The bus section

The Bus Section : Leyland Bus – 20 years since closure

The Bus Section : Leyland Bus – 20 years since closure

Mike Humble While ploughing through my extensive archive of all things bus and coach just now, I was staggered to notice that, 20 years ago this month, in July 1993 – and, after much diversification, rationalising and inevitable streamlining under the ownership of Volvo, the lights were finally switched out, the doors were locked and the gates were closed on arguably […]

Essay : Not their finest hour – Guy Wulfrunian

Essay : Not their finest hour – Guy Wulfrunian

Mike Humble From personal experience, there is no customer more difficult to trade with or educate for that matter than a Bus or Coach operator. Your average road haulier for example will look for overall cost and network support before driver acceptance and a typical average car buyer tends to look for reliability and a […]

Essay : Not their finest hour – Ward Bros & ACE Ltd

Essay : Not their finest hour – Ward Bros & ACE Ltd

Mike Humble Ward Brothers of Lepton near Huddersfield at one point ran a medium sized coach business operating a mixed range of services including Continental holidays. To say their choice of prime mover was different would be an understatement, but the coach chassis of choice for Ward was the lesser known Seddon Pennine VII. Seddon […]

Buses : Daimler and Leyland Fleetline

Buses : Daimler and Leyland Fleetline

Mike Humble Coventry’s local hero Daimler had a long and respected image in the eyes and hearts of many a transport manager as a builder of rock solid and cost effective buses right up the brands disappearance in 1973. Where Leyland was king of the corporate fleets that existed before the creation of the National Bus […]

The Bus Section : Leyland Atlantean

The Bus Section : Leyland Atlantean

Mike Humble Atlantean: bearing the weight of the world Should you be of a certain age, a bus still rustles up a mental picture of something big and noisy with large 22.5in tyres that rattles your fillings and windows with the thumping growling big block Gardner or Leyland 680 power unit. The sights, sounds and […]

News : Ashok Leyland to open R&D facility in the UK

News : Ashok Leyland to open R&D facility in the UK

Mike Humble/Bus and Coach magazine Ashok Leyland, the owner of Optare, is to open a Research and Development Centre at the MIRA Technology Park in Nuneaton, creating 30 jobs. The decision was confirmed during this week’s visit to India by prime minister David Cameron. Ashok Leyland increased its shareholding in the Yorkshire-based Optare group which was […]

By 23 February 2013 26 Comments Read More →
News : Optare doubles revenue and reduces losses

News : Optare doubles revenue and reduces losses

  Optare sales revenue doubled in the six months to 30 September from £22.7m last year to £46.7m this year. In the six months the company reduced its pre-tax losses from £4.4m to £3.3m. In the last three months of the period it produced an EBITDA profit of £146,000. Export revenues reached a record £10.5m. […]

By 20 December 2012 23 Comments Read More →
Best of British : Gardner 6LX diesel engine

Best of British : Gardner 6LX diesel engine

Mike Humble Ask many a seasoned truck or bus engineer the simple question ‘who made the best large diesel engine?’ and more than likely the answer without delay would be Gardner. Most of you out there in reader-land will claim not to have had any experience with such engines, some may not even know who […]

By 17 September 2012 41 Comments Read More →
Essay : Not their finest hour – Daimler Roadliner, the Lyons-made blunder bus

Essay : Not their finest hour – Daimler Roadliner, the Lyons-made blunder bus

Daimler tries things new: The Daimler motor company had a rich and respected past of which many people, including bus operators, had an enviable loyalty. William Lyons was almost held in regard as being another Donald Stokes, that was until Leyland Motors with Stokes at the helm bought into Jaguar Daimler in the early 1960`s. […]

Buses: The Bristol VRT & VRL – 1967 to 1981

Buses: The Bristol VRT & VRL – 1967 to 1981

Mike Humble:   One of the many companies within the old British Leyland empire involved with public transport, was Bristol Commercial Vehicles with its headquarters in the suburb of Brislington, slightly south west of Bristol city centre. Some relaxation in Government policy regarding free market competition resulted in Leyland Motors Ltd buying a majority shareholding […]

