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Bristol Commercial Vehicles Enthusiasts

Bristol News from around the World

As always, if you have any additional information or photos for the pages on this website I would be delighted to hear from you at From September 29th 2007 I shall record all changes of vehicle status on this page with credit to the contributor.

I am in the process of adding a page for every operator who has ever run a VR, RE, LH or Lodekka. You can follow progress by visiting the Operator Cross Reference page.

I am also adding a history page for every individual VR, RE, LH and Lodekka. You can follow progress by visiting the Illustrated History Log page.

2014/5 News Log Archive
2013 News Log Archive
2012 News Log Archive
2011 News Log Archive
2010 News Log Archive
2009 News Log Archive
2007/8 News Log Archive

Date of Change

Source of Information Details of Change
21st April 2017
Neil Markwick
Neil is currently on a continental tour in fabulous RELH6G mark I ECW coach AFM105B. When passing through the town of Zülpich in Germany a number of the party spotted the unmistakable profile of a Lodekka roof behind some buildings. Naturally the tour came to a temporary halt while the vehicle was checked out, but nobody expected to find a bus that was previously believed scrapped and which went missing some 35 years ago! In 1961 a quartet of FS6Gs were delivered to Bristol Omnibus with convertible open-top bodywork for use on Weston-super-Mare sea front. 866NHT is still in use with East Yorkshire, 869NHT is a regular on the rally scene and 868NHT is believed to be safely tucked away in storage in the Bristol area. However 867NHT was sold by Stagecoach in 1982 (very early in that company's history) and was thought to have been sold for scrap, but as you may have guessed by now this is the very bus which was discovered today in a yard in Germany! The chassis plate was still in place to confirm its identity and it even still carries its fleetnumber (8577) inside, so another truly remarkable survivor takes its place on this website's listings.
20th April 2017
Jason Rayner
A newly restored LHS is former Western National 1557 (FDV787V) which has been painted in the attractive Blue Bus livery it first carried in the late 1980s for services taken over from Harvey's of Mousehole. Tiny buses were essential to negotiate the tight turn in the village of Mousehole and it was highly appropriate that 1557 made its debut at the recent Penzance Running Day thus recreating this historic scene.
17th April 2017
Mark Harrington
Mark pointed out to me that a new photo of former Bristol Omnibus C5054 (LEU262P) in Spain has been posted to Flickr. This former dual-door VR has led a nomadic life in recent years, having been left abandoned at a service station in central Spain in 2008 where it was vandalised and covered in the graffitti which it still carries. It was noted later at Llobregas in 2009 but had gone by 2011. It is now on the sea front at Badalona waiting for the next installment in its adventures.
16th April 2017
Steven Douglas
Steven lives in Walthamstowe and was surprised to find former Eastern National VR STW30W at Mission Grove Primary School locally.  He has sent photos which I am pleased to publish on the Non-PSV page for Southern England.
10th April 2017
Frans Angevaare
Another VR tracked down by Frans, and another built to the extra-lowheight 13'5'' pattern is URF661S which was new to P.M.T. but passed to Ribble in 1982. It was exported to Holland in 1992 and this is the first report I have seen since.
10th April 2017
Shane Ross
Former London Country LHS GPD318N was noted complete but in fairly poor condition at Moreton Valence near Gloucester this week. It was previously preserved and retains NBC green colours but looks like it may now be in non-PCV use. Any updates would be much appreciated.
2nd April 2017
Ian Kent/Frans Angevaare
An amazing proportion of VRs new to Cumberland Motor Services continue to survive, many of them in continental Europe, no doubt due to their having been built to ultra-lowheight (13'5'') specification making them just about low enough to pass the 4m height limit in many countries (when fitted with low profile tyres). The latest one to turn up is FAO428V which is in use as a mobile snack bar with Tat's Patat based in the town of Renesse, Holland. Interestingly it carries a red triangle on the rear indicating that it is limited to 25 km/hour (about 15mph) on the highway which certainly renders anything above third gear superfluous!
29th March 2017
Mike Ellis
Mike has rare (only two left!) Leyland O680-engined VR EWS753W for sale. He will only sell for further preservation and is asking for offers over £5,000. If you fit the bill and would like to further the restoration of this fine and worthy vehicle please drop him a line at
20th March 2017
Wolfram Niedermayer
As reported on 26th February 2017 Wolfram acquired former Western National LD6G 1933 (UOD487) last year for spare parts to repair his own accident-damaged TUO503. This work is now complete but he has no need for the remains of 1933 nor a place to store it, so he is offering the bus free of charge to anyone who can make use of it. The down side is that the bus is in Austria and you will of course need to have it towed away, but if you are interested please contact Wolfram either through Facebook or at
12th March 2017
Michael Pannell
Mike's friend Arun Anandesager has stumbled across former Western S.M.T. LD6G JSD925 in the Yorba Linda area of Los Angeles. It still carries the lettering "Himbleton Omnibus" from when it was owned by a Mr Russell-Smith in Driotwich in the mid 1970s. He had it converted for use as a caravan and took it to the U.S.A. on his travels. I don't know what happened next, but by 1998 it was at the Coach House establishment in San Juan Capistrano where it stayed until being sold in recent years.
8th March 2017
Neil Halliday
ECW coach-bodied RELH6G ABD252B is currently for sale for in the region of £1500. Requiring full restoration this is a rare opportunity to acquire such a vehicle and interested parties should contact Neil Halliday at
8th March 2017
Shane Ross
A Lodekka which changed hands in 2016 is former Midland General 309 (TRB576F) which having previously been a mobile cafe in the Republic of Ireland with Bryce Odgers is now enjoying a well-earned static retirement on the island of Inisbofin to the north west of Ireland where it continues in its role as a cafe. Inishwallah Cafe has further coverage of the bus on its Twitter feed here. Meantime I have taken the opportunity to update the bus's profile on this website including a nasty incident from which it emerged to survive for many more decades.
5th March 2017
David Grimstone
Another VR converted for use as a library/classroom at a school is previously preserved Southdown 586 (PUF586R) which is now at Walsh Church of England Junior School in Ash, Surrey.
27th February 2017
Frans Angevaare
Former Cumberland VR 437 (KRM437W) is alive and looking very well in Holland as an exhibition unit with De Kikvorschen in Den Bosch.
26th February 2017
Nick Jackson/Robin Selkirk/Wolfram Niedermayer
Two Lodekkas still alive in the U.S.A. are Western National 2102 (EDV514D) which is in use as a roadside "eyecatcher" by Best Roofing in Miami, Florida and Scottish Omnibuses GSG211D which is undergoing slow restoration in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Meanwhile Robin has come across two Lodekkas in Linz, Austria owned by FEEL Events (a successful party bus company owned by Wolfram Niedermayer). Southern National 1902 (TUO503) was their first vehicle acquired in 2011 and was converted to a mobile party bus in time for the 2012 season. However their other LD is a absolute beauty - yet another Western National Lodekka 1933 (UOD487) - but this one was last reported as exported in 1977!! What's more its destination forty years ago was Linz, Austria, so it has been hidden away in the same town for all these years! 40 years constitutes a record for this website for the number of years between reports for a single vehicle. Its last use was as a grandstand at MRSC Pettenbach, a local speedway club with no engine or other mechanicals fitted. Unfortunately 1902 was hit at the rear by another vehicle last year and sadly 1933 was only acquired so it could be used for spares to repair it. How lucky that there should be a suitable donor vehicle in the same town though!
10th February 2017
There is currently a glut of VRs on eBay, although I'm not sure you will find a bargain amongst this trio. Cheltenham District/Bristol Omnibus 5088 (NHU671R) is for sale in Holland with a broken gearbox, while London Bus Export are having a clearout and have both JWT761V and YMB519W for sale (although the photos of the latter are of RLG429V which was exported to Sweden some years ago).
6th February 2017
