What are the odds? I happened to see this very same old London bus being towed in January of 2017. It looked like it hadn’t run in a long time. Then as I was driving out on W. 11th, I saw it again, at the fuel pump being filled up. And wearing modern wheels and tires. I had to check it out.
And although I’ve confirmed that it’s the same bus with a new diesel drive train and wheels and axles, I’m a bit stumped as to its exact model designation.
Here’s how it looked back in 2017, with its original wheels.
The owner was not around, so I couldn’t get any details about what exactly had been done to it.
The modern wheels are obvious in both front and back.
The inside is still as it was, as is the rest of the bus except its undersides.
The frame has been cleaned up, and there were a number of shiny new bolts visible.
I could see what was a clean modern-looking diesel engine and transmission in there. The oil filter is visible here. I was struggling a bit to determine whether this was the original axle or not. I’m going to assume so. The steering mechanism has also been completely redone, but I assume it’s original too.
Stupidly, I forgot to look into the wheels to see if it had modern disc brakes or not. I assume so.
I did not notice the ’70s or ’80s instrument panel until I looked at this shot closer at home. I suspect it’s an older addition. Realistically, this is most likely the second time this bus has been re-powered, as most of these buses were brought over to the US in the ’70s, when they were a thing. And invariably the ancient old Gardner diesel engine (or whatever it used) and transmission were swapped out for a big block Chevy V8 and THM 400, or something comparable. It was the most expedient solution then, and these buses were mainly used as promotional devices, so it just needed something to get it around some.
But this time, it’s getting a proper diesel drive train, and some serious attention to its underpinnings. But much of it is original, like the steering column.
In my previous post, I identified it as the very common AEC Regent III RT bus, but this one is a bit older than that. The key distinguishing feature is the front panel on the driver’s compartment, with that curved fluting below the windshield.
The RT bus has a flat panel there, with three vents in it. And there’s a number of other differences.
I tried for some time last night to pin it down, but there’s no readily available detailed guide to these online. I assume it’s just a generation or so earlier, from the 1930s or so.
I’m quite curious as to what the plans are for this bus. It’s a fascinating blend of old and new right now, but I hope the old gets the respect it deserves.