British Classic Buses in New Zealand - (Page 1)


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Last updated 2 February 2017

In recent years I have received quite a bit of material about buses of British origin in New Zealand, so here are some pages to display some of it. Please feel free to send any suitable items and I will be happy to post them. The latest material is posted on this page (Page One).

New Zealand buses Page Two is here and Page Three is here.

There are some New Zealand bus links at the foot of this page.


MEMORIES OF OLD BEDFORDS

In January 2017 Jeffery Leeden kindly sent me these two pictures. He says that the Bedford OB above, "Old Bedy", was his second bus and that he converted the vehicle below to a mobile home and always regretted selling it. It apparently had a Bedford chassis and a Perkins 6354 6-cylinder diesel engine.

At first I thought it could have come from New Zealand Railways, but Jeffery said is was a sister to "Chubby Cheeks" (see the Bedford VAL on Page 2) but not a twin-steer. "Chubby Cheeks" was apparently one of 28 that came to New Zealand in 1964 and has a very similar body built by Modern Motor Bodies in Christchurch. The VAL was initially a Bedford promo bus, so perhaps this one was too. Thanks to Jeffery for the photos.


RARE (UNIQUE?) SEDDON SURVIVOR

In September 2016 Jodi Lucas said he was selling his housebus and wondered if I could tell him anything about it. It had me stumped, but he then started to find answers for himself. Apparently it claimed to be a 1956 Mk.6/2 Seddon Atkinson, possibly with a railway history. I had no idea that Seddon built any halfcabs.

Jodi came across a chassis number (31672), an engine number (RL25383) and evidence that it was first registered in New Zealand in 1956. An entry at the bottom of this page by the NZ Omnibus Society reveals that North Shore Transport of Takapuna acquired 14 Seddon Mk.6 buses like this between 1951 and 1956 with 34-seat halfcab bodies made in-house by North Shore. I'm assuming that it's the last one on the list (No.94) and they've got the chassis number wrong.

And here's a picture of the same vehicle in service in 1969, with the kind permission of photographer Peter Trevor, and with the assistance of the New Zealand Omnibus Society.

This is probably the only surviving halfcab Seddon in the world! If anyone has more information (or knows of another one) then please let me know. Meanwhile many thanks to Jodi for letting me know about it.


ANOTHER WELLINGTON RELIANCE TURNS UP

In April 2016 Richard kindly sent me these pictures of his housebus, a former Wellington AEC Reliance. New to Wellington City Transport in 1957 as No.92 (but later renumbered 292) it has an MCCW 40-seat bus body and was one of 77 delivered that year. The original AEC engine is apparently long-gone, as Richard tells me it now has a Bedford diesel engine. He says "It was reregistered in 1988. A Bedford 500 motor and gearbox with a front radiator was fitted during this time - notice the Bedford badge and Bedford-style grille. It was fitted out to a motor home in 1990. I purchased this bus in 2012 and have kept up the COF and all NZMCA requirements over this time."

Another one (No.122) of these Reliances is preserved by the Omnibus Society, and another one (No.83) was noted working as a movan a few years ago - see the bottom of my webpage here. Thanks Richard - it looks terrific.


RARE WORLDMASTER COMPLETES SIX-YEAR RESTORATION

At the beginning of 2010 Philip Murphy of Timaru found this 1966 Dunedin City Transport (DCT) Leyland Royal Tiger Worldmaster (No.136) heading for the scrapheap, and wondered if it could be saved.

Dunedin Leyland Worldmaster

Between 1959 and 1968 Dunedin had 30 of these ERT1/1 buses with NZ Motor Bodies bodywork in various lengths and sizes. This is one of the last and largest versions, 35 feet long and seating 47. It may be the only one left. Philip called me to see if I could raise some interest in saving it, especially since finding somewhere to display it was proving a bit difficult.

But in late September 2010 Philip emailed again to say "Well the bus is now mine. It had unfortuately been sold for use as storage, but someone who knew I was after it, saw it in a field and told me. I was lucky enough to be offered it. It's going to get a quick service just to ensure it can move under its own power, and will then be shipped up to me in Timaru, where I guess I will spend MANY hours restoring it!" Here's a video of it coming off the low loader in Timaru.

Now there's more news. In December 2015 Phil said "Above is a photo of her almost ready to be painted and here's a video of her back in Dunedin heading to the testing station for a pre certification check. Excluding the interior, she passed with only a couple of minor things (tyres and a sticky brake). The Otago Heritage Bus Society, of which I am a member, are completing the painting for me."

And here is the final result. Philip says "All finally painted, and with me at the wheel about to depart on her first passenger run in many years for the Otago Heritage Bus Society's Dunedin Suburban Rambler Service, Easter 2016".

