|LITTLE BUS COMPANY
6 Appleyard, Haworth Close,
Halifax, HX1 2NN.
Tel: 01422 301600
LEYLAND PDR1/1 ATLANTEAN DOUBLE DECK, WILLOWBROOK FULL HEIGHT (14’ 5”) BODY - DEVON GENERAL, YORKSHIRE TRACTION
Willowbrook of Loughborough was a small scale bodybuilder, a subsidiary of Duple from 1958 and largely building for the BET Group. It entered the rear engined double deck market somewhat notoriously in 1964 by bodying 22 Leyland low height PDR1/2 Atlanteans in Daimler’s home territory for Coventry Corporation but followed up the next year with 22 nearly identical bodies on Daimler Fleetline chassis.
This kit is based on the six full height (14’ 5”) Atlantean PDR1/1s built for Devon General in 1966. The source is a Willowbrook works drawing 8917, kindly provided to LBC by Phil Norris. Four further buses were built in 1969 and were completed in full Devon General livery with Devon “OTT” registrations, but were diverted when new to Yorkshire Traction and re-registered in Barnsley. They retained Devon General cherry red livery until their first repaint.
Photographs of the Devon General buses can be found in “Devon General” by Leslie Folkard and Philip Platt (Roundoak 1994), in “Glory Days, Devon General” by Colin Morris (Ian Allan 2006) and in “Devon General” by Leslie Folkard (Devon General Society, 2007).
“Glory Days, BET Group” by Gavin Booth (Ian Allan 1998) has a photograph of RHE 450G in Barnsley Bus Station in Devon General cherry red livery, while the late Geoffrey Atkins found the same bus in Tracky livery in Barnsley in 1971 (Prestige Series No 5: Yorkshire Traction, Venture Publications, 2000).
Comparison of these photographs suggests that the difference between the two batches was small, mainly confined to the shape and location of the side lamps and the trafficators.
A conversion option is Trent’s 571 (ONN 571P) a 1976 AN68 Atlantean, whose original ECW body was destroyed by fire and was replaced in 1977 by a new Willowbrook body. The body is similar to the Devon General buses, but has a plain front dash without the raised mouldings and with a different headlight layout. The bottom of the driver’s side window is level with the lower saloon windows and there is no dividing bar in the front windscreen. The rear overhang needs to be extended by 1mm and an AN68 engine bustle substituted. I understand that this body was based on that for the Brighton CUF ***Ls. A photograph can be found in “Buses in Britain – the 1970s”, by Stewart Brown, Capital Transport 1999.
Photographs of built kits are shown below:
The Atlantean engine bustle supplied with the WIL3 series of kits is a generic one, based on the Coventry Atlanteans. The Yorkshire Traction model will require the fitting of a near side ventilation grille, identical in size to that on the offside. Both the Devon General and Yorkshire Traction models will require an additional flasher unit, mounted above the rear light display. Also, if you want to be absolutely correct, the style of the mouldings on the engine cover needs to be changed. Refer to photographs.
The kit may include two rear bulkhead panels. The DG/Tracky model requires the taller 12mm version, which should be fitted flush with the body sides and resting against the ceiling cove panels of the upper deck floor. This should be fitted after the upper deck floor is in place and the bevelled edge goes at the bottom.
A particular note in assembling this model is that the upper deck windows are half a millimetre taller than those in the lower deck, so be careful with putting the printed glazing in the right place.
The Devon General and Yorkshire Traction Atlanteans had “top sliders” in all the large oblong windows on both decks. “Push-out” hopper ventilators were provided at the top of the front upper deck windows and also at the top of the nearside lower deck windscreen. The driver’s window is of a four panel divided type. Windscreen wipers were mounted at the top of the offside screen and at the bottom of the nearside screen.
At the front the indicator was 14” deep with a 32” wide destination screen mounted side by side with a 15” wide route number screen to the nearside. At the rear a single 15” wide by 11” deep route number screen was provided.
Modelling. © Tony Swift, Kirribilli NSW, Australia, 2009.
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