A look at some of the smaller buses and coaches that have graced our roads over the years.
Typical of so many village buses of the twenties, is this delightful little Dennis 30cwt, with a 16 seat body. Seen here at Hassocks Railway Station, a forerunner of todays Transit based minibuses & I can make a pretty fair guess as to which we would sooner be in. A lovely little bus.
Despite its registration number, this Bedford A3LZG dates from 1956. It features a Harrington B10F body & had been new to the Royal Air Force as a crew bus. It looks wonderfully over engineered for a ten seater & that front bumper would make light work on any errant motor cars. Another little bus full of character.
Two Mivvies & a cornet please. looking like one of those Mr Softee, ice cream vans all remember so well. This Karrier dates from 1960 & has a Reading C15F body. Its certainly a well presented little coach. I always felt that these vehicles looked as it they had a permanent frown, but I wish more of then had survived.
This little beauty is an Austin K7 with a Plaxton 14 seat body. The venture came in different sizes, but I really think this smallest version looks the best. What a pity that today's minicoaches don't have the style of this little motor. I would love to ride in this today.
Going back a few years we find this Little Ford AA, Looking a little worn & a tad scruffy, this is probably due to the war years & the little bus may not have lasted very much after this shot was taken. It does have a certain charm to it, but im sure that any intending passengers would have been pleased to see it.
Not the usual type of vehicle you would associate with Bartons, but still an important member of the fleet. This Bedford CA has a Martin Walter 11 seat body. Looking more like a motor caravan than anything else, it does have a degree of dignity thanks to the Bartons livery.
I think my favourite small bus has to be the Dennis Ace. Known as the Flying Pig for obvious reasons and seen here with ECOC B20F body, These were very sturdy vehicles & many of them gave over twenty tears service, which im sure even Dennis never envisaged. Thankfully one or two have survived & we can still enjoy them today.
At one time these seemed to be everywhere, but when did you last see one?. This is a Commer 1500LD with a Harrington C12C body. These had a long production run & I have to admit a certain affection for them. Latterly they were badged as Dodge & came with a 1725cc engine. They were better than any BMC offeribgs.
Ag the good old MK1 Transit, complete with that lumpy old V4. Its difficult to comprehend the effect that the Transit had back in 1965 when it was launched. This 11 seater is the most basic PSV ever, but it deserves its place in this gallery and in history.
A little further back in time & we find this lovely little Chevrolet LQ dating from 1929. The driver looks quite content & cosy in there & if the weather improved he could take the top down. The first Bedford models in 1931 was basically a more updated version of this chassis. From little Acorns.....
Staying in Scotland & moving forward in time we find this Morris J2 basking in the sun in Dumfries. This 12 seater may not be everyones idea of a PSV & im really trying to think of something positive. Its beautifully presented, but handling & performance were not really its strong points, but, as I've said before, I wouldn't pass this little bus up today.
Sure to please a regular SCTer in the Halifax area, is this well known & magnificent little Guy Wolf with a twenty seat Waveney body. This little bus has been either in service or in preservation for its entire life & hopefully it will be giving us pleasure for many years to come.
Small is beautiful and to prove the point we have this little Trojan, with a 13 seat Strachans body Probably some of the most reliable & dependable vehicles ever produced, the Trojan would always get you where you wanted to go, just not that quickly.
Oh dear, this gallery is going rapidly downhill. This Bedford CF must be the lowest point of PSV vehicles. The CF replaced the ageing CA & looked good with its transatlantic styling. It had the most awful driving position, but at least, any intending passengers would have been pleased to see it bowling towards them, wouldn't they??
Staying with Strachans, but not as nice as the Trojan, we see this Ford Transit with a 16 seat body. The original Parcel/bread van style of minibus may not have been a thing of beauty, but it did its job and had a good production run, so it cant have been all bad.
A vast improvement over the previous pair is this lovely Ford Model BB dating from 1934. A very stylish and well presented bus & such buses were, at one time, the backbone of small country independents and served many communities with reliability & pride. Unlike many bus services today.
Some of the most unusual small buses were London Transporrts CR class Leyland Cubs. Rather over engineered for a twenty seater & rather problematic, all had gone by 1952. Some found their way to Cyprus, I don't believe any operated in this country. Luckily one survives.
Another unusual vehicle, which, despite its grille, is actually a Thorneycroft Dainty. The body work is by East Lancs & looks most odd for them. I love it, this little coach has character by the bucketload and I would love to be one of the 21 that could fit inside it.
The biggest bus in this gallery, at 24 seats, is this Guy Wolf with a Metalcraft body work.. Another small bus that had a long life, surviving into the 70s. Anyone for trip around the Great Orme on this little cracker?
And now for something completely different. This lovely little S&D Freighter carries a replica body to show what a Worthing Tramocar was. This bus lives at the Amberley Chalk Pits museum and is often used on the bus service around the grounds. I've been on this more than once,, It sounds great and is a very nimble little bus, if you sample it, it will amaze you.
Another little gem that resides at Amberley, is this lovely little Dennis 30cwt with a Short B19R body. It must be one of the smallest rear entrance buses ever built, at least the conductor would not be overworked. Another bus that I know well & hope than some of you can sample it.
This little Karrier dates from 1960 & has a 14 seat Plaxton Consort body. Some scaled down coach bodies look a bit odd, but this really looks the part & I'm sure it was a popular little coach.
Well, here's something you don't see everyday. After Minibuses, we have a mini tram. Modern Electric Tramways at Eastbourne, built this based on a Blackpool tram, this was popular in inclement weather & rode very well. It went to Seaton in 1969.
Another small Dennis is this Dennis Bodied twenty seat Falcon. These vehicles were the mainstay of many country services & proved very useful members in a number of fleets all over the country.
An unusual vehicle to find in a municipal fleet, this Bedford J2 with a Duple 21 seat body belonged to Bury Corporation. Small buses like this were sometimes employed for specific services or routes. They never seemed to be that long lived, but no doubt served their owners well, even if only for a short time.
Another survivor, is this lovely little 1935 Ford BB, with a 14 seat body. Its quite amazing how many small buses have managed to survive, but im so pleased that they are still here as reminders of so many such buses that served our rural communities, when we still had them and not fleets of trendy 4x4s.