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THE SELNEC PRESERVATION SOCIETY

All content is copyright The SELNEC Preservation Society.


THE PRESERVATION AND RESTORATION OF EX1 (PNF 941J)

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a) Acquisition

EX1 was withdrawn from active service sometime late in 1983 or early in 1984 and retained in the disposal section of Greater Manchester Transport, at a time just preceding the smashing-up policy which prevented Mancunians and other vehicles from being sold for service, because of the concern of GMPTE that private operators, on de-regulation in 1986, might use their surplus vehicles against them.

At this time in 1984, Father O'Leary of St. Michael's Church in Oldham was looking for a bus to transport children to and from Catholic Schools in the Oldham area so they examined a number of vehicles, and chose EX1 (PNF 941J) not because of its unique feature - being the very first prototype Standard - but because it was considered to be the bus in the best condition available at that time, mainly due to it having a rectified engine. Consequently, this bus was chosen, rather fortuitously.

The purchase price is not known but the vehicle was acquired on 1st April 1984, by Father O'Leary and moved to the Church in Oldham, then was regularly used in service twice a day transporting over 70 children to and from Catholic Schools in the local area. The vehicle was acquired in GMT orange/white and was run by Father O'Leary in these colours for some time until it was painted in a two-tone light and dark blue, the light blue being over the white parts of the GMT livery and the dark blue being over the orange parts.

Even before The SELNEC Preservation Society was formed on 11th January 1987, individuals who were to come together to form the society had expressed an interest in EX1, and made a number of visits to Father O'Leary in Oldham. Eventually, after the Society was formed and 7206 and 7185 had been acquired, more serious attention then turned to EX1, the Society's potential third preservation prospect. Clearly, the Father required a bus to transport the children to and from school daily, but the actual identity of that vehicle was not important, and in fact he did not realise the relevance of the vehicle he was using, until it was explained to him. Conversations with the Father indicated that should a vehicle in equal or better condition be provided to St. Michael's Church for their use, they would accept it in exchange for EX1, as all they required was a serviceable vehicle for their transportation functions.

Discussions then ensued between The SELNEC Preservation Society and the Greater Manchester PTE to try to acquire, from the vehicles they had been left with after deregulation and the formation of Greater Manchester Buses, a candidate to be purchased to swap for EX1.

It should be recalled that on deregulation on 26th October 1986, that Greater Manchester Buses was set up with vehicles run by Greater Manchester Transport, except those older than 7560. Initially, we were offered 7147 by GMPTE, the only remaining Northern Counties bodied Leyland Atlantean from the first unusual batch of five of these buses, 7146-7150. Although it was offered to us for 500, at that time it was stored at Birchfields Depot and had no seats in it and was in a run-down condition. Had it not been subsequently restored by Impact, it would not have gone on to serve with Finglands and now be in operational service with Edwards Coaches in Pontypridd.

In any event, we eventually agreed with the PTE to purchase 7110, the first Park Royal production Standard delivered to the Southern Division (XJA 501L) and although in hindsight, this would perhaps have made a better preservation  project of this class of vehicle, than the vehicle we now own, 7143 (XJA 534L), it was purchased and swapped with Father O'Leary in a ceremony outside Birchfields Depot, recorded by the Manchester Evening News on 6th April 1988.

In terms of the 21 experimental vehicles, very few of them saw further service.

In terms of EX1 - EX6, the following activities occurred, resulting in the fact that by 1999, only EX1 remained complete, although EX6 is still in Dunsmore's Scrap Yard.

EX2

Lonsdale

Warstores

Scrap

EX3

Lonsdale

Eagle & Crawford

Redwatch

Scrap

EX6

Lonsdale

Earnside

Stewart Farms

Scrapped in August 1999 (still in scrap yard)

As for EX7 - EX21, these were, as with the early production Standards that followed, casualties of the engine smashing policy, and only one survived, EX19 (6252) which passed to the 16th Middleton Scout Group who retained the vehicle from withdrawal in 1984 until acquired by The SELNEC Preservation Society for preservation as an example of a prototype Fleetline on 20th September 1998.

b) Initial work and the sourcing of unique replacement prototype parts

Upon acquisition of EX1 on 6th April 1988, it was still at Birchfields Depot, together with the other Society vehicles, 7206 and 7185, and then through negotiations with Northern Counties, they agreed, because of the relevance of this vehicle to the 2000 plus production Standards for SELNEC/GMT that followed, to restore it to its original condition.

