Old Bus Photos

Transglobe Tours – Foden PVRF6 – KUY 536

Transglobe Tours - Foden PVR - KUY 536
Copyright N Edwards.

Transglobe Tours - Foden PVR - KUY 536 - Rear
Copyright N Edwards.

Transglobe Tours
Foden PVRF6
Metalcraft C41C

The above two shots of a Foden PVR with Fodens own two-stroke engine were taken in my ‘Transglobe’ driving days. I had taken it to the Foden works at Sandbach Cheshire for an annoying fuel pump fault – as I remember, apart from being noisy animals, these were very temperamental – constant adjustments to fuel delivery points (pump and injectors) being the order of the day. Although I never did a continental trip with this coach, I had one continental trip with a Bedford SBG Seagull that gave me quite a hard time ending with its brakes finally burning out on a very steep section in the Austrian Alps. The Church party and myself being returned to the French coast by a superior German coach, a ‘Satra’, as I recall. 
My thanks to Mike Beamish/www.mikesbuspages.co uk for allowing me to use a couple of his photos so that you can see offside views of a similar Metalcraft Foden PVR to the above.

NTU 125
Mike Beamish.

NTU 125_rear_lr
Mike Beamish.

According to Mike NTU 125 had been repainted in deeper Cream with a brighter Red relief than the first time he took a shot of it. The last of these two shots shows it at the Buses 60 Rally at Wroughton when it was being used to transport visitors to the various hangars and exhibition areas.

Photographs and Copy contributed by Nigel Edwards

Perhaps returned to the coast by a Kassborer-SETRA – now just Setra: and still very good. Rear engine…. quiet, comfortable: why isn’t it Foden?


Why isn’t it Foden? Setra have spent the last 50 years developing into the leading coach builder of Europe – if not the world. Foden chose to abandon PSVs and concentrate on HGVs – especially specialist applications.
Given a different history, who knows? Foden quality was never in doubt. Foden and AEC could both have become as well regarded today as Setra – they simply didn’t survive (for historical reasons that most of us already know).

David Oldfield

03/02/11 – 10:36

Nigel Edwards’ recollections of driving this coach to Fodens for adjustments are fascinating. Transglobe operated the coach between February 1958 and September 1959, if my records are correct. I can confirm that it definitely had a Metalcraft body. The Foden two-stoke engine was, I believe, fairly complex – and probably misunderstood. Some companies seemed to like them, others just did not get on with them. Cook’s Coaches from Lyneham in Wiltshire at one point had three two-stroke engined Fodens ….. in their fleet of three! The Whenuapai Bus Company and City Bus Services in New Zealand, however, had no end of troubles with their quintet, but once Hawkes’ Bay Bus Company bought up the bankrupt City B S along with the Fodens and had them properly overhauled, they found that the engine fan had been repositioned to accommodate the bodywork. Once the fans were correctly positioned, and also once they had a Foden-trained mechanic looking after them, they went on to give many years of reliable service. The last one wasn’t taken out of service until June 1980, later than some Leyland Royal Tigers in the same fleet. All five went on to serve as movans (mobile homes) and two still exist in such a capacity even now, though one is effectively immobile.

Peter Tulloch

16/01/13 – 13:40

NTU 125
Copyright Ian Lynas

I (and probably 50 or so other enthusiasts) took this shot of NTU 125, a rear-engined Foden with Metalcraft coachwork belonging to Hollinsheads of Scholar Green in Cheshire during a PSV Circle Manchester tour on 13th April 1969. Fantastic tour which brought out Fodens from every nook and cranny. I think the tour was organised by the late Peter Roberts.

Ian Lynas

17/01/13 – 05:24

As far as I know Peter Roberts is still with us! Hardly any bus enthusiasts in the Manchester area doesn’t know of him, remembering with affection the PSV Circle meetings which still continue today, but I particularly remember the halcyon days of the late ‘sixties/early seventies (when Ian was there too!). They were in the Briton’s Protection hotel overlooking Lower Mosley Street and always very popular.

