Rare Irizar Urko saved thanks to CBW appeal

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A recent appeal has lead to a unique survivor being saved, reports Nick Larkin

The last remaining Irizar Urko-bodied Volvo B58 in the UK has been saved by the coachbuilder for its own museum fleet in Spain. LAJ 999W narrowly escaped the cutter’s torch and an appeal to save it was featured in CBW 1471 (4 May).

New in 1981, the vehicle was one of 14 Urkos on Volvo chassis imported into the UK by John de Cotta, entering service alongside sister vehicle LAJ 998W with Dales (Sunseeker Holidays) of Middlesbrough.

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LAJ 999W later served with several other operators, including Shalder of Scalloway, Shetland Isles, ending up with Andrews Coaches of Cambridge, being withdrawn in 2008 and used as a store shed. Andrew Miller of Andrew’s Coaches said: “I would love to see the vehicle go to the museum and this will hopefully be a happy ending to a very long story.”
Irizar UK is to arrange shipment back to the parent company in Spain. The coachbuilder was created in 1889 by Jose Antonio Irizar, who decided to progress from making iron fittings to coachbuilding, firstly horse drawn carriages and then mechanically propelled machines. LAJ 999W is to be restored for museum display.

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