Single Deckers 1951 – 1989

Single Deckers 1951 - 1989

MUF488 - Leyland Tiger TS8 1953 - Entry No. 108 Fleet No. 888

This was an unusual vehicle in that it was labelled a Leyland-Beadle integral coach. It was effectively the running gear and chassis from a pre-war Tiger TS8 – the chassis was cut to form the front and rear sub-frames. In this case the donor was Tiger TS8 no.1468 (FCD368) new in 1938. It was delivered in May 1953 with a FC26F layout and it has to be said they looked dated from the outset. In March 1958 it was converted to B31F and renumbered to 649. Withdrawn in 1965 it was sold to F. Cowley (dealer Salford) in July of that year. It then moved on in 1969 to a firm in Surrey. It was with a Surrey Scout group in 1969 and in preservation since January 1971. It is unique in that this is the only Southdown example of this type of vehicle.

MUF650 - Leyland Tiger - 1953 - Entry No. 106 Fleet No. 1650

This vehicle has had a very interesting life. Although labelled as a Leyland Leopard it is actually a Royal Tiger (PSU1/16) originally supplied in May 1953 with a Duple Ambassador C41C body with a sliding roof. It was withdrawn in 1965 and sold on to dealer F Cowley in August 1966. It subsequently worked as workers transport for the contractor Wimpey up until October 1969. At this point the body was removed and the chassis only exported to Malta where it was fitted with a locally built body. It returned in this guise to the UK in May 2013. It is in the ownership of Mr & Mrs Jefford who also have Leyland Tiger PS1 GUF727 in their collection.

XUF 141 - Leyland Tiger Cub - 1960 - Entry No.115 Fleet No. 1141

This tiger Cub PSUC1/2 was delivered with Weymann Fanfare C37F bodywork in March 1960. It was converted to C41F in April 1973 and withdrawn from service in that same year. It was sold to F Cowley the dealer in Salford in October 1973 and then on to a Cambridgeshire independent operator that same month. It was finally purchased for preservation from an operator in Bristol in 1992. It is the only survivor of this batch.

2726CD - Leyland Leopard - 1961 - Entry No. 107 Fleet No. 1721

This Leopard L2T was delivered in July 1961 and was fitted with a Harrington Cavalier C28F body, regarded by some as the classic post war Southdown coach. In October 1971 it was re-seated to C41F which shows just how much leg room there was originally! The livery it is shown with here was ‘as new’ and a year or so later the cream was replaced with light green. The vehicle was withdrawn and sold in August 1976 to F Cowley the dealer based in Salford. It has now been in preservation for a number of years.

749 DCD - Leyland Leopard - 1963 - Entry No. 117 Fleet No. 1749

This Leopard L2T was delivered in October 1963. Its Harrington Grenadier C28F body was converted to C39F in February 1972. It was withdrawn in 1974 and sold in February 1975 to Confidence and independent operator in Leicester. It too was acquired by Classique Coaches, Paisley to act as a donor of spare parts to 1750. In 1999 is was purchased for preservation by Southcoast Motor Services Ltd and a 5 year programme was commenced in 2008. The finished product looks very good indeed.

750 DCD - Leyland Leopard - 1963 - Entry No. 114 Fleet No. 1750

A sister vehicle to 1749, this Leopard L2T was fitted with the then newly designed Harrington Grenadier body to a C28F layout. New in October 1963 it was converted in October 1969 to C24F and fitted with card tables in June 1970. It never received the National white coach livery and was sold in February 1973 to Tillings Travel (NBC) Ltd in Chelmsford, subsequently moving to National Travel (South East) in January 1974. At some point after that (mid 1990s) it was operated by Classique Coachers of Paisley who specialised in coach tours utilising historic vehicles. By 2009 it was in full time preservation.

BUF122C - Leyland Leopard - 1965 - Entry No. 105 Fleet No. 122

A representative of the batch of 135 Leyland Leopards (PSU3/1RT), that were the standard single-decker of choice for 6 years from 1963. This one has a B45F Marshall body and is 36’ long, equipped for one man operation and was delivered in May 1965. It retained Southdown green and cream livery until august 1975 (NBC fleet names having been applied in February 1973. Withdrawn in October 1977 and sold to a dealer in Cheshire.

KUF199F - Leyalnd Leopard - 1968 - Entry No. 116 Fleet No. 199

This Leopard PSU3/1R with a 36’ Willowbrook B45F body was supplied new in January 1968. At some point in its life with Southdown the vehicle was allocated to Storrington ‘dormy’ shed. It was fully repainted into NBC green in December 1972 and eventually sold in October 1980. The restoration has been carried out to a high standard and the appearance of the summer white topped drivers cap resting in the cab really sets the scene.

