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THE SELNEC PRESERVATION SOCIETY

All content is copyright The SELNEC Preservation Society.


THE ACQUISITION AND RESTORATION OF THE FIRST OF ONLY 34 DENNIS DOMINOS, AND THE 1984 COMMERCIAL VEHICLE MOTOR SHOW EXHIBIT 1751 (C751 YBA)

           

Rail travel in Manchester suffered from the problem that for many years Piccadilly Station serviced the south of the Country, and after the closure of Central Station, Victoria Station serviced the north of the Country with no crossover.

Because of this difficulty, in 1972, the then SELNEC PTE commissioned the building of 43 Minibuses to operate a shuttle service between Manchester Piccadilly and Victoria Stations. This operated very successfully for a number of years with the Seddon Minibuses which were built mainly for this purpose, being 1700-1742, of which the SELNEC Preservation Society has acquired five very relevant examples for preservation, 1700, 1711, 1733, 1735 and 1737.

These vehicles needed to be replaced, and in 1984, by collaboration between Dennis and Northern Counties, an entirely new Midibus was produced, being the Dennis Domino which was a cut-down version of the Dennis Dominator chassis. Only 34 were built, with 20 for Greater Manchester with special bespoke Northern Counties B24F/standee bodywork, 1751 - 1770 (C751 YBA - C770 YBA) and 14 for South Yorkshire, bodied by Optare, with B33F bodywork 41 - 54 (C41 HDT - C44 HDT/B45 FET/C46 HDT - C54 HDT).

The very first chassis became 1751 (SDA 1201/101) then seven were built for South Yorkshire (SDA 1202/102 - 108) followed by eleven for Greater Manchester 1751 - 1762 (SDA 1201/109 - 119), then another seven for South Yorkshire (SDA 1202/120 - 126) and finally eight for GMT 1763 - 1770 (SDA 1201/127 - 134).

They have Perkins 6.354 engines, Maxwell 4-speed automatic gearboxes, and ZF power steering. 1751, the first of the Dominos, was completed almost in time for the Commercial Vehicle Motor Show in October 1984, with the registration number 'Midi 85'. In actual fact, the body and chassis were complete but the chassis lacked an engine and gearbox.

The Domino is 25' 2" long and 7' 6" wide. The body has a welded tubular steel frame and square-cornered side windows which are bonded to the structure rather than being held in place by rubber gaskets.

The destination display is set above the windscreen, there are 24 seats and a large luggage pen over the nearside front wheel arch. The other wheel arches have inward-facing seats for three passengers each whilst the forward-facing seats are arranged in two-plus-one fashion, to give space for up to 14 standees, giving a maximum load of 38.

After the Commercial Vehicle Motor Show had concluded 1751 was sent back to Northern Counties for further work where the original door and cab partition layout was altered with the glass panels being removed and after several months it finally received an engine and gearbox not being delivered to GMT until June 1985.  Had it been registered then it would have carried a B prefix registration but it was not registered until 1st September 1985 as C 751 YBA.

A new Centreline livery was devised with white for the main side panels, orange for the roof and a brown and orange striped skirt. The showbus, 1751, also featured orange hand rails and seat frames, although subsequent bodies, 1752-1770, used conventional polished steel.  1751 also featured brown wheels and an early prototype version of the new Centreline logos however by the time it went into service it as with 1752-1770 had grey spigot mounted wheels and a revised Centreline logos.

Before the tenth vehicle (1760) was delivered, it spent some time in London on trials in Red livery, in the hope of large orders for Dennis and Northern Counties, which never transpired. Eventually, years later, Dennis were successful in the Midi bus market with the Dart that succeeded the Domino, which unfortunately, failed to attract large orders.

In all, these 20 vehicles were delivered to GMT and operated on the shuttle service between Piccadilly and Victoria, for a number of years. However, because of the introduction of the Metrolink Tram System, effectively bridging the South with the North, this service and hence these buses became surplus. During their operating life, four of them through fire and damage, were scrapped, being 1759, 1765, 1767 and 1770.

