Old Bus Photos

Hanworth Acorn – Seddon Pennine IV – DAN 400H

Hanworth Acorn - Seddon Pennine IV - DAN 400H

Hanworth Acorn
1970
Seddon Pennine IV
Plaxton C51F

Hanworth Acorn of Bedfont, Middlesex, was ever an enterprising operator, if not entirely wise, in its choice of vehicles. In 1958 it bought 776 LMU, one of the two rear engined Rutland Clippers made – the other was TKE 741 which went to Aston’s of Marton (though it is rumoured that a third one was constructed), both of which were fitted with Whitson C41C coachwork :- www.flickr.com/photos/
Though generally having been previously a Bedford operator, from 1970 Hanworth Acorn became firmly wedded to the recently introduced Seddon Pennine IV chassis equipped with Plaxton Panorama Elite coachwork:-

CLK 100H and CLP 200H (both C51F, 1970)
BYH 500H (C45F, 1970)
DAN 300H and DAN 400H (both C51F, 1970)
DLD 800J and DLD 900J (both C44F, 1971)
HMF 600K (C53F, 1972).

The picture shows DAN 400H at Brighton during the 16th British Coach Rally in 1970.
In the Pennine IV, the raucous Perkins 6.354 engine of 5.8 litres was fitted vertically, low down, at the front of the chassis, which had a high flat frame throughout its length. The earlier machines had the naturally aspirated version of the 6.354 which developed 120 bhp at 2800 rpm, and drove through a five speed, direct top, Eaton synchromesh gearbox and an Eaton two speed rear axle. HMF 600K had the turbocharged T6.534 giving 145 bhp (later 155 bhp) at 2800 rpm coupled with an overdrive top five speed box, and this vehicle was tested by the Commercial Motor journal in September 1971. A comment was made about the stiff and and highly sensitive steering that required perpetual correction to keep the machine in a straight line, and this resounded with my own experiences of the Pennine IV. I took one of these, albeit with Pennine bus bodywork, from Gomshall to Loughborough, and I unhesitatingly declare that it was the most horrible psv that I have ever driven in my life (though the Cummins engined Leyland Lynx runs it a close second). The racket from the engine was truly deafening, and the decidedly erratic steering characteristics were exactly as described by the CM tester. Like all vehicles with the gearbox mounted behind a front mounted engine, the gear selector was awkward to use, and the brakes and suspension seemed in keeping with the generally primitive character of the entire design. Even contemplating the handling characteristics of the Pennine IV when fitted with heavy coach bodywork makes my blood run cold. What this chassis was like when equipped with the optional 8.36 litre 170 bhp Perkins V8.510 doesn’t bear thinking about.
From 1972 Hanworth Acorn persisted with the fundamentally similar T6.354 powered replacement model, the Pennine 6 (Seddon went back to Arabic numerals) taking the following with Plaxton Coachwork:-

HYV 700K (C57F, 1/72)
LGJ 444K and LGN 222K (C51F, 2/72)
LLD 333K (C57F, 3/72)
LLY 111K (C45F, 4/72)
RLO 300L and RLO 400L (C57F, 6/73)
RLO 500L (C51F, 6/73)
SMH 100M and SMH 200M ((C57F, 6/74)

Hanworth Acorn suffered cash flow problems and ceased trading early in 1975. One wonders if the standard of “sophistication” offered by the Seddon Pennine contributed to this ignominious outcome.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Roger Cox


04/07/16 – 08:59

A Pennine IV has been preserved by Roger Burdett – picture and details at http://www.sct61.org.uk

Ken Jones


05/07/16 – 06:47

Interesting views. I am enjoying driving mine which is fitted with a Perkins V8 540.I will give you the steering is a little twitchy but the gearbox is a delight and when cruising the V8 "noise" I find not overloud.
Maybe it has been "sorted" after 45 years and certainly the 6.354 engine had a noisy reputation whereas the V8 burbles.
Mine is fitted with Girling air over hydraulic brakes system and they are really sharp.
It will get a good test at Alton RE Running day on July 16 with full loads and all day running so be interesting to see how I feel after that

Roger Burdett


05/07/16 – 06:48

The usual wisdom is that the Pennine IV had the naturally aspirated 6.354 or the V8, and only the Pennine 6 had the T6.354. HMF 600K is described in the September 1971 Commercial Motor road test variously as Pennine VI and Pennine Six, and the test coincides with the announcement of that new model in another part of the same issue. However, BLOTW has it as a Pennine 4 (sic), so perhaps the truth is that it was built as a Pennine IV to a development spec which became the Pennine 6.

