Unique Foden for restoration

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What a sight – 1940 Foden PVD6 being transported to its new home by 1966 AEC Militant. JAMES EASTWOOD

A unique Foden PVD6 double-decker has been bought for restoration after 40 years in museum storage – and towed to its new home using truly classic transport, reports Nick Larkin

FDM724 was delivered to Phillips of Holywell, Flintshire in July 1949 for use on their Holywell – Mold route, and works services. Later the bus was relegated to schools contracts. In 1969 the Foden passed to a nearby operator, Hollis of Queensferry, for further schools work. It then stood in a yard for some years before being bought by the Transport Museum, Wythall in December 1980. The bus had been heavily vandalised and after some time outside has spent the past 30 years undercover.

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It has now been bought for restoration by James Eastwood and his partner Rhian Hadley, who run Troopers Lodge Garage at Bourton-on-the-Hill, near Moreton-in-Marsh, Gloucestershire. The couple have a collection of preserved buses and James also works on vehicles belonging to neighbouring operator, Henshaw’s. He also does some work for preservationists.

“This Foden is unique, and we felt it was very important that it is preserved and restored,” said James.

Work has already begun on the Foden, which was transported to its new home by James’s 1955 AEC Militant recovery vehicle. The seats have been removed and bodywork restoration is beginning. Twelve Massey bodied Foden PVD6s were built and this is the only survivor new to an independent operator. Eight went to Chester Corporation, one to P&O Lloyd of Bagilt, and single examples were bought by Rowbottom of Harriseahead, Staffs and Scottish Co-op.

FDM724 has its own Facebook page keeping people up to date and giving the opportunity to donate to the project. There’s also an extraordinary video of the vehicle being transported – search FDM724 on Facebook to find it.

A brief history of Foden
Highly respected Sandbach, Cheshire-based lorry manufacturer Foden had experimented with PSV production before the war but it was not until 1945 with the new PVD model double-decker and equivalent PSVC single-decker that the Foden made a real impression on the bus coach market.
The range featured a concealed radiator, cruciform-braced main frame and the choice of a Gardner or, from 1948, a Foden two-stoke engine. The speedometer was mounted in the centre of the steering wheel. In 1950 came the rear-engine PVR series.

More than 650 buses and coaches were sold by Foden before PSV production stopped in 1956, although there would be an unsuccessful attempt at re-entering the market with the Foden NC.

Warrington and Derby Corporations as well as Chester operated Foden PVD double-deckers.