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THE SELNEC PRESERVATION SOCIETY

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8325 (MNC 525W)

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The first standard body developed from the working relationship between SELNEC PTE and Northern Counties was on EX1 (PNF 941J) launched at the Commercial Vehicle Motor Show in 1970.  Thereafter 20 further prototypes were produced before production commenced with the standard body being applied to Atlantean and Fleetline chassis by Northern Counties with Park Royal supplementing bodies when there was high demand.  All these had a standard metal framed body with aluminium panelling which had in itself been a more modern method of construction, introduced post-war as a more sturdier and robust construction than the wooden framework that had preceded it.   However, it was evident that although the aluminium panelling and the fibreglass fixtures and fittings resisted corrosion in bad weather, the metal framework often did corrode or rot away and it was never a terribly good relationship between the joints connecting steel with aluminium.  Consequently Northern Counties had been working on an alloy composite construction for the framework which first appeared in prototype on Atlantean 7511 (GNC 292N) which appeared at the Commercial Vehicle Motor Show in 1974. 

More work was undertaken on the best components for alloy framework over the next few years with production being shifted over in 1981 and the first alloy framed vehicles were interspersed fleet number wise with the last few metal framed versions all on Atlantean chassis as follows:-

Metal framed:-  8151 – 8432/8434 – 8436/8439 – 8442
Alloy framed:- 8433/8437 – 8438/8443 – 8525 and onwards

The standard body had in any event between 1970 and 1981 gone through a considerable amount of change as a result of improved building techniques at Northern Counties and arising out of operational practice by SELNEC/GMT as was reported in the article “Design & Development of the SELNEC/Greater Manchester Standard – Part 1” which appeared in newsletter number 24 of January 2004.  In fact the continuing development of the SELNEC/Greater Manchester standard body in terms of its application to second generation rear engined chassis in particular Leyland Olympians and Dennis Dominators appears under Section 10 in this newsletter.  The alloy frame meant far less corrosion particularly where vehicles were kept in outside storage which was becoming more frequent and gave for a better bonding with the aluminium panels affixed to it.  We have always attempted to secure vehicles that reflect the ongoing design and development of the SELNEC/GMT standard and have a number of examples of how the metal framed body had been improved over the years but principally these are depicted on a range of Fleetline vehicles 7206, 7366, 8001, 8141, 6901 and 6990.  Indeed we even have the only standard Fleetline with an alloy framed body 6912 (PTD 640S).  The original metal framed body was destroyed by fire and by the time the rebuild took place in 1982 the alloy construction had become the norm at Northern Counties.  It is however noticeable that we have not reflected the ongoing design and development of the metal framed Northern Counties body on Atlantean chassis, in that we had nothing in between 7501 (BNE 751N) the first of the Mark 1A wraparound curved front end standard built in 1974 (except for Park Royal bodied 7960 (BNC 960T) and 8455 (SND 455X) which is of an alloy framed construction.

We had sometime earlier identified that the ideal preservation candidate marking one of the very last metal framed bodies as applied to the Atlantean chassis would be 8425 (SND 425X) but this had been sold by Maynes to an organisation in the West Midlands and is being used as a playbus which may create some problems in years to come, if we are able to obtain it, to return it to operational condition.  We therefore decided to look around to see what else might be available reflecting at least some of the final design changes to the metal framed body and decided that 8325 (MNC 525W) might be an ideal candidate, being one of the last 100 of these vehicles built still in operational daily service with Voels just outside Rhyl.  Consequently arrangements were made for us to visit the premises of this operator on 3rd September 2005.  We knew that previously they had operated 8264 (FVR 264V) but that had passed to a scrap yard in Bangor, along with another ex-Greater Manchester Atlantean 8309 (MRJ 309W) which we had seen during our visit to the scrap yards in Barnsley on 26th August 2005.  Hence upon arrival at Voels premises on 3rd September 2005 the only remaining ex-Greater Manchester Atlantean was 8325.  We were very impressed by its operational condition and made arrangements for us to secure it for preservation later in the year once its MOT had expired as it was not Voels’ intention to re-MOT it and continue with in service after that time.  It actually came out of service on 25th September 2005 and following discussions and negotiations about the purchase price and arrangements for the collection, it was brought back to Greater Manchester to be stored at Blackburn by a group of members on Saturday 12th November 2005. 

8325 was delivered new to GMT on 21st October 1980 and passed to GM Buses Limited on 26th October 1986 and GM Buses South Ltd on 1st April 1994.  It was sold to Voels on 30th August 1996 and they ran it for the last nine years until we purchased it on 12th October 2005.  It has chassis number 8000289 and body number 8886.

Unlike 8425 (and 6990), 8325 does not feature all the final design changes on the metal frame standard but shows quite a number of those instigated since 7501 and is interesting as an interim example, as follows:

Silver beading removed   

(last Atlantean before change 8295)

Recessed lower deck windows

(last Atlantean before change 8304)

Rear fog lights incorporated   

(last  Atlantean before change 8302)

Grab rail behind driver’s cab added  (last Atlantean before change 8304)
Three hinged rear upper deck emergency exit  (last Atlanteans before change 8304-8308)
Advertising panel on staircase (last Atlanteans before change 8408-8416)
Interim thin luggage bars (last Atlantean before change 8305)

Items still to be introduced after 8325:

Riveted advertising panel to revert to beading

(8330)

Criss-cross bars on front upper deck windows

(8347)

Black and white staircase melamine  

(8330)

Less upper deck ceiling panels  (8330)
Removal of roof translucent panels  (8334)
Series of reductions of opening hopper windows (8389)

Whilst at Voels premises on 3rd September 2005 we did also look at another ex-Greater Manchester vehicle they had there being Olympian 3004 (JKM 583Y).  This is one of the rare batch of 15 standard Olympians fitted with the Leyland TL11 engine and a sister vehicle to our very own 3001 (ANA 1Y).  It had however had its registration number ANA 4Y removed by a dealer, Whealdons of Tonbridge, before being sold to its previous operator, Andrews of Tideswell.  Consequently, it arrived with Voels complete with the registration that had been allocated prior to being sold to Andrews being JKM 583Y.

8325

BATCH:

8151 - 8432/34 - 36/39 - 42 (Type iii(R)) 

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(MNC 525W)

BODY:

Northern Counties H43/32F
 

CHASSIS:

Leyland Atlantean AN68B/1R
 

FIRST REGISTERED:

21st October 1980
 

PURCHASED:

12th October 2005
 

DETAILS:

One of the last 100 metal framed Standard Atleanteans built before the change over to alloy construction. Automatic Gearbox

 


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