Historic buses find a home at Shuttleworth

Two more of Mike Sutcliffe MBE’s remarkable collection of pre-1925 Leyland buses have now found a new long term home within The Shuttleworth Collection. Shuttleworth has accepted this rare opportunity to acquire these unique examples of Edwardian buses to bolster the significant transport offering already at The Collection at Old Warden in Bedfordshire.

Built in 1921, the “Charabus” is a unique convertible single-decker bus and was built as a Show Exhibit for the Olympia Commercial Motor Show in 1921, it is now on display in the hangars. The 1913 Wellingborough Leyland S3.30.T, with body by Birch Bros, is one of only a handful of surviving second generation double-decker buses built before the First World War. It will be coming to Old Warden in spring.

Both Mike and his wife Pat have been considering their options to provide a secure future for these wonderful buses and chose the Collection where enthusiasts and the general public can continue to enjoy the vehicles for very many years to come.

It was deemed particularly important to place both buses together as they ran together in service in the same locality, in Northamptonshire and Bedfordshire, for all of their operating lives with the forerunners of the United Counties Omnibus Company. The Shuttleworth Collection have agreed to keep the buses in their original liveries, including local adverts and destinations, thereby preserving some of the local history. Mike’s commitment and passion for preserving these buses is such that he has allowed the Collection to purchase them at a very favourable price.

The Shuttleworth Veteran Aircraft Society (SVAS) has also played an important part in bringing the buses to Shuttleworth. Alan Reed said “A noteworthy financial contribution towards the purchasing of these buses has been put forward by the SVAS to benefit visitors to the Collection.”

Both buses have been Concours d ’Elegance winners of the London-Brighton annual Commercial Vehicle Run and have been authentically restored to the highest possible standard by Mike, who is continuing his support by putting together an archive of material relating to each bus, its operation and restoration and, with his son Ricky, helping the volunteers at Shuttleworth to equip themselves with the maintenance and driving skills needed to care for and operate such venerable vehicles.

Tim Routsis, Aviation Trustee and acting CEO for Shuttleworth, said “both buses are of some historical interest and valued additions to the Collection that visitors would enjoy. Both buses are intended to be on show at the Season Premiere airshow and at events throughout the season.”