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Buses and coaches - Great Britain: books - coachbuilders

A book on British buses? Here are illustrated books on the history and models of British coachbuilders of buses and coaches.

A-Z of British Bus Bodies

A-Z of British Bus Bodies sets out to offer a first port of call for anyone with an interest in those who built bus and coach bodies in Britain and Ireland between 1919 and 1975. From charabanc to service bus, from luxury coach to municipal double-decker, the sheer variety of public service vehicle (PSV) bodies is astonishing.
Contents of this book include an alphabetical listing of British bus body builders between 1919 - 1975, both the well-known larger companies and small local companies. Illustrated with period and modern images, including contemporary advertising material.

Author:James Taylor
Specs:192 pages, 28 x 21.5 x 1.9 cm / 11 x 8.5 x 0.75 in, hardback
Illustrations:150 b&w and 200 colour photographs
Publisher:The Crowood Press Ltd (GB, 2013)
Book: A-Z of British Bus Bodies

A-Z of British Bus Bodies

Language: English

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Duple Coachbuilders - From Domination to Demise (Nostalgia Road)

One of the greatest names of the British bus and coach industry, Duple Bodies & Motors Ltd was first established in north London immediately after World War 1 and grew as a business over the next three decades, emerging from World War 2 as one of the most important builders of both bus coach bodies in the country.
A particularly close relationship existed with Bedford, with the company producing a number of classic designs for such models as the diminutive OB and the three-axle VAL. In the postwar period Duple came to be one of the dominant forces in the construction of coach bodies, acquiring competitors such as Burlingham during the process.

However, changes in the bus industry and the decline of both Bedford and Ford as chassis manufacturers resulted in a slow but inexorable decline in the business, culminating in the closure of the company's final factory - in Blackpool - in 1989.

This book describes the history of one of the great names of the British bus and coach industry.

Author:Chris Sims
Specs:64 pages, 20.5 x 14 x 0.4 cm / 8.1 x 5.5 x 0.16 in, paperback
Illustrations:80+ b&w and colour photographs
Publisher:Crecy Publishing (GB, 2012)
Series:Nostalgia Road
Book: Duple Coachbuilders - From Domination to Demise (Nostalgia Road)

Duple Coachbuilders - From Domination to Demise

Language: English

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East Lancashire Coachbuilders

East Lancashire Coachbuilders was first registered in October 1934 when two former Massey Bros of Wigan employees decided to set up their own company in Blackburn. Their names were George Danson and Alfred Alcock.
Over the next seven decades they supplied both single- and double-deck bodywork to most, if not all, Lancashire municipal bus operators, plus a number of south coast operators.

The majority of photographs in this book have been taken by the author, and are mostly previously unpublished.

Author:David Barrow
Specs:96 pages, 23.5 x 16.5 x 0.8 cm / 9.25 x 6.5 x 0.31 in, paperback
Illustrations:180 b&w and colour photographs
Publisher:Amberley Publishing (GB, 2022)
Book: East Lancashire Coachbuilders

East Lancashire Coachbuilders

Language: English

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The History of Optare

Bus builder Optare was formed by some of its employees in 1984 after the closure of old-established coachbuilder Chas H. Roe at Crossgates, Leeds. After establishing itself as a 'new company' and introducing a new product range - initially in the minibus field - it purchased the designs of Birmingham-based MCW when that concern took the decision to cease bus building.

After being acquired by Dutch bus builder DAF, following the collapse of that company Optare repurchased itself and became independent again. Then, it was acquired by Hungarian manufacturer American Bus Industries but, history repeating itself, it was repurchased by its management to become independent again. Then, it was purchased in a reverse takeover by the Darwen Group, who owned East Lancashire Coachbuilders which, in turn, was acquired by Indian manufacturer Ashok-Leyland, in whose ownership it remains today, albeit still working from its established manufacturing base in Yorkshire.

A company with a fascinating story, it is one whose history should be recorded.

Author:Keith A. Jenkinson
Specs:96 pages, 23.5 x 16.5 cm / 9.25 x 6.5 in, paperback
Illustrations:180 b&w and colour photographs
Publisher:Amberley Publishing (GB, 2020)
Book: The History of Optare

The History of Optare

Language: English

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Gardner: L. Gardner and Sons Limited - Legendary Engineering Excellence

This book by historical transport expert Graham Edge is a comprehensive study of a Manchester company whose name became revered in over forty countries. It traces the story from the origins of the firm in 1868 until it ceased engine production almost 130 years later.
In 1929 L Gardner and Sons Ltd perfected a small high-speed, direct injection diesel engine, the world's first for an engine of its size. The company soon developed this into the first purpose-built automotive engine of its type. This renowned Gardner LW series was also revolutionary in its use of lightweight aluminium alloys.
Because diesel fuel was more economical than petroleum spirit for most of the last century, and especially in the 1930s, Gardner was able to capitalise on a huge and growing market. Their diesel engines went on to gain an unrivalled reputation for reliability and economy in buses, coaches, lorries, rail, shipping and industrial installations. Their heyday was probably from the end of the Second World War to the early 1960s, a time when their order book was always full.

As well as telling the story of the company's engineering achievements (and setbacks), the author also brings to life some of the personalities involved, not least the members of the Gardner family. Although they were 'engineers par excellence', some of the 'could be quite irascible!'
By the 1970s Gardners were being left behind by changes in the transport market and also faced damaging industrial relations. In 1977 they became part of the Hawker Siddeley group.

This is a reprint of a book first published in 2002 and revised in 2006. Graham Edge was able to draw on knowledge freely provided by former sales director Dion Houghton. The superb photographs are mainly from the archives of Dion Houghton and Paul Gardner, the great-grandson of the founder. Each photograph has a detailed caption and the book's Appendices include production figures.

Author:Graham Edge
Specs:216 pages, 27.5 x 21 x 1.4 cm / 10.8 x 8.25 x 0.55 in, paperback
Illustrations:280 photographs, 8 pages in colour
Publisher:Old Pond Publishing Ltd (GB, 2011)
Book: Gardner: L. Gardner and Sons Limited - Legendary Engineering Excellence

Gardner: L. Gardner and Sons Limited - Legendary Engineering Excellence

Language: English

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Related titles:

The London Bus Story

The London Bus Story

Christopher John

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London's 1950s Buses - A Class Album

London's 1950s Buses - A Class Album

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London Transport: 1949-74

London Transport: 1949-74

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London Transport Buses in the 1960s

London Transport Buses in the 1960s: A Decade of Change and Transition

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London Buses: A Living Heritage

London Buses : A Living Heritage - Fifty Years of the London Bus Museum

Graham Smith

English | paperback | 128 p. | 2016

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Last update:05-04-2024