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Website launched in August 1996, and this page was last updated on 28 July 2014.


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*** STAR PICTURE ***

Here's a picture to wind up a few folk! Graham Collister took it, and John Wakefield kindly passed it on. John says "Since it was built from a wreck, I don't see the problem myself".

This much-modified ex Western National 1950 Bedford OB, LTA 755, was seen at Cholmondeley Pageant of Power on 15 June 2014. It had been off the road for a number years, ending up with many parts missing and in a much-dismantled state with Hatts Coaches of Foxham. Not being a viable restoration project, it was sold in September 2012 to Walter Bell of Holtwhistle. Walter, being into custom car restoration at his company WMV Coachworks, decided that LTA 755 would make the basis for a high-class custom motorhome and, as there were many other OBs restored and in preservation, Walter had no guilt about making it into something that Vauxhall Motors would never have envisaged.

Out went the old Bedford running gear to be replaced with Iveco Daily chassis and axles, and a 3-litre turbo diesel engine, small wheels and modern braking. Walter says its good for 90 mph!! The main body has retained it traditional shape but with a steel frame, and a large custom bonnet was needed to house the modern engine and its ancillaries. The interior has been fitted out as a luxury living space. Walter says that it has brought lots of attention at the few rallies it's been to so far, and surprisingly few adverse comments from purists. He has turned down £95,000 for it.


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A warning for anyone who uses remote storage in the Yorkshire region

Two vehicles have recently been stolen, UVT 49X and RMO 77Y. UVT was the last Bristol VRT built and is/was in Crosville Wales green/white livery and RMO was a former Reading Leyland/Park Royal Titan in Brightbus green and was both distinctive and unusual. Both were in secure location whose locks were cut.

It is very likely that both will have been broken quickly, both were complete and would be too obvious to have been offered for sale.


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?? MYSTERY PICTURE ??

Robert Webb emailed me with this picture, taken around 1966/67, and asked if I could identify where it was taken. He said he thought it was somewhere along the south coast - perhaps Worthing or Bournemouth. Due to the prominence of red, I said it was unlikely to be Southdown or a Bournemouth yellow bus, and thought it might be East Kent or Portsmouth. However Robert said he thinks he never went to Portsmouth as a child.

Any suggestions? Please Email me here with your thoughts.

Roy Nicholson says "As a long time resident, I don't think the picture was taken in Worthing. I would suggest that the bus is one of the Bournemouth CRU xxx C convertible Fleetlines. Compare it with pictures at http://www.old-bus-photos.co.uk/?cat=121.
You could be right, Roy.

Stuart Little is even more specific. He says "I reckon that the picture is almost certainly a yellow bus open topper, pictured at the turning circle at Alum Chine in Bournemouth. This was the terminus of the open top coastal service No.12."
By George he's right, and a quick look on Google Streetview at the far end of Alumhurst Road shows the location to be almost unchanged today. Many thanks Stuart. Pete Lewis agrees with him, and so does Phil Radjuschko.

Garth Wyver says he thinks the ice lollie is a Three Stage Booster and that Robert has just eaten the red part.

LAST MYSTERY PICTURE The picture of chassis turned out to be a Palladium (as Steve Gosling suggested). John Wakefield tells me that it has recently been acquired by an agricultural engineer, steam engine and vintage vehicle enthusiast, who confirms that it is a 1913 Palladium truck chassis (sorry to disappoint the bus enthusiasts) and he is planning a long-term restoration back to a running vehicle. It is reckoned to be the only known Palladium survivor.


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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