A few of them operated on other services, but they never found favour in any other setting, except the one for which they were designed, being the Pic-Vic Commuter service during the week and shopping services at the weekends, and hence, they were put in storage at GM Buses South Ltd. for a number of years, and this problem was inherited by Stagecoach Manchester. Although these vehicles were Midi Buses, they had a very high purchase value, and thus, a high Net Book value, and remained in storage for some time.

The SELNEC Preservation Society had expressed the view to Stagecoach Manchester that it would seem appropriate for us to preserve one of these vehicles, as we are always trying to obtain examples of ongoing design and development arising out of co-ordinated Transport Policy in the Greater Manchester area, following the formation of the SELNEC PTE on 1st November 1969. These vehicles are a bespoke example of a particular transport requirement in the Greater Manchester area, and seemed an ideal candidate for preservation.

Originally, because of the high cost of these vehicles and the fact that depreciation had not reduced the Net Book value significantly, they were available at the cost of 10,000 each when we originally enquired about 1751, as confirmed by Stagecoach Manchester on 6th November 1997.

However, all 16 vehicles, except the four that had previously gone for scrap, 1759, 1765, 1767 and 1770, remained in storage and it was apparent that a buyer would not be found. Consequently, a decision was taken by Stagecoach Manchester to write them off, and a deal was done with Whitings to buy all 16 for 8,000, i.e. 500 each.

Mr L B Warneford the Managing Director of Stagecoach Manchester had promised to write to us when these buses were to be disposed of, and true to his word, they wrote to us on 2nd September 1998, indicating that if we were still interested in 1751 (which naturally we were) having seen it and photographed it on our Tour on 23rd May 1998, then we could purchase it for the scrap value of 500. Unfortunately, the letter arrived just as one of our Trustees went away, and by the time it was realised that the vehicle was available for sale, it was 14th September 1998, by which time, all but 1751 had been towed to the Scrap Yard.

Frantic efforts then took place over the next few days, to ensure we raised the funds and purchased 1751, which we did. We were told later that in fact 1751 had been hooked up to a Tow Wagon and was nearly taken to the Scrap Yard, to be dismantled with the other 15, and would have suffered that fate (in the absence of any response to the letter of 2nd September 1998) had it not been for the fortuitous intervention of staff at Bennett Street/Hyde Road who had the vehicle unhooked, as they were aware of our preservation efforts and were sure we would be in contact in due course, which, of course, we were.

By 13th September 1998, 12 of the 15 vehicles taken to Whitings Scrap Yard in Pontefract had been entirely cut up as they had pre-sold the engines, but we managed to arrange for one of our Trustees to visit their Yard on Friday, 18th September 1998, the day designated for the last three to be cut up. He managed to obtain a series of parts from the three vehicles left there, which were being cut up that day, being 1752, 1753 and 1756.

From them, he managed to obtain a front panel, two front corner panels, winding and destination gear, a complete dashboard, a series of electrical fittings from the cab, seating units and cushions. On the three buses in question, none of the rear corner panels were intact, but fortunately, a couple of these were found in the Yard, including one from 1763.

Subsequently, on visiting 1751 at Bennett Street on 20th September 1998, and putting batteries in the bus, we managed to start it and build-up the air, which takes some time because the vehicle has air suspension as well as other auxiliaries. Inevitably, we found a few faults that needed to be rectified, a hinge taken off the driver's door, air door staying open, cushions missing, etc. and we had to replace most of the circuit breakers and fuses, which we were able to do in the cab area from those obtained at the Scrap Yard on 18th September 1998.

However, there were two issues of concern to us, firstly the bus was not charging the batteries and most importantly, it would not drive in any of the gears, despite the air having been built up and the bus having only done 38,000 miles in service. Consequently, because we wished to drive the vehicle under its own power to our premises rather than having it towed (which facility was kindly offered to us by Stagecoach Manchester) we contacted Dennis Specialist Vehicles on 12th October 1998, as we were sure they would be interested in the fact that we hoped to preserve one of their very rare Domino experimental vehicles, and they did indeed assist.