David Beilby

17/01/13 – 11:50

Can anybody lend me some photographs from this visit to Hollinshead’s (or scan them for me at 300 dpi or better)? I’m currently working on a book about Northwest independents and prints of their (pre 1970) vehicles have proven surprisingly hard to find. Weirdly, I’ve never knowingly met Peter Roberts although for several years I lived on Dane Road in Sale – virtually around the corner! I am of course familiar with his reputation as an outstanding photographer. Help?

Neville Mercer

23/01/13 – 13:16

My apologies to Peter Roberts. Good to hear he is still around and if you keep contact with him, thank him for the meetings which had a good smattering of everything, an ability to talk to like-minded enthusiasts, a quick formal part, great slide presentation and lots of info about what was going on in the local bus world. Thanks also David, I might have to reward you with a picture of your good self and others with Southport Crossley 116.
to Neville Mercer, I only took one other shot at Hollinsheads of a fairly new Duple Dominant, GTU 119G. It is already scanned at 300 dpi at 3008 x 2000. Any good Neville.

Ian Lynas

24/01/13 – 11:08

The Dominant is a bit new for my tastes, Ian, and would have been delivered after Hollinshead’s stage service ended. I would like a scan of your shot of NTU 125 though – I already have several, but all taken after it entered preservation. Anybody else got any photographs of Hollinshead’s half-cab Fodens or Bedford OWB bus?

Neville Mercer

24/01/13 – 12:20

Mind you, GTU 119G is either a mistake or a re-registration as the Dominant was introduced for the 1973 (L suffix) registration year. [Duple quality (almost) at its worst – how were the mighty fallen.]

David Oldfield

KUY 536_lr Vehicle reminder shot for this posting

13/03/14 – 16:51

The Hollinshead Leopard referred to was actually a Duple Commander. It was reputedly bought outright off the Duple stand by family members visiting the 1968 Commercial Motor Show and was in effect a ‘new generation’ vehicle. Previous purchases for over 10 years had been Bedford SB (petrol and diesel)and latterly all second hand. The off white/tangerine band livery on GTU became the fleet standard. Although unconfirmed, at the time of its arrival some 18 months later usually reliable sources stated that second hand (and similarly liveried)OOP 173G had been the Bedford/Viceroy counterpart of GTU 119G at he 1968 show.

Keith Wood


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Beehive Services – Foden PVRF6 – KWU 24

Beehive Services - Foden PVRF6 - KWU 24

Beehive Services - Foden PVRF6 - KWU 24 - Rear View

Beehive Services
Foden PVRF6 
Whitson C39C

The top photograph first appeared on the ‘Do You Know’ page of this website and the following information was forthcoming.
The shot was taken in a scrap yard when this particular vehicle was presumably at the end of its days. It states that it was owned by Bodill Builders Contractors who were probably the last owners and used it as a staff vehicle. Originally it was owned by Beehive Services who were based at Adwick-le-Street (near Doncaster) and founded by Ernest Arthur Hart after he retired from being a centre-half footballer for Leeds-United and England in the 1930s. Beehive Services was eventually taken over or amalgamated with Wilfreda from Bawtry to form Wilfreda Beehive of Adwick-le-Street. Wilfreda Beehive still operate as a bus and coach operator in the South Yorkshire area and one thing I spotted on their website is that they have Routemaster for private hire.
If anyone is interested in engine shots let me know it may be possible with a bit of tweaking to bring out more detail which I would then post here.

Fascinating how there is a blur between unconnected coachbuilders. I know Whitson and Duple were north London neighbours, but that’s a Duple rear end!
Three or four years before Duple’s takeover, Burlingham put a Duple rear end on the Seagull (from 1957/8) and of course there was the famous and ubiquitous Alexander R type clone by East Lancs on various rear engined decker chassis.
These were companies independent of each other and it doesn’t take account of the fifties period when the same style could bear Crossley, Park Royal or Roe plates depending on which factory built them.
Come to think of it, though, Southdown had about 10 Beadle/PD2s built on Park Royal frames. They were virtually indistinguishable from the real thing – but no formal link between the companies. They were also Beadles last deckers, and possibly their last bodies, before concentrating on the car sales side of their business.

