In the Stratasphere

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Craig George puts the new Mellor Strata Ultra through its paces in real-world scenarios to see how the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter chassis handles more passengers than ever before

The year of 1987 was significant for me. The British bus industry was going through massive change following deregulation the previous year and I was born into the world. When I landed, I was totally oblivious to the frenzy of the minibus revolution around the UK as town and city streets were flooded with Fords, Sherpas and the legendary Mercedes-Benz T2.

Mellor Strata Ultra
The neat body styling makes a good impression: it turned many heads while in use! CRAIG GEORGE

As I grew, to my parents’ despair, there obviously had been a deep impact on that poor toddler – for I was just four when I proclaimed I wanted to drive a bus. This humble childhood fantasy had come to me while gazing with wide eyes through my reception class window at the waiting Western National Mercedes-Benz 608D parked outside. When I was seven, the Plaxton Beaver-bodied Mercedes 709D and 811D types felt like a revolution. When I was 13, the Optare Solo was almost mind-blowing.

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