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Beadle Integral Lightweight 1947

By 1939 this bodybuilding firm were interested in chassisless or integral bus construction, and took out several patents, with a view to going into production. At that time extremely few buses or coaches had been built in which the body and chassis were made as one unit instead of two separate items, and London Transport (trolleybuses) and Midland Red were the only people who had tried. Beadle’s plans were delayed by the war, but in 1945-6 they built four prototype 33-seat single­deck buses in which advantage was taken of the lighter weights obtainable by eliminating the chassis and using aircraft methods of body construction with light alloy materials. The result was so successful that they then shed yet further weight in the mechanical components by the use of smaller and lighter engines, gearboxes, axles, etc, which led to attractive economies in lower fuel consumption and increased tyre life. The price, although more than for ordinary mass-produced small buses, compared well with standard 35-seaters on heavy chassis.

New engines and gearboxes were not available at this time, so secondhand overhauled units were used, in conjunction with certain operators. Four different makes were chosen, to prove that the Beadle system could be used with any of them. The first prototype had Commer Beadle mechanical parts and a Commer petrol engine, ex Eastern National, and re-entered service with Eastern National at Chelmsford in October 1945. The second used Leyland Cub parts and a Gardner 4LK oil engine, and entered service with Southern National at Taunton in August 1946. The third had Bedford OWB parts and a Bedford petrol engine and went to Eastern National in December 1946; and the fourth used Dermis Ace parts and Gardner 4LK engine. All four were extremely economical to run.

The first prototype had all-steel bodywork, and the other three had light alloy bodywork which was 27 cwt lighter so that the weight of the fully-laden bus was over 3 tons less than the legal maximum of 9 tons. All four were built to a 1946 patent specification for a method of underframe and floor construction which lent itself to receive any suitable type of engine and transmission units, and also permitted the use of standardised bodies without adaptation. The main structure was formed of four longitudinal and eight transverse members welded together to form a cellular framework, with diagonal cross bracings. It was later found that the rest of the structure was so stiff that the diagonal bracing was not needed.

In 1947-9 further buses were built, 50 were built using Bedford running units including; 

Crosville                             SC18-9         JFM 990-1           B35R
Eastern Counties              CB816-31    HPW 801-16       B35R
Eastern National              163-71         NVX 525-33         B33R (later converted to B35R)
Lincolnshire                      1225             FFU 157             
Silvey,Epney,Gloucs                              HFH 702              B35R  (later with Riviera, Falmouth)
Southern National           2001-5         HOD 123-7          B35R
Western National            2007-18       HOD 58-69          B35R  

12 were built using Morris Commercial/Saurer running units; 

Bristol                                  2500-1     MHU 246-7   
Hants & Dorset                  TS846-7   JRU 62-3
United Automobile           CBM1-2   MHN 601-2
United Counties                115-6        FBD 915-6
West Yorkshire                  618-9       HYG 972-3
Western National             2019-20   LTA 148-9        

The kit offers alternative fronts to enable these vehicles to be represented. 

Similar vehicles were also constructed using pre war Leyland Cub running units. Crosville and Lincolnshire were amongst operators taking delivery of these. These retained the Leyland radiator.


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