PUF165H - Leyland Leopard - 1969 - Entry No. 110 Fleet No. 465

This style of single-decker was always my favourite – the Northern Counties dual-purpose bodywork was unique to Southdown. This particular example was delivered in October 1969 and initially had bus green paintwork with a dark green band below the windows. The layout as supplied was DP49F but the first pair of off-side seats can be replaced with a luggage carrier making them B47F when used for stage carriage work. It had NBC fleet names applied in April 1973 but was fully repainted into the NBC white/green dual purpose livery the following month. It was withdrawn in 1980 and sold to a Cheshire dealer in January 1981. I have no detail as to how long it has been in preservation.

UUF329J - Leyland Leopard - 1971 - Entry No.XX Fleet No. 1829

A sister vehicle to 1835 the bodywork on this vehicle is far more as delivered (apart from the livery of course). It was received by the company in April 1971 with Elite bodywork supplied by Plaxton (C32F) mounted on a Leopard PSU3B/4R chassis. Built for long distance tours it was allocated to Chichester Garage in 1972 and repainted into National coaching white livery in November 1973. In January 1980 it was allocated to Portsmouth.

In July 1982 it was repainted into traditional Southdown livery, but with a broad brown band and renamed the ‘Southdown Diplomat’. At the same time the seating layout was altered to C21F and it fitted with a wardrobe and kitchenette. In June 1984 it was allocated to Brighton Brighton. On 1st January 1986 the Brighton Hove & District Company was made independent and 1829 (having been renumbered 029) passed into its ownership. In March 1986 it was reregistered 408DCD and re-launched as the ‘Brighton Belle’ with a brown and cream livery, reregistered again in March 1989 as GPF875J and sold in May of that year.

This is the third vehicle that was owned by Classique Coaches (after service with Southdown) to find its way into preservation – initially in March 2009. This is now a working preservation however in that it is now part of the Seaford and District vintage fleet and available for private hire.

UUF335J - Leyland Leopard - 1971 - Entry No.113 Fleet No. 1835

Built for use on long distance tours this Plaxton Panorama Elite bodied Leyland Leopard PSU3B/4R was delivered with a C32F layout. Allocated to Brighton (Freshfield Road), in the summer of 1975 it was reallocated to Worthing. It was reconfigured to C44F in June 1976 having been repainted into the white National coach livery in January 1974. However, during 1981 it was repainted into traditional Southdown green and in 1982 transferred to Eastbourne. It was withdrawn in July 1986 and sold to J Sykes a dealer based in Barnsley. After passing through a succession of independent operators it was sold for preservation in April 2001 and having been re-registered BHH83J was reunited with its original plate in July 2006.

After sale by Southdown, the vehicle has been subjected to a number of alterations by its subsequent owners. As demonstrated in these photos - the fitting of a Plaxton Supreme IV front with a Bristol Dome, the removal of the opening side windows, the fitment of different style side trim and later style rear lights has resulted in some loss of authenticity.

UUF 335J's original two-speed axle has been replaced with a single speed unit. For reasons known only to NBC accountants, (not a drivers choice), the vehicle was not fitted with power steering from new. This was remedied by one of the vehicle's previous owners, who retro-fitted UUF 335J with genuine Leyland power steering, making the vehicle more manoeuvrable and easier to drive.

The comparison between this and XUF141 (11 years older) just goes to show how the exterior bodywork has continued to develop in a relatively short period of time.

TCD490J - Bristol RESL - 1970 - Entry No. 109 Fleet No. 490

New in October 1970 this Bristol RE (RESL6L) was delivered with Marshall B45F body to the standard BET design. In March 1973 it was adorned with white NBC fleet-names and fully repainted into NBC green in November that same year. It was withdrawn in July 1986 and after being sold to an organisation in east London it served with three further operators in the Sussex region from 1988 finally entering preservation in October 1999. Restoration was completed in June 2011.

RUF 37R - Leyland National - 1977 - Entry No. 111 Fellt No. 37

This is the second exSouthdown Leyland National (11351A/2R) to attend the rally. It also has a B44+25D body and was delivered in February 1977. By September 1987 it was working with Rennies of Dunfermline.

YCD75T - Leyland National - 1978 - Entry 101 Fleet No. 75

This Leyland National (variant 11351A/2R) was delivered in August 1978. The body style was B44+25D, deemed as more suited to the commuter routes on the busier corridors and in January 1980 was allocated to Haywards Heath garage. By 1990 it was working from Eastbourne. It was eventually sold to P&O who used it as a ‘port courtesy bus’ but it was in the hands of preservationists by 2010. It is seen in a hybrid livery based on the Southdown tradition but with NBC fleet names dating from the mid1980s.