Old Bus Photos

S Bingley – Dennis Lancet – CRE 938

CRE 938
Copyright Unknown

S Bingley (Hemsworth)
1935
Dennis Lancet I
Willowbrook C37F

Dennis Lancet I, chassis number 171027, was bodied by Willowbrook (2830) and seated thirty-seven passengers. It was new in 1935 and was operated by Associated Bus Companies Ltd (formed in 1928 of several local independents) prior to the acquisition of that company by Potteries Motor Traction in 1944. PMT withdrew it from service in 1946 and in April that year it was with S.Bingley, Hemsworth, eventually scrapped by Crossroads Commercials of Leeds in May 1956.
Did S Bingley have any connection with W R & P Bingley of United Services?

Photograph and Copy contributed by Les Dickinson


13/07/15 – 06:23

Given that the most common capacities of the time seem to have been 33 seats in coaches and 35 in single deck buses, 37 coach seats must have been very cramped!

Chris Barker


13/07/15 – 17:01

These Lancet I’s suffered from very heavy-looking radiator shells, unlike the equivalent 1935 Lance rads. It rather spolit the look of them.

Chris Hebbron


13/07/15 – 17:01

Perhaps the cramped seating was one reason why Potteries withdrew an eleven year-old vehicle at a time of severe post-war vehicle shortages? The driving cab also looks very fore-shortened leaving the front of the bonnet some way ahead of it.

David Wragg


15/07/15 – 05:59

I, too, am surprised by the large seating capacity. The Lancet I, which appeared on the market in 1931, had a very bulky and deep radiator shell that was shared by the heavier Dennis haulage models of that time, and the cab front was set behind this cowl. The front wings were swept forward in a manner later adopted by wartime Guy Arabs, and these ‘extensions’ were joined across the front by a kind of bumper bar. All this space inefficient front end had to be accommodated within the overall length of 27ft 6ins, which did not allow for a great capacity within the rest of the bodywork. The later Lancet II of 1935 remedied this shortcoming by having a very slim radiator shell mounted at the extreme front, and this was offset to the nearside to maximise driving cab space. Lancet IIs could be fitted with bodywork seating up to 39 passengers. The Lancet I and II were powered by the Dennis 6.79 litre ‘Big Four’ petrol engine that could be rated up to 97 bhp, a very compact and reliable design employing wet cylinder liners. Versions fitted with the ‘O’ type five speed gearbox could attain 58 mph, so the petrol Lancet was no sluggard. From 1934 the advanced O4 diesel was offered as an option in the Lancet II.

Roger Cox


15/07/15 – 15:25

I’d noticed to ‘Guy’ likeness to the wings, myself, Roger.
Pre-war wet-liner engines never seemed to suffer from the same problems as post-war ones did.

Chris Hebbron


15/07/15 – 19:07

You’re referring to the AEC wet liner debacle, Chris. AEC never did solve its wet liner problems, but the responsibility lay with the Southall firm, not with the wet liner concept. Dennis were engineers of a very high order, and knew how to get it right. The post war Dennis O6 diesel, like the earlier O4, was a wet liner engine with the timing gears situated at the rear of the crankcase, yet both of these design features were regarded with disfavour in some quarters following the shortcomings of AEC (wet liners) and Daimler and Meadows (rear timing gears). The Dennis O4 and O6 also employed four valves per cylinder, the only British production engines to be so equipped. The O6 was an outstanding engine, and installed in the Lancet III, was taken up enthusiastically by many small independent operators who valued its total dependability, notwithstanding its advanced specification.

Roger Cox


16/07/15 – 05:38

Amazing that AEC never cured the liner problem.
Renault cars in the 60/70’s had wet liners and I had two cars with them, as did a friend. They were no problem, but the timing chains were another thing. Poor tensioners and these were rear engines put at the front, so that the timing chains were then at the back. My friend with a Renault 16 cut a hole in the front bulkhead to sort out his, then put a plate back over the hole! Post-war Daimler bus also had rear timing chains, difficult to access without removing the engine. The few D’s with them were removed and replaced by surplus AEC 7.7’s within five years.

