Heritage operator slims down collection

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Rare chance to buy an immaculate front-entrance Routemaster. ANDY IZATT

Heritage operator and part-time Stagecoach South revenue inspector, Chris Pearce has decided to sell some important vehicles from his collection. [wlm_nonmember][…]

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“I’m 72 now, though busier than ever,” said Chris who runs Worthing-based Southdown Historic Vehicles. “I own 15 vehicles and my wife is sick of bus parts being under the bed. We are still getting lots of bookings despite increased competition and have six vehicles with Class 6 tests, which are really all we need.”

Chris wants to find a good home, preferably with a heritage operator, for former British European Airways (BEA) front-entrance AEC Routemaster NMY648E, which is fully restored in London Transport red and has a PCV MOT. “I really would like someone to get the pleasure I’ve had from this vehicle, but we already have another Routemaster in the fleet which, with its open platform, is extremely popular for private hires,” he said.

Harrington-bodied AEC Reliance could be a rewarding project. CHRIS PEARCE

BEA took 65 Routemasters in 1966/7 for its London Heathrow airport service. Equipped with luggage trailers, they would reach 70mph  because they had a larger 11.3-litre 175bhp AEC engine than the standard Routemaster. All the BEA buses were later sold to London Transport which had operated them on the airline’s behalf.

Chris is looking for £43,000 for his bus, which has been hired to Stagecoach South several times for the 902 service linking Chichester railway station with the Goodwood Revival.

Second vehicle on the ‘for sale’ list is former Southend Transport 1965 Massey-boded Leyland PD3/6 CJN441C, which later enjoyed a career with Lincoln City Transport as a driver trainer before being bought for preservation by W H Fowler of Holbeach Drove. In excellent condition, the open rear platform bus is Class 5 tested. Offers of £17,000 are sought.

Finally, Chris is offering a restoration project in the shape of Harrington-bodied AEC Reliance 7RDV, new to Devon General in 1964. “This is a magnificent vehicle, but it is a project,” he said. “We have relined the brakes, but the coach needs engine work.” Offers around £4,000 are suggested.

“I want all these vehicles to go to good homes and not be exported or turned into mobile bars,” said Chris. “My wife is also expecting a new kitchen!”

A lifelong love of buses resulted in Chris buying his first vehicle, a Southdown ‘Queen Mary’ Leyland PD3/4 in 1996. He has never looked back. His former Stockport 1969 East Lancs-bodied Leyland PD3/14, MJA895G, is currently in the paintshop where it will be outshopped into original livery prior to a return to use.

Seriously interested parties in the vehicles for sale should contact Chris on 07917 752053 or at [email protected]

Former Southend Massey-bodied Leyland PD3/6 has Class 6 MOT. ANDY IZATT