WRAPS COME OFF NEW MODELS
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Several chassis and bodybuilders are using the First International Bus and Coach Exhibition (Earls Court, September 11-14) to launch new models. Noel Millier previews the show, which gives a fair indication of how manufacturers are anticipating the fast-approaching deregulation of bus services
N THE NINE years since buses and :oaches were last on show at Earls 'Court in London, great changes have irred in the PSV industry. Even iter changes are about to happen — ch makes the First International Bus Coach Exhibition at Earls Court t week the most important show pening at what must be the most :61 time in the industry's history. fith depression continuing in the le market, and the uncertainties ounding deregulation of local bus ices, it has become essential for the idle and body builders to search out ride a market as possible.
Britain, the people buying buses coaches will come from a wider and easily-defined pool. Overseas, the ‹et is potentially much bigger, and e easily identified — buses arc going e the most important people movers lost developed and undeveloped markets for a long time to come.
The exhibition was conceived by its organiser and sponsor — respectively Reed Exhibitions and Commercial Motor — as an international sales platform, and one on which the export of components and second-hand vehicles is as important to the UK economy as that of new vehicles.
Invitations to the exhibition have been sent around the world and visitors from as far a field as Brazil, Bangladesh and Yugoslavia are planning to attend.
It is surprising that more of Britain's established local bus bodybuilders are not exhibiting. It is they who arc most likely to be affected by the change in buying at home which will be prompted by bus deregulation day.
Their absence is more than compensated for, however, by an exciting array of new vehicles destined for a variety of roles.
Hestair Duple Probably the most talked-about coach at the last motor show in Birmingham, the Hestair Duple Integral 425, is set to make its first appearance in production form at Earls Court. With its combination of high seating capacity and aerodynamic shape giving good fuel economy, the Integral 425 has the potential for being a most cost-effective vehicle to operate.
Some operators, though, may have doubts about Hestair Duple service back-up, particularly when operating overseas. They may find that they can gain some of the benefits of the 425 concept by switching to Hestair Dennis bodies to other chassis.
In addition to its Cummins-powered integral Hestair Duple is launching its dramatic new 300 line high-floor and low-floor coaches. The low-floor example to be shown is a normal-height 320 model built on a Leyland Tiger 260 chassis and the high-floor 360 is offered on the Daf MB230 DKVL.
Leyland Bus Leyland Bus is Britain's market leader in buses and coaches and its Tiger is currently this country's top-selling coach chassis. Two new Tiger variants are to be shown.
The Tiger 260 Turbo has a number of new features including a repositioned air intake with an independent pre-cleaner. As well as improving filter life this allows extra pannier-type luggage lockers to be included in the eventual body specification.
The engine has also been lowered slightly to simplify the removal and replacement of injector pipes.
A belt-driven, engine-mounted alternator replaces the auxiliary gearbox and jack shaft arrangement to simplify the layout and reduce noise and weight of the unladen vehicle.
Other new features include a pull-out battery carrier tray, transverse-mounted rear fuel tanks, a choice of the higherrated ZP S 6.90 manual gearbox or Leyland's own Flydracyclic unit with fully or semi-automatic control, a suspension-raising facility for use on ramps, an adjustable-rake steering column and, as an option, that currently fashionable low driving position.
Leyland is one of several manufacturers which believe that operators will look very carefully at price in the highly competitive postderegulation environment. To meet any new demand for an economically priced long-life chassis Leyland is introducing the Tiger Express.
The new model has steel-leaf suspension and manual ZF S 6.80 gearbox and is similar to Tigers already supplied to the Ministry of Defence and operators in Australia and New Zealand.
Leyland's rear engined Lynx singledeck city bus first appeared at the NEC show in underframe form only. At the UITP exhibition it was seen in framed form and at Earls Court it will make its debut as a fully-built all-Leyland bus. The 12m-long single-decker is fitted with Leyland's new compact Hyclracyclic gearbox.
Interestingly, the two new highcapacity urban buses at the show will be 12m single-deck vehicles rather than that familiar stalwart of the public sector, the double-decker.
Completing the Leyland line-up will be a Workington-built Royal Tiger Doyen coach and a low-driving position Plaxton Paramount 3,500 Tiger 260 in the livery of Green Line.
Leyland Tiger coaches are expected to appear on other stands including those of Van Hool, Salvador Caetano and other exhibitors.
