Rejuvenation for the Atlanteans
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ELC's revitalised Leyland National.
• East Lancashire Coachbuilders is offering to refurbish ageing Leyland National and Atlanteans for half the price of new vehicles.
ELC has been rebodying damaged buses for some years. Now it can treat a National to a new 134kW (180hp) Gardner engine, reconditioned gearbox and aluminium EL2000 singledecker body for about £45,000, which includes bringing the running gear up to top condition.
The Department of Transport has been asked to grant new registrations to ELC's overhauled Nationals, which are being marketed as National Greenways. They weigh no more than other heavy-duty single-deckers, says ELC.
Obvious changes from the original Nationals include the absence of external rivets, a more rounded rear, a flat windscreen and the absence of a roof pod. Greenway bodies come with a 12-year guarantee: the Gardner engines will be covered by the three-year manufacturer's warranty.
ELC's stablemate London & Country handles the chassis refurbishment; it has ordered four Greenways for its fleet.
Double-deck Atlanteans can be fitted with the single-deck ELC body for around £37,000. In this form there is room for 35 seats and 17 standing, but a longer wheelbase version available, which takes more seats. Southampton City Transport has ordered 10 Atlantean conversions for delivery by the end of the year.
Other chassis can also be catered for, including the Leyland Leopard and Tiger, Volvo BlOM and Volvo B58.
West Yorkshire-based Black Prince Coaches has ordered an East Lancs conversion on a 1976 B58 Volvo.
The average age of the Black Prince fleet of 25 is about 15 years, and it is considering further overhauls. "It seems good because our customers think they are using a new vehicle, and we are only having to pay half the price," says managing director Brian Crowther.
ELC completed about 125 bodies last year. It expects the re-bodying work to account for 45% of its business by the end of the year, but predicts that demand for the refurbishment service project will dwindle as the economy recovers.