THE SELNEC PRESERVATION SOCIETY
All content is copyright The SELNEC Preservation Society.
7232 (VNB 203L)
In August 1996 the SELNEC Preservation Society secured from Stagecoach Manchester, Mancunian 1066 in Exhibus format with photographic displays in the lower deck and cinema and galley in the upper deck. We continued to use the vehicle in this lay-out in the livery in which we acquired it, in all-over orange with blue Exhibus wording, in order to promote the Society's preservation activities. We added a few symbols and designations to indicate that the vehicle belongs to us, but principally, we are running it in the same livery (i.e. its second major livery adapted for it and applied to it by G.M. Buses Ltd).
Whilst we keep 1066 (LNA 166G) in Exhibus livery, we deny it being restored to its original Mancunian condition, as it is the only vehicle depicting the longer wheelbase Atlantean Mancunian, second delivery, 1051-1097 and it may be the case that one day we would wish the vehicle to be restored to this original condition to fill this missing gap.
Because SELNEC/GMT came to dislike dual door vehicles, the Mancunians were withdrawn at 13 years of age and saw very little further service. The same was true of the 48 production dual door Standards 7206-7251/7280-7281, many only being used on works, schools or peak hour services in the last years of their operation. Hence, when withdrawn prematurely they were in very good condition, and the only reason so many survived was because nine were put in the training fleet by GMT; 7208, 7215, 7216, 7223, 7227, 7232, 7246, 7250 and 7281, with all of these being transferred to GM Buses except 7250 which finally ended up with Stockport County Football Club. The remaining eight all went for scrap except 7208 and 7215. 7232 was converted at a cost of £20,000 and sold to the Road Safety Unit at Manchester City Council on 22nd February 1990, having been new to SELNEC on 1st December 1972.
In the meantime, however, we were conscious of the fact that there were a few dual-door Standards still in existence and sought to seek-out these to find out whether there were any parts available to assist us with the ongoing rectification of not only the very first production dual-door Standard we already have, 7206, of the 48 built (7206-7251/7280-7281), but also EX19 (TNB 759K) the one remaining dualdoor prototype Standard of the five built, EX17-EX21.
We were very much concerned that 7250 went for scrap without our intervention as it had on board some very relevant parts that would have assisted us in our preservation activities, although we were able to purchase some of these from the scrap yard that eventually obtained the vehicle, being Hardwick's in Barnsley. In this regard, we decided to look at the remaining dual-door Standards. 7208 was not applicable as it had been converted to a site office by Edwards in Pontypridd, and its engine had been removed, 7215 is a Playbus with no original parts, and we looked at 7232 in June 1999 and were astounded at the level of its conversion, which we understand cost some £20,000 originally when the bus was secured by Manchester City Council in 1990 to operate as their mobile Road Safety Exhibition/Display Unit.
Not only does the upper deck have a cinema, fully functional for TV and video, but a control centre, tape deck and speaker outlets, fans, spotlights and strobes. The lower deck has a number of display units on which the display lights focus and speakers/spotlights. There is a galley on the vehicle for use by operating members, which contains not only a table and chairs, but a fridge, cooker and sink unit.
Consequently, on viewing the vehicle in June 1999, we believed it would make an excellent Exhibition/Support vehicle, similar to 1066, but would not interfere with proper preservation progress because if we bought this vehicle and used it as a promotional vehicle, it would not be in place of our restoration project, like 1066, as it is a complete duplicate of 7206, and could remain as a promotional vehicle without any concerns.
Having made an offer to purchase the vehicle from Manchester City Council, following viewing on 3rd June 1999, a delay then ensued because the City Council, not unsurprisingly, in view of the enormous amount of vehicles they sell and purchase each year, indicated that the bus should be sold at auction.
We did point out to the Council that as this was a double deck bus and was somewhat unusual, it should be allowed to go for preservation rather than through normal disposal channels, and eventually, this was agreed upon and an inspection of the bus took place on Wednesday, 19th April 2000 to ensure that in purchasing it 'sold as seen' it still had all the visual and display facilities including the generator and gas supply systems identified on 3rd June 1999, which it did, and consequently the vehicle was purchased for use by the SELNEC Preservation Society on 10th May 2000.