Peter Williamson


03/08/16 – 08:57

The Pennine VI is a very different animal to the Pennine IV. The Pennine VI was designed as a 12M chassis using the T6354 as the V8 was too heavy for the front axle. The Pennine VI used a totally different braking system too. I own probably the sole surviving Pennine VIs. Did my time on them and the VI was an excellent machine which certainly served us well.

Russell Price


04/08/16 – 09:10

The Pennine IV had air hydraulic brakes, whereas the Pennine 6 was equipped with a full air system. Though fundamentally very similar, the Pennine 6 chassis ended just behind the rear axle while that of the IV continued beyond to give rear support to the bodywork. Also the 6 had tubular chassis cross members instead of the channel section variety used in the IV. I note that the two present day owners of Pennine coaches are well satisfied with their machines. All I can say is that, when, with a splitting headache, I handed over that Pennine IV at Loughborough, I took a Bedford YRQ back to Surrey, and the difference was profound, like exchanging a Massey Ferguson tractor for a Rolls Royce. I had driven YRQs many times before, and admit to having had a bit of a patronising attitude towards Bedfords in general, but that visit to Loughborough imbued in me a new respect for the marque. Yes, General Motors had far greater resources than Seddon, whose products were basically an assemblage of proprietary parts, but at least it got the thing right. Mercifully, I never drove another Seddon.

Roger Cox


04/08/16 – 13:30

Roger, Think if I drove my Seddon every day I might share your opinion!

Roger Burdett


09/08/16 – 06:07

After the above revelations about the differences between the Pennine IV and 6, I have gone back to the Commercial Motor road test, and there is no doubt that they thought HMF 600K was the latter – it is described as having full air brakes and tubular chassis cross-members. The announcement of the new model can be viewed at http://tinyurl.com/gphfoe4  and the road test report at http://tinyurl.com/j3zbhye

Peter Williamson


12/08/16 – 11:08

The comments above are very interesting. However, some of the information is quite wrong!
Former Managing Director
Hanworth Acorn Coaches, Ltd.

Mr Anon


13/08/16 – 07:07

Well, Mr Anon, by all means put things right. We, on OBP, are entirely happy to have our errors or misapprehensions addressed. None of us on here are sensitive plants fearful of different views. That’s what makes this site the lively forum that it is.

Roger Cox


14/09/16 – 06:20

The Pennine 6 was fitted with Centrax Stopmaster brakes as later fitted to Volvo F6 trucks and later on the Bedford YNV in beefed up form. The Pennine IV had full air Girling brakes as fitted to Bedfords YRT rather than a air over hydraulic system. The Pennine 6 also featured spring parking brakes. The Pennine 6 also featured a very early use of intercooling too.

Russell Price


16/09/16 – 07:15

Just checked my workshop manual and parts books and yes the Pennine IV was on full air Girling brakes with the lever parking brake.

pen3

We ran about 10 Pennine 6s between 1975 and 1989 and would agree that when putting drivers in them for the first few days they hated them, but after that we found that they took to them and generally thought well of them.

Russell Price


16/09/16 – 08:56

Thanks for your first hand corrections and experiences of these machines, Russell. I sincerely trust that your Plaxton bodied coaches were significantly better soundproofed than the Pennine bodied bus that I drove. That thing required the driver to wear industrial specification earmuffs. I have never driven anything else so noisy. The steering was also a very suspect feature of the Pennine IV, hopelessly over sensitive.

Roger Cox


16/09/16 – 17:04

The front axle wasn’t really up to the job and we converted a couple to Bedford YRT Front axles which helped the twitchy steering, however the primary reason for the axle change was because the axle beam used to wear allowing the pins to move in the beam which would give you the steering you describe. we only had a Later Pennine IV V8 Plaxton on Demo and sent it back as it was found for our operation to be not as suitable as the Pennine 6 which we already knew well.

