Firstly, apologies to anyone arriving at the East Kent Bus Festival looking forward to a ride on Nick's open top Leyland National, this was a little one off for 1st April... NPD145L is still in one piece and as far as I know hasn't become the Shanklin's Pony replacement bus!
Well with various shows and days down HQ, I have had quite a busy month. Sometimes I can't help think it would be easier to have the shows in the winter and spend the whole summer months working on the motors... well, the weather is better for starters. On 5th April we attended South East bus Festival and on 20th April we were out again at The Gears Of Change Classic Car Show at Sandwich. Both these were attended with Bernard's WKO137S and a full report and pictures will be available on The Southern Counties website.
Work has started on another Maidstone & District bus, 5807 (PKE807M). Paul and myself spend an afternoon at HQ opening up the slats on the radiator. As stated previously on this site, they help keep the water temperature up during the depths of winter, but in summertime have to be fully opened to allow the radiator to work. 5807's had been painted shut and this could be the reason why she gets slower before stopping. Anyway, the damn things are open now and Paul has removed the spring which closes them so they can't shut by themselves and 5807 should enjoy a nice airflow through her grill. The next step is to wait for a very hot day and try her out... fingers crossed everyone. If it works, she will be sent up for MOT and be back on the road this year. It would be nice to have one of "Jake's Buses" back out there.
This May, I will be getting Bernard's Bristol LH coach AFJ692T ready for MOT and don't forget that on Sunday 25th May, we're holding the 2014 Thanet Road Run. If you like to see local vehicles running along old routes, you will love this. No matter what the weather, it's a good day out with various photo stops and a lunch stop, it's a leisurely drive around the coast of the Isle of Thanet. Again, more details are available at the SCOC website.
As part of the website upgrades, I will eventually be adding a "Jake's Taxis" page as I have both an FX4 Fairway and a Metrocab taxi. Although not buses (obviously!) when restored, they will attend various shows and events on behalf of SCOC.
And finally (and cunningly placed at the bottom of the news spot!) , a new vehicle has joined the collection. Owned by myself but very much a Southern Counties vehicle there will be more on this later this month.
As you would've seen in Picture Of The Month, Bernard's ex Stagecoach minibus has returned and will hopefully be on the road next year pending a few minor jobs. Also officially joining the collection from next year is TOL the Metrocab taxi. I know it's not a bus but these taxis are very collectible and are slowly becoming a rare sight on our roads. Originally built by MCW, who had a long pedigree in bus building, the design later passed to Reliant (those of the Regal and Robin fame) and finally onto Hooper. TOL is a 1999 series 3 Metrocab and features a fibreglass body with 6 seats in the rear and 2 (including the driver) up front. She was latterly owned by friend of the collection Chris Cartwright, a bus preservationist from Gateshead. Following the gearbox failure on my Fairway taxi, he kindly lent TOL to me. I now have the option to acquire her for myself, so following some major MOT work on her kingpins (more on that later) she will be on the road as our fleet support vehicle.
Those of you who are regular readers of Fleet News will have heard me mention my old LTI Fairway cab before. She has become a somewhat honoury member of the fleet and is often used to carry bus bits around in as well as being used as a family run about. She has also taken us on many a paranormal investigation too as well as the occasional picnic. Normally she is ultra reliable but a few weeks ago she blew a gearbox gasket and had to be towed away. Although (hopefully) repairable (and at a reasonable price) I realised she would be off the road for a while. This left me with the problem of finding transport to and from work as well as popping over to the buses etc. An answer came from my friend Chris in Gateshead who some months back had acquired a Metrocab while his family car was off the road. That weekend, Claire and myself headed north to pick the cab up - despite the severe weather warnings!- and bring her back to Thanet. I've now had her on the road for over a week and am slowly ironing out a few faults that we said we'd sort out for Chris while she's down here. So how does the Metrocab compare with the classic FX4 Fairway? Well despite being designed by MCW who managed to built corrosion into all of their designs, the bodywork isn't too bad. This is helped by it largely being fibreglass like a Reliant Robin, which is a coincidence as when MCW ceased production in the late 80's, the design was sold to Reliant. The Metro is powered by a 2.5L Ford Transit engine which when coupled to a manual box gives impressive fuel returns. The Metro gives a smoother ride and it's obvious this is the newer design over the rattly old Fairway. However, the old FX4 has much more charm about her. It's a but like comparing a Routemaster with a Metrobus realy. Yes, they're both buses but totally different, and lets face it, also like the RM, the black FX4 cab IS the face of London. You don't see tee-towels, tee-shirts and postcards with Metrocabs on them do you? The long term plan is to get our Fairway back on the road once the gearbox has been fixed. Her steel bodywork is in need of a lot of TLC though at the famous Margate sea air has certainly affected her. Worst case if she can't be fixed would result in her becoming a generator at the yard (we have no mains electricity there) which would be handy. Owning 3 buses and looking after another 6 means that a large chunky vehicle like this is super handy- the old Fairway could carry 3 bus wheels at a time- but is only the fraction of the price of a van. We also get a cracking 7 seater family car when she's not full up with spares, which can be used for taking friends out and eating picnics inside on wet days. And best of all, like a van, they're easy to clean out.
Click here for the archive news pages dating back to 2008.
Owner of 5807, 5809, 5137, 7656, 7681, 7041 & 40301
All pictures and information contained within this website are the copyright of J Bamford, R Addison, P Tripptree, B Sealy & R Harrison 2008-2019. Any images or information supplied by individuals will be credited to that individual and will be copyright of that person/persons/website.
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