SCT'61
Plaxton Body Styles 1960 to 1975 - Lightweights
Plaxton built bodies in 'seasons' and these initially ran from April to March of the following year. These dates reflected the fact that coach operators generally wanted their new vehicles for Easter and thus new designs were introduced for the new 'season'.

In later years the dates were changed so that they ran from September to August to fit in with the introduction of a factory shutdown holiday in the last two weeks of August each year.

New styles were generally introduced in time for the start of the new season's construction.

Model names were introduced with the exhibits at the 1950 Commercial Motor Show, bodies having been known previously by a letter/number combination. In the period covered by this gallery the model names used were Consort, Elite, Embassy, Panorama, Val and Vam.

This gallery deals with those chassis which were generally considered to be "lightweight" and a table of the bodies available on each chassis is presented at the end of the gallery.

Standard seating capacity varied from the 18 seats on a Bedford J2 to 53 seats on a Bedford YRT Bristol LHL or Ford R226.

The gallery is laid out with the Bedford J2 first followed by the Bedford VAS, the Bedford SB and Ford 570E and then the 30' Bedford and Ford models followed by the 36' models.

The bus bodies will be included in the forthcoming 1960-1975 Heavyweight Gallery
CONSORT III. The standard body for the Bedford J2SZ and Karrier D98A chassis from 1960 to 1962 was the Consort III. This had the side trim styling retained form the Consort IV body on full size coaches. The Consort III was also still available in 29 seat form on the Bedford J4LZ chassis.
EMBASSY. In 1962 the Embassy body was introduced on the Bedford J2 following its introduction in 1960 on full size coaches.
EMBASSY. For the 1965 season the Embassy body for the Bedford J2 chassis had one large and two small main side windows.
EMBASSY II. For 1962 this body was introduced for the Bedford VAS with seating up to 29 passengers. It had the peak over the windscreen in the same manner as the larger body on the Bedford SB.
EMBASSY II. A chassis extension was available for the Bedford VAS increasing its capacity from 29 to 33 and this involved an extra side window, increasing the main windows from four to five.
PANORAMA I. The standard body on the Bedford VAS for the 1969 season was the Panorama I with fixed windows and forced ventilation. It carried polished trim beneath the first side window.
PANORAMA. The 1970 and 1971 season body on the Bedford VAS with fixed windows and forced ventilation had revised side mouldings and the name carried towards the rear where the upper of the two trim strips rises.
PANORAMA IV. The 1973 body with fixed windows and forced ventilation for the Bedford VAS incorporated the squarer grille and the side trim from the Panorama Elite III full size body.
EMBASSY. This was a replacement for the Consort IV body and was introduced for the 1960 season, available on Bedford SB, Commer Avenger IV and Ford 570E chassis. The multiple side windows with top sliders for ventilation were inclined rather than vertical as on the earlier Consort range and the oval grille was retained.
The Embassy body incorporated wrap round rear windows with a central dividing strip and the roof line carried straight round compared to the previous Consort range with a central rear window and curved corner windows with the possibility of a perspex panel in the rear dome.
EMBASSY II. This body for the Bedford SB, Albion VT21L, Commer Avenger IV and Ford 570E was a development of the previous season's Embassy body but incorporated a peak over the windscreen which often had the destination equipment incorporated. The Embassy II continued to have ventilation by means of top sliding windows.
The difference between the Embassy and Embassy II front ends was the peak over the windscreen. The Embassy continued to have ventilation by means of top sliding windows.
EMBASSY III. This was introduced for the 1964 season for Bedford SB, Albion VT21L and Ford 570E chassis with a revised grille arrangement and removal of the peak over the windscreen. The headlamps were now paired vertically and outside the grille surround. The Embassy continued to have ventilation by means of top sliding windows.
EMBASSY IV. The body for 1965 and 1966 for the Bedford SB and Ford 570E (1965 only) which continued to have ventilation by means of top sliding windows introduced a new grille with the paired headlamps set horizontally within it and had one less main side window, two instead of the three on the previous Embassy III.
PANORAMA. The body for 1965 and 1966 for the Bedford SB and Ford 570E (1965 only) was similar to the Embassy IV but had fixed windows and forced ventilation and polished trim beneath the first side windows.
PANORAMA I. For the 1967 and 1968 seasons the body for the Bedford SB had forced ventilation and fixed windows and a shallower side moulding from just above the wheelarch to mid axle level. Polished trim was fitted beneath the first side windows.
PANORAMA II. A version of the Panorama body with ventilation by means of top sliding windows was introduced for the 1969 season and was available on the Bedford SB chassis.
PANORAMA. The 1970 and 1971 Panorama for the Bedford SB had the two large fixed side windows and forced ventilation. It had an upper twin strip side trim extending the full length of the body just above the wheelarch which split at the rear to contain the Panorama legend.
PANORAMA. The 1970 and 1971 Panorama for the Bedford SB had the two large fixed side windows and forced ventilation. It had an upper twin strip side trim extending the full length of the body just above the wheelarch which split at the rear to contain the Panorama legend.
PANORAMA III. For the 1972 season the body for the Bedford SB had a more upright windscreen above a modifed grille as used on the Panorama Elite II. The twin upper trim strip extended from the top corner of the grille to the rear of the body where it split to contain the Panorama III legend.
VAM. For the 1966 season, with the introduction of the Bedford VAM Plaxton introduced the Vam body which was also available on the Ford R192 (see below). This body had three large side windows with top sliding sections to provide the ventilation. The side moulding did not extend around the front to meet the grille. There was no polished trim beneath the windows and the body introduced the inward pivoting door on the lightweight ranges. Such bodies on Ford R192 carried no style name, although one (HBU 112D) carried 'Vam' in error.
PANORAMA. With the introduction of the Bedford VAM and Ford R192 Plaxton introduced the Panorama body for lightweight chassis for the 1966 season and this had three large fixed side windows with forced ventilation. The side moulding did not extend around the front to meet the grille and this example shows the alternative side moulding. There was polished trim beneath the windscreen and the first windows and the body introduced the inward pivoting door on the lightweight ranges.
PANORAMA I. 1967 saw the introduction of the Panorama I body for Bedford VAM and Ford R192 chassis and this had three large fixed side windows with forced ventilation. The shallow side moulding extended from just below the top of the wheelarch to mid axle level and did not extend around the front to meet the grille. There was polished trim beneath the windscreen and the first windows and the body had the inward pivoting door. There was often the optional kerb viewing window in the door.