Incidentally one of ours was the last Hanworth Acorn coach SMH100M. Incidentally the photo is taken at the gate to the old Seddon Works at Royton at the last factory open day before closure. The chassis was assembled in the building partially visible through the gate. CDC with its 2 speed Eaton axle is a super drive and will fly and return 17-18 mpg.

Russell Price


16/09/16 – 17:05

KWW 901K

Here is a picture of the Seddon I drove up to Loughborough, Pennine IV KWW 901K, with Pennine B56F bodywork. I can’t find the negative, so I have had to scan the print. It was previously owned by the firm of Morris of Bromyard, and a picture of it may be seen on this site:- www.flickr.com/photos/nebp2/ Tillingbourne (understandably) only used it in service for a month before selling it on to Yeates in September 1977. I believe that, in order to save weight, these Seddon bus bodies did not have a full body underframe, and were attached directly to the chassis. The Perkins 6.354 was ever a raucous beast, but these Pennine bodies certainly seemed to act as effective amplifying chambers, a view confirmed by passenger trips on the Provincial examples. I have certainly never driven anything else so noisy, especially at motorway speeds.

Roger Cox


17/09/16 – 18:33

KWW was of course new to Wigmores at Dinnington and nearly made it into preservation! It lasted a good long old time in West Wales and suvived until the mid 90s! This followed on from a line of Willowbrook bodied VALs Wigmores had. Whilst i would agree the pennine IV was a fairly crude piece of equipment by UK standards Seddon couldnt build enough of them for their export markets where the Pennine IV with its simplicity would have been its main point. Bermuda, Phillipines, Cyprus Australia all took the Pennine IV . There was a Pennine V too , there only being one in the UK , the rest of which there were a good number built were all exported. That was a rear engined monster. Your comparison with a Bedford YRQ was interesting as i would think that there were more Pennine IVs built than YRQ Bedfords. The YRQ was a very Competent machine upon which many rural operators relied on. We were a mainly Bedford Fleet with the Seddons thrown in the mix too and a couple of Leylands too. A Mk 1 National and a Tiger bought new.

Russell Price


 

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Popular Coaches – Seddon Mk 4 – DPR 518

Popular Coaches - Seddon Mk IV - DPR 518

H. A. Vincent (Popular Coaches) Thorncombe Dorset
1949
Seddon Mk 4
Santus C30F

DPR 518 is a Seddon Mk 4 with a Santus (the Uncle Joe’s Mint Ball family of Wigan) bodywork to a C30F format. It was new to H. A. Vincent in 1949 and is seen in the depot yard at Mallard Road, Bournemouth, during an open day on 22 May 1983. I am not sure if this vehicle is still on the restoration scene or not, if it isn’t, a lot has been lost.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Pete Davies


28/02/16 – 15:28

According to an article in Classic Bus a few years ago the Santus family of the bodybuilders is unconnected with the Mint Balls family. I seem to remember that this was mentioned before on this site too, although my memory isn’t good enough to say on which thread! I last saw this vehicle at a Potteries rally in 1995, so it survived at least until then. Does anybody have a more recent siting? I hope so, despite all the dreadful things that people say about both the Seddon Mk 4 chassis and Santus’ post-war bodywork. I’ve heard the former described as "not fit to carry coal" and the latter as "made from poorly seasoned rot". Good luck to whichever preservationist now has this deceptively attractive vehicle!

Neville Mercer


28/02/16 – 15:55

I think the thread you mean Neville is this Vics Tours (Isles of Scilly) – Bedford OB  although that thread has a reference to this thread regarding Santus Leon Motor Services – Leyland Lion – JP 42  hope this helps.

Peter


29/02/16 – 06:19

I researched the Santus family a while back on the FindMyPast website. The surname Santus is a very uncommon one and the majority of them were concentrated in the Wigan area, yet I could not find any link between the coachbuilder and the Uncle Joe’s Mintballs family as far back as the early 19th Century, though there may still have been a connection going back before that period. It seems likely that Santus may have been an Anglicised version of the Hispanic Santos name.

John Stringer


29/02/16 – 08:48

A little further research shows that it was still around when the PSVC listing for 2012 was compiled. I’m not sure how I managed to miss the entry!