Their Customer Services Manager arranged for a local Dennis Engineer to examine the vehicle, which he did in mid-November 1998. He indicated that the main problems were the need to fit a new alternator, the EP Unit needed some attention, and sections of wiring in the engine compartment needed to be replaced.

With assistance from Stagecoach Manchester, 1751 was towed on to Hyde Road pits on Tuesday, 1st December 1998 and two Engineers from Dennis set about rectifying the main problems during that day. We were therefore in a position to collect the bus later that day from Hyde Road and then drive it (for the first time) that evening. We parked it up at Bennett Street Yard, and on Saturday, 5th December 1998 collected it and drove it to storage premises in Wigan.

We are very much indebted to Stagecoach Manchester and Dennis Specialist Vehicles for all their help.

GMT Dennis Domino Liveries

 

1st

2nd

3rd

Notes

Depots

 

*  1751

1984 Motor Show

PS, FK, HE

*  1752

 

PS, QS, HE

   1753

(?)

 

PS, HE

   1754

 

HE

*  1755

 

FK, QS, HE

   1756

(?)

 

QS, HE

   1757

(?)

 

QS, HE

   1758

(?)

 

QS, HE

   1759

----

----

x

QS, HE

   1760

Loaned to London in red livery

QS, HE

   1761

 

HE

   1762

----

 

HE

   1763

----

+

HE

*  1764

----

 

HE

*  1765

----

x

FK, HE

*  1766

+

HE

   1767

----

x

FK, HE

   1768

(?)

 

HE

   1769

 

FK, HE

   1770

 

x

HE

1st = GMT orange, white, brown, yellow bands

2nd = GMB light grey, orange band, grey skirt

3rd = GMS light grey roof, orange body, grey skirt

* = advert buses

x = early withdrawals/scrapped

+ = withdrawn, rebuilt and reinstated

(?) = confirmation required

We were then in contact with the owner of 53 (C53 HDT), the preserved example of one of the 14 South Yorkshire Dominos, and he provided us with the status of these vehicles.

Numbers 41 and 46 were with Pioneer of Rochdale, which had then been absorbed into First Manchester, interestingly giving what was GM Buses North Ltd the Dominos they did not inherit at the split of GM Buses on 1st April 1994 when the 20 Northern Counties bodied Dominos were to remain in the South.  41 may have been re-engined and both were then sold by First Manchester to the then owner of No 53, Trevor Heaton of Dinnington Sheffield taking the total to three preserved examples of this batch of 14 buses.

In addition 42 is down a ditch at Alton Towers and appears as part of the Nemesis ride and consequently is likely to be in that position for many years to come.

Therefore, out of the 14 South Yorkshire Dennis Dominos bodied by Optare, four still remain in existence.

We decided that in 1999 we would undertake some rectification work on the vehicle in order to enhance its appearance, improve its mechanical stability and put it in GM Buses South condition (as a comparison to 6990 - GM Buses North) with a view to taking them both on the Trans-Lancs Historic Vehicle Rally from the Museum to Heaton Park on 5th September 1999.

Consequently, members attended Wigan where this vehicle was kept indoors, on a number of occasions, particularly at weekends and in the evenings, to work on the bus and addressed some of the outstanding problems with it. These have involved replacing winding gear, repairing the front lower fibreglass panel, scraping-off some of the external and internal rubber used when replacing the windows which are bonded-in, repairing damage to the rear offside area near the emergency exit door and on the bonnet flap, restoring some orange paintwork, repainting all the whortleberry, re-fixing damaged light lenses, painting the wheels, mopping out the vehicle, completely vaxing and re-vaxing all the seat cushions and backs, refitting the loose offside rear wheel rubber and replacing the missing driver's door hinge.

We were conscious that the vehicle did need attention and a full service, so we made arrangements with Dennis Specialist Vehicles to take the bus to their premises in Durham on Saturday morning, 14th August 1999 in order for them to carry out servicing work.