David Oldfield

I have little to go on apart from hunch & haze, but were Harts really Beehive’s competitor Kildare Coaches (note Irish link) and Beehive the Co-op (A Beehive is a symbol the Co-op used)? Or is that wrong?


It isn’t just the rear view that reminds you of Duple, from that front three quarter view don’t you think the sides of the vehicle look a bit like a Duple Roadmaster?.
On the subject of lookalike bodies can I throw into the conversation the similarities between the Northern Counties bodies fitted to Yorkshire Traction Atlantean and Fleetlines, Roe bodies of that era (West Riding / Rotherham Corporation for example) and some Alexander (AL?) bodywork.


Andrew. There is quite a history of putting Alexander screens and front ends on unrelated companies bodies. In addition to those you have mentioned, there were Atlanteans for Newcastle Corporation and Fleetlines for Bradford with MCW bodies.
You are absolutely right. Apart from the immediate windscreen area, it does look just like a Roadmaster. Wonder whether they were Duple frames (in the same manner as the Southdown PD2s mentioned above with Park Royal frames)?

David Oldfield

I can confirm that Whitson, the coachbuilder, had no direct connections with Duple and were actually West London based, firstly at Sipson, then at Yiewsley. Their managing director, Alf Whittit, was a fiercely independent and somewhat flamboyant salesman with a liking for the stylish designs for which Whitson became well known. Initially their draughtsman was Charles Pilbin, whose style tended to be functional rather than beautiful. This changed with the arrival, from Duple, of Cyril Austin. It may be that Cyril Austin was aware of, perhaps even responsible for, some of the Duple styling that people can see in the Whitson body. I can also confirm that E A Hart Limited (fleet name Beehive Services) were the company that bought the Fodens – there were actually four of them KWU 24 to 27. Control had passed to Doncaster Co-op in July 1947 and E A Hart left to set up another company – Kildare Coaches of Knottingley. KWU 24 itself survived the yard in which it was photographed. I have a photograph showing it in the service of Carlien’o Brothers Circus, but still carrying Bodill names on the front.

Peter Tulloch

Thanks Peter, my mystery above is solved- Kildare, Beehive and Hart’s, although Beehive was a "logo" of the Co-op. I thought that Kildare, though (also) had a garage in neighbouring Carcroft, and then in Adwick itself, where they seemed to compete with Beehive.


17/10/11 – 07:52

Unity Coaches at Clay Cliffe Road Baraugh Green Barnsley also ran rear engined Fodens. They were owned by the Barnsley British co-operative Ltd. and were in a rather strange brown and tan livery if I’m not mistaken. They were bought out by Cawthorne’s in the late ’50’s.


18/10/11 – 05:31

Unity/Beehive- good Co-op words. Sounds like a Co-op-Foden connection: like the Co-op branch buildings, they were meant to last!


18/10/11 – 05:31

I seem to recall that Kildare Coaches were taken over by Shearings so they could get a depot in the Doncaster area,

Philip Carlton

16/11/11 – 07:32

Kildare were bought out by Smiths-Happiways in 1983 mainly for the premises which became a Depot and Tour Interchange

Tim Presley

24/01/12 – 11:10

KWU 24 spent the rest of it’s PSV life with R.E. Everson Everson’s Coaches of Wix Nr. Manningtree in Essex, where it was joined by JOT 106 A Foden PRFG with Associated Coachbuilders C41C Body. KWU was C39C.
It was painted in red and cream and gave magnificent trouble free service for three years – a wonderful vehicle. I would love to see a closer view of the engine compartment.

Wally Francis

KWU 24 engine

10/11/12 – 09:15

For the attention of Wally Francis whose details I collected here. In 1955 a Commer TS3 with a Beadle body was supplied by my old boss, Ernie Harris of Fishponds Motor Co. Ltd. Bristol and I had been a young lad who had kept it, and the Garage showroom up together while I was employed. I would love to hear how long this vehicle lasted and exactly what had happened to it. The business had been done to Eversons Coaches of Wix, and I have 2 pictures – one somewhere close to town and the other parked in a stream of traffic outside of the Company premises. I do hope that this meets up with some conversation and I would love to hear further.

