Old Bus Photos

A. Davies – Crossley SD – FAW 334

A. Davies - Crossley SD - FAW 334

A. Davies, Acton Burnell
Crossley SD 42/7
Plaxton C33F

Photographed in Piccadilly, London, in 1961 is the Crossley SD42/7 with Plaxton C33F body bought new by A. Davies (Transport) of Acton Burnell near Shrewsbury, Shropshire in March 1949. To address the shortcomings of the Crossley diesel engine the new AEC designed downdraught HOE7/5 began appearing during 1949, but the March 1949 delivery date of this coach – the chassis must have been produced some time earlier – suggests that it was fitted with the unmodified HOE7/4. In practice, as with the Daimler CD6 engine, the use of the HOE7/4 in single deckers, particularly coaches not subjected to intense stop/start work, taxed the power plant rather less severely than in double deckers, and it generally performed satisfactorily on such duties. This is borne out by the retention of FAW 334 by its original operator for a full working life, and, happily, this coach still exists today:- www.classicbuses.co.uk/faw334.JPG

Photograph and Copy contributed by Roger Cox

11/03/21 – 08:15

My experience of Crossleys was really only with Portsmouth Corporation, which had a sprinkling of DD42/5s with rather fragile locally-built Reading bodies loosely resembling their Craven-bodied trolleybuses at the front. However, their DD42/7s, with very attractive and sturdy Crossley bodies, always impressed me. Of course, the let down was their engines, but, coupled to turbo converters, they made a unique sound, with only two engine notes, either hard up on the governors when accelerating, or on tick-over when coasting along to the next bus stop. And then the Corporation finally decided that the fuel consumption was too much and replaced the mechanicals with renovated Leyland TD7 engines/gearboxes from scrapped buses. Then, to my ears, they sounded very out of keeping! It was a sad day for me, though, when their numbers dwindled….and then they were gone.

Chris Hebbron

19/03/21 – 06:56

The Brockhouse Turbo Transmitter transmission evolved from the pre war designs of Piero Salerni, a non Fascist Italian long resident in Britain with an English wife. One of his earliest transmissions was in a Tilling-Stevens B10 in 1932, and he continued to develop his designs in several applications, including private cars, in the years up to WW2. During the later 1930s he worked for the Ministry of Aircraft Production until, in the fraught political circumstances of wartime, he was arrested as an alien on 10 June 1940. The first that the MoAP knew of this was when he failed to turn up for work. Repeated pleas by Beaverbrook’s ministry failed to secure his release, and he was despatched from Liverpool to internment in Canada on the Arandora Star. On 2 July 1940 the ship was torpedoed and sunk by U47, and Salerni sadly perished together with 805 others, mostly the Italian and German deportees held in the lower decks. Lifetime patents for the gearless transmission designs were subsequently secured by his widow. The Salerni hydro-kinetic transmission principles were taken up post war by Brockhouse of Southport who foresaw applications in private cars, tractors and commercial vehicles. Crossley offered it as an option in the DD42, but ultimately only a total of 65 such chassis were so fitted. Portsmouth took delivery of Crossley’s largest ever turbo transmitter order – four DD42/5T in 1948 and two more in 1949, all six with locally constructed Reading H26/26R bodies, followed by twenty five Crossley bodied H28/24R DD42/7T in that same year, a turbo total of thirty one. The turbo transmitter propelled the vehicle by running the engine at or near maximum revs under load and acceleration, yielding a low mpg figure. It is thought that the typical transmission efficiency barely exceeded 85%. The reliability was also suspect, overheating being a particular problem, and it never matched that of the Lysholm-Smith hydraulic torque converter transmission of some pre war Leyland TD Titans. Between 1957 and 1959 the Corporation replaced the dubious Crossley HOE7 engines and the dipsomaniac turbo transmissions in all the Crossley bodied DD42/7T buses with Leyland 8.6 litre engines and ‘silent third’ gearboxes from withdrawn TD4 s of 1936/37. (In 1952, the prototype DD42 in the Manchester fleet had also been fitted with a pre war Leyland engine and gearbox.) The Reading bodied buses were not so converted, however. Ironically, the post war HOE7 engine, and the contemporary Daimler CD6, had copied exactly the bore/stroke dimensions of the excellent pre war Leyland unit, no doubt believing that future market success lay therein, an optimism that turned out to be misplaced in both cases. The DD42/5 did carry the Maltese Cross badge on the radiator, which was supplanted by the word ‘Crossley’ on later variants. Portsmouth’s six unmodified turbo transmitter machines were withdrawn in 1963, with the ‘Leylandised’ DD42/7s going during the following years up to 1967. I lived in Alverstoke as a child from 1949 to 1952 and visited war damaged Portsmouth often during that period, when my mother and I usually used the trolleybuses. I remember seeing the Crossleys out and about but never travelled on them, so I have no personal knowledge of their performance in the relatively flat terrain of the city. My own very limited experience of Crossleys occurred as a schoolboy during the extended London Transport strike of 1958, when the flamboyantly named Peoples League For The Defence Of Freedom obtained permission to run buses on some parts of the LT network. Route 2 ran on the fairly hilly section between New Addington and Croydon, and two ex Lancaster SD42/3 Crossley B36R saloons, HTC614/5, of 1947 were allocated, plus an ex Crosville Leyland TD7 and a former Lytham St Annes Daimler CWA6. I was amazed how severely the single deck Crossleys struggled on the gradients despite them being just eleven years old, whilst the more elderly Leyland and Daimler, the latter having an engine 1 litre smaller in capacity, coped significantly better.