We turned up at our premises in Wigan, where 1751 is kept, at 7.00am on Saturday morning, 14th August 1999, put batteries on and started it up and then initially encountered some problem with the gears, in that it would not engage reverse or move in any forward gears other than first. However, this fault corrected itself and eventually we were able to set off for the long trip to Durham.

After leaving Wigan we went down the A Roads to join the M6 and the vehicle managed to keep to a steady 45 mph on the M6 all the way up to Exit 38 where we turned off to drive down the A Roads west to east towards the Dennis premises just off Exit 61 in Durham on the A1(M).

Unfortunately, however, two miles after leaving the M6 turn-off, on the A685 in Gaisgill near Tebay, the vehicle suffered a massive air loss on the auxiliary systems, affecting the drive and the gears, but fortunately, we managed to pull it off the road into the Lune Valley Service Station and just managed to position the vehicle before it lost all mobility.

On examining the bus it clearly showed there was an air compressor problem as there were rather disturbing noises coming from it and the bus had developed a fuel leak. We telephoned Green Flag but unfortunately their local contractors in Tebay were unavailable and we had to await support from Penrith. Having broken down at 10.05am the Recovery vehicle arrived at 11.00am.

We had originally agreed with Green Flag that the Engineers should examine the air system to try to repair it, and as we understand it, this would have happened if the local Engineer had come out from Tebay, but the Engineer who arrived from Penrith had no interest in doing this but just wanted to hook-up the vehicle to tow it away.

The initial operation to try to suspend tow 1751 did not work because the vehicle could not be lifted up high enough to give clearance because of the air suspension, so eventually a sling tow operation was considered.

The whole of this initial attempt, revised attempt, along with the removal of the half shaft and then the winding-off the brakes because of the loss of air in the brake systems took a good hour and a half and it was therefore 12.30pm before we were able to set off on the continued trip to Durham.

Dennis Specialist Vehicles Centre in Durham is open only until 12.00noon. However, the local Foreman there was most understanding of our difficulties and stayed behind until 2.30pm until we eventually arrived with the bus on tow.

Interestingly, in the premises, we noticed a few Fire Engines being repaired, and in particular, rectification work being undertaken on 697, a Stagecoach Manchester Magic Bus Dragon.

We asked Dennis if they would not only undertake the servicing work on 1751, in respect of a general service with particular attention paid to the electrics, mechanics, fluid levels, steering, brakes, etc. but whether they could also attend to the air failure problem and look at the problem we had of the air doors being jammed open, to re-fit the removed half shaft, top up the hub oil and wind the brakes back on.

Dennis very kindly undertook the work for us and we re-visited their premises in Durham on Saturday, 28th August 1999 to collect 1751, and in a much more confident mood, were able to drive the vehicle back to our premises in Wigan that day.

Whilst returning from Dennis Vehicles in Durham, we called upon Export Double Decker Bus Sales in Wath-upon-Dearne to pick up an ancillary vehicle A79 being Ford D Series Tow Truck Q457 GJA.

Finally, on Friday 3rd September 1999, just in time for the Trans Lancs Historic Vehicle Rally to Heaton Park on Sunday 5th September 1999, 1751 was taken from Wigan down the M6 to Martins of Middlewich where it passed its Class V MOT and was taxed that afternoon at the VRO in Stretford.

We received confirmation of precisely the work undertaken on the vehicle during its period of time with Dennis Vehicles, in that they rectified the following items:
        -
Windscreen washer pump rectified.
        -
Excess wear in driver's seat pedestal corrected.
        -
Air build-up in the air compression system rectified by replacement of return valve.
        -
Various fuel and oil leaks corrected.
        -
Wiring harness secured.
        -
Nearside front and rear levelling valves on the air suspension units had corrosion rectified.
        -
Power steering pump leak repaired.
        -
Offside and nearside headlamps replaced as there was no proper beam pattern due to excessive corrosion.
        -
Exterior emergency exit button for the doors was replaced.
        -
A new battery frame was built to give greater security to the batteries.
        -
Engine stop button which was inoperable was repaired.

