The Ugly Buses Ball
This is a celebration of the ugliest buses and coaches ever built. Those "what were they thinking?" vehicles that should never have left the drawing board, let alone the factory. Everyone is free to make their own nominations, but remember, one man's meat etc. This gallery is intended to be a little tongue in cheek.
This was the only double deck body built by Fowlers & its most likely just as well! The lower deck & front panel are not unattractive, but the higher you go the worse it gets. Is this the ugliest double decker ever?
The Alexander bodied Leyland Lowlander was never the most attractive bus, but it wasn't really one you could call ugly....until you put a full front on it. I can understand Ribble doing this to make them conform with the PD3s & by all accounts they were actually very good buses, but that front end.
This unfortunate vehicle started life in Sheffield & migrated North. It changed into this, Ahem, creation along the way. Quite what whoever did this was thinking of I really don't know, but if Frankenstein had created a bus then this would be it.
Looking like something from a 1950s B movie is this creation from Hulton. Thankfully they didn't build any others. I do wish that this had survived as it would certainly be a talking point today
The Burlingham Seagull was one of the most beautiful & graceful coaches ever built. Sadly by 1959 it had degenerated into this. Surely the ugliest Seagull ever even Southdown kept these out of the way most of the time. But you could always listen to the wonderful TS3 sound effects as compensation for the looks.
You can just imagine a group of youngsters watching an episode of Thunderbirds & deciding to create a crew bus for the Tracey family to get around their island. This is it, it could have been designed specifically for any of the late Gerry Andersons series. Then put it on the most archaic & underpowered chassis you can find, perfect. Its so awful, its brilliant.
Park Royal have given is some of the most handsome & classic buses over the years, that, is until the Bridgemaster. You can forgive one mistake, but then they gave us "son of Bridgemaster". To be fair it looked better in 30ft form, but this short version was not their finest hour. Luckily things improved again afterwards.
What happens if you cross a VW Microbus with a Milk Float?. You get a Dennis Stork. This seems just a mixture of different things & is a very dated & odd looking bus. I'm sure it did its job very well, but its looks were clearly not a great priority.
Paul Haywood's nomination is the famous Leyland PD3 rebuild. The bus had been severely damaged in an accident. It was a great idea, the reliability of the traditional front engine double decker, adapted for OMO & the driver not having to squirm around in a cramped half cab. Sadly it looked like this, but it was a valiant attempt.
Dave Towers nominates one of Walsall's famous "Goldfish Bowl" Willowbrook bodied Sunbeams. The first 30ft two axle double deckers & were actually quite good looking, from any angle except the front.
Dave Towers also mentions an ugly coach and I think he means this one. This bizarre Mulliner body was immortalised in model form, by, I believe, Spot On. This rather sad coach looks as if its a sad fish & it must rate as one of the ugliest.
Another oddity was the batch of Ford Thames Traders delivered in 1963 for transporting cyclist through the Dartford Tunnel. They had Strachans body, it just had to be didn't it?. I'm still not sure what these were actually classed as, but they were certainly ugly.
Another notable attempt by Strachans to build an ugly bus were these Bedford VAS for Bournemouth. They managed to look like a cross between a welfare bus, a mobile library & an Irish school bus. I think these were pretty near the end of Strachans' PSV production. Clearly going out on a low note.
Michael Keeley nominates this rather sad looking Foden. Windovers normally produced some fine looking vehicles, but this one went wrong somewhere. It looks like a large slug with a very flat nose. A welcome addition to the rogues gallery.
These were very odd looking vehicles that somehow managed to look thirty years older than they actually were. Very square rigged and incredibly ugly. Some did last a long time, so they can't have been all bad. They just looked it.
Another Paul Haywood nomination is the good old Crellin Duplex, seen here on a Leyland chassis, 7 built by Mann Egerton. It was a good idea, but like so many good ideas, managed to look a bit odd. Many thanks Paul.
The Guy Wulfrunian was designed as a front entrance bus, so what was the point of building this with a rear entrance body? The cab area looks awful and East Lancs have done their best but just can't save it.
Another notable offering from Strachans, this may become a recurring theme, is this design for Reading. It lacks the grace of earlier Reading saloons, looks very tall and just looks wrong.
Well, they had to start somewhere. This is what grew into the Leyland Atlantean and it really must be one of the ugliest things ever created. Its frontal aspect has always reminded me of the Crazy Frog. But, it most certainly deserves its place in omnibus history.
Another good idea to try and modernise the front engine double decker. But like other attempts it didn't work. The panoramic windows did not sit easily with the treatment of the cab area and as a result looked a real hotch potch, then the window in the front dome finished it off. The least attractive variant of the Queen Mary.
Peter Stobart nominates this MCW creation as his ugly bus. MCW coach bodies always seemed a bit odd & were a rare sight. This one is not helped by a most uninspiring livery & air of general tattiness. A good choice Peter.
Another notable effort by our friends at Strachans was rge well known 888DUK. Quite what possessed Guy to clothe such a fine chassis with this body & then use it as a demonstrator I don't know, but no one got trampled in the rush. I always thought this looked as if it belonged in South Africa.
Another oddity is this Ford Transit, which does a very good impression of a shoe box. You can almost imagine the Blue Peter team making this out of cardboard & sticky plastic. A true gem.

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Page last changed Tuesday 2 February 2016