John Sealey

19/01/13 – 16:53

UHT 573 Beadle-Commer C35C. Fascinated to hear about the dear Commer. It joined the fleet in 1955 and replaced/traded in for 79 BPU a unique Page bodied Morris commercial [which itself has an interesting story behind it.]
UHT was a wonderful coach and made it in the fleet into the new livery of Red/white and grey – lasting ten years in the fleet – traded in to Moseleys and sold by them as a non- psv and turned into a mobile home spent time in the Clacton area funnily enough. Would love to see your photographs!!!

Wally Francis

12/07/13 – 07:58

Where were Page bodies built and what was the full name of the firm? Any photos of their products including 79 BPU mentioned.? Would like to know more as I have not heard of this bodybuilder before.

Mike Holloway

14/07/13 – 07:47

I think that the builder of the "Page" body referred to by Mike Holloway was Page or Page & Scott of Colchester who were principally car dealers. I ought to remember more as my late great uncle worked for them and I think at one point lived over the premises. Ultimately Page & Scott were acquired by George Ewer & Co who were not exactly unknown in the coach industry.

Nigel Turner

25/01/14 – 16:56

It was great to hear about the two Fodens and Commer TS3 belonging to Everson’s coaches. I went to school on all these. On one occasion the fan on KWU came off, and being a rear engined coach, it crashed through the rear doors and fell onto the road behind. Lots of other memories of those journeys and of working for Everson’s as a Saturday job.
If Wally Francis, who I worked with for three years, wishes to make contact I’d be delighted!

John Hull

28/10/14 – 06:55

I well remember this coach belonging to Beehive and taking our local Brass Band to Cardiff and later to Plymouth during the mid fifties. It was in dark green and cream.

Unrelated subject;
I was an apprentice to YTC in the sixties and remember looking round ‘Askins’ scrap yard during the dinner hour at a very tired Foden coach being scrapped, it had of course a Foden 2 stroke engine and an angle drive transmission. It begs the question why did Leylands struggle for so long perfecting the PDR 1 when the technology was already there? It took an overheard apprentice’s comment to get them to find an oil which would do both jobs of lubricating the diff and the angle drive and the gearbox after so many failed seals and g/b brake bands.
After a long and frustrating struggle to change the throttle pins on the Atlants. an apprentice was again heard to shout out in frustration, ‘Why don’t Leylands fit a hydraulic throttle to these camels? The next batch duly came fitted with Hydraulic throttles.


KWU 24_lr Vehicle reminder shot for this posting

06/11/14 – 14:44

I now live in Australia, formerly of Fern Bank, Adwick le Street. My Uncle, Les Pickles, drove for Beehive coaches in the late 40’s early 50’s, I seem to recall that the depot was at the rear of the Adwick Post office. To my memory the early coaches had a Beehive and Bees on the side. Can any one forward any info and or photographs of these coaches please.

Vic Young

07/11/14 – 08:12

Thanks Vic- this is getting nearer to my hazy memories. I’m not certain that we have the story right yet!
The Co-op used a Beehive (with bees) as a logo in various places just like the one on the coaches. Do you know if they originally owned Beehive? Do you remember Kildare Coaches? I think they had a depot in Carcroft which became an NCB transport depot, and then moved to a site between Adwick & Carcroft. Were they Hart’s? The Beehive depot was in old Adwick village as you say… did Beehive and Kildare then amalgamate? to be continued…



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Foden Works – Foden PVRF6 – OLG 855

Foden Works - Foden PVRF6 - OLG 855

Foden Works - Foden PVRF6 - OLG 855 - Full Front

Foden Works
Foden PVRF6
Plaxton C??C

These excellent shots were contributed by Andrew Charles who took them in 2005 the vehicle was restored by its present owner Nick Helliker. This particular vehicle was built for the Foden Works Brass Band who used it to travel to all their concerts until 1979 when it was replaced by another Foden vehicle. It was then laid up at the Foden factory until it was bought by an enthusiast who stored it under cover until the present owner bought it and did a full restoration to the standard you see above.
Fodens rear engine layout was way ahead of its time in 1951 as most other manufactories had just nicely switched over to underfloor engines and would stay that way for quite awhile to come. In fact Andrews comment that accompanied the shots read:-