The only action that Dennis were unable to effect a repair to was the power surge to the speedometer, due to not being able to acquire spare parts, which means that the speedo shows at 80mph at 30mph and the mileometer races round showing four miles travel for every one mile distance. Reverse gear also remains difficult to obtain when the vehicle is cold.

However, neither the problem with the speedo nor the reverse gear are really significant when the bus is in operating condition and they did not prevent it from passing its MOT on 3rd September 1999, or its attendance at the Trans Lancs Historic Vehicle Rally to Heaton Park on Sunday, 5th September 1999. 

Although we do have a number of spare parts for 1751, including spare seat frames from others in the batch scrapped in September 1998, the spare seat frames are stainless steel and some are the bench variety above the rear wheel arch, rather than the individual style construction on 1751.  Consequently, we took out one of the seat rails and had it taken to H. Marshall Guest, Paint Manufacturers, in Manchester, in the summer of 2003 who have helped us in the past in matching original specification paints and they spectro-analysed the colour of the orange paint used and produced for us a tin of matching orange so that we are able to touch up or repaint the seat frames, seat rails, luggage bars, etc.

The entirety of the interior of the bus was thoroughly cleaned during working days in 2003 at Wigan when we also worked on our GMT Leyland National 105 (HNB 24N) and all painted surfaces in white, black, aluminium, etc., were attended to.  A new set of batteries were purchased for the bus and its location moved at Wigan into a more accessible position and progress continued with treating the interior of the vehicle.

All the unique seat frames, luggage rack and grab rails which were orange on just this one vehicle (being silver on 1752 to 1770), were then sanded down and repainted. 

Jason Hartley, our member and self employed body builder, was asked to look at the damage to the unique fibreglass front end of the bus which had occurred whilst in service particularly the offside as there had been a repair from some accident damage in the past.  Also the front grill was in need of repair and unfortunately although we had spare corner panels in stock which we had obtained from cannibalising other vehicles in the batch 1752 to 1770 before they were cut up at Whitings Scrap Yard in Pontefract, the spare front panels would not fit.  The one on 1751 was a one off built for this prototype Motor Show vehicle and had a different application of front grill slats to the 19 production Northern Counties Dennis Dominos that followed 1752-1770.  Consequently, the replacement front panel was modelled upon the unique design configuration on the damaged example on 1751.  Also on the back end of the bus the two piece lift up and fold down bonnet, again constructed in fibreglass, had been damaged and this needed replacing from spares which we had obtained from Charles Street via Carl Ireland, being brand new mouldings.  We had purchased a stock of Dennis Domino spare parts from the two aforementioned sources once operation by Stagecoach had ceased with these vehicles.  Jason Hartley set about repairing all the fibreglass work on the front and rear of this vehicle some months earlier and had concluded it by our working day on Sunday 28th September 2003. 

The exact activities involved the following:-

  1. Fabricate a new steel frame structure to form the basis of the new front centre panel.

  2. From a new fibreglass front centre panel, cut out pieces required to build a new panel to the pattern of the original panel. This involved having to re-fibreglass the bottom section to accommodate the new framework.

  3. Insert the new steel frame structure to the new fibreglass parts by bonding and riveting.  Fit two new budget locks to the top of the panel.  Fit four chrome budget lock covers from the existing original panel.  Paint the steelwork with red oxide and top coat grey.

  4. Pin together splits in a replacement offside front corner panel.  Fibreglass matt, fill, top-stop and sand to shape a repair to this panel.

  5. Remove existing damaged offside front corner panel from the vehicle and also the original front centre panel.  Straighten damaged retaining brackets as best as possible to accommodate the new centre panel and the replacement offside front corner panel.

  6. Remove offside front indicator and sidelight units from the vehicle and the fibreglass shroud in which they were located.  Address a very poor old repair to the offside front corner below the windscreen.  Insert an aluminium plate to pin together the remnants of the fibreglass.  Fibreglass matt, fill, top-stop and sand to shape a repair to the corner area.  Refit the light shroud with countersunk rivets and fill over them.

  7. Insert a new aluminium angle section along the front glass fibre panel below the front windscreen to straighten up the appearance of the panel.  Pin together splits in this panel.  Fibreglass matt, fill, top-stop and sand to shape four repairs.

