Edit: this bus has now been sold.
For sale at the moment on Ebay is this 1956 Bristol Lodekka. See this link for the listing, which ends on April 14th.
It’s had a long and varied career, ending up as an early member of the heritage fleet at Crosville Motor Services in Weston-super-Mare in 2010.
Starting life as an LD6B (Bristol engine) with Hants & Dorset, SRU981 operated in regular service until the mid-1970s. Its Bristol engine was exchanged, in common with many others at the time, for a Gardner 6LW taken from a withdrawn Bristol L6G. It spent most of the rest of its post-H&D life as a hospitality vehicle for a number of commercial enterprises, acquiring a large awning fixed to the nearside.
When it joined Crosville it was quite ‘tired’ and lacked any seating in the lower saloon. It was sent off for a thorough restoration and repaint with the intention that it would join the growing heritage fleet at Weston for further service as a fully licenced PCV.
As is usual in these cases, much more work was required than originally thought and in the end the entire rear platform area was rebuilt, most of the timber framing was replaced and nearly all the panelling below the roof was renewed.
The lower saloon has been re-equipped with seats, all of which have been re-trimmed with green vinyl. New floors, freshly painted ceilings and new rexine side panelling mean that the interior, upstairs and down, is as good as new.
As for the outside, it has been decided not to repaint it due to the fact that, once sold, the new owner may prefer a later livery than the Tilling Green and Cream that was originally proposed so it will be sold as seen here.
I shall be sad to see this bus go, particularly as I had been rostered to drive it on a private hire turn in the summer, before the decision to sell was taken. Apparently it was thought that there were more appropriate vehicles in the restoration queue, notably some genuine ex-Crosville ones, that ought to be given preference. Once these had joined the active fleet it was felt that SRU981 would be surplus to requirements. That’s a shame, as I was looking forward to seeing it together with Hants & Dorset FLF DEL893C! However, commercial decisions beat sentimental ones if you are running a business, I suppose.
If you are in the market for a fully restored Bristol Lodekka, direct your enquiries to Crosville Motor Services. Telephone 01934 635259 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. The bus will be mechanically complete and ready to run although it currently doesn’t have an MOT.