Old Bus Photos

Scarlet Coaches – Leyland Comet – MYA 590

Scarlet Coaches - Leyland Comet - MYA 590

Scarlet Coaches (Minehead)
Leyland Comet CPP1
Harrington C29F

Here we have another wonderful example of how a coat of paint can make such a difference to the way almost anything can appear. MYA 590 is a Leyland Comet CPP1 with Harrington C29F body. In the first view, it is in the livery of Scarlet Coaches of Minehead, and it is in the Southsea rally on 17 June 1984.

Scarlet Coaches - Leyland Comet - MYA 590

In this second view, it has been repainted blue and cream to star alongside Joan Hickson in the ‘Miss Marple’ film, Nemesis. This view was captured at Netley on 12 July 1987.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Pete Davies

09/03/17 – 07:02

I seem to remember that, during the 1950s, the livery change between the top colour and the lower was achieved by a ‘blend’ of the two colours down the rear corner panels.
This was fashionable at the time, although must have been incredibly difficult to achieve. Virtually impossible to achieve with brush painting, so presumably the gradual change from the light colour to the dark might have been a way of showing off the ‘new spray painting’ technique.
It’s not a feature I have seen on any currently preserved coaches, but this picture of the unnatural hard line between the two colours has sparked the memory of this old style.
Anybody else remember it?


10/03/17 – 17:39

Can anyone suggest why, given Leyland’s good name, the Comet was not more popular? Did the Tiger Cub sweep it away?

Ian Thompson

11/03/17 – 07:23

Pure guesswork on my part Ian. The Comet was a very successful commercial vehicle chassis, with production continuing through the forward control LAD and ergomatic cabs in both rigid and artic unit form. However, it gave coach bodybuilders less design scope, and lower seating capacity than the under floor chassis of a Royal Tiger or Tiger Cub

Ronnie Hoye

12/03/17 – 07:45

Thanks, folks!

Pete Davies

12/03/17 – 07:46

The Comet wasn’t in the same market as the underfloor-engined chassis. As a lightweight with a seating capacity probably limited to 32, it was competing with the Bedford OB and Albion Victor. It’s likely to have been more expensive than both, and didn’t really offer anything extra.

Peter Williamson

13/03/17 – 16:32

Later passenger variants of the Comet were forward control but aimed primarily for export. There was a Duple bodied ECPO12/2T in preservation once, this was one of a handful sold on the home market, the Albion Victor and the SB, particularly with a Leyland Engine, not to mention the Ford and Commer alternatives made it a non-starter over here although it was very popular in New Zealand with the Bedford SB8 and SB13 known as the "Poor Man’s Comet".

Stephen Allcroft

16/08/17 – 07:10

MLL 803

With regard to the piece by Roger Cox, a photo showing Comet OPB 536 next to Wimbledon Coaches or Allco’s RF 266 (MLL 803) taken at Cobham Bus Museum has recently appeared on my son Simon’s Facebook page, but I can find no further mention of it in preservation, unless anyone knows better!

Dave Kriesler

11/02/18 – 06:28

Thanks for the picture of MYA 590. It used to be parked in the open near the sea front in Minehead between tours, and must have been the best polished commercial vehicle I have ever seen. You could always see your face in it. The owner must have spent every night polishing, because I never saw any work being done on it during the day. Glad it ended up making popular films – it really deserved to be seen, even if in different livery.
Scarlets was a small company with usually only one bus – as far as I know, except when one was replaced and they ran two – perhaps just for a summer season. My brother suggests that in 1982-83 the Royal Veterinary College used a Scarlet bus which sounds very like MYA 590 to transport a student running team to Holland (in both years).

