Old Bus Photos

Aldershot & District – Dennis Lancet III – HOU 905/909 – 179/183

Aldershot & District - Dennis Lancet III - HOU 905/909 - 179/183

Aldershot & District - Dennis Lancet III - HOU 905/909 - 179/183

Aldershot & District - Dennis Lancet III - HOU 905/909 - 179/183

Aldershot & District Traction Co.
1950
Dennis Lancet III J10
Strachans B38R

A rather sad set of pictures taken in 1967. Parked at the rear of the Aldershot & District premises in Halimote Road, Aldershot is a line up of Dennis Lancet III buses with Strachans B38R bodywork, headed by HOU 905/909, Nos 179/183, all awaiting disposal after a valued service life of seventeen years. The interior shot was taken within No. 183. There were twelve in this final batch of Lancets, HOU 899/901-911, Nos. 173/175-185, all delivered between October 1950 and January 1951, which were of the 8ft by 30ft J10 model (fleet No. 174 was the solitary A&D Dennis Dominant). They were powered by the advanced 7.58 litre six cylinder 100 bhp Dennis O6 diesel with four valves per cylinder which drove through the ‘O’ Type gearbox, a four speed sliding mesh unit with a preselective fifth gear designed on Maybach principles. The gear lever operated the ‘wrong way’ – upwards from right to left – which allowed for the throw of the gear lever required to engage fifth. Three of the batch were withdrawn in 1965 with the final nine going in 1967, by which time the AEC Reliance had already become firmly established as the A&D standard saloon chassis for thirteen years. Though I was working at Aldershot at that time, I regretfully didn’t get the opportunity to drive one of these, which seemed to see out their final days at Woking depot. The bus on the right of the Lancets is Loline I No. 353, SOU 461 of 1958. On the left is relaxed utility metal framed Weymann bodied Guy Arab II EOR 374 of 1945, originally No 884 of L22/26R configuration, withdrawn from service in 1958 and converted into a tree lopper. HOU 909 was sold for scrap, but the subsequent fate of HOU 905 is not known. Lancet HOU 904, No. 178, has been preserved.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Roger Cox


08/01/21 – 07:43

There is a full description of the Dennis ‘O’ type gearbox at – https://dennissociety.org.uk/nl/ogearbox.html

Peter Williamson


 

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Aldershot & District – Dennis Lancet – LAA 228 – 193

LAA 228

Aldershot & District Traction Co
1953
Dennis Lancet III J10C
Strachan FC38R

In 1948, Aldershot & District took delivery of fifteen Dennis Lancet J3 coaches with Strachans C32R bodies. These replaced the externally very similar Lancet II/Strachans C32R vehicles of 1937-38, the main difference being the longer bonnet of the Lancet III which housed the 7.58 litre O6 in place of the 6.5 litre O4 in the pre war model. These post war machines were very fine coaches giving a high standard of refinement. The 24 valve, wet liner, O6 engine was probably the smoothest running diesel engine of all time, and, coupled with the Dennis ‘O’ type five speed gearbox, it was capable of excellent performance on the road. However, by the early 1950s, the traditional half cab, heavy duty, front engined coach was regarded as passé in major fleets, having been supplanted by the fashionably new underfloor engined machine. Even small independents had begun taking the superficially more modern Bedford SB. In 1950, Aldershot & District bought one of the only two Dennis Dominants ever completed (a third was constructed in chassis form only and subsequently dismantled), but had been obliged to look elsewhere for an underfloor engined chassis when Dennis decided not to produce that model in quantity. In 1953, wishing to upgrade its image, but still undecided about the underfloor configuration, Aldershot & District tried out a number of underfloor engined machines from a variety of manufacturers – Guy (Arab LUF), Atkinson (PM 744 & 745), Leyland (Tiger Cub) and Dennis (Lancet UF). Surprisingly, in view of later developments, AEC was not represented in these trials. The story of the Aldershot and District demonstrators may be found at this link.
Instead the company sought to update the coach fleet with 15 full fronted examples of the 30 feet long and 8 feet wide J10C Lancet, with Strachan FC38R bodywork, Nos.188-202, LAA 223-237. These were attractive coaches of traditional appearance, though the effect was spoiled slightly by the cheap looking wire mesh grille, the apparent frailty of which seemed to to be endorsed by the dents that it soon acquired in service. Like all Lancets, these coaches were excellent, smooth running, reliable machines, though the drivers’ cabs reputedly became unpleasantly hot, particularly so in the summer months. Aware that these coaches presented an outdated image in a world increasingly dominated by modern, underfloor engined vehicles, Aldershot & District succumbed in 1954 to the lure of the AEC Reliance, purchasing twenty-five examples of the MU3RV model with the 6.75 litre AH410 engine. Angular Strachans Everest C41C bodies were fitted with a high floor level and corresponding waistline. The arrival of the Reliances resulted in the relegation of the full fronted Lancets from regular express work to other duties, and they were all withdrawn in 1963 after a relatively short life of ten years. In the photograph, taken at Victoria in 1960, No.193, LAA 228, its windscreen significantly open wide, is laying over in the company of one of the Strachans bodied Reliances. Behind is LCD 857, one of Southdown’s Beadle rebuilds with FC35C bodywork, 30ft long and 8ft wide on 7ft 6ins chassis sections. This coach was constructed using the units of pre war Leyland Tiger TS8 EUF 96, and retained the 8.6 litre oil engine. Like the full fronted Aldershot & District Lancets, this vehicle (and its fellows) was sold in 1963.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Roger Cox