Chris Hebbron


18/07/15 – 06:23

An early Lancet I, albeit a Short B32F bodied bus rather than a coach, has, thankfully, been preserved. It was new, probably in 1932, to Smith’s of Westoning in Bedfordshire, a firm taken over by Seamarks of Dunstable. In June 1937 it was sold to K W Services, Daventry who ran it until 1944. In 1946 it became a caravan at Snodland in Kent until 1974 when it was bought for preservation. Apparently, this bus still has no electric starter, and has to be swung by hand! A picture may be found here:- https://www.flikr.com/photos/cheltonian1966/19456538949/

Roger Cox


18/07/15 – 06:24

It would appear that S Bingley died in 1968 and the firm was taken over by Pembertons coaches. There seems to have been an approach by W. R & P Bingley for a license to run some of the coach excursions. However the Traffic Commisioners refused the application due to the fact Pembertons were in final talks with Mr Bingleys widow to take over the coach company. Further information is listed on: http://archive.commercialmotor.com/
Pemberton who were based at Upton nr Pontefract I think were absorbed into Welsh’s Coaches who operate from the same depot.

Brian Lunn


20/07/15 – 09:48

Thanks for that link Brian. I guess there was no existing family link or Pembertons would not have got a foot in the door in the first place.

Les Dickinson


16/12/15 – 07:27

Further to Chris Hebbron’s reference to timing chains at the rear of the Daimler CD6 and CD650 engines, that’s not the case, like the Dennis O6 and I believe the Meadows 6DC630 the timing was supplied by a gear train, there is further detail in ‘A Further Look At Buses’ by G. G.Hillditch.

Stephen Allcroft


17/12/15 – 07:39

Gardner’s 15.5 litre 6LYT engine broke new ground for the Company in having a rear-mounted timing gear train, rather than Gardner’s traditional triplex timing chain mounted at the front. The Leyland 500-Series engines as fitted to the Leyland National I, New Zealand Bristol RELLs and quite a number of Bristol VRT3s also had rear-mounted timing gear trains.

Brendan Smith


 

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East Kent – Dennis Lancet UF – HJG 3

East Kent - Dennis Lancet UF - HJG 3

East Kent Road Car Co Ltd
1954
Dennis Lancet UF
Duple C41C

This photo taken on Margate seafront in about 1966 shows HJG 3 numerically the first of a batch of 30 Dennis Lancet UF’s fitted with Duple Ambassador C41C bodies delivered to East Kent in 1954 these made up the largest fleet of Lancet UF’s in the country. Looking at this photo again recently I thought how the elegant simplicity of both the coachwork and the superb East Kent livery set one another off beautifully, on the Lancet the windscreens were set lower than on the contemporary Royal Tiger’s and Regal IV’s due to the Lancet’s lower driving position which also made the skylights above the screens more upright also the cab windows and the pillar behind the cab was a different shape.
I feel that the Lancet UF deserved more success than it achieved but obviously it did not appeal to those then all powerful figures the Fleet Engineers who didn’t like some aspects of the specification.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Diesel Dave


31/10/13 – 07:31

Rather like Leyland in the dark, dark days of British Leyland you feel in your guts that you ought to, that you want to like/support Dennis. Many the reputable operator ran Lances, Lancet(tte)s and, of course, Lolines. Glenton ran the last "batch" of Lancet UFs with Plaxton Panorama bodywork – another class act. Often, specifications were good – just quirky and unproven (not necessarily bad and unreliable). Fodens had this problem. I’m no great lover of the Javelin – I prefer heavyweights – but it was a solid workhorse in the style of Bedford and Ford. I did, however, take a Dennis R420 to the South of France one summer. With its ZF AStronic gearbox (and a bit of imagination!) you could call it a cheap GB Setra. Being very much a Setra man, I can say that the R420 was one of the best/nicest coaches I have ever driven. It never took off because it didn’t have Volvo Assist to back it up if it broke down. [My experience of Volvo Assist is that it wasn’t missing much.] So I can support Roger to the hilt. The R series should have been a success, it wasn’t Dennis’s fault it wasn’t – and I’m sure the same was true of the Lancet UF.

