Old Bus Photos

Llandudno UDC – Dennis Pax V – FJC 737F

FJC 737F

Llandudno UDC
1968
Dennis Pax V
Dennis B33F

In the latter months of 1968 Llandudno UDC replaced its two Foden PVSC6 coaches, www.old-bus-photos.co.uk/ used on the exceedingly steep Great Orme route, with two specially constructed Dennis Pax V buses with Dennis B33F bodywork, registered FJC 736/7F. After the delivery of the last five production Lolines to Halifax in 1967 Dennis had effectively abandoned the bespoke passenger vehicle market, and these were flat framed haulage chassis powered by Perkins 6.354 engines coupled to Dennis U type gearboxes (not, as suggested elsewhere on the internet, David Brown gearboxes). The specially constructed bus bodies, the very last built by Dennis, were delivered in a new livery of blue and cream. The Perkins 6.354 was ever a raucous power unit (I write from experience) and the din inside these buses during the steepest sections of the ascent of the Great Orme must surely have been deafening for drivers and passengers alike, though the standard of ride is said to have been good. Does any OBP aficionado have personal experience of these machines? The photograph was taken in September 1970. On 1st April 1974 Llandudno UDC was subsumed into the new Aberconwy District Council and the two Dennis Pax buses were repainted into a livery of maroon and grey, subsequently maroon and cream. Sadly, FJC 737F was later destroyed, reputably by fire, but FJC 736F survives in a restored condition.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Roger Cox


11/08/22 – 05:52

I may have been partly responsible for spreading the idea that these Dennises had David Brown gearboxes. The information came from Nick Larkin, one-time owner of FJC 736F, when he loaned it to a group of enthusiasts in Chesterfield. As a passenger I believed him, because not only was the arrangement of the gears the same as on the David Brown gearbox of the Bristol SC, but it even exhibited the same characteristic of catching out the unwary driver by moving off in reverse instead of second, which I have heard a Bristol SC owner talk about. It scaled Slack Hill in second gear, and almost repeated the achievement at Cromford, only resorting to first at the very top, after turning into Porter Lane. I can’t say I noticed the noise level inside, but those waiting with cameras outside certainly did! As to liveries, the first Aberconwy DC scheme I would describe as vermilion and grey rather than maroon and grey, and I haven’t seen in-service photos of anything later except blue and advertising schemes. I have been assuming that the new owner’s pseudo Llandudno UDC maroon and cream is a ‘should have been’ statement.

Peter Williamson


12/08/22 – 05:55

Peter W, you’ve just confirmed my recollection of this vehicle, I felt sure I’d had a ride on it and it was at one of Transpire’s Running Days in Chesterfield about ten years ago. I would agree that it was somewhat noisy inside but not unbearably so. I also remember the gearstick being behind the driver to his left, in the same manner as a Bedford SB. It was an interesting ride but I couldn’t help thinking it wasn’t really meant to be a bus though!

Chris Barker


14/08/22 – 05:43

I have driven Bristol SC and SU buses, both of which had the David Brown gearbox, but the gear lever selection positions of the two types differed. On both, the reverse and first gears were located on the far left, forward for reverse, back for first, and these gears were ‘protected’ from the rest of the box by a detente spring that became very weak over time. From there, cautiously moving right in neutral, next came forward for second and back for third, which is how the accidental engagement of reverse instead of second sometimes occurred when the detente spring had weakened. The SCs and SUs that I drove were all secondhand examples run by an independent operator, consequently far from pristine in condition. My technique to avoid the unintended launch in reverse was to deliberately engage reverse on the far left of the box, then carefully go back into neutral and let the stick gently move with the spring to the correct point to allow the forward engagement of second. This took less time to do that it does to describe. Even then I would cautiously engage the clutch to ensure the vehicle was going where I wanted it to go. After the third gear position the SC and the SU differed. To move from third to fourth in the SC one took the stick forward into neutral, over to the right and then back again in an inverted U movement, and then fifth was fully forward from that slot. The SU was more logical, and followed the positioning of the AEC Reliance five speed box, over and forward for fourth and back for fifth. Unsurprisingly, I have never driven a Dennis Pax, but the excellent gearbox in the Dennis Loline III also followed the Reliance selection format, and never once driving these for Aldershot and District did I accidentally engage reverse instead of second. Descriptions of the U type five speed gearbox show that it emulated the Loline box in gear stick positions, which explains the possibility of starting off in reverse, but Dennis gearboxes were fine pieces of engineering, and I can only assume that the protective detente spring in FJC 736F has suffered severely over time. Incidentally, one could never fall into this trap with a Reliance because the gear lever had to be lifted over a ramp to engage first and reverse, so you couldn’t easily get first whilst on the move – it was essentially a crawler gear. On the livery question, is the maroon and cream of the little Guy Wolf accurate?

Roger Cox


15/08/22 – 06:41

The gear positions on FJC 736F were definitely the same as on the SC, complete with inverted U from 3 to 4. Our driver only forgot once, going straight from 3 to 5 and then quickly correcting. So maybe it has been fitted with a David Brown box at some time on its travels.