Consequently, it was taken to their premises on 6th December 1988, and much work was carried out at Northern Counties on the body, in that the vehicle was entirely re-panelled, except for the roof, although they were not able to do anything with the domes, bonnet and lower front panels, which being fibreglass were left untouched. They did however, internally, replace the ceilings on both decks and good portions of the floor. On the upper deck, the nearside and offside deck tread beneath the seats, was replaced with seat plate fittings and on the lower deck, new deck tread between the entrance door and just behind the staircase/luggage rack area was fitted.

Also, whilst at Northern Counties, they restored the large unique driver's window of the bus, which had previously been removed, and when the work at Northern Counties had been concluded, they stored the vehicle for a while, due to difficulties we were experiencing with storage facilities, until we had to collect it on 7th December 1990, two years after its arrival. We then moved it to Greater Manchester Buses premises in Wigan, which is where it was stored, until it was moved to the premises which were eventually acquired by The SELNEC Preservation Society in Leigh, in August 1992.

During the time The SELNEC Preservation Society has owned EX1 from 6th April 1988, it became apparent that there were a number of features on it which were unique to the prototype Standard status, that we sought to acquire to ensure that when the vehicle was eventually restored, it could truly reflect its original prototype condition. These aspects listed below were fitted to the vehicle as acquired, or held in stock until such time as the major restoration on this bus commenced during 1999.

i) Roof Vents

The original vehicles in the batch EX1 - EX6 had four externally mounted roof vents in respect of the air circulation system, and through correspondence and discussion with Sutrac UK, between 1991 and 1994, four of these were manufactured from a mould made from the one remaining damaged vent still on the bus on acquisition. These new vents were not fitted until the Autumn of 1998 when the bus had been moved to Whittakers of Penwortham.

ii) Wipers

It was established that the prototype EX1 had single arm silver wipers, hinged at the top of the windscreen, unlike the double arm wipers hinged at the bottom of the windscreen fitted to the production Standards. Although we could not obtain new items of these from Trico and other companies we contacted, we did manage to clean-up the existing ones and fit new wiper blades during the rectification, reflecting this earlier design element.

iii) Wing Mirrors

EX1 had a particular design of a black wing mirror that was evident on many conventional front-engined, rear staircase PD2's and Daimlers that preceded. These were not replicated on vehicles EX2 - EX6 or EX7 - EX21, or the production Standards.

Early photographs of EX1 when new indicated this type of wing mirror had been removed very early in its history, but we did manage to obtain from Ashtree Glass in 1991, these original black wing mirrors which were subsequently fitted to the bus.

iv) Interior Vent

Only EX1, the 1970 Commercial Motor Show vehicle, had a particular cylindrical air vent above the front windows on the upper deck, reminiscent of much earlier rear engined vehicles built in the 1960's. Indeed, this was put on the vehicle because of its appearance at the 1970 Commercial Vehicle Motor Show, and did not appear on vehicles EX2 - EX6 or EX7 - EX21, or on the production Standards, which had two plastic sliders.

Fortunately, during a visit to scrap yards in the early 1990's members of The SELNEC Preservation Society were able to acquire a vent very similar to the one used on EX1, which was eventually cleaned up and fitted to the bus during 1999.

v) Bonnet Arrangement

EX1 - EX6 looked considerably different from the production Standards that followed mainly because they had the much smaller PDR1A/1 bonnet arrangements as opposed to the AN68 arrangement that appeared on Atlantean 7001 onwards. EX7 - EX21 look very similar to production Fleetlines as they have the same CRG6LXB bonnet arrangements.

When we acquired EX1, it had unfortunately something of an unusual arrangement in terms of the bonnet, because of an accident which it had suffered in service, where it had been involved in a rear end shunt. At the time the accident occurred, engineers at Greater Manchester Transport had obviously only been interested in putting the bus back in service and therefore, adapted its PDR1A/1 Bonnet with various AN68 modifications, creating a hybrid situation.

Whilst Northern Counties had the vehicle in 1988-1990, they were unable to rectify this situation, but in 1993, after the bus was delivered to The SELNEC Preservation Society's newly acquired premises in Leigh, these hybrid bonnet arrangements and hinges, etc. were all removed.

