Famous bus for sale

News stories are free to read. Click here for full access to all the features, articles and archive from only £8.99.
Paul McCartney’s 1972 Wings tour bus is for sale by auction. CLASSIC CAR BOOT SALE

Possibly one of the most famous buses ever is for sale at auction, but potential bidders are expected to need deep pockets.

A classic double-decker with a famous history is going under the hammer, and will be on display in London for what organisers say could be the final time, depending on the outcome of the sale. Paul McCartney’s 1972 Wings tour bus, also said to be the largest remaining item of Beatles memorabilia, will be on display as part of the Classic Car Boot Sale event held at Kings Cross in London on 27 and 28 April.

Paul McCartney used the bus to transport his family and his new band Wings on his first major tour ever without The Beatles. It features bunk beds for his children Heather, Mary and Stella, a fridge, a stove and a stereo system. With its famous rock star on board, the bus embarked on The 1972 Wings Over Europe Tour, followed by the world’s media and covering over 7,500 miles across nine countries and 25 cities.

The bus is a Bristol KSW5G, and was new in 1953 with bodywork by Eastern Coachworks. Originally built with a closed upper deck, it was new to operator Eastern National and initially based in Chelmsford, Essex for local bus routes. It was converted to an open-top bus in 1966 and used to transport holiday-makers to and from Butlins in Clacton.

Following the Wings tour, the bus returned to more mundane service, with its psychedelic paint scheme removed and standard seating re-instated, but was out of service by 1980. It was saved from scrap in 1982 by Roger White, who spared no expense restoring the bus, including re-applying the Wings colours, before being acquired by a new private buyer and displayed outside a rock cafe in Tenerife during the 1990s as a tourist attraction.

The bus was returned to the UK in 2017 after being rediscovered in an open secure storage area around 2009, and acquired by the current owner in 2019.

It was entrusted to two specialists for restoration: David Hoare of Chepstow Classic Buses and Bradley Earl of Simon Morris Thorpe in Essex. The bus is licensed by Sir Paul McCartney’s company MPL to display the artwork, logos, band member’s names and personal photos. The interior has been returned to how it was on the Wings tour, with bespoke decor and seats cleared from the upper deck, which has been adapted to be used as a stage for live music events.

The Bristol is powered by a 6,975cc Gardner 5LW NA five-cylinder engine, and has a four-speed manual gearbox. It is being sold by specialist auctioneers Car & Classic.