Peter Williamson


 

Quick links to the  -  Comments Page  -  Contact Page  -  Home Page

 


 

Aldershot & District – Dennis Lancet III – GAA 611 – 975

GAA 611

Aldershot & District Traction Co.
1948
Dennis Lancet III J3
Strachan C32R

During the latter stages of WW2, all commercial vehicle manufacturers had new models awaiting production to take advantage of an anticipated post war boom in passenger and haulage markets. Dennis revealed EOR 743, its prototype of the Mark III Lancet, in the early months of 1945. A major improvement was the entirely new 7.58 litre O6 diesel housed in a longer bonnet in place of the 6.5 litre O4 in the pre war Lancet. From 1948 to 1951 Aldershot & District took a further 114 examples of the Lancet III with saloon bodywork, and these were complemented in 1948 by fifteen Dennis Lancet J3 coaches with Strachans C32R bodies, GAA 609-623, Nos. 973-987, which replaced the externally very similar O4 powered Lancet II/Strachans C32R vehicles of 1937-38. The post war Lancet was an exceptionally fine machine, and the 24 valve, wet liner, O6 engine was probably the smoothest running commercial diesel engine of the time. Coupled with the Dennis ‘O’ type five speed gearbox, it yielded excellent reliability, a high standard of refinement and good performance on the road. Notwithstanding the apparent complexity of the engine, the Lancet III became popular with and respected by many independent operators. In the 1961 photograph, GAA 611, No, 975, delivered in June 1948, is crossing Bridge Street, Guildford (now one way in the opposite direction) and about to turn right into the railway station. This coach was withdrawn in that same year. In 1953, having sampled a number of underfloor engined demonstrators, Aldershot & District stayed with the faithful front engined Lancet III and ordered fifteen 30ft by 8ft examples of the J10C with Strachans full fronted FC38R bodies. Finally, in 1954 the company bowed to the inevitable and turned to the AEC Reliance.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Roger Cox


13/06/22 – 06:34

Strachans produced a very distinctive and rather nice coach body after WW2 and this appears to be one of them but it looks so different with a full canopy at the front. It was far more familiar in half canopy form and I imagine it’s purpose as such was to provide better forward visibility for passengers on excursions and tours etc.
Full canopy coaches seem to have been popular with South of England operators, East Kent, Aldershot & District, Southdown, no doubt because of their many London services, they wanted something which looked rather more ‘business like’ and also capable of providing a clear and comprehensive destination display.
Full canopies were also popular with the Scottish companies on coaches but perhaps for different reasons in that they were also used extensively on stage carriage services.
I like this A&D Dennis, it’s a fine looking coach but I do think the side ‘flash’ is a little over done though!

Chris Barker


 

Quick links to the  -  Comments Page  -  Contact Page  -  Home Page

 


 

Southdown – Dennis Falcon – FUF 181 – 181

FUF 181

Southdown Motor Services
1939
Dennis Falcon P4
Harrington B30C

In 1938, Dennis replaced its multiplicity of of small buses for lightly trafficked routes – Dart, Pike, Arrow Minor, Ace and Mace – with one model, the Falcon. This was offered with normal or forward control, the engine options being Dennis 3.77 side valve petrol, or Gardner 4LK or Perkins P6 diesel. In 1938 Southdown took over the Worthing Tramocar business and began replacing the original Shelvoke and Drewry Freighters, at first with new Freighters. More about the Tramocar business may be found on OBP here:- //www.old-bus-photos.co.uk/?p=19218 
In April/May 1939 Southdown moved towards conventional buses for the Tramocar services, and purchased FUF 180/1, fleet nos. 80/1, two forward control Dennis Falcon P4s with Harrington B30C bodies offering easy access to the elderly clientele of Worthing. A third similar chassis, JUF 82, no. 82, but with Dennis B30R bodywork, arrived later that year in December after war had broken out, by which time only about 50 Falcons in total had been been produced by Dennis. In 1949 Southdown again turned to the lightweight Falcon P4, buying a further nine with Dennis B30R bodies, JUF 83-91 with matching fleet nos., for its service between Havant and Hayling Island which crossed a frail, elderly wooden bridge over the Langstone Channel built in 1824, on which a toll applied. Even then the bus went over tentatively and unladen, the passengers having to alight and walk across to rejoin it on the far side. The two ex Tramocar Falcons were transferred to the Hayling Island service to complement the ten later arrivals. The Langstone Bridge was replaced by a new structure in 1956, but the crossing toll remained until 1960. None of the Dennis bodied Falcons seems to have survived, but Harrington bodied FUF 181 of 1939 was once extant on the preservation scene. It is seen above at Brighton on the HCVC Rally in May 1970. Currently it is recorded as undergoing further restorative work. The prominent starting handles on all the Southdown Falcons suggests that they were powered by the robust 3.77 litre side valve petrol engine rather than the Gardner 4LK, but confirmation would be welcome.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Roger Cox


13/11/21 – 06:24

Hello Roger, I have just checked in Colin Druce’s excellent book ‘Southdown in Austerity’, and he confirms that these buses were indeed fitted with the Dennis 3.77 litre side valve petrol engine.

Roy Nicholson


01/03/22 – 06:47

I read with interest the notes on the captioned. I had been looking for any information regarding its present state, to date, to no avail. However despite my not being fully computer literate I managed to get the following, it is/was with Seaford & District who I understand have been taken over by 7 Sisters Bus & Coach whatever they might be in 01-2021. On the Seaford web site under Vintage Bus there is a Flickr Photopool, under Group Pool, Paul Goldsmith there is a shot of said bus, headed DCS_0105, dated 08/2017. It looks to be a VERY comprehensive works in progress, to say the least!. I should add that I have several times in the past sent E-mails to S&D regarding this vehicle but on no occasion did I get any reply, customer service?.

John Adrian Pearce


 

Quick links to the  -  Comments Page  -  Contact Page  -  Home Page

 


 

All rights to the design and layout of this website are reserved     Old Bus Photos does not set or use Cookies but Google Analytics will set four see this

Old Bus Photos from Saturday 25th April 2009 to Tuesday 16th August 2022