Former Western National 1117 (VDV117S) is a very widely travelled VR, having operated in Devon and Cornwall for over 20 years, followed by a couple of operators in the North East, then on Guernsey for a few years. It then returned to the mainland and has undergone conversion to a mobile home in the past couple of years. It is now for sale on eBay and is ready for yet another life somewhere!
31st January 2017
Jim Gorman
Rare FSF6G ex-Mansfield District 60JAL has had several lives in the U.S.A. since it arrived there in 1979. The latest chapter sees it acting as the London Calling restaurant and party bus in Springfield, Missouri.
30th January 2017
Tim Weatherup
Currently for sale on Reachoo in Santa Barbara, California is former Bristol Omnibus/West Riding/Top Deck Travel 813MHW. It is NOT a bargain at $27,000 with "damage where it has been moved with a fork lift"!!
28th January 2017
David-Jan Baan
David-Jan has just acquired FLF6G EHW191C and FS6G JFM220D to join his existing fleet of three VRs and four Loddekkas in Giessenburg, Holland. He acquired the business of Prins Classic from Bart Prins in 2012 and renamed it He is a big fan of the buses and will be helping me to complete his fleet list in due course. From his website I have already identified FJB738C ("Sarah"), WVX525F ("Elizabath"), JHK455C ("Mary") and NHU671R ("Margaret").
21st January 2017
Richard Walker
Former Eastern Counties VR245 (KVF245V) has sat in the yard of London Bus Export at Lydney since 1999 when it was withdrawn by Cambus, so it was quite a surprise to find that it was at Felixstowe Docks today, still in its PrinceBuild overall advertising livery, off to an unknown overseas destination.
11th January 2017
Paul Harrison
Talk about good news, bad news...! Paul came across former Western National 2105 (EDV517D) on the website of Camping de la Semois in Sainte Cecile in Belgium where during 2016 it had been reconverted from a static caravan to a mobile vehicle fit for the road again. Unfortunately just a few months later, on January 4th 2017 it had an accident on a narrow road over the border in Holland involving a car which saw both vehicles ending up in the ditch running alongside the road. A report from a local newspaper can be seen here. This is very similar to an accident which befell 68DNG a few years ago and by co-incidence this is currently for sale on eBay, although not all photos shown on there are of the same bus so buyer beware!
3rd January 2017
Shaun Courtnage
Shaun came across former Trent BRC834T during a visit to Sofia, Bulgaria. It had previously been used as a seating area for a local MacDonalds restaurant, but since at least 2012 it has been languishing in an inaccessible yard on an industrial estate.
29th December 2016
John Scragg
John took a tour of the Caribbean in the summer of 1979 and we have reason to be grateful as he found no fewer than six Lodekkas on his travels. Firstly, in May 1979 he visited Freeport in the Bahamas where AAX23B was running transfer for Princess Hotels. He also tracked down NBD918 at their garage premises, which means that they had three in total as 10EWO, another ex-Red & White example was already known to have been with them (indeed it was reported still there in 1983). On to St Lucia in June and he found four LDs, all converted to a highly unusual "toast rack" configuration running for another hotel, this time the Halcyon Days. These conversions have proved frustratingly difficult to identify over the years, although at least two are known to have come from Crosville in 1970. I have a page dedicated to these most interesting vehicles here.
29th December 2016
Jonathan Thompson
Jonathan spotted an FLF being used as a prop in the new sci-fi series "Aftermath" which is filmed in Vancouver, Canada. A few screen grabs enabled it to be identified as former Midland General 1388R which was last reported in use as a hospitality unit for Youth For Christ. Unfortunately it is now in a derelict condition, surrounded by scrap and with the lower deck ceiling cut away to allow filming from the upper deck and would appear to have run its last.
23rd December 2016
Buses Magazine/Mike Pannell
Two former Crosville Lodekkas on the move in and around North America are DFB100 (910VFM) which has been sold to an owner in Buffalo, New York, U.S.A. and DFB53 (266SFM) which Buses Magazine for January 2017 has identified as the mystery FLF on the Caribbean island of Aruba. DFB53 had a long trip all the way from Saskatchewan, Canada, while DFB100 is currently being towed from North Carolina but has hit a large snag in Maryland when loose lug nuts gave way on the rear wheel and smashed the hub. Mike is hoping to be able to help with the loan of some parts from one of his fleet of Lodekkas in Wyoming (KDL413, 409PTA, 412PTA and 535VRB).
21st December 2016
John Darwent
John reports that former Mansfield District/Midland General/Trent FSF6G 59JAL is alive and well as an "eye catcher" at Maxwell Silverman's restaurant in Worcester, Massachussetts, U.S.A.
20th December 2016
Dr Mike Walker
Bristol Omnibus 508 (THU354G) has always been one of the most popular REs on the preservation circuit, certainly due to its iconic registration batch (a THU-G) but also because its powerful Leyland O680 engine in a short RESL chassis makes it a pocket rocket. It was actually also one of the very first REs to be preserved, passing to the Bristol Omnibus Preservation Society in 1981 at the tender age of 12 years old. In 1992 like a great many other REs it became part of the Northern Bus fleet, where it escaped both receiving their livery (it retained Tilling green throughout) and a visit to the scrap man, passing instead to Malcolm Hodgson who used it as part of his Lakeland Voyager operation. In 2013 Malcolm had it repainted in Tilling red livery with United fleetnames as a facsimile of a class of which there are no survivors; at rallies it was fitted with the registration XHN934G from fleetnumber 2834. Things have now come full circle and in September of this year it was acquired by Dr Mike Walker of the Bristol Omnibus Collection who has had it repainted yet again into Tilling green livery with Bristol scroll fleetnames, and it is due to return to its home city imminently.
17th December 2016
Sean Keane/Mike Walker
Two very different vehicles on the move this month are OTA645G (see entry directly below) which has been snapped up by Catteralls Coaches of Southam and will be used in their operating fleet as a heritage vehicle, while former Western S.M.T. FLF6G XCS961 has turned up in Bremen, Germany just over 30 years since export there from the U.K. during which time it had never previously been reported! There are plans afoot to transport it over 350 miles to Cologne where it is hoped to get a new lease of life.
12th December 2016
Ian Moorcroft
There is currently an extremely rare opportunity on eBay to acquire OTA645G, a Mark I ECW coach-bodied RELH6G here.
7th December 2016
Dale Holbrook
Dale acquired Western National 2104 (EDV516D) in Avison, Illinnois, U.S.A. in 2004 and is now looking to sell it on. It ran in Alabama for many years, then passed through Tennessee before  reaching its current location. I can put any interested parties in touch.
4th December 2016
Very early Crosville LD6B DLB690 (RFM435) is still alive and well in Bloomington, Illinois, U.S.A. It has received a new lease of life in the last couple of years having been converted for use as a mobile restaurant known as The Bustaurant. It had been fitted with a US engine and transmission many years ago to replace the origina Bristol BVW unit, but it is still great to see a 1954 Lodekka still in regular use.
27th November 2016
Rob Hughes
Having been advertised for sale recently from storage with Heritage Malta, great news is that Rob has saved former Hants & Dorset LH6L GLJ485N. He had hoped to drive it back to the U.K. himself, but it soon became clear that there was no way the Maltese authorities would allow it to be registered for use on public roads there, so he is having to have it shipped instead. The bodywork is highly original inside and out, but the same cannot be said for the mechanicals which consist of a DAF vertical engine and ZF gearbox! Rob will rally it in this condition initially, but intends to reinstate an original Leyland O401 engine and manual box eventually. It will make an excellent stablemate for his other LH, AFB586V.
3rd November 2016
Jason Lupton/Jon Hare/Clive Myers
It isn't just VRs that are on the move within the preservation movement - the sector is still very active with many worthy vehicles continuing to find good homes. Hartlepool REs have had a cult following for many years due to their long lives, unique features and one-time dominance of the local fleet and there are several survivors. An outlier was OEF77K which had been in non-PCV use for many years but which has now been saved for restoration by the newly-formed Hartlepool Historic Vehicle Preservation Group. We wish them well with this ambitious venture.