Sorry to go on, but your page has got me going. I have been reminded that Scarlet Pimpernel of Minehead and Blue coaches of Porlock (both with a single vehicle, it seems) merged in 1954, and continued until about 1970. Both Vehicles are now in Coventry, MYA 590 in Pimpernel livery and its stable mate (JYC 855) in Scarlet and Blue. (latest picture/record I have found is 2017 (of JYC)) With a 20 year career of summer day tripping over Exmoor (including the famous Countisbury Hill into Lynmouth) and winter theatre trips to Bristol, Bath and Western Super Mare etc, shows the quality of these vehicles especially as there was no back up if one broke down.They still seem to make regular trips down to the London Bus Museums open day at Brooklands in April, possibly under their own steam?

Huw Jones

11/02/18 – 08:40

It is just JYC that is based in Coventry MYA being in Surrey I think.
There is another Scarlet Motors Harrington on an AEC chassis complete in Bromsgrove but the owner has not taken it out for several years.
There is a Blue Motors Harrington Bodied Cheetah based in Sussex.
MYA+JYC last got together in 2015 or 2016 at Brooklands in their Harrington/Weymann anniversary get together.
JYC is on the road every two years and 2018 is an on the road year. Only confirmed appearance is in the Oct Isle of Wight Beer & Buses Weekend.

Roger Burdett

05/01/19 – 06:42

I have a few photos of the AEC Roger when for a short period it was owned by Howard Homer. Unfortunately the lighting wasn’t very good as it was undercover, this would have been in the 90s.

William Parker


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Douglas Corporation – Leyland Comet – KMN 519 – 21

Douglas Corporation - Leyland Comet - KMN 519 - 21

Douglas Corporation
Leyland Comet CPO1
Park Royal B30F

We don’t often see a Leyland Comet with bus or coach body, as it was normally considered to be a lorry chassis, and we see even fewer in Municipal liveries, but Douglas Corporation’s fleet was renowned for being "different"! KMN 519 is an example of the CPO1 model, with Park Royal B30F body, and we see it in Bold Street, Fleetwood, on 18 July 1999. It is taking part in the Tram Sunday event.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Pete Davies

20/08/16 – 05:56

Just look at that enormous bonnet, the steering wheel and imagine the driving position in relation to it. To pull up behind a small car in heavy traffic must require some careful judgement!

Chris Barker

20/08/16 – 10:25

No problem at all, just stop where you can still see Tyres and Tarmac, shouldn’t be any closer anyway.

John Lomas

20/08/16 – 10:25

The Douglas fleet always seemed to be immaculately maintained and turned out. It had several quirky features. In addition to these bonnetted Comets it had Guys similar in design to LT’s GS class which had huge destination boxes front and back for the very informative route blinds. There were also some ‘conventional’ saloons with the same arrangement. Some of the Regent V double deckers also had the large destination displays. Brings back happy memories of holidays spent on the island in the summers of 1967 and 1970. Another quirky feature in those days was the pubs being open all day!

Philip Halstead

20/08/16 – 11:09

Interesting thought from Chris, and reply from John. I used to work with a fellow whose parking idea in the office car park was to apply the handbrake when he hit the wall. One of my neighbours uses the same method. He calls it ‘parking by braille’. . .

Pete Davies

21/08/16 – 11:07

OPB 536

Actually, Chris, the driver’s view from the cab of the Comet was not as bad as the picture of the Douglas example suggests. That photo has been taken from a position quite low at the front, which exaggerates the bonnet height and length. I frequently drove the former Brown Bus (A.T. Brady of Forest Green) Comet CPO1 on the Forest Green – Ewhurst – Wallis Wood – Horsham route on my weekend moonlighting job (excuse mixed metaphor) when the Brady business was taken over in 1971 by J.D. Wylde t/a North Downs Rural Transport. Initially, the Comet model was powered by the 75 bhp Leyland O300 5 litre diesel, though a petrol option was offered for export. The direct top five speed gearbox had sliding mesh engagement for first and second, and constant mesh for third and fourth. A Girling hydraulic braking system was fitted. In 1950 the engine became the 90 bhp O350 of 5.76 litres, and the model thus became known as the Comet 90. The bonnet structure was the product of Briggs Motor Bodies which also supplied the front end for the LT Guy GS bus, as well as Ford and Dodge goods models. When Ford took over Briggs in 1953, the supply to other manufacturers ceased. Here is a picture of OPB 536, a 1950 CPO1 machine with a Duple C32F body, taken at Forest Green. The Comet was a pleasant vehicle to drive, and the gearbox quite easy to use. Its only vice was the abysmally large turning circle that required precise placing of the machine on tight corners. I recall reading somewhere that OPB 536 was originally supplied with a petrol engine but was quickly converted to diesel, though this seems improbable to me. I understood that OPB 536 was subsequently bought by preservationists but I can find no recent references to it, so one must fear the worst.

