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8460 (SND 460X)

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Colin MacKay, one of the trustees and working members of the SELNEC Preservation Society, has purchased 8460 (SND 460X) and brought it into group ownership.

The following details and circumstances are explained by Colin:

Acquisition of 8460

Date registered: 7th December 1981
Date acquired: 28th March 2001
Chassis No. 8100971

8460 is an Atlantean AN68B/1R with a Northern Counties alloy framed body. It was one of the very first alloy framed 'Standards' to be built. 8433 and 8437-8438 were the first three, which were followed by 8443 onwards, thus making 8460 the 21st built.

The bus was delivered new to Rochdale Depot in December 1981. When this depot closed, the bus was transferred to Bury and worked there until January 1998 when it was transferred to Bolton Depot still in GM Buses orange/grey/white livery. 8460 has carried four liveries in its operating life, GMT orange/brown/white, GM Buses 'People on the Move' orange/white, GM Buses orange/grey/white and Greater Manchester red (First Manchester) livery.

Although obviously it is a later 'Standard', 305 buses from the last 8765, it is quite a bit different as the design was developing at the time 8460 was built. The differences between 8460 and the last Atlantean built are as follows:

Grey seat frames the same as 6990, whereas 8765 has brown frames. All-over SELNEC style orange moquette, however, 8765 has black and orange 'salt and pepper' moquette. Standard dashboard layout, whereas 8765 has a later layout with all buttons fitted in front of the driver. 8460 has solid rubber gasket window seals with a lip, but later vehicles had a more conventional seal with a smooth sill to stop water build up in the lip.

The emergency door is pretty much standard, but was one of the first to be wholly fibreglass skinned and of alloy structure. As they were developing the design when 8460 was built, the sill is simply aluminium covered with a black plastic coating, much akin to a grab rail. Latter vehicles from around 8500 had rubber seals to match the rest of the windows.

Upstairs, at the front, there is simply a grab rail fixed to the dash. Earlier vehicles like 6990 had a safety frame screwed to the front window frames, later vehicles from around 8495 had a new safety bar running right round from the staircase, around the front and over the first side windows.

On the first 30 or 50 alloy standards, an experiment was undertaken by reducing the number of opening windows in the lower saloon; 8460 has two on the nearside and one on the offside. The vehicles were found to be too warm during the summer months, so Northern Counties put in some additional opening hopper windows.

A staircase mirror was fitted to the vehicle. By 8490 it was phased out and never used again. The luggage rack is standard as on 6990, but on later alloy frames fibreglass moulded lips at the base replaced conventional steel strips.

I chose this vehicle as I have fond memories of its service days, and although it does not signify anything numerically it does bridge a gap between last steel frame and last alloy frame vehicles.

All its contemporaries from the same depot and era have long since been scrapped. For example, 8463 was dismantled nearly two years ago. I recently decided to preserve a GMT Standard Atlantean, and decided it would be 8460 or 8524, as they were both in similar condition and both were of interest to me. However, after many rides out and careful consideration, 8460 was clearly the best preservation candidate as it retained more of its originality and was mechanically superior to 8524.

A letter was sent to Bolton Depot and I heard back that the bus would become my property once they had finished with it. Sadly, the person I had been in contact with then left, and I had to start again from scratch with another person. He agreed to sell 8460 and its tyres, and five weeks after withdrawal the bus was released to me. I finally collected 8460 on 13th February 2001 where it was heading a line up in Bolton Depot of other withdrawn Atlanteans, including another ex-Rochdale bus, 8535. Both Paul Hoskins and Mark Green split the driving and took 8460 to pre-arranged accommodation at Openshaw, and I am indebted to them for their assistance.



8151 - 8525 (Type iii(A)) 

gmt.gif (2279 bytes)

(SND 460X)


Northern Counties H43/32F - Light Alloy


Leyland Atlantean AN68B/1R


7th December 1981


6th April 2001


One of the first batch of alloy framed Standard Atlanteans with short window hoppers and orange moquette seats.

Since acquisition, the lower deck has been completely stripped and everything restored and replaced. All seat frames have been repainted along with the floor. The cab phone, clipper card machine and ticket machine have been reinstated. Plans are to have the chassis repainted later in the year and re-panel the exterior. It is hoped that 8460 will be ready to attend some rallies in 2003.

Restoration of 8460

Shortly after acquiring the vehicle the first problem to be addressed was the front end damage, the vehicle had been involved in a number of accidents during its service life, latterly by being driven into the bus wash instead of through it!  The front end framework was severely corroded as water had been ingressed into it, the windscreens were not held in at the base as the framework had dropped and the windscreen surround was in several pieces and the whole front misshapen.

To rectify this I had to remove the steel frame angle section and replace with one removed from bus 8720.  This had to be welded in, the new windscreen surround from the same vehicle had to be fitted after removal of the original, and the windscreens fitted.  The wiper spindles and motor were also replaced.  The interior was ripped out downstairs to allow the floor to be painted, seat frames to be treated and seats to be changed and a thorough cleaning of the inside was then carried out.

The engine that was in the bus upon acquisition was found to be faulty, a combination of a split air intake pipe had caused dirt to get into the engine, along with, I suspect, a warped block and cylinder heads (this was only discovered after I sent the bus away to Horbick Diesels to have its head gaskets replaced and leaking flywheel seal rectified).  The flywheel had a serious oil leak upon acquisition, caused by vibration from the engine.  The engine also had a misfire and number 1 cylinder was smoking badly, so I decided it would be best to replace the engine.

Contact was made with First Manchester to secure the engine and gearbox from bus 8357, as this bus had only completed two years service since this engine was fitted and was then made a driver trainer, the oil pressure was high and it was deemed a good replacement.  Consequently, staff at First Manchester removed the unit.

Whilst in storage at Keighley Bus Museum, 8460�s angle drive decided to play up and consequently demised so the whole power pack including gearbox and angle drive was transferred into it from 8357 whilst in store at Hyde with an overhead crane proving useful in this operation. I am much indebted to Norman Johnson for carrying out the engine change and Ian Mitchell for his valued assistance. Whilst the engine was removed the sub-frame was found to be fractured underneath the gearbox mounting, this was plated up and welded and now has no more movement. The vehicle was by this stage in much better health.  The brain unit for the gears blew whilst the vehicle was in store, consequently this had to be replaced and an assessment of the vehicles panels revealed that in fact not much panelling had been carried out for a number of years, and all fibreglass was shot.

New front corners were sourced from Greengate Fabrications, new pods were sourced from First Manchester and a bonnet was sourced from 8188 in Hardwicks yard, Barnsley.  Every panel needed replacement, this re-panelling was carried out by myself starting late last October and completed in June 2004. Society member, Lea Worrall, lent a hand passing tools and rivets up ladders and this saved many hours!  New BMAC rear lights were also sourced and fitted to the vehicle and replacement looms were wired into the pods.  The wheels were removed and treated and the wheel arches were all silvered.

Ambrose Fox of the Ribble Vehicle Preservation Trust was commissioned to re-paint the vehicle and this was carried out in September 2004.  The vehicle carries the livery of GM Buses �People on the move�, a striking livery much missed by local enthusiasts.  Period advertisements supplied by Paul Hoskins were fitted inside the vehicle.

All in all two years of solid hard work has made the vehicle as good as it is today.  99% of the work has been done by myself, very little has been outsourced, and work is still to be carried out on the upstairs seats and underside.


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