Another RE on the move is former Crosville YFM280L which has finally been bagged by Clive Myers after a near miss when he nearly acquired it in 2014. Finally Viv Carter's unique former Crosville FS6G with Gardner 6LXB engine and winged-motif front cowl, 314PFM, came up for sale earlier this year and I couldn't resist snapping it up myself, not just because it is a wonderful vehicle and a great survivor having been rebuilt by Viv from its heavily modified condition of a few years ago, but because I really want to gain the skill of being able to drive vehicles with a Bristol crash gearbox. It is proving a tough challenge, but I'll get there and will hopefully be able to swell the rank of such drivers at future running days.
28th October 2016
Barry Rathbone
The latest disposal from the Johnson of Hodthorpe fleet is UDL668S which has been spotted under conversion for use as a caravan with several windows panelled over.
28th October 2016
Rail River Link/Dan Shears
The introduction of Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) restrictions for double deckers on regular services from the beginning of 2017 has had a drastic effect on the remaining VRs in use on sightseeing tours in two fleets in the South West. Following the end of summer operation earlier this month, both Rail River Link and Crosville Motor Services have sold open-top VRs, all four passing into preservation. Crosville have sold VDL613S (ex-UFX855S) and HTU159N to an as-yet unknown owner from Gloucestershire - both are currently stored at Winkleigh, with just LEU263P remaining in stock. Meanwhile Rail River (who had sold WTU467W earlier in the year to Dan Shears after its rear axle failed) have sold UWV614S to Steve Salter who is to keep it in Plymouth and VDV138S to.... me! I'm pleased to say that it made the journey up from Paignton to Tewkesbury faultlessly earlier this week and it will enjoy care and attention alongside my other (very different!) VR, JOU161P.
20th October 2016
Simon Brown
An unusual vehicle to become a static library/classroom is former Ulsterbus RELL6G BXI2598 which is at St Hilda's C of E Primary School in Prestwich, Manchester. It arrived last year and has been fitted out on site unlike the VRs to have found this role in recent years which have been converted and supplied by Simon's InCube Ltd. in Staffordshire.
19th October 2016
John Buchan
John bumped into former Bristol Omnibus C7135 (828SHW) on an industrial estate in Ettenheim, Germany today. It was easily recognisable through the remaining sky blue livery of its previous owner and its four-track number blinds which were a unique feature of Bristol Omnibus vehicles.
18th October 2016
Emiliano Cozzatella
Emiliano runs an interesting fleet of vehicles trading as Feste Divertenti in Rome, Italy, of which at least five are Bristol VRs! Each bus has a different marketing identity and each of them is shown on the front page of their website here. Clockwise from the top left, Party Bus is FAO427V, Party Bus Vintage is BKE853T, Party Bus Open is VDV139S, Bus Eventi is also VDV139S in another livery, Wedding Bus Semi Open is XBO121T and Risto Bus (converted to a 40-seat restaurant) is LFJ859W. Emiliano also has a very active presence on Facebook if you want to follow his VRs more closely. Quite a few other VRs have been exported to Italy in recent years and may also be involved in this or other related operations - any information received would be very much appreciated.
16th October 2016
Former Southdown flat-front VR 516 (UUF110J) is currently listed on eBay for sale. It has been in preservation since 1999 when it was withdrawn from service by Embling of Guyhirn. It should be in very good mechanical condition having received extensive attention in recent years and is in original condition internally and externally so will be a nice acquisition for someone.
1st October 2016
Heritage Malta
After a period of a few years in store, former Malta Bus LHs GLJ485N (ECW-bodied) and RDE298S (Plaxton) are currently being offered for sale by tender alongside several other Heritage Malta vehicles. Full details of how to apply can be found here.
25th September 2016
Tim Weatherup
Blue Mountain Explorer operated a trio of VRs based in Katoomba in the mountains above Sydney, Australia for many years, sampled and very much enjoyed by me in 2001. However, by 2011 flat screen Series 1 JFE539G and curved screen Series 2 HHL737L had been long withdrawn and were damaged in a fire service demonstration. Both were subsequently scrapped, but in 2013 the last one - HHL739L - was sold to Wagga Wagga Winery and is still in use carrying groups of visitors during their visit to the site.
23rd September 2016
Jon Gerstenfeld
Very welcome news received today from Arizona, U.S.A. is the continued existence of former Southern Vectis OT1 (MDL951). This is the last of six open-top Lodekkas to run with Vectis to surface in recent years - amazing that all six should survive in 2016. OT1 is not entirely original as it has received an American engine and transmission, but it is receiving attention at the moment and will be roadworthy again in due course.
19th September 2016
Keith Jenkinson
Keith (of Autobus Review Publications) has produced three volumes of lists showing the vehicles that passed through the breaker PVS of Carlton (Barnsley) from 1991 onwards (sadly records prior to this were shredded before Keith could get to them). The vast majority of these buses and coaches were scrapped on site and the lists have confirmed the fate of a good number of Bristol vehicles not previously known. Four in particular have given rise to significant updates on this website. All of RYG390R, YNW294S, BRF688T and GGM81W had been reported exported in the mid to late 1990s, and at least two of them had been rebuilt with offside entrances, but all three are confirmed to have passed through PVS for scrap instead.
18th September 2016
Dave Hale
Former Western National FLF6B 818KDV has been owned by Mike in Seattle, U.S.A. since 1993. It has been converted for use as a mobile bar by his "Hale's Ales" brewery business and is fitted with an International DT466 engine, automatic Allison transmission and large truck axles and is good for 65mph cruising. Mike is currently looking for a replacement steering box, or at least parts to repair the existing unit - please contact me if you can help and I will put you in touch.
2nd September 2016
Nick Verbeek
On a recent trip to Italy Nick came across the two Lodekkas used as props at Movieland Park Studios at Lazise, near Lake Garda. FL6G 10AAX and FS6G DAP64C have been there for probably more than 20 years, but have recently been repainted from orange into a more sedate red and cream London-style livery. It is notable that htis is the third ex-Red & White AAX-registered Lodekka reported in just over a month!
30th August 2016
Tim Weatherup
Rare VRTLL6G LFS298F has moved on in the U.S.A. having previously been used on a shuttle service in Rapid City, South Dakota it has now moved to a static role at the Funk Yard in Uranus, Missouri. You can get a very good idea of its setting in the first profile photo on their website here.

