Old Bus Photos

Karefree Travel – Austin CXB – NPF 140

Karefree Travel - Austin CXB - NPF 140

Karefree Travel
Austin CXB
Mann Egerton C31F

There appears to be some confusion about the exact model definition of the immediate post war Austin passenger model range. The Austin “near clone” of the Bedford O haulage vehicle was the K type, and the equivalent passenger model (and OB lookalike) was the CX. Some sources suggest that the bonneted model was simply classified CX, and this became the CXB in forward control form. Others state that the bonneted type was the CXB and the forward control version the CXD. When a Perkins P6 diesel option was offered from around 1950 the type became CXD Series II, which appeared in 1956 in Series III form, essentially for export, with the BMC 5.1 litre diesel. However, pictures of the bonneted model and the forward control version are both frequently described it being the CXB, so what is the true position? The Commercial Motor for 1st October 1948 states that the first forward control CXB example which appeared at the Commercial Motor Show in that year was converted from normal control by the Norwich based coach builder and Austin dealer Mann Egerton. A picture of this exhibit may be found here carrying the fictitious registration number M(ann) E(gerton) 1949:-
www.stilltimecollection.co.uk/ I remain sceptical that the 1948 forward control conversion was entirely carried out by Mann Egerton as production examples from Austin began appearing shortly after the Earls Court Show, though it may well be that the Norwich based coach builder put pressure on, and collaborated with, Austin in bringing the model to the market. The standard coach bodywork by Mann Egerton for the forward control CXB was given the name “Norfolk” and was distinguished by its curiously sculpted front end to which the standard Austin radiator grille (an upsized version of the shape employed on the cars) was rather incongruously attached. The result certainly lacked the businesslike appearance of the Bedford SB that appeared in 1950. Somewhere around 1953 the Norfolk body became rather more stylish, but the Austin coach was then in its twilight days on the home market, though exports continued into the 1960s. The 1947 bonneted Austin CX series originally had a 67 bhp 3½ litre petrol engine, but from 1948 this was upgraded with a 68 bhp 4 litre unit. The gearbox was a four speed synchromesh, which compared favourably with the crash box of the Bedford OB, but, unlike the Austin, the Bedford had servo assisted brakes and remained the more popular type by far.
NPF 140 shown above was photographed in the large Croydon council estate of New Addington in 1960, and bore the trading name Karefree Travel about whom I know nothing. The livery bears a close resemblance to the 1948 Show exhibit – could it be the same vehicle, I wonder?
It can also be seen in this 1950 shot taken in Parliament Square.

NPF 140_2
Copyright NA3T Arthur Hustwitt (Memorial)Collection)

Some interesting comments concerning the relative merits of the Bedford OB and the Austin CX range may be found here (scroll halfway down):-

Photograph and Copy contributed by Roger Cox

19/07/17 – 11:07

In John Carman’s excellent book, AUSTIN K SERIES BUSES & COACHES, the following information is shown.
NPF 140, FC31F, K4/CXB, Mann Egerton, 139990, 9/49. L.G Lambird (Carshalton & Wallington Coaches) Wallington Surrey

John Rentell

20/07/17 – 07:20

John Carman’s book has an appendix of all the known Austin K series (including the 3 way van based K8) It also explains in detail the different designations.
Well worth £12 including p&p direct from John at Mont du Herissaon Grande Maison Road St Sampson Guernsey GY2 4JH

John Wakefield

21/07/17 – 07:07

Amazing that a postwar 31-seat coach should have no servo braking. As with the Bedford OB, the appearance of this Austin coach suffers from the narrowness of the front track, which shows up to particular disadvantage in the lower photograph, but even with a full-width front axle the top-heavy, ungainly body design would still spoil the whole effect. Why were just-postwar builders and their customers not content with simple, unpretentious, straight-waisted bodywork that sat easily on the chassis instead of appearing to crush it? The CXB chassis deserved better! Thanks too, Roger, for the fascinating link.

Ian Thompson

29/07/17 – 07:10

I have one of the forward control model of these and I see that, whilst the log book doesn’t specify the chassis type, the chassis number itself is prefixed CXB. Don’t know if that helps.

Peter Cook

30/07/17 – 06:44

That’s useful, Peter. Could we see a photo and some history of your rare vehicle and how you came to acquire it?

Chris Hebbron

01/08/17 – 07:25

MAF 544

Chris. I regret to say that my knowledge of the history of the vehicle is limited. The reg. no. is MAF 544 so presumably it came from a Cornish operator. Chassis is CXB139946. As much as I know of the histroy is that it was acquired by Colin Shears at some stage and subsequently sold to someone who I think came from Plymouth. After it had spent a number of years outside, the would be preservationist decided that it was too far gone and returned it to Colin. I then acquired it from Colin. The bodywork was beyond salvation and went to Barnsley packed inside a Leyland National. I did keep some of the more iconic panels in case anyone wanted them. The chassis is being renovated.