A search of the scrap yards in Barnsley produced an appropriately established equivalent PDR1A/1 bonnet arrangement, which was acquired. It also became apparent that this PDR1A/1 bonnet set, being bonnet lid and side pods, needed a unique channelling to be fitted at the back of the bus, filled with a particular rubber moulding which created a waterproof seal between the bus and the bonnet fittings. Although in 1992 from a scrap yard in Barnsley, we had acquired a replacement set of bonnet pods and lid, they did not have the channelling or rubber insertion. However, a visit to Hull City Transport in August 1994, allowed us to secure the channelling and they indicated to us that Carl Irland who deals in bus parts, might have the rubber insertion, which he did and which we acquired from him later that year.

An initial attempt was made to fit the channelling, the rubber and the replacement bonnet parts in 1995/1996, but in 1999 a much better set of pods became available from Carl Irland and these were fitted instead.

It also became apparent that EX1 did not have the appropriate valance assembly on the rear, and indeed when we acquired it, it had a piece of wood in place of what should have been the correct moulding. However, several correct valance mouldings, being one for the bus and two spares were acquired from Busways in Newcastle during 1993.

vi) Lower Fibreglass Front

The EX series, EX1 - EX21, had a different lower fibreglass front from that depicted on the production Standards in that it did not have raised headlights or licence plate surrounds.

The front of EX1 was damaged when we acquired it, but fortunately, we managed to obtain a spare front from EX6, when we visited Stewarts Farm between 25th and 26th June 1995 to acquire 3832. At that time we swapped the front from EX6 for a more conventional Standard front, allowing us to obtain the parts from EX6 to act as spares for EX1. In the end analysis, however, they would not fit EX1 as they differed in size, clearly indicating that EX1 was very much a one-off, and although similar, EX2 - EX6 were not exact matches because of obvious developments, changes and decisions between the first one-off prototype and the five prototypes that followed. Therefore, unable to use the parts of EX6, member and self employed bus body builder, Jason Hartley repaired and re-fibreglassed the original EX1 lower fibreglass front and corner panels.

vii) Drivers Door

This item on the prototypes EX1 - EX6 was different from that which followed on EX7 - EX21, and the one we had inherited on EX1 was damaged but fortunately we were able to exchange it with the one from EX6, acquired during our visit to Stewart's Farm between 25th and 26th June 1995, when collecting 3832.

viii) Front, Side and Rear Lights

All these were glass on EX1 as opposed to plastic which followed shortly thereafter and through contact with the Museum of Transport in Manchester between 1991 and 1993, we secured original glass side, indicator and a full set of glass rear lights, particularly acquiring the unique glass reversing/reflector lights of a circular nature which were replaced in 1972 by a different design.

ix) Windows

Most windows on EX1 are the same as used on the production Standards and did not present a difficulty. However, the unique feature of the first six prototype Standards, EX1 - EX6, was that the rear upper deck quarter light window had an opening facility which did not appear on EX7 - EX21 or any production Standard.

When we acquired EX1, it did not have these windows in it, and indeed they had been removed from all six prototypes very early in their history. Research indicated they were an Auster Hopper type window and we tracked the copyright and ownership of this design through a number of companies, and eventually established that ownership had passed to C & J International Windows, who very kindly manufactured for us, two replacement opening rear upper deck quarter light windows in 1995, which is when they were fitted to the bus.

x) Moquette/PVC

Previously, bus companies, such as Manchester and others had predominantly 'conventionally' coloured fleets in red, green, blue, etc. and purchased 'off-the-shelf' moquette designs and hide/PVC based on the colour of their fleets. In having chosen a rather unusual colour to represent the SELNEC PTE, being orange and white, there was not on the market a standard orange moquette or orange hide/PVC. This meant that SELNEC had to encourage the manufacturers of these products, to produce items specifically for them, which is why, today, they are harder to obtain than moquette and PVC from much older and more conventional vehicles, based on more routine colours.

As a result of the production of the first six Standards, being prototypes EX1 - EX6, Holdsworths in Halifax were approached and they produced a pattern, No 3088 and colourway 7775 to be used on the first six of these vehicles which had black seat frames. An analysis of the pattern and the colour resulted in changes to both, in that it was felt the pattern needed to be stronger with more definition and the colour redder, so consequently, in the next batch of prototypes, Daimler Fleetlines EX7 - EX21, pattern 3351, colour 7870 was used, again with black seat frames. With regard to the upper deck, this remained a similar colour between all 21 prototypes, EX1 - EX6 and EX7 - EX21 in quite a reddy/orange hide/PVC.