Yet another Lodekka to receive a new lease of life is Bristol Omnibus C7112 (805SHW) in Italy which has been completely refurbished during its conversion for use as an unusual mobile tailor shop. It is now "Sartoria Mobile" based at Serravalle Scrivia in Northern Italy.
26th August 2016
Rob Capel
VRs from the fleet of Johnsons of Hodthorpe continue slowly to find new owner. Rob noted ODL662R in Churston, Devon this week, apparently in private hands having been sold last year by Johnsons to Used Bus & Coach (dealer) in Warrington.
25th August 2016
VTH942T, new to South Wales but later transferred to Western National (in whose colours it has been preserved) is currently for sale on eBay.
24th August 2016
Tim Weatherup
Former Southern Vectis FLF6G BDL576B has had many lives in the U.S.A. since export, the latest following an extensive renovation and conversion to the "Horny Taco Bus" owned by Evil Czech Brewery in Mishawaka, Indiana.

Tim has cracked a long-standing mystery - the identity of an open-top FLF that was used by German group The Kelly Family during the 1990s. He narrowed it down to one of the four FLFs converted to open-top by Eastern National (by the style of conversion). He then ruled out RWC608 (has been in preservation since 1982), NTW943C (destroyed by fire in 1981) and RHK348D (scrapped in the U.S.A. after further service with Chicago Motor Coach). This left MVX885C so he checked the list of Eastern National survivors on this website to find that it had been exported in 1982 to.....Germany! QED
23rd August 2016
Frans Angevaare
Further VRs traced and identified by Frans in Holland include SNJ590R (mentioned yesterday) which was exported in 2004 and used by Esther Matze for spares for her other VR GRF696V. SNJ was sold on to Fort de Hel in Willemstad who converted it for use as an "escape room for a music studio. GRF696V meanwhile has also now been sold, to Zorgboerderij De Mikkelhorst, Haren.

Another pair of VRs whose stories have become intertwined are NHU671R (a former Cheltenham District dual-door vehicle which used to take me to school) and BRF692T, a former P.M.T. Leyland-engined single door example. The number of doors on each of these VRs turns out to be crucial; BRF was registered BL-FS-27 locally in 2001 and changed hands a number of time. Then, in 2012, a VR turned up in a white livery carrying BL-FS-27 and even indicating chassis number VRT/SL3/1687 from BRF - but it couldn't be the same bus as it had a central staircase. Some sleuthing ensued and it was positively identified as NHU. Presumably BRF hit a terminal mechanical problem and was replaced by a more sound vehicle, although recent eBay auctions show that it too now requires a replacement gearbox before it can return to the road.
22nd August 2016
Frans Angevaare
In his latest travels Frans has tracked down two VRs to the quayside at Amsterdam Noord docks. WDM348R has been in use there as a cafe for a while now, but has recently had a very imaginative conversion where the rear engine covers have been removed and altered for use as a bar.

The other VR has been a difficult one to identify in the past and I am indebted to Frans for checking the chassis number which shows it to be URU689S. This passed to Wedding Classics on export to Holland in 2009 but had arrived in its current position at the docks by 2012 in a half-red half-cream livery, which led me to believe that it was a former Currian Road vehicle and I had assumed it was SNJ590R (which is also in Holland). It has now been repainted allover red by its current owner Stichting Convoi Exceptionnel.
22nd August 2016
Tim Weatherup
More fascinating internet links from Tim. KRU240F is the third vehicle reported in the past week in use as a paintball prop for the "wars" that are becoming an increasingly popular pastime. This time it is on the idyllic Hawaiian island of Maui where it ran for many years for Sugar Cane Train, but had hit hard times and was unlikely ever to run again. The same applies to the amazing surviving FLF-series prototype 995EHW which turned up at the bottom of a garden in Maui recently; it was inspected with a view to repatriating to the UK but was found to be too far gone and is now - very regrettably - likely to be broken for scrap.
19th August 2016
Anthony Martin
Another VR exiled in Europe is former Trent 851 (PRC851X) which is now used by John Martin SA brewery in Belgium to advertise their Waterloo beer brand.
16th August 2016
Frans Angevaare
Frans visited Paintball-Games Venhorst in Boekel, Holland this week and found both BOD35C and HWE826N in use as props for use during the paintball "wars". Not surprisingly both are looking pretty awful having had their own paint taken off shot by shot, but at least they are providing entertainment rather than sitting in a scrapyard somewhere.
15th August 2016
Tim Weatherup/Frans Angevaare (part 2) Former Bristol Omnibus/Badgerline 5533 (EWS741W) has found an unusual resting place having been incorporated in the fabric of the building at Hotel den Helder in the town of den Helder in Holland.

PAG511W (now known as "The Red Lady") remains with Jan van Esch in Boxtel, Holland where it has received a thorough refurbishment and an unusual conversion to reduce its overall height below 4m. Unlike other conversions where the roof is flattened, on this one the windows have been reduced in height (while retaining the hoppers and vents) giving an interesting appearance which can be judged here.

In 2001 Willowbrook-bodied VR TFN991T was sold by dealer Bristol Bus & Coach to an entrepreneur in Copenhagen, Denmark who planned to use it as an office in a warehouse. The reality turned out rather differently - the roof had to be cut off for the journey and was intended to be refitted on arrival, but in fact the bus sat at the harbour for a number of years, used as a pavillion until the upper deck floor deteriorated so badly that it was sold to a local scrapyard where it was believed to have been broken up around 2006.

Former Devon General VR 1188 (FDV832V) has been used as a mobile home based in the Forest of Dean area since 2005 but has now been retired and converted for use as a static caravan at Pope's Hill. Full photographic coverage can be found here.

Two Lodekkas still clinging on in someone's back garden in deepest Michigan, U.S.A. are 807SHW and FGM320D which have been sitting derelict for many years now and really will need some attention soon before they are past saving. There is a recent picture here.

MVX883C spent many years after export in Alaska keeping well under the radar, but in April 2012 it was acquired by David Sale in Vancouver (Washington state U.S.A., not the one in British Columbia, Canada) and after a complete refit from top to bottom opened in May 2015 as Nellie's Food Cart. Further details of the conversion and more about the history of the bus can be found here.

Another mobile cafe conversion is another former Eastern Counties, VR228 (DEX228T) which is in Fribourg in Switzerland. It has received a repaint since its last report and appears to be in good condition.