“With it’s rear mounted two stroke engine this configuration when viewed now from sixty years on has become the norm – indeed Volvo have just delivered the last underfloor engined coach – a B12B – to Pulhams of Bourton on the Water, all future production will be rear engined.” (09/10)

The engine fitted to the above was Fodens own 4·0 litre two stroke diesel engine although there was the option to have a 8·4 litre Gardner 6LW in which case the model code would be PVRG6. I think there would have been a noticeable difference in performance as the Gardner is twice the size of the Foden engine, unless being a two stroke made a difference in which case why did it never catch on with other engine manufactories. The body for the above was built in Scarborough by Plaxton and was based around their Venturer model. I am rather curious to know what the circular grill in the roof above  ‘Foden Coach’ is, a large air horn perhaps.
Oh does anyone know what the seating capacity is?

Photograph contributed by Andrew Charles

Lovely pictures of a fine vehicle. Direct comparison of the engine capacities (4.1-litre Foden versus 8.4-litre Gardner) is, as Andrew suggests, complicated by the fact that in the two-stroke engine each cylinder delivers power at every revolution—not every other revolution as in the four-stroke—and so should develop double the torque. You would therefore reasonably expect that with air delivered to the cylinders at atmospheric pressure a 4.1-litre 2-stroke would develop torque equivalent to that of an 8.2-litre 4-stroke, but in practice inlet air pressure has to be well above atmospheric in order to scavenge the exhaust AND fill the cylinder with a clean charge of new air all in one go, so a blower has to be provided. Whether this blower is seen as a mere scavenger or as a supercharger depends on the amount of excess air it provides.
On p98 of the 1953 edition of Commercial Motor’s "The British Commercial Vehicle Industry" the Gardner 6LW as fitted to Foden passenger vehicles is shown as developing 358 lb/ft torque at 1,300 rpm and the Foden 2-stroke engine as giving 350 lb/ft at 1,500rpm.
Gardner maximum power is 112 bhp at 1,700rpm against the Foden’s 126 bhp at 2,000 rpm. Not much difference in on-paper torque, then, but in real life you had to keep the Foden engine spinning, as low-speed torque fell off alarmingly. Hence the need for the 12-speed gearboxes used for example in those wonderful howling Hoveringham gravel lorries. I’ve never driven a Foden of any kind, but I had a day in a 3-cylinder 2-stroke Commer coach belonging to Spiers of Henley-on-Thames which really NEEDED its 2-speed axle to allow you to keep the engine whirring within it optimum range. My guess is that the Foden 2-stroke didn’t catch on with PSV operators because of a) exhaust noise, b) reasonable but not wonderful fuel consumption, c) maintenance costs and d) inability to lug at low revs.
Incidentally, Foden later added a turbocharger and planned a 7-cylinder version. Does anyone know what became of it?

Ian Thompson

Memories, memories: this site is therapy. Do I remember that the Foden engine sounded like one of those old dumpers? Presumably the idea was to keep the weight down at the back.
I’d say that the grille at the front was a vent- there don’t seem to be many others: it probably pushed the tubas ciggie smoke along a bit….
Lovely looking coach for its time, though.


My late father had the opportunity to drive a wide selection of vehicles during his war service with the army and always maintained that the very best lorries were the Fodens. They certainly seemed to uphold this reputation right up to the end – including the small foray into buses – producing vehicles of a very high quality. Surprising then that they did not make bigger inroads into buses than they did – but their niche market of specialist trucks was probably more profitable and time consuming.
The Plaxton Centenary book simply describes the grille as an air intake. For engine, passenger or tuba player it does not say.

