THE SELNEC PRESERVATION SOCIETY
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ADAPTATION OF THE STANDARD BUS TO SECOND GENERATION REAR ENGINED VEHICLES
The very first rear engined vehicle was a Leyland Atlantean prototype in 1956, a type which went into production in 1958, closely followed by the Daimler Fleetline in 1960. Both these types of chassis were improved and perpetuated over the years as a result of feedback from operators.
There was the abortive mid-engined Guy Wulfrunian which existed for a few years, but the mainstay of rear engined availability were the Leyland Atlantean and Daimler Fleetline being joined from 1966 onwards by the Bristol VR, which tended to share the same Gardner engine as most Daimler Fleetlines, although mounted differently.
All of the companies that formed SELNEC, being 11 organisations brought together on 1st November 1969, except Leigh, Ramsbottom and Stockport, operated rear engined vehicles (i.e. Leyland Atlanteans or Daimler Fleetlines, or both), being Ashton, Bolton, Bury, Oldham, Rochdale, Salford, SHMD and Manchester, and the three companies added to the organisation thereafter; North Western, Wigan and Lancashire United, all had rear engined vehicles.
None of these companies had Bristol VR's except North Western, although the 25 ordered by them, 400-424 in 1973, were actually delivered to SELNEC Cheshire and had Standard Eastern Coachworks bodywork applied to them.
Bolton developed early its own body design for its Leyland Atlanteans, under the General Manager, Ralph Bennett, in the mid 1960's and when he joined Manchester City Transport he took body design developments forward, creating the Mancunian on both Atlantean and Fleetline chassis for Manchester City Transport.
Once SELNEC was formed they developed the Standard vehicle, as depicted in certain sections of this document, on both Atlantean and Fleetline chassis. SELNEC's only Bristol VR's were the 25 Eastern Coachworks ones ordered by North Western.
Due to reorganisations, Daimler subsequently became part of Leyland, and consequently the subsequent Leyland Fleetline was eventually phased out in 1981. Because of European regulations the Atlantean chassis was no longer thought viable, particularly due to noise and exhaust emissions, and was phased out in 1984. Leyland had developed the replacement for the Atlantean, being the Olympian, after the failure of the integral Titan. Obviously as the Titan was an integral vehicle there was no way an independent bodybuilder such as Northern Counties could adapt its Standard body to fit it, although it did so with the Olympian, with the first GMT prototype 1451, and then the production vehicles from 3001 onwards.
Greater Manchester Transport was keen to trial a number of new second generation rear end chassis and in doing so asked its bodybuilder, Northern Counties, to adapt the Standard body to fit, and they did so with Fodens, Dennis Dominators, Volvo Ailsas, Scanias, Dennis Falcons and Volvo Citybuses.
These, as depicted in the list below, were experimental vehicles in the 1400 series and very few went on to see production batches. The Olympian was the most successful second generation rear engined chassis bodied for Greater Manchester, and although there was only one prototype (1451) it spawned 305 production vehicles all bodied by Northern Counties. Although an entirely different body was constructed for 1451, the Standard body was able to be adapted from 3001 onwards with the same window bays, although the front and back end had to be altered to fit the new chassis dimensions.
The Standard body was adapted to fit a Foden chassis in a joint development. A prototype ½ vehicle (lower deck only) was built, followed by six experimental vehicles: 1435 and 1436 were the Greater Manchester vehicles, and ther was one for West Yorkshire, one for Derbyshire, one for P.M.T. and one for the West Midlands. A seventh Foden chassis was built and was bodied by East Lancashire for South Yorkshire.
There were four prototype Dennis Dominators bodied by Northern Counties for GMT and these saw 40 subsequent production vehicles. There was an initial run of 30 in 1984, from 2001 to 2030, and ten more in 1990, 2031-2040, which had the further upgraded Northern Counties Standard body, also used on Scanias 1463 to 1467, and Volvo Citybus 7001 to 7010, with diptac fittings and new moquette.
There were only three prototype Volvo Ailsas and they saw no production vehicles, and although there were two prototype Scanias, 1461 and 1462, these only produced five further vehicles, 1463 to 1467, with the upgraded Northern Counties body in 1990 which did not lead to any large production volumes. The three prototype Dennis Falcons, 1471-1473 were always giving mechanical problems since delivery and were never perpetuated further into production, and although there were three prototype Volvo Citybuses, 1481 to 1483, these only spawned ten production vehicles in the new 7000 series: 7001-7010 in 1990, again with the upgraded Northern Counties bodywork.
The full details of these vehicles are shown below.
1435-1436 Foden/Northern Counties
1437-1440 Dennis Dominator/Northern Counties
1446-1448 Volvo Ailsa/Northern Counties
1451 Leyland Olympian/Northern Counties
1461-1462 Scania/Northern Counties
1471-1473 Dennis Falcon/Northern Counties
1481 - 1483 Volvo City Bus/Northern Counties
6912 rebody Leyland Fleetline/Northern Counties
2413 rebody Daimler Fleetline/Northern Counties
In recent years, an alloy body was introduced and applied to the last few hundred Atlanteans, all Production Scanias, Leyland Olympians, Dennis Dominators, Metrobuses and Volvo City Buses.
1463-1467 Scania/Northern Counties
3001-3305 Leyland Olympian/Northern Counties
2001-2040 Dennis Dominator/Northern Counties
5201-5210 Metrobus/Northern Counties (Cummins Engine)
5301-5320 Metrobus/Northern Counties (Gardner Engine)
7001-7010 Volvo Citybus/Northern Counties
The first second generation rear engined vehicle to be delivered were the Leyland Olympians from 3001 onwards, and then Dennis Dominators from 2001 onwards, starting two new Fleet Number series. There had been a number of prototypes and experimental vehicles, but only Olympians and Dominators were delivered in large numbers.
The Standard body was adapted at the front and rear to fit these second generation rear engined chassis, but they were still based upon the original SELNEC/GMT specifications conceived between 1970 and 1984.
The next development of the Standard body featured a peaked dome, different moquette and the Diptac Disabled provisions, being developed on the last Northern Counties bodied vehicles delivered to Greater Manchester between 1990 and 1991 on 53 vehicles.
3278 - 3305 - Olympians
2031 - 2040 - Dominators
1463 - 1467 - Scanias
7001 - 7010 - Volvo Citybuses.