Finally, completing a trio of mobile cafe conversions, former Crosville DLG792 (XFM203) is now Blakey's Bus Cafe in the village of Mulbarton in Norfolk.
12th August 2016
There are two VRs currently on eBay - PAG515W and DCA528X.
12th August 2016
Tim Weatherup/Frans Angevaare (part 1)
Lodekkas and VRs continue to turn up regularly and I am grateful to both Tim and Frans for providing lots of information for this website, Frans having visited many of the vehicles in Holland and Belgium in person. There may be several parts to this update due to the volume of material!

7 Hills Camping in Rome used to be a regular haunt for the Lodekkas of Top Deck Travel and when they suffered major breakdowns both KGH891A (ex-804SHW) and STW763D were acquired for static use on the camp site and both were still there in April. 7 Hills were also reported to have had Brighton & Hove OPC165D (ex-JPM80D) but there was no sign of this.

LEL652F has a new owner in Holland at Van Vlastuin Taxi & Touristbus in Woudenberg. Many operators are finding it hard to meet new Dutch regulations - this Lodekka has been fitted with an offside entrance, roof escape hatches and a second staircase in order to continue in use. Hans Classic Cars of Nijkerk have a similar conversion under way on former United Auto VR CPT732S, although this work has now come to a halt and the bus has a thick layer of dust from sitting in the garage for some time now. Hans also have 428PTA which spent quite a lot of time registered BOC362A in the UK after finishing with Western National.
4th August 2016
Leonid Kozlov
In an amazing co-incidence the second former Red & White FS of the week has turned up, this time it is L763 (AAX21B) which is currently for sale in Moscow. This one was a late export having been fitted with a Gardner 6LX engine and lowered to 4m overall height by London Bus Export in Lydney prior to shipping to Russia in 2005.
30th July 2016
Sholto Thomas
Sholto was on a train in Switzerland between Murten and Fribourg earlier this month when he spotted a red Lodekka while passing through the village of Cressier. A few Google searches later he had tracked it down to the company Limo1 and from photos on their website we have identified it as former Red & White FS6B L1063 (AAX24B). This had not previously been reported since it was exported to Germany in 1985, so this is a great discovery.
28th July 2016
Paul Bateson & Nigel Eadon-Clarke
Paul and Nigel have just visited Philadelphia and report the great news that the entire fleet of VRs used by Big Bus there remains intact, although not too many of them were actually noted in service. Most of their identities are well known, but fleet number 320 remains a mystery (one which I am hoping to solve soon).
25th July 2016
Bryan Sharpe, Lyndon Carter, Dave Mulpeter, Tony Barfield
A number of preserved vehicles have been reported on the move this summer. RDV419H, one of the very last Mark I ECW RELH coaches to have seen service back in the 1990s, has passed to Richard McAllister of Sowerby Bridge, West Yorkshire. Meantime the loss of storage at the former Denyer yard in Essex has led to rare dual-door RESL6G CCG296K being moved off site while VTH941T has passed to Robin Harrison on the Isle of Wight, HKE680L to Dave Mulpeter (Seaford & District, where on inspection it is not considered to be in fit condition for restoration and is likely to be used for spares) and XHK234X (Eastern National's last VR) to Jonathan Brenson of Little Waltham, Essex. The final escapee is long-derelict HPW447D which passed initially to Viv Carter of Colchester but which is now with Viv's son Lyndon for restoration.
7th July 2016
Peter Findlay
A surprise was the continued existence of LHL6L (long wheelbase LH) Plaxton Elite II-bodied coach NWW162K in the yard of Bain of Oldmeldrum. It has been withdrawn since at least 2000 and has survived a major clear-out of older vehicles from the yard in recent years. It is not being advertised for sale, but if anyone is genuinely interested in saving this rare coach then it might be worth a polite enquiry to the operator.
7th July 2016
Steve Kendrick
Rare dual-door ex-City of Oxford VR 474 (HUD474S) is currently undergoing restoration work in Houston, Texas in the U.S.A. This is welcome news as the last report of this was in 2009 when it was sitting in a muddy field gradually deteriorating.
30th June 2016
Nick Verbeek
Information received directly from the operator has helped to clarify and confirm the fleet of Piet Verbeek of Veen, Holland. 504BRM is a rare ex-Cumberland FSF6G which has been in the fleet for the last 18 years and has recently received a thorough overhaul and repaint into allover white livery. Former Eastern Counties BNG886B retains its original Gardner 5LW engine which had a rebuild a few years ago while JAH551D is also owned and has also had its 6LX engine rebuilt. Wilts & Dorset 691AAM is now fitted with a DAF 1160 engine, while 558BNG (also ex-Eastern Counties) was owned until recently but has now been sold.

Another fleet of Lodekkas on the Continent which has recently been confirmed as intact is that of Movil Bus of Vigo, Spain. No fewer than ten are owned, all converted for various promotional activities, and a fantastic line-up of the whole fleet was recently posted to their website and is currently Photo of the Month on our home page. The identity of eight of them is known, but two of the closed-top examples are a mystery so if anybody has any additional information about this fleet I would be delighted to hear from you at
27th June 2016
Jon Gulliver and others
Once again this year the Glastonbury Festival has provided much of interest to VR fans. Pride of place goes to former East Kent XJJ658V which has finally appeared on the shuttle services some 15 years after acquisition by Chepstow Classic. It has been thoroughly prepared for service mechanically but amazingly retains Stagecoach stripey livery (minus most of the orange!). Others also confirmed at the event are UFX856S, CJJ677W, JMB401T (still with its Leyland 501 engine), XJJ653V, XJJ655V, XJJ659V, JWV269W, VDV142S, Abus XHK221X, Martin Curtis's AHW201V and AYG941H in its usual role as mess hut and driver accommodation.
19th June 2016
Jason Rayner/Mike Ede
Two notable restorations recently completed are Brighton & Hove RESL6G 210 (PPM210G) which has been returned to NBC green livery and Cheltenham District dual-door RELL6L 1003 (KHW309E) which has been repainted in Cheltenham's rich red livery. Both the Rayner family and the Stroud RE Group are to be heartily congratulated in returning REs to the road which had previously been in poor condition.
17th June 2016
Frans Angevaare
Frans came across former Maidstone & District 5886 (HKM886V) today under tow in Den Haag following a breakdown. It is currently owned by Andere Weg Vervoer of Amsterdam who also show WWC743F as current on their website. The VR had not been reported since export to Holland in 2000 but the sequence of subsequent owners has been obtained from the website of the Dutch authorities.
15th June 2016
This photo shows that since it was last reported in 2007 in Holland, former West Yorkshire DX30 (OWX174) has had a repaint in allover white and has also been fitted with a rather small offside entrance.
14th June 2016
Ian Chancellor
Ian's brother Paul came across early Series 3 VR MDM285P at Richard Hale School in Hertford earlier this month - this one was known to survive somewhere as it had continued to be relicensed year on year, but was last reported with Hackney Adult Education during 2009. It is believed to have moved to Hertford soon afterwards, although it is not known whether it is still used as a technology classroom nor whether it is currently mobile.
10th June 2016
Mark Allin
Mark posted a photo of an unidentified FLF in Alaska to this website's Facebook page last night. I had an idea which one it might be from features on the bus and previous photos of it, but help from some Mansfield District enthusiasts confirmed it to be FNN158D which has made the very long journey from San Diego, California since 2007 when it was last recorded.
3rd June 2016
As reported earlier in these pages, InCube Ltd. of Stafford have made a niche for themselves recently in converting VRs for use as mobile classrooms. It appears this has now stopped as they have placed three VRs on eBay - AHW198V, TDT864S and HJB455W.
3rd June 2016
Adrian Clarke/Robert Fox
A couple of ex-Bristol Omnibus FLFs on the move in Europe are 7165 (AHY981B) which has been re-acquired by Londag in Wadenswil, Switzerland for further onward sale, and 7224 (EHT113C) which had been used as a mobile restaurant by Pic Nic Del Mundo in Belgium since 2010 but has now been acquired by Robert for refitting as an ice cream outlet. It will soon be moved to the banks of the River Elbe in Meissen, Germany.
29th May 2016
Rebecca Reaville
Rebecca is already the owner of OCD771G, rescued from the island of Victoria in British Columbia, Canada last year. She is now in Vancouver where she has tracked down OCD763G and OTA292G, still with Big Bus where they operated for almost a quarter of century. Both are now out of use and we hope for news of a further rescue effort soon!
28th May 2016
Paul Stephens
Paul brings welcome news of Southern Vectis open-top LD6G MDL563 (now registered BAS562) which has been unreported since sale by Quantock Motor Services in 2007, but which is stored with Tony Hagon of Bowermadden, near Wick in the very north of Scotland. It has been left outside and is in poor external condition, but renovation is imminent and hopefully it will one day be returned to operational condition.
27th May 2016
Paul Bateson
Paul has very kindly sent a detailed update on recent changes relating to Bristols in Ontario, Canada. First up is former Southdown convertible (although it was separated from its roof many years ago) VR UWV605S which had previously been running for Lady Dive tours in Ottawa. It has recently been acquired by James Doucet of Cumberland, Ontario for conversion to a mobile chip wagon alongside a pair of Daimler Fleetlines also owned by James.