David Oldfield


31/10/13 – 15:52

Newport Corporation ran some Lancet UFs but most were bodied as coaches, weren’t they?

Geoff Kerr


01/11/13 – 08:18

Newport Corporation took 12 Lancet UF in two batches. In his book "Dennis Buses in Camera" Robin Hannay says that the first 4 had bus bodies but makes no comment about the second batch although in the picture it appears that they have bus seating. All bodies were built by D J Davies a local coach operator and Dennis agent.

Paragon


01/11/13 – 08:20

I have always admired these East Kent Lancet UF coaches. East Kent took a total of thirty of these machines, the biggest single order that Dennis received for the Lancet UF. Registered HGF 2 to 32, they all had the stylish Duple Ambassador IV bodywork, the first six being C32C and the remainder C41C. The low driving position of the Lancet UF was incorporated very successfully into the design, and the result was a classic to my eye. East Kent were dedicated Dennis users in the pre and early post WW2 period, and my very first experience as a small boy of the Guildford marque came about in 1947-49 with rides on the Lancet II buses, with their distinctive O4 engines, between Faversham and Herne Bay. Until the advent of the Dart and its derivatives, the vertical engined Lancet was Dennis’s most successful passenger type, and the firm must have hoped that the underfloor engined model would have captured at least some of the market. In fact, the total production of the Lancet UF came to 71, the last being delivered to Glenton Tours in 1961. Several reasons may be offered for this, but reliability was certainly not a factor. East Kent, for example, kept their Lancet UFs for around 17 years. Some of the problems lay with the Dennis design which included features that some bus company engineers viewed with caution. These included the low driving position (the ultimate industry acceptance of which Dennis anticipated by about twenty years) and the high pressure hydraulic braking system that, London Transport’s Routemaster excepted, never became popular. The Dennis ‘O’ type gearbox was an idiosyncratic affair that had sliding mesh (i.e true crash rather than constant mesh) engagement of the four lower gears, fourth being direct drive. To add to the fun, the gearstick operated the "wrong way round", upwards from right to left. Fifth gear was an overdrive with preselective engagement/disengagement using Maybach design principles. To engage fifth, the gear lever was pushed at any time from fourth position to the left and forward, but nothing happened until the accelerator and clutch were released to allow the revs to die. Then, releasing the clutch and applying the throttle would find the overdrive engaged. To disengage fifth, the stick would be moved back into fourth position at any time, and to actuate the system, the clutch had to be dipped and the engine blipped to raise the revs. Releasing the clutch pedal again would find fourth gear engaged. In the front engined Lancet, the proximity of the engine and gearbox to the driver allowed clean gear changes to be made by ear. In the UF, the remote location of the gearbox halfway down the chassis made this rather more difficult. Later models of the Lancet UF had the 8 litre rather than the 7.58 litre version of the O6 engine and a Meadows gearbox. When UF production finally finished, so did the manufacture of the O6, the last engine in the Dennis range to be offered. Thereafter, the firm used proprietary units. In the mid 1950s the BET group concentrated its purchasing upon AEC and Leyland products, and most other manufacturers of entirely acceptable machinery, including Dennis, were excluded from the ‘approved list’. Dennis tried again to enter the underfloor bus/coach market with the Pelican in 1956, which had the Dennis 92 bhp 5.5 litre engine and a conventional Meadows five speed constant mesh gearbox. The prototype made many demonstration tours, but the supremacy of AEC and Leyland in declining market conditions deterred the Guildford company from putting the Pelican into production. Yet again, however, the reliability of this unique machine was unquestionable. It ran for many years, first with Yellow Bus of Guildford, and finally with Chiltern Queens of Woodcote. More about the characteristics of the Lancet UF may be found on this site:- www.dennissociety.org.uk/nl/lancetuf.html

Roger Cox


01/11/13 – 14:02

Paragon – thanks, I meant to say "most others", i.e. other than Newport’s. I know there’s a preserved Brutonian vehicle and Aldershot & District had at least one with a bus body.

