RESTORATION GALLERY

UHG 736R (1976)
Gardner 6HLXB engine
5 speed semi automatic
East Lancs Greenway re-body in 1994



Richard Aldous purchased this bus in June 2007 straight out of service, from Woottens, in Chesham. The last MOT (Class 6) in his ownership was in August 2007. It had been off the road, since January 2008, when Richard started the restoration work.


The majority of the aluminium body panels were replaced, many of the GRP panels at the front and rear also being replaced or repaired.


The O/S, front and rear were painted with grey primer. The N/S is ready for paint. I bought a new GRP wheel arch for the NSR, which will be fitted once resident in Doncaster. To complete the structural restoration, the 3 hinged panels, around the skirt, need to be replaced with new ones, which I hope to have manufactured by Brailsford Bros., of Barnsley during 2015. New plastic hinge strips, have been sourced already. A new glass or Perspex destination display screen will need to be made, old one is currently fitted, is too tatty, but will be an ideal template.


Rear lights, as well as front and rear marker lights were all fitted as new, by Richard. When 359 is fully repainted and the new vinyls are applied, she will look like a new bus! Well Ashley Blackman said so, but he would since he will paint her! He does such a good job, he is worth the money.


Richard also, completed replacement of the inner wheel arches, so they are now all solid. When I purchased the bus in September 2014, I bought some of the biggest batteries I've seen from Paragon Auto Care near Doncaster. Great batteries, that spin the 6HLXB over with no effort. Dave was so helpful and the price was bang on.


Inside the bus, she is in very good condition, generally. All the seats are good, with only a few that have minor marks and one or two that have had rough repairs. There are seat belts on all seats including the four side facing seats behind the cab. I managed to acquire spare moquette on some new and some used seats, from Mike Nash, that will allow me to completely eradicate any stains or splits in the seats. Indeed some seats will have new "old stock" as straight replacements. There are a couple of holes in the Treadmaster, one sheet of new should sort those out.


The plan is to restore her with an interior to reflect her history, keeping good quality original and contemporary fittings, where practicable, replacing worn or damaged parts where required, to represent a well maintained, but in service vehicle.


The backs of the seats are covered in a standard, brown ribbed Moquette, still stocked by Holdsworths. So a few metres will repair a half dozen backs.

Also from Mike Nash, I acquired a spare pair of windscreens and a couple of correct National wheels, for refurbishment for couple of good spares.

Richard had started the engine, for the first time in two years during September 2014 and she started on the third turn of the starter, built and regulated air pressure with no leaks, inflated all airbags and the bus sat level, the parking brake released and all gears could be selected. Brilliant!

Then we found she developed a fuel supply problem. We had the lift pump repaired with a kit from Gardner Parts, where we ordered a set of new sprayers (injectors) and water pump overhaul kit. Once Ashley Blackman fitted the sprayers and gave the bus a thorough going over, 359 ran like a dream.

When I bought her, 359 had Goodyear tyres on front and Michelins on the rear. There was quite good tread on four, but the OSR were getting low, whilst not in need of urgent replacement. A quick chat with Tony Blackman and a deal was done for eight used Matadors, from his once owned Metrobuses. I snapped them up. Great City tyres, nice and quiet. So, we now have two complete sets of great tyres.

Bad points as Richard told me:

359 smoked quite badly when the engine is cold, (well there's a shock! Gardners eh!) After driving for a few minutes the smoke clears. It passed the last MOT smoke test without a problem.

There is an oil leak from the flywheel. It was an advisory on the last MOT. Ashley will drop the gearbox, replace a seal and refit the gearbox, sometime within the next year or so.


The rear emergency door handle was seized on inside. It just needed taking apart to lubricate.

A couple of the interior lights don't work, but spares were in the bus. 359 had been in dry storage for over six years, but there was no moss or mould in sight.

I was having trouble finding the formula or codes for the paint. I knew the light Green was a British Standard Linden Green and I had the codes for that. I was conscious of turning up at a rally, parking next to one of the other London & Country preserved buses and having greens and reds of the wrong shades. By the beginning of May, I managed to contact Dave and Pat Salter and Stuart Curwen, owners of SNB543, the preserved London & Country Leyland National, who have sent me samples of the paint they have used on SNB543.

ANDREW PEARSON 
July 2015


LINKS

THE YORKSHIRE HERITAGE BUS Co. Ltd.
Unit 15 and 16
Station Road
Luddenden Foot
Halifax
HX2 6AD 
Phone 07950 955 402 or 01422 886 900
www.yorkshireheritagebus.co.uk/


RAINBOW PAINT
Markefing Works
Duke of York Street
Wakefield
WF1 3PD
Phone 01924 380966


PARAGON AUTO CARE
Great North Road (A1)
Skellow
Doncaster 
DN6 8JZ
Phone 01302 722380
www.paragonautocare.com


BRAILSFORD BROTHERS (Barnsley) Ltd
Langdale Road
Barnsley
S71 1AF
Phone 01226 282703
www.brailsford-bros.co.uk