PANORAMA II. The body for the Bedford VAM and Ford R192 chassis for the 1967/8 seasons with top sliding windows was the Panorama II. This had no polished trim beneath the windows. The side moulding was of shallow depth with the top edge just below the top of the wheelarch.
PANORAMA ELITE. The Panorama Elite was available for the 1969 and 1970 seasons on Bedford VAM, Bristol LH and Ford R192 chassis This introduced the curved side windows and a double side trim strip which ran above the wheelarches and met the front grille on the curve of the top corner. The body style was denoted in the space at the rear where the upper trim strip raised up. Fixed windows with forced ventilation was standard.
PANORAMA ELITE II. The Panorama Elite II was introduced for the 1971 and 1972 seasons available on Bedford YRQ, Bristol LH and Ford R192 chassis and continued the curved side windows of the Panorama Elite but had a revised squarer grille and with the double side trim strip meeting the grille on the top corner and also having a space at the rear of the trim strip where they separated to carry the body style.
PANORAMA ELITE II. The Panorama Elite II was introduced for the 1971 and 1972 seasons and continued the curved side windows of the Panorama Elite but had a revised squarer grille and with the double side trim strip meeting the grille on the top corner. This example does not have the space at the rear of the trim strip where they separated to carry the body style.
EMBASSY II. The first body introduced on the Bedford VAL chassis was this Embassy II body which had multiple fixed windows and forced ventilation. This example was the only one to enter passenger service. The only other example was converted to a car transporter for the Jack Brabham group. It was mounted on a experimental chassis which had previously carried a Weymann 'Topaz' body.
VAL. The body with ventilation by means of top sliding windows introduced for the Bedford VAL for the 1963 and 1964 seasons was named Val and had the deep side moulding and the oval grille. There was an additional trim strip running a few inches below the window line.
VAL. The body with fixed windows and forced ventilation introduced for the Bedford VAL for the 1963 and 1964 seasons was named Val although a few were designated Panorama. All had the deep side moulding and there was an additional trim strip running a few inches below the window line.
PANORAMA CONTINENTAL. The normal body with fixed windows and forced ventilation introduced for the Bedford VAL for the 1963 and 1964 seasons was named VAL and had the deep side moulding. There was an additional trim strip running a few inches below the window line. Some were designated PANORAMA and this one as Panorama Continental but it shows little difference from the standard model and does not have offside folding steps as might be expected on a Continental variant.
PANORAMA The 1965 and 1966 season body for the Bedford VAL and Ford 676E and R226 with fixed windows and forced ventilation was named Panorama. The body had either the shallow side moulding as here or the deeper moulding from the previous season. The polished trim was fitted as standard below the windscreen and the first main side window.
VAL. The 1965 and 1966 season body for the Bedford VAL with ventilation by means of top sliding windows was named Val and was similar to the previous model except for the change from the oval grille to the squarer shaped grille. There was no polished trim beneath the windscreen or side windows.
PANORAMA I. For the 1967 and 1968 seasons the Panorama I with fixed windows and forced ventilation was available on the Bedford VAL and Ford R226 chassis. The body had a shallow side moulding with the top edge just above the wheelarch on the VAL, and just below on the R226. The polished trim was fitted as standard below the windscreen and the first main side window.
PANORAMA II. For the 1967 and 1968 seasons the Panorama II with top sliding windows was available on the Bedford VAL and Ford R226 chassis. The body had a shallow side moulding with the top edge just above the wheelarch on the VAL, and just below on the R226. No polished trim was fitted below the windscreen and the first main side window.
The different treatment of the rear end of the 1967/8 Panorama I and Panorama II compared to the rear end of the 1969-1972 Panorama Elite/Elite II. The single piece rear screen was replaced by a split screen with less of a droop at the rear roof level and the rain guttering over the boot lid was extended to go around the revised rear light clusters rather than down the sides of the boot.
PANORAMA ELITE. The Panorama Elite with curved side windows was available for the 1969 and 1970 seasons. It had fixed windows and forced ventilation and was available on Bedford VAL, Bristol LHL and Ford R226 chassis. It had three large side windows and three smaller windows plus the entrance. This had a double side trim strip which ran above the wheelarches and met the front grille on the curve of the top corner. The body style was denoted in the space at the rear where the upper trim strip raised up.
PANORAMA ELITE. The Panorama Elite with curved side windows was available for the 1969 and 1970 seasons. It had fixed windows and forced ventilation and was available on Bedford VAL, Bristol LHL and Ford R226 chassis. It had three large side windows and three smaller windows plus the entrance. This had a double side trim strip which ran above the wheelarches and met the front grille on the curve of the top corner. The body style was denoted in the space at the rear where the upper trim strip raised up.
PANORAMA ELITE II. The Panorama Elite II with curved side windows was available for the 1971 and 1972 seasons. It had fixed windows and forced ventilation and was available on Bedford VAL, Bristol LHL and Ford R226 chassis. It had three large side windows and three smaller windows plus the entrance. This had a double side trim strip which ran above the wheelarches and met the front grille on the top corner. The body style was denoted in the space at the rear where the upper trim strip raised up.
PANORAMA ELITE III. The Panorama Elite III with curved side windows was available for the 1973, 1974 and 1975 seasons. It had fixed windows and forced ventilation and was available on Bedford VAL, Bristol LHL and Ford R226, R1114 chassis. It had three large side windows and three smaller windows plus the entrance. This had a double side trim strip separated by about four inches which ran above the wheelarches and met the front grille on the top corner. The body style was denoted between the two trim strips at the front or the rear.
PANORAMA ELITE III. The Panorama Elite III with curved side windows was available for the 1973, 1974 and 1975 seasons. It had fixed windows and forced ventilation and was available on Bedford VAL, Bristol LHL and Ford R226, R1114 chassis. It had three large side windows and three smaller windows plus the entrance. This had a double side trim strip separated by about four inches which ran above the wheelarches and met the front grille on the top corner. The body style was denoted between the two trim strips at the front or the rear.
Seasons (September to August). e.g. 1961 Season ran from September 1960 to August 1961.

