VL 1263VL 1263 - 1929 Leyland Lion LT1

Applewhite B32R body

Lincoln Corporation No. 5

This bus was one of a batch of four (4, 5, 7 and 8) which entered service with Lincoln Corporation Transport in March 1929, taking the numbers of 1921 Dennis CAB single deckers which had been withdrawn in 1928.

The 32 seat bodywork was built locally by Messrs Applewhites of St Rumbold Street, Lincoln. These buses were built as an experiment with reinforced red concrete floors and were christened the Leyland "Fireproofs" by Lincoln Corporation Transport staff. However, they did not prove a success so they were replaced by the standard wooden floors thus becoming known to the staff as the "Large" Lions.

All four of these buses were withdrawn from service in or around 1938 and parked in a field on the Ropewalk, Lincoln together with other withdrawn buses. However, the shortage of buses and increase in traffic during the 1939 - 45 war led to the four buses being reinstated to service. They were converted to what were known as "standees", with the seats were turned round so that passengers sat looking inwards allowing space for more standing passengers.

After the war they were converted back to 32 seaters and continued in service - Nos. 4 and 5 until 1949, No. 7 being the last of the batch in service in 1951. While the other three buses went for scrap, No. 5 had a further lease of life being transferred to the Highways Department as a snow plough until 1954 when it finally was sold as scrap to a local dealer.

The dealer in question was the late Mr S Twell of Ingham, a founder member of the LVVS and a Vice President. This was one of the factors that led to No. 5 being the first vehicle acquired by the (then) newly formed Lincolnshire Vintage Vehicle Society in 1959. While the bus was mechanically complete, it had no seats or windows, and the bodywork was found to be in a state beyond repair by members of the Society.

VL1263 before restoration VL 1263 outside Road Transport Museum, prior to restoration

In 1984 Lincoln City Council took an interest in No. 5 and decided to have it restored to as near original condition as possible. As no drawings were available for the body, the whole reconstruction of the bodywork carried out by the Building Department was done using what remained of the body as patterns and from photographs, and full credit must be given to everyone who has assisted with this work. Mechanical restoration involved the reconditioning of the units by the Transport Department using a similar chassis (Midland General, Lion LT1 / Leyland B30F 1929 VO 2556, new to Swain, Skegby) bought as a source of spares, as several items were missing from No 5's chassis.

A few modifications to the original specification - including the provision of an offside emergency exit, direction indicators and a tachograph - were made to bring the bus to full (1980s) PSV standard, and No. 5 returned to revenue earning service on the streets of Lincoln - being used for City tours and private hires - at the age of 56.

VL 1263 Interior VL1263 interior VL1263 interior
Applewhites Logo Top left & right - Interior advertisements

Above interior, looking towards rear

Left - Applewhites Logo on bodyside

Right - Cab - note tachograph (right) which is not original. Accelerator pedal is at centre, which was common arrangement at this time.
VL 1263 Cab

Now 'retired' but still operational at our Museum, No. 5 is believed to be the only surviving bus anywhere with an Applewhites' body.

Leyland LionJuly 2009 - The new tyres from the U.S. have arrived and should be fitted soon.

Oct 2009 - The wheels were thoroughly cleaned and painted before the new tubes and tyres were fitted. These have now been fitted to the bus after the front end of the chassis was cleaned and painted black.

January 2010 - No. 5 was MOT tested in time for the November 2009 Open Day.

April 2014 - This bus has received attention at the Lincolnshire Co-op workshop to repair various niggles with the exhaust system (a leaking silencer and gaskets) and a leaking water pipe.

January 2015 - The radiator has been removed and is being cleaned internally, which should cure the overheating problem. At the same time the engine is being cleaned and some painting done on the bodywork.

April 2015 - The radiator overhaul has been completed and it is now back on the vehicle. The radiator has been enhanced by the fitment of a genuine Lion “ by appointment” badge which has been awaiting this moment of glory for several years!


Leyland Society

page updated 6.9.15