Pete Davies


01/03/16 – 16:21

book

Wonderful rare vehicle this, and I too hope it is still around, as would Herb Vincent I’m sure, the vehicle features in a lovely little book…
Herb Vincent Charabanc and Motor Bus Proprietor superb title of a proud local operator.
It was written and produced by John W Watts as a tribute to Herb Vincent and is a must read, and a social history of a rural coach company if it is still available.
The book text states that Herb Vincent retired in 1976 and sadly died April 1987

Mark Mc Alister


02/03/16 – 06:30

Below is a link to an superficially similar Seddon whose bodybuilder has eluded me. Any help appreciated: www.flickr.com/photos/

Stephen Allcroft


02/03/16 – 06:31

Mark, Many thanks for the referral to the book. I have submitted already a view of AJT176, but I’ve no idea when [or if] Peter will publish it.

Pete Davies


02/03/16 – 13:23

HFG 666 in Stephen Allcroft’s link has a body by KW Bispham according to Scottish Area records.

John Kaye


02/03/16 – 15:22

John, Thank you very much for that. I suppose I hadn’t thought of KW as I associate them with rebodies like the one at this link.

Stephen Allcroft


 

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Demonstrator – Seddon Pennine IV – RBU 502F

Demonstrator - Seddon Pennine IV - RBU 902F

Demonstrator - Seddon Pennine IV - RBU 902F

Demonstrator
1968
Seddon Pennine IV
Pennine B45F

Something to give Roger Cox the shudders ! In late 1968 Halifax Corporation borrowed the prototype Seddon Pennine IV demonstrator, though I wonder if the intention was simply to give the manufacturer some operational experience of their new model. Surely manager Geoff Hilditch could never have been serious about the department acquiring any. I believe this body design remained unique, as shortly afterwards the model was offered as a complete item with a more distinctive style. Hilditch later collaborated with Seddon in the introduction of the heavier duty rear-engined Pennine RU model, and the prototype of that soon appeared in Halifax on trial.

In the first photo it is seen passing along Waterhouse Street in the town centre. In the second, rather snatched and blurry shot, it is seen at speed on the A58 between Stump Cross and Hipperholme whilst operating the dreaded Meredith & Drew private hire return journey.

Photograph and Copy contributed by John Stringer


25/08/13 – 11:32

Good to see this bus in reasonable condition. It later became Seddon’s own works bus, used to bring staff to the factory off Shaw Road in Oldham. In this role it replaced the earlier Seddon that ran as West Riding 738 (EHL 500). Both of these vehicles were clearly non-PSVs as shown by their deteriorating condition. RBU 502F I don’t believe ever got repainted and ended up with several plywood "windows". It was still there when I was in the late seventies.

David Beilby


25/08/13 – 14:53

How right you are, John. I consider the Pennine IV to have been the most horrible vehicle of my experience, though the Cummins engined Leyland Lynx runs very close in second place. It was basically a crude, fragile, lorry derived design with primitive suspension and decidedly wayward steering characteristics. The ear splitting din from the Perkins 6.354 engine mounted in the front overhang made the Regent V sound like a trolleybus by comparison. I cannot believe that, having inspected this Emett inspired aberration, Geoff Hilditch even remotely considered it suitable for the taxing topography of the Halifax bus network. Robert Seddon had been very supportive towards GGH at an early stage of his engineering career, and it is fully understandable that he, GGH, would have wished to assist in the development of Seddon’s more determined incursion into the main bus manufacturing market. Though the Pennine IV sold reasonably well as a lightweight, medium duty coach, those who acquired the thing as an inexpensive bus soon found that it was not up to the job. Seddon then went on, with GGH’s encouragement, to produce the RU, and this, also, ultimately proved to be something of a broken reed. Only the heavier weight Pennine VII produced for the Scottish Bus Group showed that the firm could make a fully robust psv. I recall that my very first experience of a Seddon coach was in 1958, when, as an ATC cadet on summer camp at RAF Colerne, near Bath, I went on a chartered trip with the rest of the squadron to Wookey Hole. The vehicle that took us was a Seddon, probably the R6 powered Mark 11, as it had the engine mounted under a rather high floor of a front entrance coach body. My main recollection of the ride is the seemingly continual gearchanging (it had a two speed axle into the bargain) required of the torqueless, screaming engine that kept the driver fully employed throughout. I did take a picture of this machine with my Brownie 127, but the negative fell somewhere by the wayside during parental home removals when I worked elsewhere in the land. I wonder if anyone now can identify this beast or the operator.