JAE630D has already had a long and interesting career in Nova Scotia, having first been a sightseeing vehicle in Halifax, then as a mobile chip wagon, and finally a static cafe in Englishtown. By 2015 it had been sold and was towed to Ontario, owned by Andre and Natalie Audet and is parked in Greely. Much of the interior has now been removed in preparation for a further new life as a retail outlet.

147YFM remains in use with Ken Loughren as a fast food outlet at Elizabethtown-Kitley and was observed by Paul doing a roaring trade earlier this month.

Finally a mystery for Paul which I was able clear up thanks to the wonder that is Facebook. Wilts & Dorset LMW915 had been parked adjacent to George's Fish & Chips at Carrying Place, Ontario since 2005 and was still there when Paul last visited in October 2015, so he was very surprised to find earlier this month that it had gone. The owner told him that it had been towed thousands of kilometers to Alberta, but had no idea where in that massive state the new owner was located. It just so happens that Nigel Clydsdale had already posted photos on Facebook of the bus being towed back in November 2015 and that he is the new owner, based at Fort McMurray - famous in World news recently for the wild bush fires that destroyed part of that city.
27th May 2016
Brian Ross/Paul Harrison
Brian came across former Mansfield District 378RNN in Palm Beach, Florida this week. It was in great condition and has been painted in an unusual livery of red on one side and white on the other, lettered for Palm Beach Double Decker.

Paul also reports that Eastern National AEV814F is undergoing repaint and preparation for a further season in use with Antique Auto in Belgium. The business has recently moved to Antwerp from Brussels.
23rd May 2016
Ian Moorcroft
Having passed from preservation to dealer Mike Daly of Warrington (Used Bus & Coach Sales) in January, VR FDL677V is currently for sale on eBay.
19th May 2016
Traveller Dave
A surprise survivor, although only just, is Northern Counties-bodied UTD283H which was new to Lancashire United in 1969. The batch was withdrawn at a fairly young age and therefore many found buyers, often in non-PSV roles. 283 ran for Haydock Timber in the 1980s, then saw use as an immobile storeshed before being converted for use as a caravan. It was a common sight in the Manchester area in the early 1990s but then disappeared, presumed scrapped. However, it has just turned up at an unknown - but very remote - location in mid Wales where it has been resting in woods since at least 1996. It seems that any attempt to move it would result in it falling in a heap, but at least it makes an interesting sight here. Sadly the other late survivor from this batch, UTD298H, was finally scrapped in 2014 after looking like it might make it to restoration.
19th May 2016
Danny Webb
Former Eastern National STW26W has already had more lives than most buses ever see and it is now nearing completion as the Menehune Tiki Bus in Eaton, Ohio, U.S.A. The conversion is extensive and the interior looks amazing! To follow its exploits after it opens for business next month they have a Facebook page here.
18th May 2016 **updated 19th May**
Former Shoreline Suncruisers open-top VR HPK507N is currently for sale on eBay. After 26 years working Scarborough sea front it would be a shame to see it escape preservation. Even better than preservation, the VR has been sold to Stagecarriage of Middlesbrough for further use!
7th May 2016
David Kim
If you ever needed proof that Bristol Lodekkas are almost indestructible how about the prototype FLF, former Bristol Ommibus LC8540 (995EHW) which has just turned up again on Maui, Hawaii, some twelve years after it was last reported and 35 years after it first arrived on the island. It is now on Craigslist at a reasonably affordable $6000, although obviously rescuing it is going to cost a lot more than that! David found out from the current owner that it was inherited when he purchased the property. Apparently one day he was cutting the grass and discovered a road he didn't know about (as you do!). He cleared out the road and at the bottom he found the bus sitting in the bushes! He towed it up to the top of the hill and it has sat there ever since.
5th May 2016
Bob Pain
Bob, now based in Daventry, has added OVV849R to his impressive collection of former United Counties vehicles. It has left Chepsow Classic where it retained its touched-up Stagecoach livery.
2nd May 2016
Garth C Bakke/Ryan W
Two more Lodekkas have turned up recently in North America. Garth has former Bristol Omnibus 7061 (506OHU) in Saskatchewan, Canada. It had been used in previous years for stag tours and pub crawls but has been laid up for a while. Garth is now looking to sell it, but of course any rescue would be hugely expensive from such a remote location. Ryan has former Lincolnshire 2376 (OVL471) in Columbus Falls, Montana, U.S.A. This one has been around a bit, having been in Virginia, Wyoming and Utah before its current home and is approaching its 40th year overseas. Ryan is busy restoring 2376, but is hitting the usual problems of sourcing spare parts that are hard to find in the UK let alone the other side of the Atlantic!
13th April 2016
Daniel Stazicker
Daniel is in Philadelphia at the moment and has confirmed the very good news that VRs continue in use with Big Bus here. Noted during his visit were 350 (KRU856W) and 395 (JWV264W) which continues in use as a promotional vehicle parked on the street to attract business.
12th April 2016
Peter Findlay/Donald MacRae
A rare find reported on 5th February 2015 (see below) was that of flat-fronted VR CBD783K which was for sale at the time in Belgium. Today Donald came across it undergoing restoration in the open on a street in Berlin, Germany. It has been bought by an organisation called Bus Pi who have a Facebook page which can be found easily if you want to see more photos of it.
11th April 2016 **updated 22nd May**
Paul Bateson
Former Eastern National 297JHK and the 1000th Lodekka off the production line is currently for sale on Craigslist in Los Angeles, California**I have been contacted by Justin Nilson who has bought the bus and has had it transported to its new home in the Bay area of San Francsisco where it is planned to receive a thorough restoration**
10th April 2016
John Buchan
John came across HJB456W in Milan this weekend working for IdeaE20 Marketing promoting McVities biscuits. A look at their Facebook page reveals that they have been running this VR since 2013 during which time it has been on extensive tours of Europe.
8th April 2016
Paul Harrison
Paul dropped in at Antique Auto in Brussels this week and confirmed that former Western National EDV521D and Eastern National AEV814F FLFs are still resident, although both looking rather down-at-heel these days.

