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East Kent – Dennis Lancet – HJG 6

East Kent - Dennis Lancet - HJG 6

East Kent Road Car Co. Ltd.
1954 – 1957
Dennis Lancet UF – Guy Arab IV
Duple C41C – Park Royal H33/28RD

East Kent’s first foray into underfloor engined vehicles occurred in 1951 when six Leyland Royal Tigers with ornate but rather uncertainly styled Park Royal coach bodies arrived in 1951. In 1953 came two more Royal Tigers, this time with well proportioned Duple C32C Ambassador bodies. Thirty more similar Duple coach bodies, the first six being C32C, the rest C41C, arrived in the following year, but this time mounted on Dennis Lancet UF LU2 chassis, East Kent having been an enthusiastic customer for the front engined Lancet in pre and early post war years. These coaches were registered HJG3 to 32 – East Kent did not use fleet numbers, but duplication of the number element of the registrations was always avoided. This Lancet UF order was the largest Dennis ever received, and the total production figure for the model was a mere 71. Factors influencing this outcome were the low driving position, the high pressure hydraulic braking system and the idiosyncratic Dennis ‘O’ type gearbox, a four speed crash unit with a preselective overdrive fifth. That gearbox had been a feature of the vertical engined Lancet and East Kent drivers were fully familiar with it, but, in the UF model, its remote location together with the engine halfway long the chassis made clean changes by ear difficult to achieve. Nevertheless, these Lancet UF coaches were very refined, fast and reliable, achieving a service life of up to 17 years.
East Kent’s pre war standard double decker was the Leyland Titan TD4 and then the TD5. During the war East Kent was effectively in the front line, and the fleet suffered extensive damage through enemy action in the air and from artillery firing across the Channel from the French coast. Utility Guy Arabs were allocated to East Kent to meet vehicle losses and the rugged dependability of the marque so impressed the company that the Arab became the standard post war double deck chassis up to 1957. The BET preferred supplier system then oversaw the transfer of subsequent orders to the AEC Regent V, though three Bridgemasters were also bought, all with Park Royal bodywork. Thenceforward the melodious murmur of Gardner engine and Guy gearbox was supplemented by the atonal scream of the AEC transmission. MFN 896 was an example of the last batch of Guys, one of 20 Arab IVs of 1957 with Park Royal H33/28RD bodywork of outstandingly classic proportions. The first AEC Regent Vs that followed in 1959 were the PFN registered ‘Puffins’ which wore a full fronted version of the traditional Park Royal design, but thereafter the Regent body deliveries witnessed a decline from the sublime to the ridiculous by carrying the hideous Bridgemaster derived highbridge design that so offended Southampton Corporation that it quickly transferred its long standing patronage from Park Royal to East Lancashire. The ugliness of the design was accentuated later when these Regents were turned out in NBC poppy red.
The picture was taken in Canterbury in 1967 when East Kent was still a BET company, and shows 1954 Lancet UF HJG 6, by then reseated to C41C, alongside 1957 Arab IV MFN 896, with another Arab of the same type to its right. These Arabs originally presented a full destination blind display, but by 1967 the aperture had been reduced to a single line. On the right hand edge of the photo are two of the ugly duckling Park Royal Regent Vs of 1961 onwards that eventually totalled 121 in the fleet.

More details of the Dennis Lancet UF and the earlier Dominant may be found here:- https://www.dennissociety.org.uk/nl/dandl.html.

A detailed article covering EKRCC operations, principally in the Dover area, is here:- https://doverhistorian.com/2016/12/16/east-kent-road-car

Photograph and Copy contributed by Roger Cox


21/01/21 – 06:24

I’m so pleased to see someone saying what I’ve long thought about the the later Regent Vs. I was a schoolboy in Folkestone in the early ‘60s, and whereas the MFN Guys were my favourites and I quite liked the PFN Regents, I thought the later Regents were freaky and designed by somebody who would probably have done well in some other occupation. On the other hand I was pleased to see the back of the lowbridge PD1As; travelling upstairs on one of those could be a depressing experience.

Don


22/01/21 – 07:38

If it wasn’t for the Duple single decker I was all ready to say "Edinburgh Corporation". What a similarity of livery colours, livery application, double decker bodywork, etc.

Bill


01/02/21 – 06:34

Just to say that this photo is taken at ‘The Garth’ in St Stephens Rd Canterbury.

Clive Bowley


 

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Old Bus Photos from Saturday 25th April 2009 to Friday 5th March 2021