Portuguese reg no : GB-21-07
UK Reg no : KSV 102
Type :AEC REGENT III model 963 IE
Engine : 9.6 litre with preselector gearbox
Chassis no : 9631E1694
Body: Weymann metal-frame
Capacity: originally H32/26R ('58), converted to H37/28R ('66)
Body no : M6652
The History of 255
The importance of preserving this bus is that it represents an all-British built (both chassis and body) double-decker of traditional UK design, but which in contrast was also purpose-designed for export to a country driving ‘on the other side of the road’.
As such it is now one of the extremely few survivors of the many hundreds of British manufactured left-hand-drive double-deckers, which were built albeit their use was concentrated in comparatively few cities.
Built and exported in 1954, this vehicle was one of many identical/similar buses delivered new to Lisbon, Portugal, where it operated for the (then) British owned Carris company. Entering service on the 30 October that year it then worked hard and intensively for nearly 29 years, enduring an operating environment much more arduous than anything experienced in the U.K.
The bus is 8'0” wide but of greater significance is its length. The 9631 chassis series was common for left-hand-drive AEC Mark III Regals (single-deckers) and Regents (double-deckers), their both having a wheelbase of 17'6" and overall length of 27'6". This commonality of length did not apply to home market single-deckers and double-deckers. No double-decker for use in U.K. was built to 255's length of 27’6”. (Instead, post-war front-engine double-deckers built for service in U.K. were all 26’0”, 30'0” or 31'0" long).
This left-hand-drive Regent was built and fully-assembled in U.K. for export to Portugal.
Over the years 1950 to 1957 a total of 112 of these left-handed open- rear-platform Weymann bodies were built, all to the order of Carris*. Of those 112, 84 were on AEC. 9631E chassis (of which four bodies were exported in kit form for local assembly to replace existing single-decker bodies) and 28 were on virtually identical AEC D2LA chassis. (*Twenty generally similar left-handed open-rear-platform double-decker bodies on left-hand-drive chassis were built in U.K. for Baghdad in 1953, but in this instance the body builder was Park Royal. The chassis model was another variant of the AEC 9631 series, the 9631A with manual gearbox.) Although of longer wheelbase than the equivalent home market model, no. 255 is a left-hand-drive ‘mirror-image’ of a traditional metal-framed Weymann body, (no. M6652). AEC Regent III, a chassis/body combination which, at the time was extremely popular with many U.K. bus operators.
255 also represents the sadly long-gone era when British manufactured vehicles dominated much of the world's export markets for buses and coaches, as well as for lorries and cars.