Geoff Kerr


01/11/13 – 17:57

As has been stated elsewhere on this site, Dennis Lancet UF KOT 600 was never owned by Aldershot and District. The confusion arises because the vehicle was painted in A&D livery and given the fleet number 187, but it remained the property of the manufacturer. It was operated on hire from Dennis from 1st February to 30 November 1953, after which it was returned to the Guildford factory. It subsequently went to Simmonds of Great Gonerby, near Grantham, and then to Cullings of Norwich who eventually passed it on to Blue Bus of Slough. At some stage in its life its Strachans B41R body was rebuilt with a front entrance. Aldershot and District went over to the AEC Reliance for its single deck requirements.

Roger Cox


03/11/13 – 09:02

"Somerset’s Buses" by Laurie James (Tempus 2004) is the source of much useful information concerning the Lancet UFs belonging to Hutchings and Cornelius of which the Brutonian example mentioned above is one. H&C were Dennis users for many years and in 1957 took 3 UFs YYB 117/8/9.117 was DP40F and the other 2 were B42F. All had full service lives. 118 ended up with Brutonian but the interesting thing is that 119 is shown as passing to a Preservation Group in Guildford in September 1973. Where is it now?

Paragon


10/11/13 – 17:17

I had a close relationship with the East Kent UFs when they were used on contract services at Dover Eastern Docks providing a road link from ships and hovercraft to Dover Priory railway station in the 1969 -1971 period. I can vouch for what Roger Cox says about the potential difficulties posed by the remote gearbox, the long linkages and the unconventional gate. I can remember even experienced drivers stirring the long gear lever to find what they were looking for. In spite of being in their late teens at the end at the time they presented a modern image alongside the new hovercraft, and dare I say it they were more reliable than an SRN4! Just worth noting that the East Kent fleet was HJG 3 – HJG 32, slightly different from the numbers in Roger’s comment.

Mike Harvey


11/11/13 – 15:14

Roger – When I was young, about four times a year, I’d get an A&D Lance from Woking to St. Peter’s Hospital, near Chertsey and would try and sit in the nearside/offside downstairs front seat and observe the driver. It was quite some time before I worked out how that Dennis ‘O’ gearbox worked and the strange ‘U’ movement by the driver, with no change in engine note at that moment. I was quite used to preselective methods with the LTE Daimlers around Morden, but a crash gearbox with pre-selective overdrive; egad; that was quite another thing! That whole area was also interesting in that you would have London Country and A&D buses popping in and out of turnings all over. Interesting times.

Chris Hebbron


14/11/13 – 06:00

Paragon enquires what became of YYB 119 once listed as preserved? A previous owner of now preserved YYB 118 told me that circa 1984 he had located 119 laid up behind a pub in the Guildford area. Photographs show that it was in fairly poor order, blocked up with a missing front wheel and a large pile of scaffolding stacked against one side. Despite enquiries no one could be found who knew anything about it and when he returned at a later date it had gone. And as far as I am aware, it has never been seen since. Attemps to trace members of "The Guildford LU2 Group" have been equally negative.

Nick Webster


HJG 3 Vehicle reminder shot for this posting


15/11/13 – 06:25

Chris, the Lance K3 was a remarkable machine, with its free running 7.58 litre 24 valve O6 engine, giving (unlike the optimistic claims of contemporary Crossley and Daimler engines, both of which had a litre greater capacity) a genuine 100 bhp, and this was coupled to the ‘O’ type gearbox with its preselective overdrive fifth gear. It was probably the fastest double decker of its time. In an age when the legal maximum speed for a psv was 30 mph, it always amused me to read the plate on the internal cab bonnet side of the Aldershot and District Lances and Lancets – "Do not engage fifth gear below 30 mph". In my own experience, sadly only as a passenger, the drivers certainly complied, and these machines spent much of their time in overdrive. To the best of my knowledge, the A&D timetables of the 1960s did not differ greatly in terms of running time from those of the late 1950s. One had to drive a Loline pretty hard to get to Petersfield on time from Guildford or Aldershot, so the old 30mph limit must have been regularly observed in the breach.

