British Buses 1950s
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This guide features some classic British buses from the 1950s.
AEC Regent III ( Rochdale Corporation )
The "Provincial" Regent 3 was announced in 1946 with a 16ft 4in wheelbase and widths of 7ft 6in or 8ft. Engines were the AEC 9.6-litre oil-type with a 7.7-litre option, the latter coming with a four-speed sliding mesh gearbox and vacuum servo brakes. Changes to the technical specifications included longer bodywork in 1950 and an improved gearbox two years later. During the 1950s the Rochdale livery was a blue jewel in a sea of reds - Manchester, Bolton, Oldham, Ramsbottom, Rawtenstall, LUT, Ribble and North Western all ran into or near the town.
BMMO D7 ( Midland Red )
The D7 was introduced in 1953 as the first BMMO double-decker built to a lightweight standard. Constructed with Metro-Cammell bodies to te new Orion design, the first examples were 58-seaters although later deliveries had 63 seats. Mechanically similar to the D5, there were some important changes such as the fitting of an improved version of the proven BMMO 8.028-litre K type diesel, the KL type (Kidney Long), now mounted together with the gearbox in the chassis frame. Weighing in at slightly over 7 tonnes, the D7s were brisk performers, a total of 350 examples being built.
Bristol K ( Aberdare UDCTD )
The Bristol K series was placed in production towards the end of the Second World War, K5G being the designation of vehicles equipped with a Gardner engine, while those having an AEC unit were referred to as K6A types. Aberdare Urban Council added a Bristol K6A to their fleet in 1947. Aberdare ran services in and around the Cynon valley, Glamorganshire, and was one of only eight postwar urban district council undertakings.
Crossley DD42 ( Lancaster City Transport )
The Manchester based firm of Crossley Motors Limited developed their DD42 double-decker during WW2, which was to be the mainstay model of the postwar years. A largely conventional half-cab design, the most notable feature of the DD42 was its very low bonnet line giving excellent visibility for the driver. The standard power unit for the model was the Crossley oil engine, the HOE7, coupled to a Brockhouse Turbo Transmitter torque-converter transmission rather than a conventional gearbox.
Daimler CV ( Venture Transport )
Daimler, one of the biggest names in the British motor industry, entered the postwar years with its Coventry-built Victory series, better known by its type designation which changed according to the engine specified. Daimler offered a choice of engines, its own CD6 in the CVD6, AEC in the CVA6 and Gardner 5LW or 6LW in the CVG5 and CVG6. The CV was available as a single-decker or double-decker and in single-deck form was popular for coach use.
Dennis Lance K4 ( Aldershot and District )
Although Dennis buses are very familiar today they were not a major force in the 1950s. The company, based in Guildford, Surrey, produced a competent range of models which tended to be bought by a small group of faithful customers. Most notable of these was the "local" operator, Aldershot and District, who continued to buy the Dennis chassis until 1965.
Guy Arab IV ( Birmingham City Transport )
In the 1950s Guy were outside the big three of AEC, Daimler and Leyland, but they were rising fast. Before the war they had been a small player in the bus market, but a call to build utility double-deck chassis during the war resulted in Guys finding their way into many fleets in Britain and operators liked the reliability of the Utility Arab so much that they continued to choose Guys after the war.
Leyland Titan PDl ( East Yorkshire )
Leyland's first double-deck bus chassis after the war was known as the Titan, a PD1 chassis with few similarities to the pre-war models which bore its name (such as the TD4). Proving popular with a variety of operators, the PD1 used a 7.4-litre engine and was fitted with triple servo brakes and a fully floating rear axle. Bodywork came from either Leyland itself or outside concerns such as Eastern Coachworks. Operator East Yorkshire was famous for its distinctive Beverley Bar shaped-roof double-deckers, constructed to allow normal height buses to pass through the gothic archways at Beverley.
Sentinel STC6 ( Ribble Motor Services )
When the dimensions regulations were relaxed to allow 30ft vehicles, Sentinel introduced their STC6 integral bus. It used a six-cylinder 9.12-litre 135bhp indirect injection engine, with a four-speed constant-mesh gearbox. The well known firm of Ribble was the most significant customer for the Sentinel STC6, acquiring 14 44-seat models built in 1951, despite the fact that the Olympic was now available from their usual supplier Leyland. Acquired by Rolls-Royce in 1955, Sentinel stopped production of coaches and buses in 1956, in total they had only produced around 130 buses for the domestic market.