Essays : Leyland Bus – the declining years

Essays : Leyland Bus – the declining years

It’s 20 years since Volvo delivered three killer blows to our motoring industry: 1992 saw the end of Leyland Lynx and Tiger production with total closure being announced for the following year. Mike Humble takes a look at the declining years of Leyland Bus. Recession of an Empire Moving fast, in a fast moving world Looking […]

Essay : Not their finest hour – Leyland Royal Tiger Doyen

Essay : Not their finest hour – Leyland Royal Tiger Doyen

AROnline takes a look at some of the automotive blunders from both our own and rival makes. Your Driver: Mike Humble This one really deserved to win, even after 30 years, the Doyen looks amazing and fresh, but sadly a lack of experience, company ownership and changes in the sector trashed any chance of success. […]

Essay : Not Their Finest Hour – Leyland Titan B15

Essay : Not Their Finest Hour – Leyland Titan B15

Mike Humble: AROnline hops on a bus that was destined for Shattered Dreams Parkway, only to find it was actually quite good yet was a victim of it’s own technology, it’s forward modern thinking, oh.. and an unhealthy dose of classic British Leyland union militancy!   Strange when you look back in time isn’t it? […]

Buses : Leyland Leopard 1959-1982

Buses : Leyland Leopard 1959-1982

Mike Humble fondly recalls the halcyon days of the UK bus and coaching scene from the 1970s, and pays tribute to the Leyland Leopard. For me, its all about the sound – you never forget the noises of your childhood, the school bell ringing to signal 3.30, the now almost extinct two tone air horns […]

News : Ashok Leyland Takes Control Of Optare

News : Ashok Leyland Takes Control Of Optare

 The once former body building plant of C.H Roe in the BL era which became Optare after a Management buy out, has now passed into Indian control… with a familiar name. Ashok Leyland has increased its holding in Optare from 26% to 75.1%. The refinancing is being achieved by Ashok Leyland providing a guarantee to […]

Essays : The 500-Series – Leyland loses its head!

Essays : The 500-Series – Leyland loses its head!

The 500 Series diesel cost Leyland a packet – and not just in development costs. Mike Humble tells the story of this ‘interesting’ engine Fixed head asset CONTRARY to modern day belief, Leyland Truck and Bus was once a formidable force on a truly global scale with British trucks and buses operating in all four […]

Tested : Optare Solo Eco-Drive

Tested : Optare Solo Eco-Drive

Mike Humble goes On The Buses, dons his drivers cap and brushes up on his Phwoars and Cor Blimey’s whilst getting behind the wheel of the latest bus built in the plant which was at one time part of the British Leyland empire – the Optare Solo Eco Drive, and finds it rather good fun! Over the years, many once […]

By 24 September 2011 13 Comments Read More →
Buses : MCW/Optare Metrorider – a bus right on time!

Buses : MCW/Optare Metrorider – a bus right on time!

In a quiet part of Birmingham, MCW developed a midibus which was almost exactly what the market required in a post deregulation market. Dogged by early dismal quality, it became the most popular vehicle of its type and ended up being built in a former Leyland factory too!   Mike Humble explains… Metropolitan Cammell Weyman (MCW) is often […]

Buses : Leyland Olympian – Rationalisation in action

Buses : Leyland Olympian – Rationalisation in action

Mike Humble British Leyland pretty much had the UK bus and coach market sewn up from the late 1970s – certainly as far as double-decker vehicles were concerned. The big names on the roads at that time were the Daimler Fleetline – Bristol VRT – Leyland Atlantean with one or two others such as Foden […]

Buses : The Lynx effect

Buses : The Lynx effect

Replacing a bus like the Leyland National was always going to be a tough job. In the end, the National was a trusted, rugged product and a hard act to follow. Its replacement – the Lynx, was introduced during the biggest ever upheaval in the UK bus and coach industry and was built right up the […]