New page – driving a vintage bus

Several readers have pestered me / encouraged me to write an article on what it’s like to drive a vintage bus. This I have now done and the page “How to drive a vintage bus” can be accessed from the link at the top of the home page.


It is not meant to be a comprehensive tutorial, just my personal impressions of driving buses from a bygone era. I hope you enjoy reading them!

8 comments on “New page – driving a vintage bus

  1. Andy Spiller says:

    Great article John. Shame that you have never driven one of the 31′ semi’s! The earliest one that have driven is a VR😃.

    • busmanjohn says:

      Thanks, Andy. I don’t know anyone locally who has an FLF with a semi box. I do remember riding on one as a lad in Salisbury. At the time I thought the sound was very un-Lodekka-like!

      • Andy Spiller says:

        Hi John,

        A certain Mr Paul H keeps ENOC 2614 down on Canvey. It is the last (numerically) FLF ever built. Rode on them all the time when they were introduced in the late 60’s and well into the 70’s.We also have ENOC 2849 and ENOC 2510 (LDL). To my mind the 67/68 semi’s have been, and still are the best sounding buses ever!

        I recorded 2614 on a run back in 2009, there is a link here, just scroll down to predictably – Bristol Lodekka. Enjoy. There is another 45 mins of 2614 that I have not posted and also 3 hours of 2849!

        Kind Rgds

      • busmanjohn says:

        Ah yes, I’ve read a lot about Paul’s bus on Facebook and elsewhere. A dream machine, by all accounts! I’ve also heard the clip you mentioned. I have to admit it’s very distinctive.

  2. Andy Spiller says:

    Hi John,

    Went on a BPG driving day yesterday. For the 1st time had a go at the Bristol KSW. Not a good experience, managed to get my up-changes ok, but bugger me, could I get any down-change right!

    My instructor showed me how it was done, what a master.

    Give me LNs or VRs or even a LS ANYTIME, but not a KSW!

    Quite fun though with two people in the cab.

    • busmanjohn says:

      That sounds very much like my first few goes in a Loddeka. An expert driver joined me in the cab, as with you. I mastered down-changes eventually. Except when I had my first go in a Bristol L when my down-changes went to pot again. Turned out I wasn’t lifting the clutch far enough!

  3. Andy Spiller says:

    Had a very sore left thigh on Tuesday, blooming clutch. Better today, also I don’t think that at 6’4″ I am suited to a KSW!

    • busmanjohn says:

      I am well under 6ft so perhaps I have an advantage over you! I haven’t driven a KSW more than a few yards but I have driven a couple of Bristol Ls and their cabs are noticeably less roomy than a Lodekka. I guess the cabs of Ks are quite similar to the Ls. I should know for sure next month as I’m due to take a KSW to a rally.

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