Congratulations Philip, and thanks for keeping us informed of progress. If anyone out there knows of any other examples, please let me know.


NZ RAILWAY BEDFORDS

Peter Anderson took quite a few photographs of NZ buses around 1978, and here are some of them, concentrating on the huge fleet of New Zealand Railways Road Services Bedford SB buses. This picture shows No.3473 (DU 9979) in use between Ashburton and Timaru to transport personnel working on the railway tracks.

Here's the back of the same vehicle, showing an unusual boot door design!

Colour schemes for the New Zealand Motor Bodies coachwork changed over the years, and this looks to be No.4795 in an orange livery. It is seen outside the "Gladstone Tavern" - is that the one in Masterton?

Finally we have another livery, but unfortunately no clue to the identity of this bus. Thanks very much to Peter for sending the interesting collection of images.


AUCKLAND ROYAL TIGER IN GOOD SHAPE

Paul Pollard kindly sent me this picture. He says "It's a 1953 Leyland Royal Tiger OPSU1/1, originally Auckland Transport Board No.479. Still running sweet and legally roadworthy, it's now located in Motueka, New Zealand."

Thanks Paul. She looks good. Similar bus No.464 is at the MOTAT Museum in Auckland (see details on their website). They claim it's the only survivor, but now we know better...

Update; In fact we now know quite a bit more, as Murray Jessop contacted me in December 2013 to say that this is one of 50 acquired by Auckland (and used right up until the early 1980s) - and this one is for sale, at a rather optimistic NZD 18,000. Not only that, Murray says that about six of them are still around the country as movans. There are pictures of a couple of them here (No.470) and here (No.471). He also says that the one in Paul's picture is actually No.497, not 479. Thanks very much to Murray for the information.


YET MORE CONVERSIONS!

Mat Foster keeps sending me such fantastic pictures from around the campsites, and they really deserve posting here, so here is another selection from 2009. For starters, how about a twin-steer Daimler?

Twin-steer Daimler

"That's not a Daimler!" I hear you cry, "It's a Bedford". But it IS a Daimler - mostly. It started out as a Saro-bodied Daimler Freeline, but was then fitted with twin-steer front axles from a Leyland Octopus and a Perkins V8. What a monster! It will be interesting to see how it looks when painted. The owners are apparently from Katikati.

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Just a quick break from Mat's collection for a moment, because I received the following email and photo from Deb and Ross Curtis in May 2010;

"We have just been browsing the net and came across this old photo of our bus taken just before we bought her. She was a dream started by Noel & Sharon Snow, but sold on to us to complete the job of getting her ready for the road. We live in 'Nudge' full time, currently based in Blenheim after spending in the summer in Cromwell. Needless to say we have had our moments with two major breakdowns in the 18 months we have been on the road, but at end of the day we love her."

Thanks a lot Deb and Ross. 'Nudge' looks in great shape, and I'm glad she's found some good owners.

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Back to Mat's collection again - and in contrast, below is an original twin-steer;

Yet another New Zealand Bedford VAL, and this one seems to be on the market. An attractive styling.

Rego AH 6694 is yet another Leyland Comet...

...and is this a Dodge? No. Shane Conway tells me it's a Ford V8.


"TIGER LILY" SHAPES UP

In 2003 Terry Bingham emailed me to say that he had just bought this Leyland Tiger, which he understood was built in 1950 and originated at Dunedin.

He said "My intentions are to restore this into a housebus for my own purposes. Its original motor and gearbox run well. It was registered in New Zealand first in 1950 as DK3253, chassis number 494337. The timber cab frame appears to be made of ash. I'm currently restoring the cab and dashboard, and need to locate an original clock - and also the front cab sidelight is rotten, can you help locate one?"

I asked around for further information, and John Murphy told me "The picture of the bus converted to a motor caravan is a Leyland Tiger OPS3. It was new in 1950 to Dunedin City Council Transport (DCCT) as No.50 and had DCCT bodywork, B34/17D. It was one of two (49 & 50), which were unique in that the rear passenger entrance was forward of the rear wheel arch. No.49 also still exists as far as I know. DCCT had 11 OPS1, 1 OPS2 and 2 OPS3, all half cabs, put into service 1947-50." He explained that "B34/17D" refers to a vehicle licenced to carry 34 seated and 17 standing passengers.

Well, take a look at "Tiger Lily" now! In March 2009 Terry wrote "I have done a lot of work on the halfcab. As you can see I have re-roofed it and I have almost finished re-panelling it. We semi live in it on our property in Tuahiwi. We only travel short distances because, as you can imagine, it takes forever to get anywhere." Thanks Terry. It's looking in great shape.


New Zealand buses Page Two is here and Page Three is here.

Some New Zealand bus links;



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


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