Roger Cox


16/11/13 – 11:30

About,1963 I took a return journey from Portsmouth to Milford, swapping from Southdown to A&D at Petersfield.
The Southdown, from memory, was one of the East Lancs PD2/12 registration RUF ###’s, but the A&D was a Loline; interesting, but not a Lance, to my eternal regret Roger, on that challenging route.

Chris Hebbron


 

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Feather Brothers – Dennis Lancet – DAK 684

Feather Brothers - Dennis Lancet - DAK 684

Feather Brothers (Bradford)
1939
Dennis Lancet 2
Plaxton C37F

I took this photograph in 1960 with a rather primitive optical instrument called the Bencini Comet S. It shows a Dennis Lancet 2 of 1939 with a Plaxton C37F body, seeing out its final days employed on contractor work based in a yard beside the main London- Brighton railway line on the southern edge of Coulsdon (south of Croydon). The site is unrecognisable today. This coach began life with Feather Brothers, Bradford (later part of the Wallace Arnold empire) in May 1939, a less than auspicious moment to embark upon a coaching career, and its wartime experiences are unclear. Somewhat later, it entered the fleet of A. Farrow and Sons, Melton Mowbray where it stayed from January 1951 to January 1956, before passing on to Coronation of Stapleford.
The interesting story of Farrow, together with a fleet list, may be found here:- www.farrows-coaches.co.uk
By 1960 this coach had been ignominiously demoted as seen above. The Lancet 2 was offered with two alternative bonnet lengths, the longer one to accommodate the Gardner 5LW, and a much shorter one for the Dennis "Big Four" 97 bhp petrol engine of 6.786 litres, or the 85 bhp O4 diesel of 6.5 litres. The four cylinder Dennis engines were very compact, and the short bonnet allowed the bulkhead to be moved forward so that the greater internal saloon length could accommodate an extra row of seats. Setting aside the Maudslay SF40, which, in theory, could seat up to 40 passengers, though a lower figure was more usual, the short bonnet Lancet probably offered the greatest capacity – up to 39 seats – on a conventional chassis in the late 1930s. One does wonder, however, if the cab was a bit constricted, though the bodywork could be extended to the extreme front, flush with the radiator, as on this Plaxton C37F example, which is clearly built on a short bonnet chassis. The bulkhead has no autovac which was more usual than a lift pump for the fuel delivery to the engine on vehicles of that period. I cannot establish from the photograph whether this coach has a petrol or a diesel engine, though, to be still in use during the 1960s, the O4 diesel option would be very much more likely. If only this splendid machine were still around today.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Roger Cox


10/10/13 – 08:10

Your "optical device" can’t, surely, have been more primitive than my first such instrument, bought for 2s6d in Woolworth’s in 1962. If the camera and viewfinder (such as it was) were pointing the same way, an approximation of the target might appear on the film, but it was usually very blurred. More often than not, it captured something off to one side or the other.

Pete Davies


10/10/13 – 15:30

Most interesting are the metal surrounds for the destination glasses – a shape which was still in use by Plaxtons well after WW2.

Chris Youhill


11/10/13 – 06:59

I had a Bencini, a triumph of appearance over performance, the reasonable quality lens being the best part.
As for the coach, the nearside bodywork being carried halfway over the wing is something I’d not seen before – did Plaxton stop this after the war? Sad it never survived.

