British Buses 1960s
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This guide features several classic British buses from the 1960s.
AEC Reliance ( Maidstone and District )
The very successful AEC Reliance underfloor engine single deck chassis was really the result of tests by AEC to find a lighter chassis than the one employed for the Regal 4. Introduced from 1953, power came from either AEC's 6.75-litre or 7.7-litre oil engine, driving through a five-speed synchromesh gearbox. From 1961 onwards a larger AH 590 engine was employed and towards the end of the 1960s six-speed synchromesh and six-speed direct air operated epicyclic gearboxes were made available.
AEC Regent 5 ( Newcastle Corporation )
Surely one of the most familiar buses of the 1960s, AEC introduced its "tin-front" Regent V model in 1954 and this proved to be a popular model with many municipal fleets.The long running Regent chassis disappeared from the model lists in 1968, as a consequence of two things: the Bus Grants scheme and the impact of the rear-engined double-decker. It was AEC's final double-deck model with almost three-thousand examples to its credit.
Albion Lowlander ( Alexander-Midland )
The Lowlander was a lowheight double deck design capable of taking bodies with up to seventy-four seats. A Leyland 140bhp diesel engine was standard, while choices were offered between synchromesh or semi-automatic gearboxes, and leaf-sprung or air rear suspension. The range of Lowlanders included the LR1, LR2 and the LR5 and LR7. The latter two came on the market in 1962 and had an overall height of only 13ft 3 7/8in. Albion ceased manufacture of the Lowlander in 1965.
Bristol Lodekka FLF ( Mansfield District )
The mould breaking Bristol/ECW Lodekka design revolutionised the concept of lowheight double-deckers, permitting normal central gangways in both decks in place of the awkward upper deck offset gangway of the lowbridge designs. The Lodekka first appeared in 1949 in prototype form and went into production in 1954 with the LD series, to be replaced from 1959 by the flat-floor, air-suspension F series models. Of the total 5,217 Lodekkas built, 1,867 were FLFs.
Daimler Fleetline ( Warrington Corporation )
Following the Leyland Atlantean, Daimler were hot on Leyland's heels with their Fleetline chassis, introduced in 1960. The Fleetline used the familiar Gardner 6LX engine mounted transversely at the rear, similar to the Atlantean, but offered a true lowheight layout thanks to a dropped-centre rear axle. This proved of interest to bus operators with low bridge problems and Daimlers, traditionally regarded as municipal buses, soon became evident in a much wider range of fleets.
Dennis Loline ( City of Oxford )
Dennis dabbled in the lowheight market, and made an agreement with Bristol to build the Lodekka under licence as the Loline. This chassis was available with Gardner 6LW or 6LX, AEC AV470 or Leyland 0.600 engines. The Gardner 6LX engine, introduced in 1958, was a more powerful (10.45-litre) option to the 6LW and was soon the standard choice for most operators. An unusual customer for the Loline was City of Oxford, whose fleet was AEC dominated although the Oxford Lolines did at least have AEC engines.
Guy Wulfrunian ( West Riding )
Guy's answer to the Atlantean, developed largely for the West Riding company, was the front-engined Wulfrunian. Guy launched the Wulfrunian at the 1959 Commercial Motor Show, an advanced chassis that combined a front engine (the Gardner 6LX) with an entrance ahead of the front wheels, and such features as independent front suspension and disc brakes. Sadly the model was not a success and only 137 had been built by the time production came to an end in 1965.
Leyland Atlantean ( Silver Star )
June 1956 saw a change in regulation that allowed the 30ft double-decker, thus making the rear-engined double-decker a practical possibility. Only three months later Leyland astonished the industry with the prototype Atlantean, a bus that would set the trend for the next forty years. It used the big Leyland 0.600 engine mounted transversely behind the rear axle and had a setback front axle with the door mounted alongside the driver.
Leyland Leopard ( Sheffield Corporation )
Leyland demonstrated its medium weight Leopard chassis for the first time at the Scottish Motor Show in 1959. There were two versions on offer, the L1 and L2, both using the 0.600 horizontal engine, four-speed synchromesh gearbox, optional two-speed rear axle, and air-brakes on all four wheels. Both models had an overall length of 30ft and a width of 8ft, but the L1 type had a straight rear extension designed for bus work, while the L2's dropped extension made it more suitable for coaches. Sheffield Corporation were among the first purchasers of Leopards.