THE SELNEC PRESERVATION SOCIETY
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THE LAST SELNEC/GMT INSPIRED NORTHERN COUNTIES STANDARD BUS
After the formation of SELNEC on 1st November 1969, having inherited 11 different bus fleets, as we have reported previously the PTE worked closely with Northern Counties to produce a Standard vehicle that could be delivered to all its operating companies, depots and divisions that would be interchangeable in terms of both body and mechanical parts. This resulted in the first prototype SELNEC Standard EX1, exhibited at the Commercial Vehicle Motor Show in 1970.
Thereafter, a further 20 prototypes were built, EX2-EX21, and this was followed by a considerable number of production Standards, commencing with 7001. All in all, 1,836 Standard bodies were built on first generation rear engined Leyland Atlantean or Daimler/Leyland Fleetline chassis. Thereafter the Standard body, which had stood the test of time, was adapted to fit second generation chassis, such as on prototype or production vehicles, incorporating Foden/NC's, Dennis Dominators, Volvo Ailsa, Leyland Olympians, Scanias, Dennis Falcons and Volvo Citybuses.
At the same time, Northern Counties also made this Standard body available to other customers, being the Northern Counties Standard Double-Deck product. When they launched a new design in 1993 named Palatine II, they renamed the SELNEC/GMT Standard as Palatine I. This remained in production until December 1998, some 28 years since the first prototype EX1 in 1970.
Upon members of the SELNEC Preservation Society visiting Northern Counties (since renamed Plaxtons, and since then Transbus) it was identified that the very last Palatine I vehicle built was body number 6497. This, along with body number 6476, had been sold as a batch of two stock vehicles to J.J. Kavanagh & Sons in Kilkenny, Ireland.
Very helpfully, Mr Kavanagh has provided photographs of body number 6497, the very last Palatine I (ex-SELNEC/GMT Standard), and has advised this has registration number 99 W11 and was first registered on 7th April 1999. This vehicle is used daily from 07:20 to 23:30 hours in Waterford City. Sister vehicle 6476 was registered as 99 WD11 on 9th April 1999 and is used on the 07:20 to 18:00 hours services from Kilkenny to Naas and Naas Town.
Although not of particular interest to the SELNEC Preservation Society, it would be an interesting development if one day body number 6497 could be preserved to show the book ends of this far reaching and modern Standard design, spanning some 28 years in production.