A bright red double decker London bus RML Leyland Routemaster which was in its hay days way back in the 1960s when it ply on Route 73 at Oxford Street through to Kensington High Street and Park Lane Hilton. Now 50 years hence and still in its prime, the bus in question went under the auctioneers hammer at Christies where it sold for £67,250 ($106,591).
This was head and shoulders above what auctioneers had pegged the bus to be worth at $50,000 to $60,000 but it was obviously its pristine condition and pleasant memories that attracted this buyer to a remarkable bit of history.
The bus formed part of a fleet of Routemasters which ruled London streets. While most have been withdrawn there are still a few still seen on the roads to this day. A refreshed version of this vintage red double decker bus has been introduced in London in February this year.
For more information, read the news release below.
London Transport Aldenham Bus Works[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ngFAa8Floac[/youtube]
Auto News Release
1966 RML LEYLAND AEC LONDON ROUTEMASTER DOUBLE-DECKER BUS
Registration No. JJD 598D
Chassis No. RML2598
First registered: 1.12.1966
Standard LT red
Engine: Cummins C series, 8.27 litre, 150bhp at 2200 rpm; Gearbox: A.E.C. D182 electro-pneumatic; Chassis/Body code: RM7/5, 2/7RM 7/5, A.E.C. Park Royal; Brakes: hydraulic with accumulators; Seating: 72 plus 5 standing; Right hand drive
The world wide iconic red double-decker bus is today represented by the ‘Routemaster’ design. Its origins go back to 1909 by which time London Transport’s predecessor, the London General, had realised that a purpose built motor bus was required for the rigorous work in London. A vehicle was designed with the experience gained from the use of various manufacturers vehicles and the construction took place in their own factory at Walthamstow with the Associated Equipment Company being created for this purpose. A trading name of A.E.C. was established and the factory was moved to Southall in the 1920s with the vast overhaul and experimental works taking place in Chiswick. Following the success of the venture from then on virtually all London buses were purpose built for use in London streets until the end of ‘Routemaster’ production in 1966.
The largest volume production was the ‘RT’ type with over 4500 vehicles being produced up to 1954. To supersede the ‘RT’ type a new concept design was built known as the ‘Routemaster’, more commonly referred to as the ‘RM’, it first appeared at the 1954 Commercial Motor Show. The new joint venture design with Chiswick, A.E.C. and Park Royal coachworks embodied such features as chassisless unit construction, A.E.C. AV 590 engine, electro-pneumatic A.E.C. D182 gearbox with automatic operation on second to fourth gears and power assisted steering.
After a further four years of testing the Routemaster finally entered into revenue earning service in 1958, first to replace the aging trolleybus fleet which in turn had replaced trams in the late 1930s. By then the diesel motor bus was considered to be the most economic and practical form of transport in lieu of electric traction and environmental considerations. Volume production continued and gradually the ‘RT’ fleet was replaced. By 1968 some 2760 had been built including a fleet of just over 100 for Greenline coach services. Within this there were numerous variations including a longer version, Leyland engines, and later re-engine with Cummings and Iveco units. Some are still in London service on heritage route 9 and 15 and others given many years of reliable use sold second hand to provincial operators.
The ‘Routemaster’ was officially withdrawn from general service on 9 December 2005. However, a 21st century replacement of the iconic Routemaster, including the popular “hop-on, hop-off” platform at the rear was introduced back on to the streets of London in February 2012 by the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson.
This vehicle, RML 2598, entered service in December 1966 as the standard long version with A.E.C. engine. Between 1990 and 1994 some 500 RMLs were re-engined and refurbished to give another 10 years London service; this vehicle being fitted with a new Cummins C series engine.