Roger Cox

24/03/21 – 06:28

Although LT route 93 from Epsom to Putney was the haunt of pre-war RTs in the 1940s and 50s, for a short period, on Sundays, Merton Garage would supply the odd Daimler CWA ‘D’ Class austerity vehicle. Wimbledon Hill was the challenge, at 1:15 gradient, if memory serves, one reason, I wonder, why the modern RTs, with 9.6 litre engines, were allocated the route. On one occasion, I was on a Daimler which climbed the hill and was quite surprised just how well it performed. These had 8.8 litre engines. Of course, such a large class (281) in just two garages meant they were well maintained and with drivers almost exclusively driving them. By contrast, the nine Portsmouth ones, the only ones with pre-selective gearboxes, were greatly abused, with the gearchange pedal being used as a clutch etc.

Chris Hebbron

25/03/21 – 06:57

Chris, the Daimler CWA6 was powered by the AEC A173 7.7 litre (actually 7.58 litres) direct injection diesel. The 8.8 litre engine of 1931, using indirect injection, was AEC’s first production diesel and became the usual diesel power unit in the Regent until 1935. Thereafter the more economical indirect injection 7.7 A171, developed in 1934 for the side engined Q type, became the more common AEC diesel unit. From 1936 this was additionally offered as the direct injection A173. However, in 1938, a new version of the 8.8 appeared for London Transport using the Leyland design of ‘flower pot’ piston cavity, and yet another 8.8 variant was produced with toroidal piston cavities for some municipal operators. This latter engine then became the design basis of the new 9.6 litre power plant that was a major player on the postwar stage. The 7.7 continued in production during the war when it became the power unit of the Daimler CWA6 and the Bristol K6A, the standard utility output being set at 86 bhp, almost identical to that of the 85 bhp Gardner 5LW. Wartime London Transport looked more favourably upon the preselective Daimler over the utility Guy Arab and ultimately took a total of 281 up to 1946. Of these, thirteen were originally powered by the new Daimler CD6 engine of 8.6 litres rated at 100 bhp at 1800 rpm. Like the Crossley HOE7, the CD6 copied exactly the bore/stroke dimensions of the pre war Leyland E102 diesel, but, in practice, the Daimler engine proved to be generally troublesome and very variable in quality between individual examples. Indeed, Birmingham Corporation considered the Daimler engine to be inferior even to the Crossley. By 1950, all the CD6 engines in the LT ‘D’ class had been replaced by AEC 7.7s. The Crossley HOE7 also claimed to produce 100 bhp at 1750 rpm, but in reality that was the genuine output of the Saurer four valve cylinder head prototype. The much inferior two valve head production version never reached that figure until AEC brought out the 114 bhp downdraught version in 1949.