Roger Cox


25/08/13 – 19:52

RBU 902F_3

Here is a photo of RBU 502F, which I photographed in Fred Winters scrapyard at North Cave in East Yorkshire, taken in 1982, still carries Seddon names on the side, but none standard windows.

Mike Davies


26/08/13 – 17:12

It is interesting to note that the front wheels in particular are inboard of the body sides by quite a margin. With the weight of the engine in the front overhang, a relatively narrow track and presumably 8ft wide bodywork, does anyone know what it handled like?

Brendan Smith


27/08/13 – 05:39

Yes, Brendan. The Pennine IV handled like a pig. I drove one from Gomshall in Surrey to Loughborough, and the steering needed constant correction to keep the thing in a straight line, not helped by the bouncy suspension which could barely cope with the weight of the overhung engine. It had the worst road behaviour of any vehicle I have ever driven.

Roger Cox


27/08/13 – 05:40

Didn’t KMB take 100 Pennine IVs with pretty-much off-the-peg Pennine bodywork around 1970? I think the only concession to Hong Kong conditions were full-depth sliding windows, whilst drivers sweltered behind BET windscreens, and the Perkins (V6?) engines sweltered behind grilles designed for temperate climates . . . I think nearly all were rebuilt with in-house fronts incorporating flat/opening windscreens and larger radiator grilles within a few years.
Halifax JOC’s [sic] Pennine RUs had a high/flat floor (they were kitted-out as DPs): did they have a high chassis frame or did Plaxton support the body floor in some way? and did any other RU operator opt for this high floor line? They also had narrow two-piece glider doors – in short, non of the advantages offered by the RU, but all the engineering problems . . . surely, Halifax’s usual Leopard/Reliance chassis choice would have done the job better. What struck me when they were introduced – and I was 5/6 at the time, so memory might be fading a bit here – was the way the lower back panels stepped out and that they didn’t have "modern" rear lights but the "old" two-piece/oblong units sort-of set into the rear panel . . . is anybody getting the gist here? I’m wondering now, I think they’d be 10 metre, so the step-out couldn’t have compromised length, but was it necessary to inset the rear lights into the body to accommodate the length of the rear overhang? (presumably the RU, squeezing everything behind the rear axle, had a longish overhang?). I think they may also have had coach-glasses below the rear window containing the registration and, either side, the Halifax coat of arms . . . I’m sure that’s the case, because it stuck in my young mind as being "inappropriate" for a bus (as opposed to a coach).
I guess that if I could be bothered to trawl flickr etc then the answers might be there, but I can’t, and anyway its much more interesting to see what this site might come up with . . . or not!

Philip Rushworth


27/08/13 – 11:40

There is a photo of mine posted on ‘another website’ showing a rear view of one of the Halifax RU’s – complete with the stepped out panel. Here’s the link.

John Stringer


28/08/13 – 06:07

I didn’t move to Huddersfield until 1972 but I can’t recall the three Halifax Seddons having this unusual rear end arrangement at that time. At the time of the PTE takeover (yes, 1974 and outside the strict remit of this site), Huddersfield had two further Seddon RUs on order to be bodied by Pennine. We were instructed by Geoffrey Hilditch as PTE Engineering Director Designate to transfer the body order to Plaxtons who produced bodies similar to those recently delivered to Rotherham Corporation also on RU chassis. Whilst I can’t recall the floor layout, I am certain that those buses did not have the protruding rear panels as shown on Halifax 315. Could these have been to create a small luggage boot?? Engine access would have been restricted.