Paul also contacted me with the news that he has decided to sell XHK234X, numerically Eastern National's final VR. He would of course like to see it go for restoration - more details can be found here if you are interested.
8th April 2016
Mike Pannell
A former Eastern Counties FLF currently on eBay is GPW441D - it is in Minnesota in the U.S.A. and has clearly seen better days!
3rd April 2016
Viv Carter
Carter's Coach Services was sold recently, signalling the end of several decades of interesting operation of Bristols of all types. JNG50N has recently been sold locally for preservation, and they currently have FS6G 314PFM for sale. However, Viv Carter is retaining the last VR to enter service with the NBC, VEX294X, which we really hope to see on the road later this year.
2nd April 2016
Jason Lupton
A sale has been concluded for NNU449J, former Midland General dual-door RELL6G. It has been sold to an owner in Worthing who plans to finish the bus as a mobile home and take it for an overland tour to India! Let's hope it turns up on Flickr at some future date.
25th March 2016
Phil Groocock/Duncan Bingham/Adrian Morton
A friend of Phil's was on the Falkland Islands recently. Having flown into a grass airstrip, a 20-minute Land Rover ride across Carcass Island and a 2 hour boat trip to a remote offshore island called West Point the last thing he expected to find was an ex-Crosville Bristol LH6L - but that's exactly what he found there! In fact MCA617P was flown to the island suspended from a helicopter in the mid 1980s where it was used to transport tourists from a cruise ship landing stage to Devil's Nose penguin and albatross colony. It has however been out of use for many years after these duties were taken over by Land Rovers and is slowly decaying in the corner of a field.

Another LH in the news is AFB597V which was the very last LH chassis built (there were later LHSs and a pair of LHL van conversions). It has been bought by Morton's Coaches of Basingstoke who have turned it out in Wilts & Dorset post-deregulation livery. Although many of this batch operated for the company this one actually never did, but rather satisfyingly it has been numbered 3859, following on from AFB595V (which carried 3858).
18th March 2016/23rd March 2016
TruckScout24/Heinrich Wulfes
Two FLF Lodekkas are currently for sale on this German-based vehicle sales website. Former Bristol Omnibus 7165 (AHY981B) has undergone a thorough renovation and conversion to a mobile catering outlet in Switzerland as can be seen here.

There is also a Scottish FLF on the same website owned by Heinrich Wulfes, forrmer proprietor of the well known German Lodekka importer Der Blickfang. Heinrich has promised to send me the chassis number of this one next week to properly identify it. He also owns former Bristol Omnibus C7262 (GAE883D - the last FLF in regular service in the UK) which he is to keep for his own private collection. After arriving in Germany with another owner in 1994 it sat for 20 years outside, unused and deteriorating. When Heinrich acquired it in 2014 it started immediately and he was able to drive it to its new locaation!

The Scottish FLF turns out to be an absolute corker. The chassis number supplied by Heinrich Wulfes (236279) shows it to be SHN252F, new to United Automobile, but soon part of the VR/Lodekka swap which saw many FLFs go to Scottish operators. It landed with Eastern Scottish and lasted right up to 1990, latterly as a driver training vehicle. It was exported to Germany in 1992 but had remained lost..... until now!
16th March 2016
Two Bristols currently for sale on eBay in Holland (at what would seem to be vastly inflated prices compared to what they would be worth in the UK) are former Western S.M.T. FLF6G 1951 (AAG119B) (the auction can be viewed here) and a gem for me (being one of the VRs I used to take to school) former Cheltenham District 5088 (NHU671R) (auction here). For anyone thinking of repatriating a bus from the Continent there has to be a deal to be done on these when the owner realises their true value.
6th March 2016
Paul Emery/Chris Brown/Steve Foster/James Bunting
As if to emphasize the continuing Bristol variety to be found even in 2016, four news items have been received in the last 24 hours about two Lodekkas, a VR and an LHS. I am always so grateful to the many people who contact me with information and photos for use on this website and can assure you that everything received is appreciated and will be used on the site sooner or later.

Paul came across rare surviving ex-P.T.E. LHS6L JUG357N clinging on in use as a storage shed amongst preserved vehicles while Chris has found a buyer for FLF6G HPN79D which will hopefully secure its future. Steve rediscovered Alexander-bodied VR PBD40R at Chiltern Park Aerodrome near Woodcote in Oxfordshire (and has added photos of it to his excellent Flickr site) while James came across 529VRB in Switzerland last August, still sporting its Midland General livery applied during its period in preservation up to the early 1990s.
20th February 2016
Peter Dalley/Ben Vallance
Great news is the repatriation of PTT98R to the South West for preservation almost 30 years after it left for the Isle of Wight. After a long stint with Johnson of Hodthorpe it was withdrawn in 2011 and had been badly vandalised in its storage unit with many windows smashed and much of the electrical cable stripped. Peter is determined to put this all right though and it will be great to see what livery he chooses for it.
19th February 2016
Tim Weatherup
A rare ex-Midland General FSF6G to turn up in Piedmont, Oklahoma, U.S.A. is 450SNU which was last reported in 2001 in Ballard, Kentucky. It has been around and about in the US as it was originally sold to an owner in Florida as long ago as 1979.
18th February 2016
Tim Weatherup
It turns out that the report on November 3rd 2015 of GRU975D still being in Florida was incorrect. It was in fact purchased a few years ago by Duncan Quinn, an ex-pat Brit who runs a successful fashion company in the U.S.A. Duncan had the FLF towed to New York where it received a complete revamp for use as a mobile exhibition unit.

A Lodekka that has gone unreported since it left the UK in 1992 is former United Counties KBD716D which went to Germany but has now turned up in Italy with Mostra Scambio in Borgo d'Ale. Local sources suggest that its Italian registration was issued in 2007 so presumably that was when it arrived from Germany.
16th February 2016
Tim Weatherup
Tim continues to turn up interesting links. Former Southern Vectis 562 (SDL267) remains in the Czech Republic with Crossline Systems and is used as a mobile exhibition and entertainment unit. There are lots of photos on their website here.

XAN431T, an unusual VR in that it was new to the Atomic Energy Research Establishment at Harwell, has passed from its previous owner Escape the City (who used it in its orange livery as accommodation for private trips) to Membus (also of London) who have repainted it in light blue and have converted it for use as a mobile language classroom/studio. Funds have been crowd for a grand tour of Europe which it is due to undertake later in 2016.