Volvo Volvo's premium BlOM chassis has been chasing Leyland's Tiger for a number of years. This year the chase seems set to continue, with Volvo showing its first BlOM Mark 2 chassis, which is expected to become available in Britain late next year.
The B10/V1 range is now complemented by the short B9M chassis designed for 9-10m coachwork. The B9M on the Volvo stand will be fitted with a Jonckheere P50 coach body. The flagship of the Volvo range, the mid-engined integral ClOM, will also be on show. Its construction incorporates a stainless steel substructure and three full rollover hoops. The ClOM is marketed as a full Volvo product although its body is built for Volvo by a subcontractor in Switzerland.
Scania While Volvo continues to develop its range of mid-engined chassis its Swedish rival, Scania, keeps its engines firmly at the back.
Its powerful K112 chassis range has now been joined by the K92CR. Although less powerful than the II-litre K112, the new model's 8.5-litre engine develops 179kW (241hp) to give a more than adequate power to weight ratio.
The 1(92 range is of similar modular construction to its larger engined stahlernate.
The first K92CR will be shown with Dutch-built Berkhof Esprite coachwork. Double-deck coaches have now become established in Britain and, to meet this small but significant market sector, Scania offers a three-axle version of the K112 — the K112TR.
Two double-deck coaches on this chassis are expected to be at Earls Court. The first has Plaxton Paramount 4000MS coachwork and the second, with a Jonckheere P99 body, is fitted with Scania computer-aided gearshifting and ABS antilock braking.
Scania's current top selling coach remains the K112 CR and an example of this, featuring low-height driving position and Jonckheere P599 body, is also expected to be on show.
Daf Bus Daf first revealed its updated MB230 mid-engined underframe at the Amsterdam bus and coach show around this time last year. Now it is available in this country.
The range has two models: the DKFL and the more powerful DKVL. New features include disc brakes on the front axle, full air suspension with variableheight control, cruise control equipment and improved component layout with increased luggage capacity.
2f-11413230 coaches in bodied form ::..xpected to be exhibited by a iber of manufacturers including Van )1 and Hestair Duple.
?a-native Chassis Engineering ine name new to the coach scene is rnative Chassis Engineering. Under Previous name, the Albion ipment Company, this smallest of sis manufacturers has shown its midicoach chassis before.
t Earls Court the already established wheelbase mid-engined Puma is to xhibited with a Daf DHT power for the first time. ACE is also :cted to show its first 12m midtied coach chassis, the Cheetah. It is Ily air-suspended mid-engined sis with a wheelbase of 6.1m. It is Tred by a Perkins 640 Tvs
turbocharged V8 engine.
A six-cylinder Perkins powered Puma chassis is also expected to be featured on the company's stand.
Belgian coachbuilders have become well established in Britain in recent years and the British market is of particular importance to them. Three will be at the Earls Court show: Van Hool, Jonckheere and LAG.
Van Hool Van Hool's Alizee range is familiar to most operators and will be on show in the form of fully-built Van Hool integral coaches and bodywork on other manufacturers' chassis.
Included in its display will be its T815 Acron and TD 824 Astromega integrals. Alizee coachwork will be in evidence on a variety of chassis including I.eyland Tiger 260, Daf MI3230, DKVL and Volvo B9M.
In additional Van Hool is to display a full double-deck version of its current hody style on the three-axle Volvo BlOMT chassis. This vehicle, and an Alizee H bodied Dennis Lancet, will be on the Caledonia Coach Sales stand.
Caledonia is also to show several smaller buses arid coaches, including a Reeve Burgess bodied MAN MT, a Mercedes-Benz 608D conversion and a Mellor Avec° Daily.
Jonckheere is exhibiting four variations of its jubilee body range including low-driving position P599 bodies on Volvo B1014; Scania K112 and Daf SB2300 DHS chassis and a semi-double-deck P95 bodied Volvo BlOMT coach.
• Jonckheere bodied coaches will also be on the Volvo and Scania stands.
LAG LAG is the smallest of the three Belgian coachbuilders exhibiting at the show. It will be represented for the first time by Viewbond and is showing examples of its Galaxy body on Daf MB230DKVL body together with the latest version of its Panoramic integral.
Operators who want to start private bus services next year should be interested in the three-axle LAG Tristar bus which will make its British debut at the show.
Although it is exhibited for the first time in bus form, the integral midi is also suitable for coach operation.