When production commenced at 7001, both the lower deck and the upper deck had changes made to the moquette and the hide/PVC. For the lower deck a new pattern was commissioned from Holdsworth, being 3398 in a stronger design of a more integrated square feature, but the same colourway was kept as used in EX7 - EX21, being 7870. As for the upper deck, a lighter orange with less red was used for the hide/PVC and these choices were implemented in vehicles, commencing with the first production Standard 7001, and by this time it was decided that the seat frames should not be black as they had been on the 21 prototypes, but grey.

As indicated above the upper deck hide/PVC in the prototype Standards EX1 - EX21, was a darker, redder colour than that which appeared in production Standards, and after many years of research, a quantity of this was supplied to us by Trimproof in Ireland in 1994.

The lower deck moquette proved even more difficult to find in that the original design appeared only in EX1 - EX6 and a visit to Holdsworths, the original manufacturer, on 29th March 1991 established for us the exact pattern, being 3088 and colourway 7775. Unfortunately, Holdsworth's were unable to manufacture this for us in the quantity we required, being 50 metres, as this was a non-commercial quantity for the amount of labour involved in putting the colours in question in all the various looms.

However, we did arrange with Holdsworths that when an Operator ordered a particular pattern in orange, red and yellow moquette without any particular specification for the colourway, they might manufacture the design in question using the colours we needed, then they could run our pattern 3088 with colourway 7775 at the end of the run and this was eventually achieved in 1995, when 50 metres were produced for us.

The orange upper deck PVC and lower deck moquette were held in store, pending major rectification.

C) Major rectification

During 1998 we decided that it was appropriate that we should move forward and try to progress the rectification of EX1 to follow on immediately after 7206 and 7185 which had been re-painted and re-certified for exhibition on the preserved bus scene in 1997 and 1998 respectively. Consequently, on 5th April 1998, EX1 was towed by preserved tow vehicle OBN 143M to Whittakers in Penwortham so that work might take place.

Firstly, they were asked to deal with the sticking accelerator, then secondly, fully service the vehicle so that it would pass a Class 5 MOT. This would involve all aspects of steering, brakes, air systems, electrics, general, mechanical and structural aspects along with all oils, lubricants, seals, etc. being checked and replaced where necessary. Whilst the vehicle was at Whittakers of Penwortham, some welding work was carried out on the chassis and an electrician repaired some difficulties found in the vehicle, replacing circuit breakers, flasher units, warning buzzers, together with various pieces of cabling, etc.

The accelerator was repaired and on 18th November 1998, engineers from Thomas Hardie visited to repair the difficulty with the gear lever operation which has a direct air drive and not a electro-pneumatic system, as with most of our other preservation projects.

Furthermore, members of The SELNEC Preservation Society turned up at the premises of Whittakers of Penwortham on 2nd November 1998 to undertake some repair work. Also, whilst the vehicle was there, a number of bodywork aspects were undertaken by member Jason Hartley who continued and advanced rectification on the bonnet, side pods, rear end panelling and lower fibreglass front, as well as undertaking some repair work on replacing damaged panels and a window.

Also whilst the bus was at Whittakers, Auto Windscreens visited and rectified as best they could, the front translucent panel and the damaged window in the centre of the offside, lower deck. Furthermore, Jason Hartley also fitted the four unique roof vents, manufactured for The SELNEC Preservation Society from the damaged sample they had managed to send to Sutrac UK.

After eight months at Whittakers, EX1 was taken on 6th November 1998 to Preston Bus, where the chassis, drive units, and engine were steam cleaned and spray-painted in grey protective anti-rust resistant paint, with the bus eventually being collected and returned to The SELNEC Preservation Society premises in Leigh on 20th December 1998.

From January 1999, a concerted effort was undertaken by members of The SELNEC Preservation Society to restore EX1 during the year, which involved initially, Gordon Morris from GLG Coach Trimmers visiting to remove the seat backs from all the seat frames on the upper and lower deck. This was in order for these to be taken to his premises to be re-covered in the upper deck PVC and lower deck moquette that had been delivered to him, having been supplied to us by Trimproof and Holdsworths. In addition, all the upper deck and lower deck seat cushions were delivered to Gordon Morris, at his premises at Hindley Business Centre, so that these could be re-covered also.

Once the seat backs and cushions had been removed, it was then possible for members of The SELNEC Preservation Society to unscrew and unbolt all seat frames from EX1, which were taken out, in order to allow access to rectifying the upper and lower decks. On 18th February 1999 the bus was taken to ATS in Leigh where all the tyres were checked for correct inflation and the 11.25 tyre that had at some point been fitted to the rear nearside of the bus, was changed for a 10.00 tyre, so that all were matching.

