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Website launched in August 1996, and this page was last updated on 23 April 2015.


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COLIN SHEARS 1934-2015

It is with great sadness and regret that we have to advise that Colin Shears, the well known vehicle preservationist, passed away peacefully on Friday 20 March. His funeral will take place at 2.00pm on Thursday 9 April at the Exeter & Devon Crematorium, Topsham Road, Exeter EX2 6EU.

For more information see the News Page.


*** STAR (Spring) PICTURE ***

Here's a picture to remind you that spring is springing and another year of bus rallies and running days is upon us. This is a typical gem from the lens of Ken Jones and shows Exeter 173 (JFJ 873), a 1950 Daimler CVD6, apparently straying a little out of its home territory into a world of honey-coloured Cotswold stonework. There were originally six of these Daimlers in the Exeter fleet, and three of them survive, although 'only just' in the case of 174.

Ken explains "This picture is taken in Broadway (Worcestershire), in a road which is now a no-through road following the building of the bypass. John Handford and his excellent Daimler were one of the vehicles on the shuttle service from G & W Railway at Toddington to Broadway. In 2013 when he took his 1966 Royal Blue MW we found this location after the event had finished. In 2014 we decided to stop there again during the shuttle service for anyone who wanted a photo stop."

You can't get a more English scene than this, and my thanks to Ken for sending me the photo (from July 2014).


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?? MYSTERY PICTURE ??

A sharp-eyed correspondent brought my attention to the recent TV advert by Confused.com which shows Brian the robot being fed down a conveyor towards a scary crusher. On the belt just ahead of Brian is a registration plate with the number LN 4743. Now that number belongs to a 1911 B-Type bus, entrusted to the care of the Imperial War Museum. Surely the IWM haven't crushed it??

It normally resides either at the Imperial War Museum in London, or at Duxford, but here's a picture of it at the London Transport Museum last October. Don't worry - it's fine. So how did that registration plate end up in the crusher? And where was the crusher anyway? As always, email me here if you can offer some answers. By the way, Brian is fine too.

LAST MYSTERY PICTURE The true identity of the Bedford VAM purporting to be LAW 129F was not established, and we gave up.


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. Folk in the UK should be able to order it through their newsagents. Those offshore should contact Classic Bus Publishing Ltd., 18 Brunstane Road, Edinburgh, EH15 2QJ, Scotland. When it falls on your doorstep it's like when the delivery guy has brought you a really good pizza.

Please keep in touch, 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.


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SOME QUICK LINKS WITHIN THIS SITE;  Email me   Events Diary   CLASSIC BUSES WEBSITE SHOP   Halfcab survivors   Links   Small ads   Classic Irish Buses

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