Bedford is a name surprisingly absent from the Earls Court exhibitor list, but its products will be on show on several stands including that of the Kirkby dealership. Kirkby plans to show two Bedford Venturer coaches, including one fitted with Plaxton Paramount 3200 coachwork.
Wright& Northern Ireland-based Wrights is also to exhibit vehicles built on Bedford chassis. An example of its all-aluminium Contour coachwork will be shown on the 12m turbo-engined Venturer together with one of the few welfare buses on show.
The latter high-capacity bus has been built for the London Borough of Havering. It is on what is surely Britain's longest-running passenger vehicle chassis, the Bedford SB.
There are those who believe that deregulation will create new markets for the simple front-engined SB, so this exhibit should create some specific interest.
The bus is fitted with Alu-Suisse type TT coachwork and has a Henderson Linwell Hidaway wheelchair lift.
Salvador Caetano Portugese coachbuilder Salvador Caetano is now firmly established in Britain, selling its full range of coach bodies. It is to show vehicles for all types of coach and bus operation on a variety of chassis.
At the smaller end of the scale, Caetano Optima and Viana inidicoaches will be shown. The Optima is based on the Toyota Coaster chassis, while the Viana, which has its entrance forward of the front axle, is on an lveco 79.14.
Gaetano Algarve luxury coaches are now offered in different heights with either low or normal-driver positions. Examples of all variations on, Daf, Volvo and Leyland chassis, will be shown at Earls Court.
Caetano believes deregulation will create a demand for a durable, attractive and practical high-capacity bus on a chassis which is familiar to coach operators. To meet this perceived demand it has built its Stagecoach bus. The Stagecoach is a low-floor 12m single-decker on a Volvo B1OM chassis. It can seat up to 85 passengers and its features include heated and bonded windows, more common on luxury coaches.
One of the original aims of the Earls Court show was to provide a showcase for second-hand coaches. These have sales potential at home and abroad. For example, late last year the United Bus Company in Malawi put six Duple Dominant bodied coaches in service between the country's new capitals airport at Lilongwe and its former coapital, Blantyre. The coaches were around seven years old and formerly saw service with Wallace Arnold.
Such export opportunities may be few but they clearly exist. However, only one dealer has taken the opportunity to show a second-hand coach.
Stuart Johnson of Harthill near Sheffield will be exhibiting a 1976 Duple-bodied Leyland Leopard which has been extensively refurbished and modernised for a new lease of life. The coach is offered in as-good-as-new condition and is one of a number going through the dealer's workshops.
Some pundits think that mini and midi vehicles will be required in the coming competitive world of British bus operations. They might be drawn to stands including Dormobile's.
Dormobilc's answer to the deregulation challenge is a new 20-seater body shown on Freight Rover Sherpa and Dodge 50 series chassis.
DSB is showing two examples of its 25-seat Whippet coachwork mounted on MAN chassis.
Iveco is one major European manufacturer aiming specifically at the increasing market for small buses and coaches. Its 79.14 chassis can accommodate bodywork with an extrance forward of the front axle, and it is both fast and economical.
For the small luxury coach market Iveco has its 315 turbo rear-engined chassis. It is to show 79.14 vehicles with Caetano and Robin Flood coachwork together with the luxurious Robin Hood Starlite bodied 315 Turbo.
Minibuses and coaches are also expected to be shown by Ensor Motors, which offers Mercedes-Benz PSV conversions, and Coachcraft/Crystals which can supply a variety of conversions on Iveco, Mercedes-Ben and other base vehicles.
IN ADDITION to the vehicles on show the largest ever assembly of . suppliers of components and servi for the coach industry will be exhibit at the first Earls Court Bus and Coac show.
Exhibitors include engine manufacturers Gardner and Cummin: Cummins will be showing its new B series range for bus applications as w as its powerful and compact 10-litre offering.
Equipment exhibits will include air conditioning, heating, seating, sound and vision and passenger comfort facilities, Garage equipment such as vehicle washers, generators and spray boothi, will be on shown alongside the stand manufacturers of flooring, fastenings. springs, tyres and destination blinds.
For operators wishing to buy vehit finance companies, insurance compar and computer advice will all be available, and for those looking for ti ideas, travel trade wholesalers, hotel groups and ferry companies will all b represented.
Industry information is the stock-U trade of the magazine and directory publishers who will be present. For those who need publicity, brochure printers and design consultants also h stands and, finally, for those who lik coach rallies the Yugoslav Associatio Travel Organisations will be keen to give details of its international rally being held at Crikvenicko in the spri