David Oldfield

I think the reason Foden didn’t make greater inroads into the bus market was the same as for the ill-fated Daimler CD650 – Fodens were rather complicated and probably rather expensive. Most transport managers of those days were pragmatic and conservative, preferring something familiar that was known to be good enough rather than something unknown that might just possibly be better.
As for the two-stroke engine, Ian has explained it perfectly. The reason that torque fell off alarmingly at low revs was that the blower couldn’t keep up, and so alternate firing strokes would become weakened as the engine tended towards a four-stroke cycle. I owned the ex Samuel Ledgard two-stroke Foden coach ONW 2 (front-engined) for a short while. My impression was that it was smooth, powerful and effective as a coach, but would have been hopeless for bus work. It also tended to stall when manoeuvring, as the torque would suddenly be halved by the four-stroke effect if the revs got too low. More recently I have travelled in the back of Roger Burdett’s rear-engined two-stroke, and noticed a distinct chugging sensation as it pulled out of roundabouts for the same reason, since with a wide-ratio gearbox it isn’t easy to keep the revs up.

Peter Williamson

Peter I never drove ONW 2 as I was at Otley and Ilkley Depots, but I have the most vivid memories of the stretch of the A64 dual carriageway at Whitwell. The road has a high summit and a deep trough at both ends, and many’s the time ONW 2 could be seen in the offside lane overtaking virtually everything in sight. Once in full flight that fine machine could really swallow up the miles but, as I’m of limited technical knowledge, I’ve found your explanations of the two stroke limitations most fascinating.

Chris Youhill

The above Foden was purchased by Ken Batsford from Fodens and was kept safe until purchased by present owner. I have driven many Foden trucks and with regards the Gardner vs the stroker scenario, leaving Millwall with 21 ton of timber on board me in a s36/Gardner my mate in a s36mk7 stroker on Archway Rd climbing north towards Mill Hill/M1 he would be 2 gears lower than me but pulling away from me. Once on the M1 he would leave me for dead his top speed about 65/70 mine about 50/55. When I drove a 2 stroke you had to wind it up in every gear and note the speed you shifted gears at because that’s the speed you changed down at to keep the thing pulling hard, lose the revs and you were knackered. Driving the 12 speed you started off in 2 low range up to 4 low, up to 2 direct and then 2 overdrive 3 direct and so on. Fodens were cold and noisy or hot and noisy depending on the weather but good trucks, 2 strokes suffered with cooling problems and often scrapped cylinder heads (separate head per cylinder)


Ah the 2 stroke Foden. My short stint as a driver for Transglobe (B’ham) brings back the memory of one of my nosier ‘steeds’ – and having to take it to the Foden works (Sandbach) for diesel pump adjustments. I think it had a Duple body.

Nigel Edwards

Engine aside, perhaps a major reason the Foden PVR was unsuccessful was that it was fitted with Lockheed continuous flow hydraulic servo braking. Other manufacturers also tried this (Daimler, Dennis) and would be buyers stayed away in droves. It was not that brakes were particularly poor (though in the case of the earlier Fodens, if the engine stalls than braking is reduced to practically nil) but sheer complication of the system and potential maintenance problems were enough to keep people away. The only bus that really saw success with a system like this was the Routemaster which took the might of London Transport’s engineering development to take the bugs out of the design.
I am, incidentally, the current owner of another Foden PVR coach, VRF 372, currently in restoration.

Nick Webster

Chris Youhill’s comments about ONW 2 overtaking nearly everything in sight reminded me of a report from a Commercial Motor correspondent, Alfred Woolf, who hitched a ride on Salopia’s HUJ 996, one of their rear engined Observation coaches, on its way to the Nice Coach Rally. Covering 800 miles in three days on roads of dubious quality, the coach ‘left most other public service vehicles behind, even those with more powerful motors’ and ‘provided that the engine speed is kept up, few vehicles can climb as well as the Foden’. On some stretches of prime Belgian pave, flat in nature, speeds of 60 m.p.h. were seen – and maintained for many a mile. The coach took the Grand Prix du Confort et de l’Elegance award – Whitson’s fifth such award! Another rear-engined Foden, OLG 968, was taken by Fodens on an Alpine Tour to test its suitability for Continental touring. Admittedly driven hard, to assess its capabilities, the coach averaged 30.2 m.p.h. and 10.8 m.p.g. over a total distance of 2,850 miles. This included scaling no fewer than five high Alpine passes, most of which were loose surface roads! I have heard an apocryphal tale that the coach was clocked by one German driver in excess of 80 m.p.h. – downhill and out of gear! Average speeds on the German autobahns were over 50 m.p.h. and even the long run from Strasbourg to Paris (302 miles) on standard main roads was completed at an average speed of 36.4 m.p.h. Yes, the two-stroke engined coaches were fliers, but you had to keep the revs up to get the best out of them.

