Leyland's Swift bus debut
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11 A new rnidibus chassis from Leyland Bus, the Swift, makes its debut at this weekend's Brighton Coach Rally. Originally conceived when Leyland Bus and Leyland Trucks were sister companies, the Swift has been developed from the Roadrunner truck — now in the LeylandDaf stable. It uses a modified Roadrunner chassis and axles, built at Leyland-Daf s Albion plant in Glasgow. The Swift will be produced by Leyland Bus at its Farington plant in Leyland, Lancashire.
The high-frame Swift has a mid-mounted Cummins 'B' series vertical six-cylinder engine rated at either 86kW or 97kW at 2,500rpm. It has been developed following market research by Leyland Bus which showed a growing demand for a medium-sized single-decker. With a choice of 3,650mm or 4,400mm wheelbases, the Swift will be capable of accepting bodywork in the 30-40 seat range. Leyland expects this new market sector to grow as minibus operators seek to move up to larger, more durable vehicles without incurring the extra costs of conventional full-size buses.
The Swift chassis with manual gearbox will retail for 15,300 and Leyland anticipates that complete buses will cost little more than the £1,000-a-seat yardstick currently used by minibus buyers.
By locating the engine within the wheelbase, Leyland claims to allow a better entrance with no engine intrusion, and to offer more seating space. Following consultations with bodybuilders, production Swifts will have a slightly longer front overhang (1.75m on the first production vehicles) to provide the best possible entrance configuration. The Swift features disc front brakes — the first time this arrangement has been used on a Leyland PSV chassis — and a Turner 15290 fivespeed synchromesh gearbox with an Allison automatic available as an option. Suspension is minimum-leaf.
Two Wadham Stringer-bodied 37/39-seaters will be on show at Brighton. The choice of Wadham Stringer to body the first chassis suggests that Leyland Bus sees potential for the new Swift as a welfare bus: a market sector in which Wadham Stringer has been particularly strong. If Leyland Bus does have an eye on this market, it could find itself competing with Leyland-Daf s own Roadrunner bus. This is being developed to replace the now-discontinued Cub bus which was based on the Terrier truck chassis. The Leyland-Daf Roadrunner bus is expected to retain the frontmounted engine layout of the Roadrunner truck, but a launch date has not yet been fixed. IN Leyland Bus may buy the Leyland Engine Plant, scheduled for closure at the end of 1988. "rhe company says: "We have an assured engine supply until 1989, so we have until then to make a
decision,but Leyland admits that the purchase is a longterm option. The plant produces the TL11 power unit, offered as standard on three of the Leyland Bus models and as an option on two others.