Designed in wartime with a short term lifespan in mind, Utility buses went on to become a classic and to have long lives. Some were rebuilt into nearly new vehicles. Let's look at the Utility bus.
One use for a Utility was to convert it to open top for further service. This bus was a Weymann bodied Guy Arab of Bournemouth Corporation, which was converted in 1953 & it makes for a most attractive vehicle. Weymann was one of a number of companies selected to body Utility buses.
Another Guy Arab, this time in the Lowestoft Corporation fleet & sporting a Massey body. Like many Utilities, this bus had been rebuilt after the war, in this case by Lowestoft. This was a fairly common occurrence & made for some very interesting vehicles.
This formidable looking bus belonged to the famous Moores of Kelvedon & is yet another Guy Arab, this one has a low bridge body by Strachans & is seen here in its original form. This bus dates from 1944 & lasted well for a product from Hamble.
Not quite what it may seem. This is a 1935 Leyland Tiger TS7, which was rebodied with this low bridge Alexanders body in 1944. at the same time it was rebuilt to Titan TD4 specification & got an AEC engine to boot. It makes for a very interesting bus.
This Daimler CWA6 in the Bradford fleet had bodywork by Duple. Duple built a large number of Utility bodies & I have often mused why they built relatively few double deckers after the war.
Still in service in Colchester in 1964 was this Duple bodied Bristol K6A. Still in original condition & looking to be very well kept. It's not bad for something intended as a stop gap is it?
This superb specimen in the Ledgard's fleet is a former London Transport Daimler CWA6 with a Park Royal body. This bus has been fitted with platform door, which was another common modification for some Utility buses.
Not all Utilities were double deckers. The Bedford OWB, with Duple body became the standard Utility single decker, & what a handsome little bus it was. These also lasted much longer than they were designed to & many lasted into the 1960s, tribute indeed, to the quality of the vehicles.
Stockport's utilities were always beautifully presented and had long lives. This Massey bodied Guy Arab looks superb & fit for many more years service. The bodies built by Massey had a rugged charm about them that made them stand out from others.
Utilities were eagerly snapped up by independents all over the country. Seen here with Premier Travel is a former Southdown Guy Arab with Northern Counties body, one of 100 supplied to Southdown during the war.
Not so many trolleybuses received Utility bodies, but some that did went to Kingston Upon Hull, where we see this Sunbeam W with bodywork by Brush, another utility that enjoyed a long life. Sadly trolleybuses in Hull ran for the last time in 1964.
Seen here drying out after a heavy shower, is a Brighton Hove & District Bristol K6A with a Park Royal body. BH&D only had a few utilities new & they were all rebodied in the early 50s. A number were purchased from London Transport & received new ECW bodies, lasting until the mid 60s.
Surviving Utilities are rare, but this beautifully restored Bedford OWB from the Portsmouth Corporation fleet is thankfully still with us & was one of the stars of the Southdown 100 rally at Southsea in 2015.
This West Riding Guy Arab has a lowbridge Roe body & appears to have had some modifications carried out to the front of the top deck. Otherwise it appears largely original. West Riding got good service from their Utilities.
This very fine Duple bodied Daimler CWA6 entered service with Blue Bus after the war had ended, but was still a Utility bus. It gave 21 years service, testament to how strong these buses were & how well they were built.
Still running with Chambers of Bures in 1965 was this Roe bodied Guy Arab from the Aldershot & District fleet. Utilities in original condition were getting rare by this date.
Another Utility still in service in 1964 was this Weymann bodied Daimler CWA6 in the Coventry fleet. Again, showing how long these vehicles could last if given the chance.
Another Daimler CWA6 was this Southend example that had a lowbridge Duple body. One can wonder why Southend didn't convert some of their home grown Utilities to open top.
Highland Omnibuses ran this Guy Arab with lowbridge Brush body. The rugged Guy chassis was the perfect chassis for this role & is no doubt part of the reason that many lasted so long.
Barton got good use from its Utilities & this Guy Arab was no exception. Its Duple body had been modified with platform doors & had its windows seen to, but its still certainly a Utility.
Another Utility trolleybus is this South Lancashire Weymann bodied Sunbeam. These vehicles remained in service until the closure of the system. The unusual arrangement of the headlights are worthy of note.
This splendid Park Royal bodied Sunbeam W was run by Doncaster Corporation. It received a new body in 1958 & this new body was transferred to a motor bus chassis in the early 60s.
Lincolnshire purchased a number of Bristol K6As from London Transport in the early 50s. They had Duple bodywork & became valued members of the fleet, being withdrawn in 1961. Other LT Bristols went to BH&D & received new ECW bodies.
Another Bristol K6A was this example in the Burrows fleet. It had a lowbridge Strachans body. It was still working on very busy routes in 1958 when seen here in Leeds bus station.
Some Utility buses were so radically rebuilt they became new buses. This Edinburgh Corporation vehicle is actually a 1943 former London Guy Arab Utility. It was one of a fleet purchased by Edinburgh, receiving Duple/Nudd bodies & lasted until the late 60s.
The Provincial rebuilds were even more extreme. This is former LT Guy Arab Utility G276. Rebuilt with a full front Reading body, given an air cooled Deutz engine & a new 1965 registration. I think the only part of the original bus left was the chassis frames. This bus ran until the early 70s.
A rather late addition to the gallery. I had no idea this ever existed, but here is what is the only Utility bodied tram. It started life as a standard Chaimberlain car in the Leeds fleet & it was destroyed during the war. It was rebuilt with this, actually, quite attractive body & ran for a good number of years. I think its superb & I wish there had been more of them.
I love Utility buses and I'm sure there are many fans of them here on SCT61.