Spectra rival from Northern Counties
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• Newly rescued Northern Counties is the first independent bodybuilder to develop a rival for Optare's stylish Daf-based Spectra.
The all-aluminium Countybus Palatine H body will be launched in March next year, initially only on the revamped Leyland Olympian chassis. Joint managing director Ian Murray says it will be more expensive than the existing Palatine body, which is scheduled to remain in production for many years.
It has already won orders for three of the new vehicles and plans to start production with a demonstration vehicle.
Drawings released by Northern Counties show a close resemblance to some features of the Spectra, which introduced style to double-deck bodywork when it was launched a year ago. Like the Spectra, the Palatine II has deep side windows, glazing over the side of the engine compartment and a thin floor structure to give additional headroom on both decks.
Alexander is also developing a double-deck body design which is likely to follow the trend towards more stylish vehicles.
LI The first of 25 Optare Spectra double-deckers for London Buses is being launched next week by London Transport Minister Steven Norris. London Central Bus is using 24 of them to replace elderly Routemasters; the 25th is for the Metroline company.