Roger Cox

28/03/21 – 07:53

Thx for the correction and other information, Roger. So the performance with the CWA6’s 7.7litre engine goes even higher in my estimation for Wimbledon Hill(climbing)! ! I recall that the inside cab front of one D had a chalked comment "Dxxx", the fastest D of them all" so it is likely to have been one of the (6, I think) CD engined ones! I seem to recall that the CD6 engine was also unpopular because it had the timing chain at the rear of the engine, making access much more difficult, with likely engine removal. This reminds me of a friend who had a Renault car with rear timing chain. It shifted cogs (and valve timing) when he tried to start the engine in freezing cold weather. Without access to garage facilities to lift out the engine, or money for a garage to resolve the problem, he cut a hole in the car’s front bulkhead, reset the chain, cut a slightly larger cover and screwed it in over the hole. Job done! And why a rear timing chain? The engine was originally designed for a rear engined car. In his later model, it was fitted at the front!

Chris Hebbron


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Kitsons – Crossley SD42 – KTE 444

Kitsons - Crossley SD42 - KTE 444

Kitsons (Gee Cross, Hyde)
Crossley SD42/7
Duple C35F

I photographed this coach near to Stalybridge Station in March 1966, but until recently, the only information I had was what could be seen in the photograph. Searching the web for more information, the first thing I found was that somehow, someone had got hold of a copy of my photo, which didn’t make sense, as I had no recollection of having provided anyone with a copy. The thumbnails in Google Images was at first sight the spit and image of my picture. The coach is clearly in exactly the same spot, taken from exactly the same location, and exactly the same Austin A40 is parked next to it. However, opening up the picture to the same size made it clear that the two images are simply a remarkable coincidence. The other picture was taken several months later, and there are two distinguishing features. Firstly the A40 is facing the other way, and secondly, sadly, someone has made a serious dent in the Crossley’s radiator.
Of interest to me is the chrome radiator, which I am not aware of having seen on any other Crossley. Presumably it was an optional extra on coaches.
Importantly, the picture and the comments with it gave me some information about what the coach was used for. It appears that it was on regular hire to Stockport High School to ferry sports teams around.
Looking at Bus lists on the web, it is clearly one of three similar vehicles delivered in December 1949 to Broughton and Walker of Great Harwood, registered KTE 443/444/446 but more interestingly, KTE 441/442 were similar chassis (and body, although C33F) delivered in October 1949 to Robinson, Great Harwood. Were these perhaps a joint order, or were the two firms linked?

Photograph and Copy contributed by Alan Murray-Rust

07/01/18 – 10:19

More peculiar than the chrome radiator, a lot of later Crossleys had them, so it was probably a customer option. More peculiar is the autovac, something I have never seen before on a Crossley. Given the dubious reputation of the Crossley HOE7 engine, has it been changed for something else?

John Anderson

08/01/18 – 07:13

Broughton & Walker was part of the Holdsworth Group which owned Robinson’s of Great Harwood. They were to all intents and purposes part of Robinson’s, in the same way that Walton & Helliwell of Mytholmroyd was directly run by O.& C. Holdsworth of Halifax. Looking at chassis and body lists it will often be seen that the Holdsworth Group bought batches of a type with consecutive numbers and allocated them to their various subsidiaries.

John Stringer

08/01/18 – 07:14

Oldham Corporation had both single and double deck Crossley buses with the chrome radiator with vertical centre strip.

Philip Halstead

08/01/18 – 07:15

The picture appears to be more complicated. We had an ex-Darwen Crossley that had been cut down for use as a gritter and that had an Autovac – I remember how it gurgled to itself when we shut the bus down. However, I look at photos and see there’s no Autovac on the bulkhead which means it was under the bonnet. As a consequence it’s difficult to tell which Crossleys have one and which don’t. That also doesn’t explain why the one in the photo has one visible on the front bulkhead.
Knowing what I do about the operator, I think it’s highly unlikely there was anything but a standard power unit under the bonnet.
I note also that this one has had its front wings trimmed back slightly.

David Beilby

08/01/18 – 07:16

The chromium plated radiator shell became an option from 1949. It was usually applied to single deck coaches, but an alternative version without the central dividing strip was offered mainly for double deckers. Older chassis were sometimes retro fitted.