04/11/19 – 06:15

How surprising in 1953 for such buses/coaches to be delivered to a "substantial" company? Times had already moved on e.g. Ribble with its Leyland/Leyland coaches in 1951 and Tilling with the LS/ECW "beauties" in 1952. A nice story Roger, thank you.

Stuart Emmett


05/11/19 – 06:12

SOU 446

This picture, taken in 1961 in The Grove alongside Aldershot Bus Station – now long gone, the current bus station is a pitiful apology of a facility – shows the Winchester outstation based 1958 Dennis Loline I 338, SOU 446, with East Lancashire H37/31RD body, passing a pair of the fine 1948 Lancet III coaches with Strachans C32R bodies; these were displaced by the 1953 full fronted machines from express duties to private hire and excursion work. 984 GAA 620 and its fellow fourteen coaches were all withdrawn in the year of the photograph, 1961; the Loline survived in A&D service for a further ten years.

Roger Cox


08/11/19 – 10:27

Full-fronted Lancet J10C has thankfully been in preservation for some years. There remains work to be done before we see its welcome appearance at rallies. Thanks, Roger, for the mid-’50s demonstrators link: before reading Eric Nixon’s piece I had no idea how many types had been assessed. The Atkinson is my biggest surprise! But I still can’t help wishing that, like East Kent, they had gone for underfloor Lancets.

Ian Thompson


11/11/19 – 07:09

I think the half cab Lancet III in Roger’s second photo looks much better than this last fling from 1953. Obviously an additional window bay has been inserted to achieve the extra length but it causes the body to droop excessively towards the rear giving a strangely unbalanced look. The side flash doesn’t help either!

Chris Barker


 

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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


The preserved Smith’s of Westoning Lancet is now fitted with an electric starter. My 1935 ex-Southern Vectis one was always fitted with a starter but one should not over-estimate their effectiveness. They would start a vehicle with a warm engine, maybe even one that had had been garaged overnight, but were never suitable for a completely cold start. For that you needed somebody in the cab and somebody helping on the handle. I have seen other marques of vehicle that were similar.
For the record there is of course no such thing as a "Lancet 1" – in their time they were just "Lancet". The assumed designation only came about when the Mk2 arrived.

John H


25/06/17 – 09:26

Yes, the original Lancet was just that, like the original Arab, Regent and Regal, and, in the private car world, the Cortina amongst many others. The retrospective application of the appellation ‘1’ or ‘Mark 1’ does clarify the model being discussed. I suppose that, if one wished to be totally accurate, the term ‘1935 Lancet’ should be employed here, but that wouldn’t work either because the Lancet II came out in that same year. Adopting the form Lancet (1), Regal (1) etc seems unnecessarily pedantic to my mind. I should think that only in the military aircraft field would ‘Mark 1’ be used from the start, and then not always.

Roger Cox


 

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Old Bus Photos from Saturday 25th April 2009 to Sunday 26th September 2021