AEC Reliance MU3RV
Beadle C32C

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?

David Oldfield

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.

Ronnie Hoye

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.

David Oldfield

22/02/14 – 08:00

AFN 497B

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.

Diesel Dave

22/02/14 – 09:24

Your critique of NBC paintwork and Duple coachwork is both poetic and true, Dave.

David Oldfield

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.

Ronnie Hoye


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Old Bus Photos from Saturday 25th April 2009 to Sunday 28th May 2017