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7206 (VNB 177L)

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The Greater Manchester PTE chose to preserve as their definitive example of the SELNEC/GMT 'Standard' bus, 7001, a Park Royal variant of the design and it was put in the care of the Museum of Transport. Whilst it can be seen why they chose this vehicle (from a numerical standpoint), it did not adequately reflect the 'true' Standard design - that being the Northern Counties ' Standard ' bus body. In fact, the truly 'first' SELNEC/GMT 'Standard' bus was the prototype EX1, bodied by Northern Counties and exhibited at the Commercial Vehicle Motor Show in 1970.

Several enthusiasts joined together to form The SELNEC Preservation Society on 4th January 1987 specifically to redress the balance created by the preservation of 7001 by the Greater Manchester PTE. Consequently 7206 was purchased on 27th January 1987, to present a more pertinent testament to bus design in the Greater Manchester area, and as a consequence, is of significant historic value.

In choosing a Northern Counties 'Standard' to preserve The SELNEC Preservation Society were very lucky in being able to acquire such a relevant vehicle as 7206. Not only was this the first SELNEC/GMT production 'Standard' on a Fleetline chassis (built before its Park Royal counterpart, 7151) it was also the first of a batch of only 48 of these production 'Standards' built with dual-doors, and hence represents the rarest of all 'Standard' design variants. (There were five dual door prototype vehicles, EX17-EX21).

7206 was chosen to be exhibited at the 1972 Commercial Vehicle Motor show between 29th September 1972 and 30th September 1972, where it displayed the registration number SELNEC 72, and also displayed an orange SELNEC flash, but this was later changed to the appropriate blue Central flash upon delivery, and entry into service.

Furthermore, as well as being the first of this batch of 48 dual door production 'Standards' (7206-7251/7280-7281) it was the second to the last dual door double deck bus of any design ever to run in revenue earning service within Greater Manchester Transport (13th March 1986) - 7207 was the last, four days later on 17th March 1986.

The SELNEC Preservation Society always recognised the relevance of 7001 from a preservation point of view, as the first production Standard, but never in the exclusive way in which the PTE and the Museum of Transport appeared to view it. Our stance was that 7001 and 7206 should both have been preserved as they are complementary vehicles, as indicated below:

7206 - First 'Production' Fleetline

7001- First 'Production' Atlantean

Gardner Engine


Leyland Engine

) AN68/1R

Daimler Fleetline Chassis


Leyland Atlantean Chassis


Northern Counties Body

Park Royal Body

Dual Door

Single Door

72 Seats (H45/27D) + 20

75 Seats (H43/32F) + 20

Central Staircase

Front Staircase

After withdrawal, 7206 almost went the same way as many other dual door Standards which were withdrawn prematurely, in having their engines removed and scrapped, but intervention by the SELNEC Preservation Society prevented this from happening.

The bus was purchased from the PTE by the SELNEC Preservation Society after deregulation in October 1986, on 27th. January 1987, and shortly thereafter, was painted by Northern Counties. Unfortunately, the colours were not correct, having been derived from dry samples. However, in 1995, the bus was re-painted in the correct colours of sunglow orange/mancunian white (off white).

This bus had been re-trimmed on both decks in the early 1980's in all-over orange moquette which had replaced PVC on the upper deck and PVC trimmed orange moquette on the lower deck. This style had been adopted as standard on all new vehicle deliveries from Fleetline 8101 and Atlantean 8239. During its restoration, it was decided to keep this style of moquette as the earlier PVC design is reflected on one of The SELNEC Preservation Society's other preserved Production Standards, 7185.

Upon acquisition of 7206 on 23rd January 1987, it came to us in white/orange/brown livery and we at that stage had never addressed ourselves to the complexities and enormity of owning, driving and restoring a double-deck bus, so a lot of the early activities we undertook was somewhat hit and miss.

However, we did have the vehicle repainted by Northern Counties in May 1987, but the orange/white they had painted it in, being Sunglow Orange and Mancunian White, was based on dry samples which had faded, as opposed to the correct specifications. Consequently it was slightly out in colour.

We took the vehicle on a series of rallies during 1987 but a gearbox problem developed and it was off the road during 1988, but it was again taken to a series of rallies during 1989. After this it was parked up whilst we concentrated on finding a permanent home for all our vehicles whilst at the same time continuing with the acquisition of a considerable number of projects that were becoming available. Hence, we did not undertake any rectification on 7206, or any other vehicles, except for some preparatory work on 7185, until 1997. After 1989 the only rally we attended was the Trans Lancs Historic Vehicle Rally in September 1992 in 8001, in white, orange and brown ex-GM Buses. We next took a vehicle to a rally in 1996 when we attended at the Trans Lancs Historic Vehicle Rally in 1066, our next acquired Mancunian Exhibus on 1st September 1996.

Come 1997, 7206 was our first port of call to put right the vehicle and not only did we have the exterior repainted in the correct Sunglow Orange and Mancunian White colours, but the whole of the interior of the vehicle was completely renovated and rectified, taking it as close as possible to its original 1972 condition but still leaving it with all-over orange moquetted seat cushions and backs.

As the vehicle had been worked on in 1997 it was available for the rally scene during 1998 as the principal rally candidate, after which it was parked up, although it has been MOT'd every year on the basis that it is tax exempt and consequently is available should we need it, or should we need to substitute it for another vehicle if there are problems encountered. It did however take part in the Trans Lancs Historic Vehicle Rally on 5th September 1999, along with 1066, 7185, 1751 and 6990.



7206 - 7500 (Type iv)

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(VNB 177L)


Northern Counties H45/27D - Mark 1



Daimler Fleetline CRG6LXB



11th October, 1972 (1972 Commercial Vehicle Motor Show)



27th January, 1987



First production Daimler Fleetline Standard, and one of only 48 dual door variants.

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