Ian Wild


28/08/13 – 06:09

Thanks for that, John – well, thanks for both sign-posting your photograph and for having the fore-sight to photograph the rear-end, anticipating my musings of 40+ years later. In my mind, the coach-glass just had the crests either side of the registration, but can I make out Halifax in Gothic script above the registration? (the glass is deeper than I remembered); neither do I remember the reversing lights, nor the removable centre panel, nor the squared-off-compared-to-BET-standard rear window – but I think my memories were pretty accurate . . . . now, if only my mother would have given-in to my entreaties to ‘ride on one of the "white buses" to Huddersfield’ I might be able to recall what the interiors were like. The final "Halifax Passenger Transport" timetable (pre-WYPTE) contained a "glossy" colour section illustrating/detailing Halifax buses over the years: one of the Seddons was illustrated, and the description included the phrase (or similar) " . . . the design is still regarded as experimental . . ." – sadly, by 1974, I think the experiment was largely over as regards the Pennine RU drive-train.

Provincial took quite a number of Pennine IVs to replace its re-built Guy Arabs. Anyway, when I was trawling on-line to satisfy my curiosity as to how many, I discovered that the model had been offered with 3 choices of engine: Perkins V8 (eg., KMB); Perkins in-line 6 (eg., Provincial); and Deutz 6-cylinder (a sop to win the Provincial order?) – were any Pennine IVs actually built with the Deutz option?

Philip Rushworth


28/08/13 – 15:07

The reign of the Deutz engine at the Gosport and Fareham (aka Provincial) company came to an end with the retirement of Mr H Orme White in 1967 at the age of 81. His successor, Mr Woolford, looked to get rid of the elderly AEC and Guy crew operated buses, several of which had been rebuilt with Deutz air cooled engines, and introduce a replacement fleet of one person operated single deckers. The Seddon Pennine IV/Perkins 6.354 was chosen, presumably because it was relatively cheap, and no doubt, it was felt that Seddon machinery would be more durable than the offerings from Bedford (history would prove otherwise). When these vehicles were delivered, the Deutz era at Hoeford was well past, so it is unlikely that a Deutz engined option for the Pennine IV would have enticed the then management of Gosport and Fareham. In the event, the G&F undertaking was swallowed up by the Wiles Group in 1969, and, thanks to Nigel Turner’s researches (see his comment on the ‘Gosport and Fareham (Provincial)’ gallery on this site) we now know that the Wiles (later the Swain) Group was one of the identities of the asset stripping Hanson Trust. Less than a year later, on 1st January 1970, G&F was sold to NBC. The possibility of a Pennine IV being offered with a Deutz air cooled engine utterly beggars belief. The racket given out by these engines became legendary. The Perkins engined version was deafening enough. A Deutz engined version would have required the entire passenger complement to wear industrial ear protection.

Roger Cox


29/08/13 – 06:36

Mention of the Deutz engine being fitted to Seddons rang a distant bell from the time years ago when I used to read the weekly ‘Motor Transport’ newspaper and took a bit more of an interest in trucks than I do these days. I recall a variant of the 13:4 truck chassis (to which the Pennine IV was probably related) which was sold under the Seddon-Deutz identity and was clearly aimed at wooing overseas customers, so it seems likely that it could have been offered in the Pennine IV also. I have found a link to a website showing an item of literature about the truck version (though unfortunately it reveals little else) here: http://www.commercialmotor.com/big-lorry-blog/that-maggie-was-a-seddonanothe

John Stringer


29/08/13 – 06:37

Roger, I just want to be clear about this – you don’t think that a Deutz-engined Pennine IV would have been the most refined vehicle on the market? In one of the wonderful ways of this site, I hadn’t realised that the Wiles Group was the acorn from which Hanson Trust grew. At its peak Hanson Trust included Courage Brewery, Golden Wonder snacks, hotels, and much more, on both sides of the Atlantic – but they over-reached themselves with a bid for ICI in which some shady business practices were exposed, and I now understand that they’ve contracted to be a largely UK-based supplier of brick/concrete/aggregate to the construction industry.
The Hanson family’s bus/coach operations, petrol stations, car/PSV driving school, travel agencies, and road haulage operations (principally based around Huddersfield) all remained family-owned businesses outwith the Hanson Trust. JET petroleum, one of the first discounted petrol retailers, was started by a consortium including the Hanson family but was disposed of when it had grown to a size where substantial investment in refining capability would have been required.
Anyway, back to the Pennine RU (if not the Pennine IV): according to Vol2 of Duncan Roberts’s history of Crosville (TPC/NBC) problems with the short drive shaft inherent in the RU’s design led to Crosville’s specimens being modified by having the engine set back by 8-10in to accommodate a slightly longer drive-shaft, which resulted in a slight bustle effect in the bodywork . . . could this have been a late modification to Halifax’s RU’s pre-delivery? something that was incorporated into the overall body-work design/dimensions in the later vehicles to which Ian refers?