Roger Cox

08/01/18 – 07:16

Could that be an Autovac in 1949… or?
Would still be grateful if anyone can tell me what a Potts Patent air Exchanger is, as found on Tony Peart’s 122?


08/01/18 – 15:49

Surely the car is an A35 as the A40 had a larger back window.

David Wragg

08/01/18 – 16:28

No David, I think its definitely an A40 Somerset. The A35 had, pro rata, a larger rear screen than the A40 Somerset.

John Darwent

08/01/18 – 16:30

And on my A30 and A35 the boot had hinges at the top not the bottom.


09/01/18 – 06:22

Potts was the MD at Doncaster at the time number 122 was being built. The Patent Air Exchanger is an early form of air conditioning. It consists of a large fan unit that effectively blew fresh air collected at the front of the bus and forced between the upper deck floor and the lower deck ceiling, before venting out of the rear platform. Next time you get to see the bus have a look at the perforations in the ceiling panels where the air comes out. I don’t know if it worked upstairs as well) Tony told me it was a battery flattener (engine off) but was happy to demonstrate it working many years ago.


09/01/18 – 06:23

This is an interesting photo: the ‘twin’ photo which initially fooled Alan is to be found here: www.flickr.com/photos/ The Austin A40 has travelled far from its original stomping ground, PJ being registered in Guildford, Surrey. And the poster is also interesting in that it has two accurate ‘possessive case’ plurals, the first apostrophe being after the first ‘s’, but the apostrophe being before the second ‘s’, because children/men/women are rare plurals without an ‘s’ on the end! BTW – the society still exists. But I see I’m boring you!

Christopher Hebbron

09/01/18 – 08:16

In the ‘Flickr’ version, the engine cover has either not been closed properly or the vehicle is in a state of distress . . .

Pete Davies

17/01/18 – 05:40

Yes, in the ‘Flickr’ version, it looks like there has been an impact to the front. The registration plate is bent, and possibly the radiator itself has moved back a bit at that point. The result is that neither the bonnet top or side can now be fastened down, hence the "state of distress" so aptly described by Pete! So what happened in the months between the two pictures being taken? We’ll probably never know! Hopefully the coach was carefully repaired.

Michael Hampton

17/01/18 – 05:41

I would guess that Alan’s photo showing the Crossley in reasonable condition is the earlier of the two. The Flikr pic shows the bonnet structure on the point of disintegration and the number plate has been re-profiled by accidental damage. This location must have been the regular parking place for the coach and the Austin. And well spotted, Chris, about the correct application of the apostrophes, something decidedly rare these days.

Roger Cox

17/01/18 – 05:41

Pete- it is either because of the bump mentioned here (look at the lower part of the radiator) or an advanced cooling system- not sure if Crossley needed it but Daimler engines seemed to.


17/01/18 – 05:42

Mike B- thanks for the info re POTTS PATENT. I’m yet to see 122 at close quarters: it did have a few later close cousins at Leicester Ave I think (but presumably only 7ft 6in wide!) but not seen "Potts" before. It is interesting that a municipality which couldn’t cope with enclosed radiators, automatic changes or 8ft bodies for many years had previously bought a bus with so many "revolutionary" features for that time. What became of Mr Potts and when, because that’s probably the answer?
The real need was surely upstairs where the fag fug made breathing difficult!


17/01/18 – 05:45

It is a pity that the reputation of the HOE7 continues to be unjustifiably traduced. It is certainly true that the earlier versions of the HOE7 were not that successful, but the later downdraught version was a good engine. AEC engineering designers certainly played a large part in that. Birmingham for example managed to get between 18 and 19 years out of their downdraught DD42/6s. According to Messrs Eyre, Heaps and Townsin (Crossley OPC 2002) Birmingham rated their HOE7s rather better than their Daimler engined CVDs. I drove a few thousand miles in HOE7 powered Crossley in the late 60s/ early 70s, and considered their hill-climbing abilities more than acceptable.

John Grigg

17/01/18 – 05:46

The vehicle was certainly in a state of distress when the Flickr photo was taken, with the radiator substantially stove in. Also, that picture has the A40 the other way round, confirming the model.
Thank you to those who have sorted the matter of the chrome radiator.

