SCT'61 Grand Days Out by Coach - Part 1, 1945 to 1959
A day out on a coach was always eagerly anticipated, especially with some of the superb coaches that graced our roads. Settle into that Chapman recliner & enjoy a trip down Memory Lane.
The races always attracted large numbers of coaches & this view at Ascot shows a magnificent Windover bodied Bristol L6B from the Thames Valley fleet. I wonder how many of its passengers made a couple of bob on the day.
A vehicle not in the first flush of youth when photographed, but still looking in first class order is this Harrington bodied Leyland Comet. The owner clearly took pride in his coaches & I've always had a soft spot for these characters.
Again, not a new coach by any means, but beautifully turned out. The original Burlingham Seagull is one of the most graceful designs ever produced & it's a shame that the style of the original was lost over the years.
You could always rely on Yeates to produce something exuberant & this magnificent specimen is no exception. I dread to think how long it took to polish that coach up to the wonderful condition it appears in here.
What can one possibly say about Royal Blue? One of the most respected & admired fleets of all time & still revered today. I used to see them on The South Coast Express & was mesmerised by the livery and did you ever see a grubby one?
Another vehicle where mere words are not enough. This Foden of Samuel Ledgards is the epitome of late 40s coaching. Has a company ever enjoyed the legendary status that Ledgards are still regarded with, even to this day?
I would love to settle down in this beauty & enjoy the journey. This lovely Park Royal bodied Maudslay, is to my mind, nigh on perfection & combined with the MacBraynes livery, Well, what more can be said?
No look at coaches would be complete without the Bedford OB. More often than not, one of these was the whole fleet of a small village independent. This is another coach advancing in years, but still immaculately turned out. We could all jump on & take in the sound effects.
Another all time classic was Leylands own coach body, mounted on the Royal Tiger chassis, as shown by this Standerwick example. Of the earlier underfloor bodies this is one of the most graceful & they covered the whole of the country.
Long distance tours were another way of seeing the country. Rather than a day trip, these tours would take one or two weeks. This superb Northern Guy Aran LUF is pictured a long way from home, in the West Country. Who wouldn't want to spend a week or two in this beauty?
One of the best looking coach bodies was the Weymann Fanfare. Weymann hadn't given us that many coach bodies & then gave us this beauty. It is shown to perfection on this South Wales AEC Reliance.
Sitting among some choice motor cars is this South Midland AEC Regal with Duple body. This was one of the nicest looking half cab coaches & such vehicles were a common sight up & down the country.
Another beautifully turned out coach enjoying a day at the races. This Dennis Lancet has a Strachans body & its a lovely looking coach, set off by the wonderful Aldershot & District livery.
Looking good enough to grace any rally site today, this Bedford was just another coach when photographed on a day out. But, just look at the appearance, people really took pride on their vehicles then.
Can it get much better? This Plaxton bodied Crossley DD42/7 from the Lockeys fleet erode & quality & the livery suits it perfectly. Why can't todays coaches have this much pride taken in them?
Sitting among more modern vehicles at Blackpool, this Windover bodied Guy Arab may look a little dated, but it is utterly immaculate. I would quite happily sit in there all the way to Blackpool today & I don't think I would be alone.
Another Leyland Comet, I'm sorry, I just can't resist them, is this gorgeous Reading bodied example from the King Alfred fleet. This one is resting at Whipsnade Zoo, whilst its passengers enjoy their day out.
One of the most distinctive coach bodies of the 50s was The Bellhouse Hartwell Landmaster, it is glorious. This type of body was sometimes known as Sabrina, after some starlet of that name. I can't think what they meant.
Some of the low volume body builders produced some wonderful designs on early underfloor engine chassis. This example is by Beccols & its a very good looking coach indeed. If the name sounds familiar, Beccols are better known for making caravans.
Another beauty is this AEC Regal fitted with a most attractive Whitson body. Another example of how well kept even older coaches were back then. How I wish that some of these magnificent coaches had survived.
At first glance this appears to be a Burlingham body. Its actually a very good copy built by Heaver. The chassis is fairly unusual as well, in the form of a Daimler Freeline. This is a most interesting coach that I would love to ride on.
The earlier Bedford SB with Duple body was a great looking coach. Much more modern than the OB it replaced, as the 50s wore on it grew to be a 41 seater, but this early example is lovely.
Southdown took delivery of a batch of these splendid RVW bodied Leyland Tigers in 1947. They were lovely coaches & were converted for bus use in the 50s. The last were withdrawn in 1962 & were Southdowns last half cab saloons, though two survived as left luggage offices & are now preserved
This glorious Wilts & Dorset Bristol L6B has very attractive bodywork by Beadle. The livery used by Wilts & Dorset for its coach fleet was a really nice application. These coaches were & still are very popular with enthusiasts.
Black & White were one of Britain's best loved coach companies. Again, that wonderful livery left me mesmerised every time I saw it and this Guy Arab LUF must be one of the finest coaches built.
As the 50s drew to a close, motorways began to appear and Midland Red introduced the C5 class for express services. They were faster than most cars of the time, coaches & their design was changing as we will see in part 2. Lets leave the 50s with this view of two of Midland Reds finest.