Philip Rushworth


29/08/13 – 19:15

Crosville had the largest fleet of Pennine RUs at 100 some of which were dual purpose Crosville did not go back and quickly disposed of the ones they owned The next largest fleet was the 49 owned by Lancs United These had Plaxton bodywork with a very old fashioned front with a two piece separate wind screen Prior to this LUT had bought both REs and LHs so the choice was somewhat surprising At the time the RU was seen as a version of the RE which would replace the expected model cull by Leyland to make room for the National which was just off the drawing board

Chris Hough

29/08/13 – 19:16

Philip, I suspect that any operator that bought a Deutz engined Pennine IV would have gone bankrupt within a week; nobody would have ventured to take a second trip on such a raucous machine. Seddon did offer a version of the Pennine IV with the engine, a turbocharged Perkins 6.354, set lower at the front beneath a high floor level, and called it the Pennine 6 (reverting to Arabic numerals), but I believe that few were sold in the UK. A picture of a Willowbrook bodied example may be seen here:- www.flickr.com/
It is noteworthy that a more substantial/wider track front axle seems to have been fitted to this model. The Wikipedia entry for the RU confirms that the Crosville examples were modified as you describe. I think that they just about managed to get a ten year life out of them. It is surprising that, given Seddon’s decidedly chequered history as psv manufacturers, the Scottish Bus Group entrusted the firm with the design and manufacture of a Gardner engined "Leopard clone". In the event, the Pennine 7 proved to be a robust and reliable model. Turning to the subject of Hanson, my initial encounter with this name came when, as a Traffic Clerk at Halifax in the mid ‘sixties, I came across it as a bus operator and haulage contractor in Huddersfield. Much later, in 1984, Hanson bought out the old London Brick Company, famous for its fleet of red AEC lorries, for a song when the share value fell below its asset value (notably the land). Now the vast acreage of former brick clay workings between Yaxley and Peterborough is the location of a horrible, high density, new town development named ‘Hampton’ (whoever dreamed up that name should get out a bit more.) Brick making remains only on a very reduced scale at Kings Dyke near Whittlesey.

Roger Cox


01/09/13 – 14:08

Roger, giving some thought to things, just how much of a Seddon product was the Pennine VII? When did the first Pennine VIIs enter service – 1973/4? Seddon had acquired Atkinson in 1970 . . . and presumably the designs to the Atkinson Alpha. SBG wanted an underfloor saloon with manual gearbox following withdrawal of the Leopard PSU3/3R in 1970/71 – Seddon wouldn’t have been required to design de novo, just polish-up (eg. get rid of the vacuum brakes) the old Alpha design (last built 1962/3 for Sunderland). Does anybody out there know just how much – if anything, I stand to be corrected – the Seddon Pennine VII owes to the Atkinson Alpha? Did any of this factor in SBG’s thinking? . . .
Again an aside, generated by trawls initiated by this site: I hadn’t known that, until Atkinson’s takeover by Seddon in 1970, Leyland had held 15% of the shares – presumably since the time of Atkinson’s reconstitution in 1933.

Philip Rushworth


02/09/13 – 08:00

Philip, thanks for that idea about the Atkinson pedigree of the Pennine 7. I am sure that you are correct, though the thought had not struck me before. Seddon had never built a traditional heavy duty psv chassis, nor one with a horizontal underfloor engine, yet the Pennine 7 went into service quickly, had no teething troubles of significance, and gave years of reliable service, a situation utterly at variance with the history of unpredictable psvs of genuine Oldham origin. The service record of the Pennine 7 has more in keeping with the Atkinson legacy of rugged dependability than the Seddon saga of underwhelming engineering design. Certainly, the Atkinson board fought strongly against the hostile takeover bid by Seddon in 1970, sadly to no avail. Earlier attempts to take over Atkinson by ERF and Foden were successfully resisted. Some sources quote the Leyland shareholding figure in Atkinson as 20%, and it was Leyland’s acceptance of the Seddon offer that allowed the splendid Preston firm to fall into the dubiously capable clutches of the Oldham upstart. This page makes interesting reading:- web.warwick.ac.uk/services/ The malign influence of the Stokes era at Leyland spread far and wide. Perhaps Leyland detected the underlying weaknesses at Seddon, took the money, and anticipated an early demise of its enlarged, over ambitious, Oldham competitor. As it turned out, the independent Seddon-Atkinson company lasted only a further four years before selling out to International Harvester of the USA in 1974.