Alan Murray-Rust

17/01/18 – 11:59

I’ve read of Crossley’s HOE7 in different places. Why does it always conjure an impression of one of Birmingham’s Crossleys?

Pete Davies

23/01/18 – 06:28

No, the reputation of the HOE7 has not been unjustifiably traduced. The initial design incorporated the principles of Saurer’s four valve cylinder head, and was outstandingly successful. On the strength of demonstrations by the prototype DD42/1 orders flooded in and Crossley fully anticipated capturing the bulk of Manchester’s future bus requirements. However, when Saurer requested a licence fee for the use of its cylinder head design, Crossley Motors MD Arthur Hubble refused to pay and a hurried two valve redesign was instigated. This crippled the breathing, caused serious crankcase back pressure and led to very high oil consumption, resulting in an unreliable unit that was deficient in power output. Customers who had been impressed by the prototype found that the beast they were receiving was something of a curate’s egg, good in parts (the chassis was excellent apart from heavy steering) but seriously abysmal in the engine department. Many early recipients, notably Manchester, didn’t trust Crossley ever again and never went back for more, though the less demanding nature of coach operation did not tax the engine so severely. When AEC took over Crossley in 1948, it did not have an engine of around 8.5 litres of its own, so it instructed its new subsidiary to rectify urgently the deficiencies of the HOE7, and also offer the DD/SD42 with Gardner engines as options. Hubble, ever resistant to AEC “interference”, soon (and probably deliberately) crossed the equally autocratic Hugh Gardner, who adamantly refused to supply Crossley with any LW engines. AEC then ran out of patience with Crossley and itself produced the design for the greatly improved “downdraught” HOE7/5 in 1949. This differed quite significantly from earlier versions of the HOE7, and conversion of old engines to the downdraught head was an extensive and costly exercise, so most remained unaltered. Incredibly, despite at last having a competitive power unit, Crossley still continued to supply some outstanding customers with the earlier version of the engine, presumably to use up stocks of old components. The downdraught HOE7/5 certainly did remedy the basic faults of the Crossley engine, but by late 1949, when this engine was fully available, the heyday of bus orders was over, and, largely because of its earlier failings, the Crossley Motors undertaking was in terminal decline. Had the original four valve engine been offered as the standard power plant from first production, then the impact of Crossley upon early post war bus deliveries would undoubtedly have been much more significant.

Roger Cox

24/01/18 – 06:02

"My personal honour is more important than the future wellbeing of the company and its workforce…!" A sadly common disease in industry of all descriptions.

Stephen Ford

24/01/18 – 06:03

A few years on, some operators – mostly municipal ones – re-engined their Crossleys with other types presumably removed from older withdrawn vehicles. I’m sure I’ve heard of Gardner 5LW, AEC 7.7 and Leyland 8.6 engines being substituted. If the main deficiency in Crossleys was related to their HOE7 engine and it was otherwise an excellently engineered bus (and especially if it had a well built Crossley body), then this should surely have then made them into good buses. Yet we never seem to hear of how these re-engined Crossleys performed – I’d be very interested to learn, though I don’t suppose there will be many former engineers or drivers with experience of them around these days. I did once drive the former Rotherham Crossley – HET 513 – whilst it was in the care of Geoffrey Hilditch at Halifax. Presumably, being the last DD42 built, it would have had the later redesigned engine, but other than having heavyish steering (though probably no more so than a CVG6) and maybe its performance on hills was not exactly sparkling, I found it a fairly pleasant bus to drive, with the easiest of gearchanges, good visibilty due to the low bonnet line, and possibly the best suspension of any halfcab I’ve ever driven. It got so near to being a really good bus.

John Stringer

24/01/18 – 09:34

The Portsmouth Crossleys were delivered with turbo transmitters, which I understand would have limited performance even more! Those with Crossley bodies (25 of them, new in 1949) were re-engined c.1957-59 with Leyland engines from withdrawn TD4s. In this guise they were switched from cross-town routes such as G/H and O/P to trolleybus conversion routes such as 19/20, this demanding route being extended. Many of the batch also had seating increased from 52 to 58. I think that this amply bears out evidence of the effect in the improved performance from the change in engine for these buses. There were six with Reading bodies which retained original engines and transmission, and were retained on cross-town routes and school specials, etc. I was a schoolboy at the time, so unfortunately driving experience is nil!

