Plaxton built bodies in 'seasons' and from 1946 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'.
When, after the war, the Commercial Motor Show was reintroduced in October 1948 the seasons were changed to run from October to the following September and thus the 1948 'season' lasted only from April to September 1948. The 1949 'season' ran from October 1948 until September 1949 and following ones in a similar pattern.
Bodies to new designs were thus able to be built during the previously quiet winter period ready for the operator's needs at Easter time.
In later years there was a further change so that the 'seasons' 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.
STYLES and NAMES
In the early post-war years Plaxton body styles continued the pre-war practice and were denoted by a letter/number combination, sometimes with a suffix to indicate changes from year to year. These were, for example, D2, L3, M1, Q2, M2/49, M1/50 but were not carried on the vehicles.
Names were introduced in 1950 with the AVENGER body on the Commer Avenger and ENVOY and CRUSADER models which first appeared at the 1950 Commercial Motor Show.
The models at the show were:- Foden PVFE6 ONW2 of Ledgard, Armley; Maudslay Marathon III ONW 998 of Hudson, Leeds and Albion CX39N JGB354 of Cotter, Glasgow which had Envoy bodies whilst Foden PVFE6 KDD896 of Febry, Chipping Sodbury and Leyland Royal Tiger NMA1 of Altrincham Coachways had Crusader bodies.
Only twelve Crusaders are known to have been built:- KDD 896 (Foden PVFE6) LRH 657/8, 909-911 (Leyland PS1) and EM 5117, NMA 1, LRH 56, LRH 287/8, GAV 989 (Leyland PSU1).
The Envoy and Crusader were followed by the VENTURER which ran to three variants and then the CONSORT which ran to four before the introduction of the EMBASSY from 1961.
Very few bus bodies were built until the introduction of the HIGHWAY model in 1957.
The large windowed PANORAMA was introduced in early 1958 at the instigation of Sheffield United Tours and the slightly modified standard production model was exhibited at the 1958 Commercial Motor Show.
A table at the end of the gallery gives the production dates for each model.
L3 This full-fronted Bedford OB dates from November 1946 and was style L3/46. This continued the pre-war styling in having a 'grouped window' arrangement.
L3 This full-fronted Bedford OB dates from December 1947 and is of style L3/47. The design had been modified to have slim metal pillars separating the windows.
D2 This Leyland PS1 dates from March 1947 and was style D2 with two piece windscreen.
K3 This standard Bedford OB dates from February 1948 and was of style K3. This body was also fitted to Commer Commando and Q4 models as well as to Austin CXB chassis.
K3 This body style was available on Bedford OB, Commer Q4 and Commando and Austin CXB chassis.
K3 This body style was available on Bedford OB, Commer Q4 and Commando and Austin CXB chassis.
Q The style for this September 1948 Commer Avenger has been recorded both as A3/48 and as Q2 but Plaxton records quote just Q for this prototype. Production models (Q1) had the bottom edge of the first side window lowered slightly to improve driver visibility.
M1 An M1 style C33F body on Daimler CVD6SD April 1949. This model was similar to the D2 but had a single pane windscreen.
M1 Rear end design of M1 style C33F on Daimler CVD6SD April 1949. This rear end design was typical from 1946 to 1950.
D2 This June 1949 Foden PVSC6 C33F body was of style D2 with a two piece windscreen.
M1 This August 1949 fully-fronted Foden PVSC6 was of style M1 with single pane windscreens introduced in 1948.
M1/50 style bodywork was fitted to this fully-fronted Leyland PS1 dating from March 1950. This standard front was typically used on AEC, Crossley, Leyland and Maudslay models.
M1/50 style bodywork was fitted to this fully-fronted Leyland PS1 dating from August 1950. The bulbous front was an alternative to the standard front end.
Q1 Commer Avenger chassis with a Q1 C33F body new in May 1950. The production models had the bottom edge of the first side window lowered slightly as here compared to the prototype.
Q1 Rear view of Commer Avenger with a Q1 C33F body new in May 1950.
M5 Leyland Comet C33F from May 1950.
The AVENGER body was introduced in 1950 on the Commer Avenger chassis. This example dates from October 1951. The body style was named Envoy when fitted to other chassis makes.
The CRUSADER body for underfloor engined chassis was fitted to only six Royal Tiger chassis between September 1950 and February 1951.
The CRUSADER body was available for only a short period of time on vertical engine chassis and only six are known to have been built in late 1950 on Leyland Tiger and Foden PVFE chassis.
The ENVOY body was available on a number of front engined chassis from October 1950. This one on a Foden PVFE6 chassis was at the 1950 Commercial Motor Show. The name was carried in script lettering ahead of the front wheel.
The ENVOY body was available on a number of front engined chassis. This one on a Leyland PS1 dates from May 1951.
The ENVOY body was available with the alternative body shell from the M series.
An ENVOY body on Austin CXD April 1951. This style had also been introduced as the Avenger on the Commer Avenger chassis in 1950.
The ENVOY rear end design seen on an Austin CXD from April 1951.
An AVENGER body on Commer Avenger dating from February 1952 was to the same style as the Envoy body on other chassis makes.
The VENTURER was introduced for underfloor engined chassis shortly after the 1950 Motor Show. The Venturer name in script lettering can just be seen ahead of the semaphore arm housing.
