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Albion Nimbus - Willowbrook body

Albion Motors Ltd was purchased by Leyland Motors Ltd in 1951, but for many years afterwards it was still allowed to function independently and to develop new ideas. One of these was the “Nimbus”, which first appeared in November 1955. This was a lightweight under­floor engined single-decker, shorter and smaller than all the horizontal types already on the market. It had a straight frame, orthodox leaf springing, and the front axle set well back so as to leave plenty of room for an entrance in front of it. The Nimbus, known as the “MR9” or “MR9N” type, could seat 31 people in an overall length of only 23 Ft. 3 in., with a wheelbase of 11 ft. 10 in., and width of 8 ft. The engine was a new four-cylinder 3.8 g-litre overhead-valve horizontal unit, designed by Albion but incorporating many features of the Leyland 0.350 engine, and mounted amidships.

In September 1958 the MR9 was replaced by a “NS3N” Nimbus. The length, wheelbase and basic frame remained the same, but a larger 4.1-litre engine was used, again designed by Albion and based on the Leyland 0.350. The width was reduced to 7 ft. 6 in. In September 1960 the NS3N was replaced by an “NS 3AN”, which was the same except for its gearbox. A dropped instead of straight frame extension behind the rear springs was also now available as an optional extra. This Nimbus remained on the market until 1965.

Nimbus production amounted to 124 MR9 and 217 NS3. The largest user was Western Welsh with Harrington bodies who kept them to deeply rural routes

Although operators using the Nimbus on intensive one-man-operated routes found it troublesome, on the lightly trafficked rural routes for which it was designed it could put in a long life. Harvey of Mousehole, Cornwall, operated an ex-Halifax bus from 1966–86, other rural operators who got good value out of second-hand Nimbuses were Wiles of Port Seton in East Lothian, Scotland, and Booth and Fisher who operated on the borderlands of Yorkshire and Nottinghamshire


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