Peter Tulloch

13/05/11 – 06:36

I think that must be a pic of the great Fodens bus that my father talked a lot about. He has fond memories of his days at Fodens Works at Sandbach. He was there for six years in the sixties then came home to run the family business of eight wheel Fodens. I have heard many a funny story involving that machine. Does Billy Harrison ring a bell to anyone?

Lee Harrison

21/01/16 – 15:33

I think that as well as a higher purchase price and the complication of the braking system, another problem with Foden PSVs particularly in the coach application is that of resale value, here the two stroke was particularly likely to depreciate heavily, at least you could take a 6LW out and use it in about 60% of other heavyweight buses and coaches of the same era.

Stephen Allcroft

30/08/19 – 10:01

I have really enjoyed being educated again at the age of 66, on the principles of two stoke engines. In 1961 when at school I can vividly remember the heavy bulk sugar lorries of Tate and Lyle in dark blue livery heaving and struggling to re-start from traffic lights on the old A11 London to Cambridge road. The exhaust note was unbelievable and with high revs and just poured out hot shimmering heat onto my bare legs, as I only wore shorts then for school. It always surprised me that the hot exhaust gases were even directed by design towards pedestrians on the nearside pavements! – such memories

Paul Tanner

01/09/19 – 06:09

Always interesting to comment on Fodens. I have travelled around 1500 miles in mine this year so it was great to look back over the comments and think how it had performed. Mine will do 60mph (twice the 1951 speed limit for coaches) but is really comfortable bowling along at around 50mph. Fuel consumption has been between 10 and 11 mpg as compared to 14mpg for my Gardners. The brakes whilst competent do not have accumulators so engine stopping means no brakes at all-can be scary. It is a pig to drive with the gearbox being transverse behind the rear axle meaning timing is really critical to clean changes. Anyone who has ridden with me this year will have seen one trip all clean next trip hit and miss. PW back in the dialogue talks about chugging coming out of roundabouts and he is totally correct. First being a crawler is not much use and wide gaps mean I have been caught out in the wrong gear more than once. Ironically it is better to be slower in roundabouts and use second rather than third. My style tends to be I clatter through roundabouts so it does require me to alter driving style. Switching from Gardner to Foden 2 stroke say a week apart means a totally different driving style. I understand the 12 speed box is essentially the same as mine just with a 3 way splitter.Having said that I love it but need a couple of extra hours sleep afterwards. It is running at Delaine Running Day Sept 28 and then resting until 2021.

Roger Burdett

13/10/21 – 03:30

OLG 855_3

While having an hour of browsing reminiscence, I came across this photo of the Foden Works Band’s coach. I took it on a damp day at Blackpool on August 22, 1976. The livery has been reversed in the top photo of 2005 and the fog lights changed. The GB sticker and row of city stickers along the bottom of the windscreen look like trophies of a continental concert tour.

Geoff Pullin

13/06/22 – 06:25

The Mark 7 Six cylinder engine was the last model built. It had higher pressure fuel injectors compared to the earlier Mark 6 with blue caps instead of black in order to distinguish them. I worked at Foden’s in Elworth in the late ‘Sixties and spent some time building the engines. At that time, Gardner LW’s and LX’s were being rebuilt there. The crankshaft bearings on the LW’s had to be scraped in and, as an apprentice, you only touched the face of the bearings once with your fingers. A blow at the side of the head from the fitter put paid to further attempts. Apprentices learnt quickly in those days. In the experimental department, one test run they used was up Shap Fell, the apprentice logging the figures from the multitude of analogue gauges which, as I recall, were built into a board. Regarding Billy Harrison (Lee Harrison) I don’t recall Billy but I do remember a Paul Harrison. He would have been in his late teens in 1969.

Daniel Preston

14/06/22 – 06:12

OLG 855_4

Thought you might like to see a recent photo including this coach when it appeared at the Didcot Transport Rally.

John Lomas


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