  8. Sand down an existing old repair to the nearside front corner below the windscreen that had not been done properly.

  9. Fit the replacement offside front corner panel to the vehicle and pack it out at the bottom edge in order to align it as best as possible with the new front centre panel.  Fit the head lamp and fog lamp unit from the old damaged corner panel into the replacement panel.

  10. Fit the new front centre panel to the vehicle, adjusting the locks as necessary to work correctly as possible.

  11. Remove damaged upper and lower rear engine access doors from the vehicle.

  12. Remove brackets, catches, handles, light units and brackets from the originals and refit them onto two brand new panels supplied.

  13. Fit the new upper and lower engine doors to the vehicle.

Thereafter, at the working day on 28th September 2003, 1751 was brought out in to the yard at Wigan and through swapping around with spare cushions a full set of the unique striped seat backs and cushions were fitted to the vehicle.  These essentially have a beige design with thin brown, orange and yellow stripes on the window side of the vehicle with all over dark brown towards the aisle and in the middle of the two rear facing seats at the back and the middle of the rear seats.  We also organised for a local specialist fabric cleaning company, Chem-Dry, to visit to clean all the seats and remove 18 years of grime and dirt, returning them to a much better condition.  New Sparfax unbreakable black wing mirrors were fitted to the bus and its blinds removed.

It only has front blinds, being a three position route number blind and destination blind which all have been changed over its operating life to yellow and black from white and black and these have been recreated in the correct typeface in white and black by McKenna Blinds in Manchester who have assisted us in recreating original blinds for preservation projects in the past.  There are no blinds on the side or rear of the bus.

The bus was then driven on trade plates to Preston Bus for re-panelling on the offside and nearside of the vehicle on 28th September 2003.  They were also going to fit the replacement correct rear light units which had been changed at some point in the history of the bus with new replacement lights of the right type in question, Lucas 971, which we eventually sourced from a company called Far East Motors in Singapore!

1751 is the only bus we have in our extensive collection of ex-SELNEC/Greater Manchester vehicles that has bonded windows which have created their own particular problems.  Whereas the windscreens and windows in the bus are intact and not in need of replacement they have obviously been replaced several times in different places over the years and consequently some of them are slightly out of centre, others have rubber and black glue untidily indicating the replacement activities and some of the protective stripping and finishing in aluminium have been removed or damaged.  Consequently before we could ask Preston Bus to start on the re-panelling work as well as looking at the apparent collision damage on the front nearside frame and rear offside frame, we engaged local contractors working for Auto Windscreens in the Preston area to visit Preston Bus and to remove all these bonded windows and front windscreens.  They examined the situation on 16th October 2003 and removed them the following week.  This was planned to enable Preston Bus to undertake the repair work so that when completed we could then engage Auto Windscreens to return, re-bond the windows tidily, properly, squarely and symmetrically and replace all appropriate aluminium stripping.  It was thought unlikely at the time that Preston Bus would conclude their rectification work until February 2004, however a reappraisal of deadlines, preservation activities and our objectives early in 2004 indicated that this bus whenever completed will not take part in any public events until the major event in the North West hosted by the Museum of Transport, the Big Orange on Saturday 9th and Sunday 10th October 2004. 

This vehicle had been at Preston Bus since the autumn of 2003 but staff shortages prevented any work on it being started.  It is fortunate that in the spring/early summer the recruitment of some new body shop staff at Preston Bus allowed the work to start on the bus and work commenced on it on Monday 26th July 2004 but after some preliminary work had been undertaken, matters stalled due to difficulties with the body work staff at Preston Bus having to concentrate on addressing a series of accidents that had occurred to their own vehicles. 

As the deadline for the inaugural launch of the vehicle was approaching, i.e. the Big Orange Event on 9th and 10th October 2004, Redline in Penwortham agreed to step in and take up the outstanding work and the vehicle was towed over to their premises on Thursday evening, 23rd September 2004.  They then embarked upon a frantic exercise to conclude all the work.