Work was undertaken to ensure that we could collect the vehicle, which we did, on Saturday morning at 11.00am on 13th May 2000. By fitting new batteries and adding water, we were able to start the vehicle and drive it to our storage premises in Wigan, after which it was moved into Leigh, where by September 2000 it was fully customised into a special exhibition version of the SELNEC livery we devised for it, depicting the symbols SELNEC, Central, Southern, Northern, Cheshire, GMT, LUT, GMS and GMN.
When we secured the vehicle, on 13th May 2000, it was painted in the livery of Manchester City Council Road Safety Unit, red and grey and had most of its windows covered in a self-adhesive yellow backing with promotional wording.
Keen that this vehicle should appear as our new Exhibition/Support vehicle at the Trans Lancs Historic Vehicle Rally on 3rd September 2000, we quickly set about ensuring that we were in a position to work on the vehicle to convert it to the specifications we had set ourselves. In this regard, whilst en route between the Council's site in Gorton and our storage premises in Wigan on 13th May 2000, having stopped off at Motorway Services and at Leigh, work was undertaken to start removing some of the yellow vinyls from the windows. Thereafter, the entirety of the late May Bank Holiday weekend, Saturday 27th May to Monday 29th May 2000, was spent with a working party at Wigan preparing the exterior of the vehicle for a repaint.
Over this weekend, members removed all vinyls from the bus, fixed the lower fibreglass front, put on a new offside rear pod to replace the one that was damaged and commenced the sanding-down of the multi-coloured vehicle, in particular the Road Safety wording. Because of bad weather, this was not completed and a secondary working party needed to be assembled.
In the meantime, however, the bus was taken to Preston Bus for its engine to be high pressure steam-cleaned then sprayed with anti-corrosive protective grey paint - the bus being delivered on Friday 2nd June 2000 and collected on Saturday 10th June 2000.
On this day it was taken across to Whittaker's of Penwortham, where we were very kindly allowed to use the facilities there during the whole of that day (i.e. 9:30am.-8:00pm.) to finish off the sanding, filling and preparatory work on the exterior of the vehicle in order that its exterior repaint might commence, which it did, by a painter appointed by Whittaker's, who undertook a full external repaint into SELNEC orange/white/orange livery, commencing on Sunday 11th June 2000 and concluding on Sunday 25th June 2000.
With regard to the specific problem of 7232, we had asked that Richard Whittaker invite Auto Windscreens to secure the front nearside upper deck window into its place because it had become loose - to replace the small window behind the driver's cab, which was a unique, non-opening square window used on dual-door Standards, particularly as the one in 7232 had perished rubber and was of plastic rather than glass construction, and finally, to replace the dilapidated licence plate glass, and indeed, all this was undertaken.
Furthermore, whilst the bus was with Richard Whittaker, he was able to discover why the vehicle sounded noisy - because the auto lubrication system had failed to operate for a number of years so consequently, Richard Whittaker attached a device which pumped the auto lubricating oil through the system.
Also whilst there, matters were undertaken to replace the nearside rear sills and solve the problem with the rear nearside Indicator. It also transpired that Manchester Road Safety Unit had not intended to use the central doors on this vehicle, but we felt that they should be fully operational in order to allow a free flow of the public onto the vehicle to view the displays and be able to exit then as is done on 1066, so consequently, Whittaker's also managed to reverse the disconnection of the air system to the central doors, so they worked, as did the front doors, on the air control system. Finally, the damaged rear nearside mud-flap was replaced.
On delivering 8001 to Whittaker's for its full electrical and mechanical service in the early evening of Sunday 25th June 2000, after a working day at Leigh, we collected 7232 to return it to Leigh initially, taking up the space reserved for 8001, so that it could be under cover. Having secured 7232 in Manchester Road Safety unit livery, it obviously needed to be repainted, so we took the opportunity of devising our own livery, based upon SELNEC sunglow orange and mancunian white. This is something we were not able to achieve with 1066 (LNA 166G), because we acquired it from Stagecoach Manchester in August 1996 in orange/blue Exhibition livery which we saw no reason to alter, although we did make a few of our own refinements.