Michael Hampton

27/01/18 – 06:23

Roger, thank you for a fascinating insight into the sorry saga of the Crossley HOE7 engine. I don’t know a great deal about Crossley, but am aware through reading various bus articles over the years that there was a problem with at least one of its engine types. It is a real shame that the apparent foolhardiness/stubbornness of Arthur Hubble’s "spoiling the ship for a ha’porth o’ tar" in effect brought the Company down, especially as you say that the prototype proved popular and orders started to flow in. I seem to recall that Dennis had success with its ‘four valves per cylinder’ engines, designed with Saurer involvement. Would I be right in thinking that Dennis simply paid Saurer the licencing fee for the right to build a superior product? Just as Arthur Hubble, with hindsight, should have done?

Brendan Smith

27/01/18 – 06:25

There is no doubt as Roger Cox says, that the post war saga of "what might have been but never was" as far as Crossley is concerned, is a valedictory lesson, but then there have always been personalities in the bus industry with more ego than common sense.
I can only speak as I found almost 50 years ago that the FINAL version of the Crossley engine was a fine bit of engineering. Now as to who takes the credit for that whether it be Crossley, AEC, Saurer, or any individual, I know not; and I still believe that particular engine has been unjustifiably maligned because of the wider problems of and within the company.

John Grigg

29/01/18 – 06:35

I often travelled on the Portsmouth Crossleys, both with Crossley engines/Brockhouse Turbo-transmitters and Leyland engines. It is difficult to compare performance of both types, because the original setup required no delays through gear-changing, compared with the Leyland engines/gearboxes. Portsmouth routes being flat would not challenge their hill-climbing abilities.My view is that the conversions took place in order to save fuel, since these engines were running up to the governor whilst accelerating, although they did freewheel along briefly until the next reason to slow or stop. Without the ability to use engine braking, I imagine that brake shoe wear was greater than otherwise, too.

Chris Hebbron

28/10/18 – 08:13

Joe asked in an earlier posting "what became of Mr. Potts and when?" Tom Potts was the first Transport Manager of Doncaster Corporation, apparently took office in 1920 and claimed the chair until he retired in 1953, to be replaced by Tom Bamford. For further info., see the 3-part article on Doncaster Corporation in ‘Buses Illustrated nos. 60-62, for the months March – May 1960!

Dave Careless

04/11/18 – 07:07

My 1967 ‘Little Red Book’ lists A. Kitson & Son at 222 Mottram Road, Stalybridge.
Proprietor: J Kitson
Rolling stock: 3 coaches
Chassis: 2 Crossley, 1 Leyland
Bodies: 2 Duple, 1 Burlingham
Fleet livery: Green/Ivory

Roger Taylor


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William Ivens and Sons – Crossley – LWE 669

William Ivens and Sons - Crossley - LWE 669

LWE 669_2

William Ivens and Sons
Crossley SD42/7
Yeates C35F

William Ivens and Sons (Timber Merchants) Limited of Rugby had in 1961 a works service from the Long Buckby, Northampton direction into Rugby and the bus was usually was parked up nightly in the Corporation Street car park. The two shades of blue Crossley SD42/7 with Yeates C35F body had been new to Hirst & Sweeting of Sheffield in 1949 (who were to sell out to Sheffield United Tours in 1967). LWE 669 also so spent some time with KW of Daventry after it left Sheffield; other than this, little else is known?

Photograph and Copy contributed by Stuart Emmett

09/10/17 – 07:31

LWE 669 was new in 06/1949.
It was sold in 04/1954 to Oliver Luxicoaches Ltd of Loughborough. It then passed to KW Coaches Ltd of Daventry as number A4 in 01/1957.
It was withdrawn in 06/1959 and sold to Ivens & Sons of Rugby. Last licensed 12/1962.
Details from PSV Circlr publication PB27
Fleet History of S.U.T.

Dave Farrier

10/10/17 – 06:09

Thanks Dave
I was sure someone somewhere would know its history.

Stuart Emmett


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