Also, during the rectification process, EX1 was returned to Preston Bus on 7th April 1999 to allow them to replace the damaged roof panels on the nearside, which they did and they also undertook some work in rectifying the rear translucent panel. The bus was returned to The SELNEC Preservation Society premises, from Preston Bus on 17th April 1999.

Having removed the seat frames these were sanded down, red oxided and eventually re-painted in black gloss paint. Whilst this was taking place, other members of The SELNEC Preservation Society ensured that a full and comprehensive exercise was undertaken to clean all the melamine on both decks of EX1, being the white melamine on the ceiling, and the side of the bus, together with black melamine.

All the aluminium on the window surrounds, including the hoppers, was painstakingly cleaned with aluminium cleaner, including the use of a tooth-brush to remove dirt inside the hoppers, and all the glass was cleaned. The aluminium panels on both decks were painted with aluminium paint with all the white and black fixtures and fittings being painted in the appropriate Mancunian white and vinyl black colouring.

The cab area in particular, was very carefully cleaned, sanded down and painted in the appropriate vinyl black colour and both upper and lower deck floors were painted in appropriately coloured beige floor paint with the seat plates painted in black.

The special internal air vent was fitted to the front of the upper deck of the bus, above the front upper deck windows and all winding mechanisms from the front, side and rear were removed, rectified and returned with appropriate blinds fitted.

The driver's seat, which was damaged, was replaced by one from our spares and the air door rubber, which was split, was replaced. Although the lower deck had not had seat plates fitted by Northern Counties during its rectification, these were fitted by ourselves, in order to allow easier refitting of the lower deck seats.

Gordon Morris at GLG Coach Trimmers produced one of each of the four types of recovered items, on 27th June 1999, being an upper deck seat back and cushion and lower deck seat back and cushion, for approval by members of The SELNEC Preservation Society, and thereafter, all the re-painted seat frames for the upper and lower deck, were delivered to Gordon Morris's premises at Hindley Business Centre on 18th July 1999. Over the weeks that followed, all the seat frames with re-covered backs, seat cushions, upper and lower deck seat units, arm rests and head restraints were collected in batches and refitted to the bus, with the inside being completed on 15th October 1999. Jason Hartley continued to work on the exterior repair and rectification work, which was finally concluded on 4th November 1999.

Also during October 1999, all exterior transfers were removed and the whole of the exterior of the bus was sanded down, with it being taken, via First Manchester's Bolton Depot bus wash, to Preston Bus on 7th November 1999 where a full exterior repaint was undertaken by Ambrose Fox of the Ribble Vehicle Preservation Group.

On Tuesday, 23rd November 1999, the bus having now been fully repainted in sunglow orange/mancunian white, had its original 29 year old external transfers applied, including orange (non divisional) flashes, although all 'EX1' fleet numbers had to be specially made in vinyl. Being the first prototype, most of the internal transfers were originally hand painted and these have been retained with just a few missing items replaced with transfers.

The bus was collected from Preston Bus on Friday 26th November 1999 and taken to ATS for two new tyres to be fitted and then to Martins of Middlewich, who carried out its Class 5 MOT, after which it was taxed for the first time since June 1988.

Final rectification work was carried out by members of The SELNEC Preservation Society on Working Day Sunday 28th November 1999, including the fitting of front and rear hubcaps and Leyland Atlantean badges etc. so that it was ready to attend the Manchester Museum of Transport's Christmas Cracker event on Sunday 5th December 1999. It went on public display and was seen for the first time since 1984 at 29 years of age and 30 years after the formation of the SELNEC PTE in November 1969.

This event was covered exclusively by a national publication: Bus & Coach Preservation Monthly, with EX1 looking resplendent on the cover of Volume 2, No. 11 - March 2000 edition, photographed at Roe Green on its way to the Museum of Transport. Under an extraordinarily detailed article 'Setting the Standard', between pages 4 and 8 in the magazine, there appeared a total of 22 photographs (21 of the them in colour) of the vehicle when new, when acquired and through the various stages of its rectification.

EX1

BATCH:

EX1 - EX6 (5466 - 5471) (Type iii)

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(PNF 941J)

BODY:

Northern Counties H43/32F - Prototype

 

CHASSIS:

Leyland Atlantean PDR1A/1

 

FIRST REGISTERED:

20th October, 1970 (1970 Commercial Vehicle Motor Show)

 

PURCHASED:

6th June, 1988

 

DETAILS:

The very first SELNEC/GMT Standard, being the first prototype.


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