Preston Bus had re-panelled the nearside of the vehicle and consequently Redline set about tidying up this re-panelling work and re-panelling the offside.  They had the rear corner panel and bumper straightened and nearside front corner panel straightened so the windscreen would fit correctly and the air leaks rectified.

They also created two brand new vertical vents on the rear offside and rear nearside and sub-contracted Red Rose Windows to re-bond in the windscreens and all the side windows.  Aluminium stripping was applied around the windows and the bodywork was tidied up with some filling taking place.

Thereafter, wheel arch mouldings were made and fitted to the bus as were side mouldings with end cappings.  The chassis was steam cleaned and spray painted in protective anti-corrosive grey paint.  The vehicle was then transferred next door to Whittakers of Penwortham on Monday morning, 4th October 2004, for a full service to be carried out, electrical difficulties addressed, new rear lights fitted and at the same time it was undercoated and painted in the special white, yellow and brown Domino livery and new spring loaded silver clips placed over the coach key budget lock holes.

On Thursday 7th October 2004, it was taken to Martins of Middlewich for its MOT but broke down on the M6 and then it would not change up from first gear.  However, it was towed to the MOT station, where it passed its MOT in terms of all the normal checks and safety areas as the mobility and gear changing is not part of the Class V test.  It was then towed back from Middlewich to Whittakers of Penwortham and work was concluded on the vehicle.  Members of the SELNEC Preservation Society visited Thursday evening, 7th October 2004, to commence putting the vinyls on the vehicle involving the GMT symbols, legal lettering, centreline wording, fleet numbers and the vinyls for water, fuel and oil, etc., indicating the location of various ancillary features.

Some work on the gearbox had been attending to and on testing the bus it was able to gain second gear but would only stay in second gear if put in the hold section of the gear change unit and the two members involved gradually nursed the vehicle back to Leigh on the A-roads.  Clearly the fault was it not engaging third gear because on the way back when the vehicle managed to reach 24 mph going downhill it would then change into top (fourth) gear.  This allowed it to be move quite quickly at 45 mph until it changed down again at traffic lights.

On the following day and the last day of preparation for the Big Orange, Friday 8th October 2004, the remaining vinyls were put on the vehicle, including its yellow stripe and on the outside of the vehicle new lenses were added to the front and side lights, polished up headlamps rims were fitted, specially made original Northern Counties and Dennis Badges were added to the front and back as well as a Dennis Dominator badge on the lower rear offside and then a major campaign was embarked upon to clean out the entire of the inside of the vehicle and clean the windows both inside and out.  Chem-Dry also visited Leigh on the day and using their sophisticated chemical cleaning treatment re-cleaned all the seat cushions and backs.  All the work was concluded in the late afternoon and the bus was taken to the Museum of Transport to be available for the inauguration of the Big Orange event on Saturday morning, 9th October 2004.  Again the gear problem continued to plague the bus despite the fact that we had taken out and cleaned the speed sensor from the gearbox. 

It was intended that this new restoration would be launched and take part in the road run from Leigh to the Museum of Transport on Saturday morning, 9th October 2004, and feature on the video being made of the event but it would have held back the speed the other vehicles could have travelled at, hence the purpose of taking it down as a last minute change of plan on the Friday evening to the Museum of Transport.  Luckily the fact that it would only move into second gear did not affect it taking part in the event on Centreline trips to Victoria and Piccadilly Stations accompanied by the Museum of Transport 1722, Seddon Minibus (XVU 352M) as it was unlikely it would need to go into top gear in any event in the heavy traffic.

1751

BATCH:

1751 - 1770

gmt.gif (2279 bytes)

(C751 YBA)

BODY:

Northern Counties B24F

 

CHASSIS:

Dennis Domino SDA 1201

 

FIRST REGISTERED:

1st September, 1985 (1984 Commercial Vehicle Motor Show)

 

PURCHASED:

25th September, 1998

 

DETAILS:

Only 34 Dennis Domino's were built, 20 of them bodied by Northern Counties and delivered to GMT. 1751 is the only one of these to still exist.


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