Old Bus Photos

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 This coach was withdrawn in that same year.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


 

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Old Bus Photos from Saturday 25th April 2009 to Friday 19th August 2022