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Website launched in August 1996, and this page was last updated on 24 November 2020.


Here's something to cheer us all up in these uncertain times; Ewen Pring and his team at Timebus in St Albans have finally got former London Transport Leyland Tiger PS1 TD89 back on the road. Timebus acquired it in 2003, and have been beavering away to restore it, with a view to adding it to their classic hire fleet of RM, RLH and RF vehicles.

Most of the wood framework, between ceiling and floor, had to be carefully replaced. It was a long and very expensive restoration, as the mechanics and body were all worn out. Ewen says "The mechanics are still not right (crunching whilst trying to engage gear when stationary - something to do with the 'clutch stop' I believe) and it needs painting, application of vinyls and signs, and the interior is filthy from over a year inside the workshop. The occasion of the photo was taking it away after an engine change. The replacement engine was ex-army (for Leyland Hippos) and must have been overhauled decades ago but not used, because it was found to fill up with oil which overflowed out of the top. This turned out to be because the main gasket between the cylinder block and the crankcase didn't have the 2 vital oilways in the centre, to drain the oil down after circulation!"

Since the only TD we have seen for many years is Cobham's TD95 (beautiful as that may be!), TD89 is a welcome addition to the preservation scene. I last saw it working out of Edgware in 1962 (its last year of service), and I sure didn't expect that it would last another 60 years! My thanks to Ewen for the picture and the information, and we look forward eagerly to seeing this wonderful machine out and about when all this COVID business is done and dusted.

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Here's another non-British bus (or maybe a non-bus), but perhaps somebody out there can help anyway. Bob Hutchins in Arizona is researching Italian architect Paolo Soleri who built himself a caravan / camper in 1950 for touring northern Italy. How much of the vehicle in the picture is original we don't know - the bodywork might be a conversion from a bus or something, or maybe a creation of the owner - and we also don't know if the picture is the right way round! It might need to be switched from left to right.

Anyway the chassis may be from a minibus or a light truck. Can anyone suggest where it might have come from or help with any information about this rather odd vehicle?

Please email me if you can provide any information. Many thanks.


The Argentinean single decker turned out to be a Mercedes OH 1618L / Italbus Tropea.

Welcome to the home of classic buses and coaches on the net - I'm Dick Gilbert. This site is all about nostalgia for British passenger transport vehicles from the 1920s to the 1960s, with an unashamed bias towards 'halfcabs'.

Each page has a different colour scheme which is supposed to be reminiscent of some bus or coach company from the era, and this one is meant to represent Western / Southern National. As a result of this arrangement, some of the pages are hard to read, and some will scramble your brain. I'm sure you'll manage.

My interest in British buses began in the late 1950s and early 1960s, and the buses and coaches that were around then are all 'classics' now. It was an interesting period, when there were still pre-war and wartime 'utility' machines about (although mostly on the point of retirement), and a large number of halfcab vehicles that had been built immediately after the war. At the same time, new products like the Leyland Atlantean, AEC Regent V, and a host of 'modern' coach designs (Plaxton Panorama, Harrington Cavalier, Weymann Fanfare etc.) were appearing. It was a transitional period when vehicles from the 1930s, 40s, 50s and 60s could all be seen in use at the same time.

Having been born in south London, London Transport was the first operator that I lived with, then we moved to Sussex and I grew up with Southdown, Maidstone & District, East Kent, and the municipal fleets of Eastbourne and Brighton, as well as the large number of excursion coaches that used to visit the south coast every summer.

In the early 1960s I used to make trips to London to visit Victoria Coach Station, or see the last of the London Transport trolleybuses, or the last halfcab single deckers (TDs). Unfortunately, although I saw what I went to see, most of the photographs I took are not particularly brilliant, or have been lost. However I do have some black & white pictures taken at Victoria Coach Station, London, and in Sussex between 1960 and 1962 which are barely reasonable, and some of them appear around this site. Here's one;

Lincolnshire Leyland Cub

This was taken at 'The Crumbles', Eastbourne, in the summer of 1962, where Claude Lane was running the narrow gauge Eastbourne Tramway (now moved to Seaton, Devon). He had used this ex Lincolnshire Road Car Leyland KPZ01 Cub as a lorry in the past, and it was left to rot outside his depot. New in May 1937 it was FW 8855, originally fleet number LC502, one of thirty delivered that year with Brush B20F bodies. I guess someone might rescue it these days.

I attend a few rallies around the country, and like to see the old machines that people have restored. Reviews and/or pictures of some of the shows I attend appear on the pages here, although it can take a while before I get round to it. The whole idea of the site is to entertain the sad souls (like me !) who have a soft spot for old PSVs, and also be a sorting office for information on the subject.

It's all for fun, so relax and have a wistful rummage through the scrapbook. If you weren't around in the 1960s (and they say that, if you were, you won't remember it) then these pages might provide an insight into the variety of glamorous machines that could be seen on British streets at the time.

Incidentally, this site has no connection whatsoever with Classic Bus magazine, but I thoroughly, absolutely, unreservedly and totally recommend it to anyone with an interest in the subject. It is published 6 times a year, and regular readers all wish it was 12 times a year. You can order it through your local newsagent or go to this website. When it falls on your doorstep it's like when the delivery guy has brought you a really good pizza.

Please call back from time to time, as changes are taking place here all the time, and let me know if you spot a mistake somewhere - I do try to keep things pretty accurate. I know that there are some real boffins out there, and I need you to tell me when something is inaccurate. So welcome to the site, browse around and make yourself at home.






SOME QUICK LINKS WITHIN THIS WEBSITE;  Email   Links   THE COMPLETE WEBSITE MENU   Events Diary   Halfcab list   Small-Ads   Classic Irish Buses