Chris Hebbron


11/10/13 – 06:59

Very interesting to see an example of pre-war Plaxton bodywork although this is perhaps not a very flattering angle (no disrespect to Roger) but you could see the makings of an attractive design emerging. Another point of interest is the radiator, I wasn’t aware that Dennis had introduced this style before WW2. You tend to think of pre-war Dennis coaches having the massive radiator with the bar across the front.

Chris Barker


11/10/13 – 08:29

North Western took six Dennis Aces in 1934 with a very neat radiator which was a definitive forerunner of a change to the shape depicted in Roger’s photo.. NW’s 1936 delivery of Lancet IIs had exactly the same radiator as DAK 684.

Phil Blinkhorn


11/10/13 – 08:29

I wonder if the "enclosed pocket" caused by the extension of the bodywork over the front mudguard might have caused a bit of resistance to the flow of wind, therefore affecting the pulling power of the coach ??

Chris Youhill


11/10/13 – 14:16

As Phil indicates, the Lancet II with the slimmer radiator, slightly offset towards the nearside, was introduced at the 1935 Motor Show, where a Dennis bodied coach for a Staffordshire operator, A T Hardwick, was exhibited. I agree with Chris Y about the probable aerodynamic consequences of the extended panel work alongside the bonnet, yet this feature appeared on the products of several coachbuilders of the time.
DAK 684 was always parked within a fenced enclosure alongside the Brighton Road, and this was the best shot I could obtain. I did return several times for a better view, but then one day, sadly, the coach had gone forever.
I am digging out some of my old Comet S photos that, with modern digital software, are now a bit more useable (the Watton picture of an ECOC SC4LK is another with this camera). As Chris H suggests, the Comet looked the part, but its performance was much inferior to the old Brownie 127 that I used before. As a collector of old cameras, I have examples of both today.

Roger Cox


11/10/13 – 14:16

The extension over the front wing was quite common – especially on Plaxtons. It was also very often hinged to facilitate access to the engine.

David Oldfield


11/10/13 – 14:17

A quick trawl around the web would suggest that Dennis changed to the lighter style of rad grill during 1936. I’ve seen photos of Lancet I’s and II’s for this year.
Your right, Chris Y. The ‘pocket’ was hardly in the vogue for streamlining in the mid/late ‘thirties.

Chris Hebbron


11/10/13 – 14:18

What a delight to see this ex Feather Brothers Lancet!
I remember Feather Brothers so well, and their office at the bottom of Great Horton Road, and we used them frequently for day trips, so I could well have ridden on this vehicle. I am trying to remember just when they were absorbed by Wallace Arnold, but if my birth were to have been registered under motor vehicle legislation, then I also would have carried a "DAK" plate!

John Whitaker


11/10/13 – 14:49

1968 springs to mind for some reason John, but I don’t know why.

David Oldfield


11/10/13 – 16:10

Gentlemen, its amazing how time flies – Feather Brothers sold out to Wallace Arnold in March 1955 !! Fifteen vehicles were in the deal as follows:-
Dennis Lancet – 4, AEC Regal IV – 5, Bedford SB – 6.
I was at the Leeds depot of WA, and my first tour was in 1963 to the Isle of Wight from Bradford depot and the coach was 9196 NW in Feather Brothers livery from purchase new by WA. Talk about thrown in at the deep end with only a brief sheet, in the dreadful "Roneo" format of the time, of instructions for the whole week. This farcical document would have been hilarious if it hadn’t been so seriously deficient in timings and directions – I have it still and I shudder even now when I look at it from time to time. I recovered shortly after practically throwing the poor old clients and their baggage on to the last sailing of the day to the Island. The thought of narrowly avoiding, by seconds literally, having to find forty bed and breakfasts at 7.00pm is not something I’d recommend. Then I had to take the empty coach to Lymington (half an inch on the map and many complex miles around the Solent fjords)for cleaning and refuelling before finding B & B for myself and catching the ferry next day to Yarmouth and the Southern Vectis’s superb early model Lodekka right around the coast to Sandown. The vision of a management unable to organise a long convivial evening in an alcohol manufactory springs ever to mind !!

Chris Youhill


 

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