On Saturday 1st July 2000, Members of the SELNEC Preservation Society, principally Ian Mitchell and Colin McKay visited to attach to the vehicle a series of vinyls that state: 'SELNEC Preservation Society Exhibition and Support Vehicle', along with vinyls depicting all the various divisions of SELNEC (i.e. Central, Southern, Northern and Cheshire, together with SELNEC itself and other symbols depicting the subsequent operating companies, being Greater Manchester Transport, Lancashire United Transport, G.M. Buses South Ltd and G.M. Buses North Ltd).
Whilst working on the vehicle, not only were the vinyls fitted, but hub caps, two Daimler badges (scroll front and black 'eyebrow' back), brand new wing mirrors and stems were fitted, and brand new windscreen wipers and blades.
The tyres were painted in black and the headlamp and spotlight rims were fitted. At the same time, various aspects of the paintwork were touched-up to return it to its original SELNEC condition and the front licence plate was taken off, cleaned and re-fitted.
On 9th July 2000 a full day was spent working on the inside of the vehicle by Members of SELNEC Preservation Society on this specially convened working day, in order that the inside might be prepared, repainted and re-vamped in order to form the basis for the exhibition of photographs on the lower deck and enhancement of the cinema and galley on the upper deck.
Display boards were inherited with the vehicle, but were not really appropriate for the display of photographs, but intended more for the Road Safety Unit to pin up posters etc., with drawing pins. Consequently, the boards that came with the vehicle and the supporting structures were put into storage, and measurements were taken so that we could order ten gripframe display boards similar to those used on 1066. Whilst these were placed on order to be supplied by Topiscale, work on the 9th July 2000 concentrated on repainting, re-vamping and enhancing the interior of the vehicle, whilst ensuring that all its electrical and calor gas features were fully operational.
7232 was taken for its Class 5 MOT on Friday 21st July 2000 to Martins of Middlewich, but unfortunately it did not pass because there was air leaking out of the front offside brake system when it was not in operation, which caused a potential hazard.
Consequently, the vehicle was returned to our premises in Leigh, in order that this could be addressed in due course by Richard Whittaker. However, in the meantime, the bus was moved from Leigh to Preston Bus so that some panel work might be undertaken on the bus, despite its repaint, as we had determined that some panels really should have been replaced before the repaint had taken place previously.
In this regard, 7232 was taken to Preston Bus on Saturday 29th July 2000, so that the entirety of the nearside roof panels could be replaced - two panels on the nearside on the orange band, particularly above the centre door and that immediately behind it, along with one panel on the offside which indeed did take place and the bus was collected from Preston Bus and returned to our storage facilities in Leigh on Friday 4th August 2000, being our MOT day.
Thereafter, it was returned to Richard Whittaker's premises on Sunday 13th August 2000 in order that some final aspects could be carried out on it, not least the repainting of the replacement panels and the fixing of the air leak form the front offside brake. Also, the damaged cap for the air brake methanol unit was replaced and the auto lube system looked at again. 7232 was returned to Leigh on Thursday 17th August 2000.
Final work was undertaken on it on Saturday 2nd September 2000, in terms of all the new display boards being fitted - ten of them - incorporating photographs of all our preserved vehicles, so that the bus was ready to take part in the Trans Lancs Historic Vehicle Rally from the Museum of Transport to Heaton Park on Sunday 3rd September 2000. It took until 4:00am. to have all these items fitted - just hours to go before the event.
Although 7232 has been painted in the SELNEC sunglow orange/white livery, it looks a little unusual because there is paint applied to the areas which would normally depict windows.
We also placed on it our website address and telephone number and these are the only designations on the vehicle, and there are no regular transfers on the bus, such as Emergency Exit, Windscreen Washer Water, etc.
|7206 - 7500 (Type iv)|
|Northern Counties H45/27D - Mark 1|
|Daimler Fleetline CRG6LXB|
|1st December, 1972|
10th May, 2000
One of the ten dual door Standards used in the training fleet. It was subsequently converted to an exhibition vehicle.