The VENTURER was available from 1951 on the newly introduced Bedford SB chassis. This one dates from December 1951.
A VENTURER C37C body on Foden PVRG6 March 1952, The Venturer name was incorporated in the sidelight mouldings.
This VENTURER is an example of the alternative front on the Venturer built in March 1952. Less than twenty were built to this rather bulbous design.
The VENTURER in C14F form on an Austin K8/CVC new in July 1952.
The Avenger body was replaced by the VENTURER on Commer Avenger chassis in 1952. Only a small number of such bodies were built before the Venturer II was introduced.
VENTURER II C41F body on Bedford SB November 1953. The Venturer II introduced wrap round glazing to the rear of the body and the oval grill which was to be a feature for several years.
VENTURER II C41C body on AEC Regal IV November 1953 with wrap round rear glazing.
An early VENTURER III C41F body on Leyland Tiger Cub October 1954.
A standard VENTURER III C41C body on AEC Reliance December 1955.
The VENTURER III later had a more vertical front end when a front entrance was fitted. June 1956. A Consort is to the right.
The VENTURER III C41F on Bedford SBG from February 1956.
The VENTURER III C41F body on a Commer Avenger III chassis had a higher body line, this one dating from 1955.
This view of a 1955 VENTURER III shows the door arrangement on a front entrance model. The lower right hand corner of the door was a separately hinged panel which opened to the right as the door was opened to the left, allowing the door to clear the intermediate step. It can just be seen, with the moulding running across it, behind the leg of the conductress.
The rear of a 1955 VENTURER III showing the wrap round glazing of the corner panels.
The CONSORT body on a Leyland Tiger Cub dating from October 1956. Only twenty of this style were built on underfloor engined chassis.
The CONSORT body on Bedford SBG dating from April 1957.
The CONSORT body on Commer Avenger IV chassis dating from June 1957 with the higher floor level on this chassis leading to a deeper panel between the side flash and the window line.
The CONSORT II in C41F form on an Albion Aberdonian dating from January 1958. The Consort II re-introduced the oval grill as used on the Venturer.
The CONSORT II body on a Bedford D4LZ2 dating from April 1958. The Consort II re-introduced the oval grill as used on the Venturer.
The CONSORT II C41C on AEC Reliance dating from June 1958. The Consort II re-introduced the oval grill as used on the Venturer.
The CONSORT II body on Bedford SB3 June 1958. The Consort II re-introduced the oval grill as used on the Venturer.
The CONSORT IV body on a Bedford SB new in January 1959. The Consort IV introduced the sunken grill and wrap round windscreens.
The CONSORT IV body on an AEC Reliance dating from March 1959. The Consort IV introduced the sunken grill and wrap round windscreens.
A CONSORT IV FC37F body was used to rebody this Leyland PS2/3 in May 1959. Next to it is a Venturer III bodied coach.
CONSORT IV REAR The Consort IV had a single piece rear window with the rearmost side windows curving round the corner of the bodywork to meet it.
The CONSORT III C29F body on a Bedford J4LZ1 dating from June 1959. The Consort III was basically a 29 seat version of the Consort IV for the smaller chassis. It was available also as a 14 seater on the Bedford J2SZ chassis.
The CONSORT III C29F body on a Bedford J4LZ1 dating from May 1960. The Consort III was basically a 29 seat version of the Consort IV for the smaller chassis. It was available also as a 14 seater on the Bedford J2SZ chassis.
The prototype PANORAMA body on an AEC Reliance from February 1958. This body style was introduced at the request of Sheffield United Tours and originally had an outward opening single piece hinged door.
The production PANORAMA body on an AEC Reliance dating from May 1959. The small side window behind the door has been eliminated and a 'kick-up' introduced at the rear of the body to suit the rear screen. The entrance door opened inwards on the production model.
A standard PANORAMA body on an AEC Reliance dating from March 1960. The small leading side window has been eliminated and a 'kick-up' introduced at the rear of the body to suit the rear screen.
Bus body B31F on Seddon Mk IV chassis dating from July 1949. Thirteen bus versions were built including three for export to Madeira on LHD chassis.
30' BUS BODY This was the first bus body built by Plaxtons on an underfloor engined chassis. The design was replaced later in the year by the Highway body based more closely on the existing Roe design at the request of Wade Emerson of O.K. Motor Services.
The first production HIGHWAY B45F body on an AEC Reliance dating from July 1957.
An October 1957 HIGHWAY FB39F body used to rebody a 1950 Leyland PS2/3.
The CONWAY body, a combination of a Consort front on a Highway body, seen on a Bedford SB1 with a DP44F layout new in January 1960.
A rear view of a CONWAY DP44F body, a combination of a Consort front on a Highway body, seen on a Bedford SB1 new in January 1960.
Production dates for the various body styles
Letter/number styles ..... 1946-1950 Crusader ........ 1950 Envoy ............. 1950-1951 Avenger ......... 1950-1952 Venturer ......... 1950-1952 Venturer II ..... 1952-1954 Venturer III .... 1954-1956 Consort .......... 1956-1957 Consort II ...... 1957-1958 Consort III ..... 1958-1964 Consort IV ...... 1958-1960 Conway .......... 1959-1960 Highway ......... 1957 onwards Panorama ....... 1958 onwards