Peter Cook

02/08/17 – 07:00

Peter; check out //www.sct61.org.uk/zzmaf544

John Lomas

02/08/17 – 07:02

Thx, Peter, for taking the trouble to post the photo and what history you’re aware of.It’s always sad to see old vehicles reach this stage, but doubly so when they are rare to start with. Saving the chassis is, nevertheless, a fruitful enterprise. Good luck with that.

Chris Hebbron


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Lees Motorways – Austin K8 – LVO 530

Lees Motorways/Symes ? - Austin K8 - LVO 530

Lees Motorways (Worksop)
Austin K8
Kenex C12F

We start with a conflict. The PSVC entry for 2012 says LVO 530 was new to Lees, Worksop, while Jenkinson’s book of 1978 say it was new to Symes, Devonshire Hill. While the sources agree that t is an Austin K8 with Kenex body, PSVC says it is of the C12F layout, but Jenkinson says it is of C14F layout. Jenkinson says it was new in 1950, while PSVC says it was new in May 1951. Regardless, we see her at Duxford on 24 September 1995.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Pete Davies

28/08/16 – 09:44

It was new to Lees, Worksop. The entry for Symes in Jenkinson Preserved Buses 1978 is the last known owner at time of publication. The notes on page 6 of the book state the column 7 listing as the ‘Original or Last Known owner’.
As for seating it would have been a C12F originally but was presumably up seated at later date, certainly by the time it reached Kenzie.

The history I have on LVO 530 is as follows:-
Chassis No 14844
New to Lees, Worksop 5/51
Bisby, Sheffield ?/??
Kenzie, Shepreth 12/54 (C14F)
Sworder, Walkern 9/55
Symes, Devonshire Hill, London N17 ?/??
Surbey, Clifton, Beds by -/97 (preservation)
Almond, Kettering 10/03 (preservation)
Bernard Staniforth, Aylesbury -/08 (preservation)
Leach, Telford 11/09 (preservation)

John Wakefield

28/08/16 – 10:56

Thank you, John!

Pete Davies

31/08/16 – 10:18

I have often heard and read people describing minibuses as ‘breadvans’ and thought that they were referring to the Ford Transit generation, but this old-timer reminds me of the breadvans of my youth.

David Wragg

31/08/16 – 16:06

Quite so, David!!!

Pete Davies

01/09/16 – 14:06

According to the Nov 1995 issue of "Buses" (on p27, in a report on Showbus), this coach "began its career with Skills of Nottingham"!
I suppose their reporter must have picked up the wrong end of the stick on the day?

Graham Woods

02/09/16 – 06:37

The ‘breadvans’ of my childhood were all horsedrawn, as were the milk ones, save the Co-op which had pre-war electric floats! When I first saw the K8’s, I thought they were so sleek and streamlined, unlike any other van on the streets at that time and have never really shaken that view off. As passenger vehicles, I would think that were a bit ‘bouncy’ with such a short length and the front axle laid back, too.

Chris Hebbron

02/09/16 – 06:37

Given the comments sections on almost any article you choose on the online newspaper websites, most reporters a) cannot spell, b) are unaware of grammar, c) should still be in kindergarten and d) get the wrong end of the stick.

Pete Davies

02/09/16 – 06:38

Graham, yes, that report would seem to be erroneous, I have a Skills fleet history which I’ve perused thoroughly and there’s no mention of this vehicle. Skills only ever bought three Austins and this wasn’t one of them.

Chris Barker


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Dickson – Austin K8CVC – BYJ 904 – 14

Dickson - Austin K8CVC - BYJ 904

Dickson (Dundee)
Austin K8CVC
Plaxton C14F

BYJ 904 is an Austin K8CVC with Plaxton C14F bodywork, dating from 1952. She was new to Dickson and is seen here on Southsea Common for the rally on 11 June 1995. According to the PSVC list for 2012, she has emigrated to the Netherlands as BE-67-57.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Pete Davies

15/11/21 – 07:06

Not sure that BYJ 904 became BE-67-57 in Netherlands, that number went onto a Bedford OB DJD 217.
From my records the Austin K8 was sold in Bonhams auction in 7/08 to the Louwman Museum, Den Haigh.

The Dutch reg for BYJ 904 is BE-62-33 NOT BE-67-57 its in the Louwman Museum, Leidsestraatweg, La Haye

John Wakefield


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Old Bus Photos from Saturday 25th April 2009 to Monday 11th December 2023