CJH115V is another VR which has got around a bit during its life. It is now converted for use as "The Bristol Pub" and plies its trade on the Hungary/Slovakia border in Sturovo (on the Slovakian side) and Esztergom (over the bridge into Hungary).
10th February 2016
Tim Weatherup/Danny Chabaud
An FLF very much still in use is former Hants & Dorset 1537/1234 (FLJ154D) which is available for hire through Laperuta Turismo of Naples, Italy - see their website here. Another Lodekka on the move is Western SMT B1467 (MCS756) which had previously been converted for use as a mobile cafe and is now owned by Pascal and Marlène Mandavy at Marillac-le-Franc in central France.
4th February 2016
Anthony Holliday
Anthony reports the demise of several VRs over in New Zealand and I am grateful to him for regular updates from the other side of the World. KRM436W is now owned by Auckland Explorer and is being used for spares to keep WRC832S on the road. Similarly KWA216W is being used by Charlie's Party Bus in Christchurch to keep KRM434W running. KRM433W remains with Party Bus in Auckland but has no engine or gearbox and is only used now as a photographic "prop" for the business. SAO410R has also reached the end of the road and is used as a cow shed on a farm at Tikorangi. Very welcome news however is that the restoration of Anthony's own VR - none other than the prototype Series 3 ODV78M - is progressing well and has begun to receive a repaint into NBC green. It has also moved under its own power for the first time in several years recently.
4th February 2016
Tim Weatherup
Another classroom conversion by InCube Ltd. of Stafford to turn up is former Maidstone & District WKO132S which is was delivered to Preston Hedge's Primary School in Northampton last October. The teachers (if not the children!) should appreciate the additional headroom of this highbridge VR.

Former Eastern National FLFs have figured regularly in these columns and the latest to surface is former 2837 (LWC663C) which is still with Vector Group in Italy, having moved from their previous base at Monfalcone to Udine province. Photos of this and also their Dennis Loline can be seen on their website here. The third vehicle shown is OWJ637A mentioned two entries below (17th January) which was never owned and which has now gone to Japan.
29th January 2016
Top Deck Travel Facebook page/Michael Menzies
Further to the item below from 17th January, the great thing about Top Deck Travel having been run mostly by Australians is that many of the Lodekkas in that country have been snapped up by former TDT personnel and are well cared for. In addition to 503BTA with Paul and Roz Willcocks (it was successfully shipped from Southampton this week), KPW473D was shipped from the UK in 2012 by Mark Armstrong, while Dave Morse has JFM236D and Bill James has LWC665C. Another one to gain another life is KPM84E (former Top Deck "Moose") which passed from Dee Decker in Melbourne to Paul Brunton in Geelong back in June 2015. It had hit hard times in recent years and was pretty derelict, but Paul is determined to return it to the road. On top of these Paul Ludemann also has FLJ155D ("Deep Purple") over in New Zealand.

Finally, VR AHU513V has also been bought by Paul - this had been shipped to Australia in 2009 for conversion to a motor home but funds ran out when it had been stripped out and the bare hulk is to be used for spares in the restoration of Moose. Paul is of course also the owner of the unique transverse-engined VRL conversion, former Standerwick OCK66K.
17th January 2016
Robert Brown
A recent visit to Robert's treasure trove of a yard at London Bus Export in Lydney yielded a wealth of news. Pride of place was taken by former Western National LD6G 1951 (503BTA). The last time I saw this one it was a total wreck, open to the elements and looking like nothing more than a collection of spare parts. More than two years of hard work for customer Paul Willcocks, an Australian formerly of Top Deck Travel, has converted it into a gleaming pseudo Top Deck vehicle. I was lucky enough to take a ride on it with Robert at the wheel and the Gardner 6LW positively purred - I have posted several videos to YouTube here (others can be found by searching for 503BTA). The bus leaves on the long sea journey to Australia next week.

Further recent sales from Robert's stock of vehicles include former Bristol Omnibus VR 5530 (DHW352W) which was extensively refurbished and shipped to New York in 2015 for onward movement to Chicago, and former Crosville open-top OWJ637A (ex-928CFM) which was also shipped last year, this time to a buyer in Japan.

Many interesting vehicles remain on site, including 467BMR, DRB307H, NUD101L, JWT761V, EWS740W, HJB452W,
HJB453W, YMB519W and another wreck of a Lodekka, 848AFM, which is also earmarked for a back-from-the-dead refurbishment! Readers are warned that casual visitors are not welcome and will find themselves face-to-face with a very fierce dog!
13th January 2016
Graham Harrison, Blake Folgner
The Lodekka reports just keep on rolling in for 2016!

Graham received a photo from a friend of former Eastern Counties FLF459 (JPW459D) running a free service in the French town of Béziers today. It was last noted with Dreams Limousines in the town of Cugnaux in the same region of France back in 2011, but now appears to have passed to Les Bus des Allées and carries the Béziers town crest.

Blake has contacted me from the Coach House concert venue in San Juan Capistrano, California. This is a place I have been aware of for many years as both JSD925 and 811KDV had been attributed to them since at least the late 1980s until quite recently. It turns out that they have used a stylised image of 811KDV as their logo since 1980 (and therefore, presumably, have owned it since then). It can be see on their website here. Sadly 811KDV was stolen in 2005 and was never traced (although it was advertised on eBay in 2008!), while JSD925 was sold locally a couple of years ago. Great news is that they have just acquired an operational Lodekka in the form of another ex-Western National FLF BOD40C. This was last reported with my correspondent Vance Sprock of Cupertino (also in California) in 2011, but had since been sold to Eric Maltais who drove it the nearly 3000 miles to Tampa, Florida with the intention of converting it to a party bus. Sadly Eric's business partner passed away and he sold it on to Blake for use at the Coach House. Consequently it was driven all the way back to California. This was no 45mph plod however - some years earlier Vance had overseen the replacement of its Bristol BVW engine with a 270hp Cummins unit, 131b turbo, 9-speed Eaton gearbox and "Jake Brake" engine brake with a maximum speed of 71mph! You can bet that this one shifts like no other Lodekka!
11th January 2016
Anne Sarrag, Paul Harrison
A couple of updates on Lodekkas have been received early in the New Year, one recent, one not quite so.

Anne Sarrag stumbled upon this website by accident and was kind enough to take the time to let me know that she still has former Hants & Dorset FS6G 1504 (BEL677B). It is currently stored in the Brighton area, but is still in its guise as a Book Bus which it became as long ago as 1982. It is a rare survivor in a pure non-PSV role in the U.K. these days.

Paul forwarded a link to a photo of an FLF sitting unloved in a yard in Montagnac in the south of France. Unfortunately the photo was taken in June 2003, so the chances are very likely that it is no longer there, but a series of features on the bus mark it out as former Eastern National 2851 (NTW944C) which was exported in 1981 and has not been reported since. If anyone is going that way (or is prepared to scour Google Maps) it would be great to see if its location can be identified and whether or not it still survives.
6th January 2016
Trevor Shore
Trevor has opened the year with welcome news of his acquisition of Hants & Dorset FLF6B 1557 (KRU224F) from its former preservationist owners. It is his intention to test it to Class 6 MOT standard and run it on private hire work in the Bournemouth area this year. The plan is to restore it in NBC red livery and carrying its later fleetnumber of 1254.

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