Roger Cox


02/09/13 – 08:00

Your thoughts regarding Atkinson’s possible input into the Seddon Pennine VII design are fascinating Philip, and maybe the Atkinson Alpha just could have been updated by Seddon-Atkinson, you never know. After all, Leyland Leopard and AEC Reliance chassis evolved steadily throughout their long production lives, with various modifications to engines, brakes, gearboxes, axles etc, as vehicle lengths (and weights) increased over time. Your aside re Leyland’s 15% shareholding in Atkinson reminded me that Gardner had a small shareholding in ERF for many years. Also, following the Foden brothers split in the early ‘thirties, Gardner supported Edwin Richard Foden when he founded ERF in 1933, by supplying engines to him on credit terms. This was not offered to other Gardner customers at the time, but Gardner presumably realised the potential of ERF’s strong commitment to the development of Diesel-engined lorries. The link up was to prove beneficial to both parties for many years.

Brendan Smith


03/09/13 – 09:00

I believe that the Pennine 7 was purely a Seddon product. I worked there at the later stages of its production and they were all built at Oldham, whereas the Gardner-engined 400-series lorries were always built at Preston (then, at least). I even designed a spring packer for the Pennine 7 to help balance one batch which were proving troublesome – I can’t remember with certainty which but it may have been the Plaxton-bodied version.
Apart from the fact that they were underfloor-engined chassis with a Gardner engine, there was little in common between the Alpha and the Pennine 7. The frame was completely different on the Pennine as it was cranked to accommodate the wide 6HLXB engine. Alphas had either Atkinson’s own gearbox, a weird and wonderful contraption but very compact, or a David Brown box. The Pennine 7 had a ZF box. Late versions of both had semi-automatic boxes which I think were self-changing gears.
I think, but can’t confirm, that the front axle was a Seddon-designed one on the Pennine, with an Eaton rear axle. The Alpha had Kirkstall axles.

David Beilby


03/09/13 – 16:30

David, thanks for that detailed response – my curiosity is satisfied!

Philip Rushworth


02/07/14 – 06:33

While it may at first seem strange that the SBG ‘entrusted’ Seddon with the task of producing an underfloor engined single decker to their requirements, one has to remember that they probably didn’t have a lot of choice at that time. Leyland clearly weren’t interested, while the other established British manufacturers didn’t have a ready made heavy duty UFE chassis – I’m thinking Bedford and Ford there, neither of whom (I guess) would have wanted to build something with a Gardner engine. Other than that, they would have had to go to a foreign, or foreign-owned, manufacturer – or there was Seddon. I don’t think there would have been anyone else at that time. I suppose one other possibility might have been ERF, who did build buses, but not for the British market.
The SBG had already become involved with one foreign-owned manufacturer in such a project (the Ailsa), and probably didn’t want to be seen buying too much foreign produce at that time – SBG was, after all, a state-owned body. Volvo wouldn’t have built a version of the B58 with a Gardner, or Leyland, engine, although that chassis might, at first sight, seem to have met SBG’s requirements. A few years later, Dennis were actively looking for opportunities in the UK bus market, but there didn’t seem to be any sign of that in the early 1970s.

Nigel Frampton


RBU 902F_2 Vehicle reminder shot for this posting


31/10/16 – 08:21

Several Seddon buses went to Central America in the late 60’s. Places like San Salvador, Nicaragua. They went up to 8,000 feet on journeys.
My boyfriend/husband was the engineer at the time and went with them, We have the photos.

Janet Wood


31/10/16 – 15:10

I’m sure we’d like to see a couple, Janet, if you feel like posting them.

Chris Hebbron


 

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