The table lists the various combinations of body/chassis which were built each season.

Consort III ________ 1961, 1962, 1964 Bedford J2, J4, Karrier D98A
Elite Express II ___ 1972 Bedford YRQ, Ford R192, R226
Elite Express III __ 1973, 1974, 1975 Bedford YRQ, YRT, Bristol LH, LHL, Ford R192, R226, R1014, R1114
Embassy ____________ 1961, 1962 Bedford SB, VAS, Commer 94A, Ford 570E
____________________ 1963, 1965, 1966 - 1972 Bedford J2
____________________ 1964, 1965, 1966 - 1968 Bedford VAS
Embassy II _________ 1963 Albion VT21L, Bedford SB, VAL, VAS, Commer 94A, Ford 570E
____________________ 1964 Bedford VAS
Embassy III ________ 1964 Albion VT21L, Bedford SB, Commer 94A, Ford 570E
Embassy IV _________ 1965, 1966 Bedford SB, Ford 570E (1965 only)
Panorama ___________ 1964 Bedford VAL, Ford 676E
____________________ 1965 Bedford SB, VAL, Ford 570E, 676E
____________________ 1966 Bedford SB, VAL, VAM, VAS, Ford R192, R226
____________________ 1967 Bedford VAS
____________________ 1970, 1971 Bedford SB, VAS
Panorama I _________ 1967, 1968 Bedford VAM, VAL, Bristol LH, LHL, Ford R192, R226
____________________ 1968, 1969 Bedford SB, VAS
Panorama II ________ 1967, 1968 Bedford SB, VAM, VAL, Ford R192, R226
____________________ 1969 Bedford SB, VAS
Panorama III _______ 1972 Bedford SB, VAS
Panorama IV ________ 1973 Bedford SB
Panorama Elite _____ 1969, 1970 Bedford VAM, VAL, Bristol LH, LHL, Ford R192, R226
Panorama Elite II __ 1971, 1972 Bedford VAL, YRQ, Bristol LH, LHL, Ford R192, R226
Panorama Elite III _ 1973, 1974, 1975 Bedford VAL, YRT, YRQ, Bristol LH, LHL, Ford R192, R226, R1014, R1114
Val ________________ 1963, 1964, 1965 Bedford VAL
Vam ________________ 1966 Bedford VAM
No Name ____________ 1965 Ford 676E (with top sliders)
____________________ 1966 Ford R192 (with top sliders)

©1961-2014 SCT61 Pages. All Rights Reserved.
You're welcome to print these pages for personal use or to link to them as long as its not for financial gain. Photos may not be re-posted anywhere (including flickr and fotopic sites) without permission. See the site map for further details. See our cookie policy.
Page last changed Friday 31 January 2014