Roger Cox

21/08/16 – 16:19

Actually, Roger, the view was taken at my normal viewing height of camera to eye – I’m 5ft 8in – and with my feet on the road. I suspect your view of OPB might have been taken from a grassy bank. Yes, the angle of view does affect the perception quite a lot!

Pete Davies

22/08/16 – 17:01

Parking by Braille was fine when cars had proper bumpers; these days breathing too heavily near the car might need a respray! (only a slight exaggeration)

David Todd


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McLeod – Leyland Comet – AYJ 867

McLeod - Leyland Comet - AYJ 867

McLeod (Helmsdale)
Leyland Comet
Plaxton C??F

The Comet was Leyland’s offering in the same market sector as Bedford’s all-conquering OB, though with a few more seats and (usually) a diesel engine. It was a purpose-built PSV chassis, sharing mechanical components with the truck of the same name and similar appearance. This Plaxton-bodied example was new to Dickson of Dundee (any connection with the Dickson who built pre-war bus bodies for Dundee Corporation?), and by 1968 was working for McLeod of Helmsdale, with whom it is seen here in the operator’s home village.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Peter Williamson

20/10/13 – 17:13

I think this is one of the best looking Comets I’ve ever seen. Perhaps not an easy chassis to body because the bonnet line was somewhat higher than other normal control models and some efforts were a little unfortunate but Plaxtons made a very nice job of this one. Pity no ‘eyebrow’ display apertures were provided but perhaps none were specified.

Chris Barker

20/10/13 – 17:14

I had a Bristol LH training bus with a Leyland Comet engine. Was this the norm for Bristol LH?

Michael Crofts

21/10/13 – 07:14

Michael. The two engines for the LH were a Perkins and the Leyland O401. The Leyland was a development of the O400 (popular in Beford VAL and VAM 14s and used in late Tiger Cubs). The O400 was the ultimate development of the original O350 used in the Tiger Cub which transited through a O375 version. All of these, in there turn, were very closely related to the O300 (and the P300) – the Comet engine.

David Oldfield

21/10/13 – 12:13

I did wonder what had happened to Perkins, suspecting it had gone the way of most of our industrial base. However, good news, it’s thriving as a subsidiary of Caterpillar Inc., but primarily a diesel engine manufacturer for Agricultural, Construction, Material Handling, Power Generation and Industrial uses nowadays.

Chris Hebbron

18/02/14 – 08:06

This vehicle operated with Williamson of Gauldry in the late 50s early 60s. Other ex Dicksons coaches with Williamsons at that time were Commer Commando Plaxton ATS 35, Austin Plaxton AYJ 153 and Daimler CVD6 Plaxton AYJ 278.

Jim Speed

18/02/14 – 11:42

Dicksons of Dundee were taken over in the 1960s by Wallace Arnold and some of their superb coaches were transferred to Leeds where I had the pleasure of working with them. I hope my memory isn’t playing tricks, but I seem to recall that the seating cloth was of a lovely tartan derived pattern.

Chris Youhill

18/02/14 – 14:35

Nice picture here of Terry and Hazel Ellin’s beautifully restored Comet/Duple. www.ipernity.com/ and some history here www.sytm.co.uk/

John Darwent

18/02/14 – 16:15

Strange John. Reading recent posts reminded me of the same – superbly renovated – vehicle.

David Oldfield


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