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AECs in the UK
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Other types

This page features some less common types of AECs which have operated in the UK, or other vehicles which might be of interest on an AEC site - including trains with AEC running units.

Photographs on this site are from the author's personal collection unless credited otherwise.  If you would like to contribute photographs or news of AECs in service please email the author at

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GHP 994L

UTIC in Portugal built many vehicles around AEC Monocoach and then AEC Swift units, and the latter continued to be built for a while after production at Southall ceased in 1979. One batch of nine of these interesting vehicles found its way to Britain. One was GHP 994L, seen working for Westbourne Tours on a National Express duty in 1982. More information about this batch of coaches can be found in the Features section.


GFM 882

So what's a Bristol L doing on an AEC website? Because it has an AEC engine of course! GFM882 is one of a batch of AEC engined Bristol Ls new to Crosville, and was photographed with MacEwans of Dumfries in 1993. Photo by Murdock Currie.
This is the 1967 AEC-Gold Leaf Team Lotus Formula 1 Truck, built on an AEC Swift chassis and originally registered LVF 480E. It was rebuilt by the team in early 2005, and is kept in Austria. This 2009 picture shows it following full restoration.
Photo provided by Joe Willenpart, who welcomes correspondence and any pictures of it between 1967 and 2004, awaw911@aol.com.

Thanks to Martin Ingle for the chassis identification.

Another AEC Race Car Transporter was commissioned in 1967 to carry the Ford Mirage and GT40 race cars around Europe for JW Automotive Engineering Ltd. It subsequently carried Porsche 917 race cars also. It was built on an AEC Regal VI chassis and delivered in 1968, registered KKX 328G and then reregistered 1129 BH. Originally painted light blue and orange in the colours of sponsor, Gulf Oil, it was left hand drive. Later it was lettered "Gulf Research Racing," still blue and orange. In 1976 it was purchased, along with the 1975 Le Mans winning Mirages, by American, Harley E. Cluxton III, of Phoenix, Arizona. There it was repainted yellow, red and black and lettered "Grand Touring Cars." It has disappeared somewhere in the USA. If anyone knows of its whereabouts, John Horsman would be interested to hear. Contact jhorsman04@aol.com
And here is a picture of 1129 BH in its original guise with JW Automotive lettering being driven off a ferry, kindly provided by Martin Rowley who's dad Phil was driving the transporter in the picture, and used with the permission of John Horsman. Photo from the J. Horsman collection.

RM1977, which was in the heritage fleet of Crosville Motor Services (the 21st century reincarnation in Somerset, not the original), appears to have become a "piano bus" in this picture takenin October 2013 in a dealer's yard in Bristol by Ken Jones.
Ex Premier Travel Plaxton bodied AEC Reliance NEB 346R has been converted to a racing car transporter. Martin Halpin of Morecambe uses it to carry their F1 Stock Car around the UK and Europe. A photograph of it in action in May 2007 is on David Beadmore's Flickr page. http://www.flickr.com/photos/45726467@N02/4196908813/in/photostream/
Another former coach put to use as a transporter is Plaxton Panorama bodied Reliance FVO 67D. Nicely restored in the livery of K&R Walsh, it was pictured by Ken Jones at Fleetwood during a Tram Sunday event in 2012.

Another former PSV Reliance now put to another use is former Greenline RS34. Private owner Daren French rescued it from the cutter's torch to put it to good use as a motorhome. He drove it for Tedburn Coaches of Devon and bought it when it became redundant. Seven years of restoration work has been undertaken to restore it,including replacement of almost every body panel. It was on the road in mid-2011 with a fresh coat of paint. Although a working vehicle it is to keep its original appearance as far as possible, including authentic blinds, and it makes appearances at rallies and fairs.

Daren has provided these photos of his bus (home!) and you can see more of it's progress by entering its reg number on the Flickr website. He would welcome any pictures of it during its working days as a PSV. He can be contacted on darenpfrench@hotmail.co.uk

Here's another Reliance being used as a motorhome, but a litttle longer ago. XFJ 592 was a Duple Britannia model new to Greenslades Tours. It was caught in Phil Cattermole's camera lens at the Hastings Old Town coach park in 1978.
For a number of years in the 1970s, the recovery vechicle at the Maidstone & District Tunbridge Wells depot was an AEC Matador truck equipped with mini-workshop for carrying emergency spares. It was seen there in the summer of 1975 displaying the tradeplates on which it usually ran.
Another AEC recovery vehicle, this is a Marshal Major truck preserved at the Ruddington centre and pictured in July 2014. Picture by Ken Jones.

This is an AEC Mandator truck, of the type used by many bus companies as recovery vehicles. In preservation ownership it was pictured at the Alton rally and running day in July 2009.

Another AEC Mandator, LGK 954D, was still being used as a fuel truck by Cyma Petroleum at Langar airfield, Nottinghamshire, in 2007.

AEC Mammoth LLU 292 AEC Mammoth MLE 411Pictured at the 2012 Detling rally were a pair of preserved AEC Mammoth trucks

AEC HORSE-BOXES

'Pullman transport for bloodstock' …'from stable to covertside and race course, with safety comfort and speed' was how the Hammond 'Newmarket' horse-box was described to potential customers. And in fact, for some 40 years, the highest in the land chose Hammond vehicles to move their prized race horses, some of the most famous, including Golden Miller and Brown Jack 'riding Hammond'.

Although the company used a wide variety of vehicles Percy Hammond was a devotee of AEC from the earliest days in the late 1920s. By 1976, when the enterprise in High Street, Newmarket, finally closed, there were about 20 horse-boxes in Hammond's own fleet.

Rolling chassis were sent to the coachbuilder after a mechanical check. Some bodies were constructed by a local company called Watson, but Strachan, Thomas Harrington in Hove and later Lambourne were used. The whole exercise took about six months.

Harrington are thought to have built horse-boxes exclusively for Mr Hammond and it is probably Vincent who can claim the distinction of making the very first motor 'box' at around the same time as Mr Hammond's 'Newmarket' design was launched.

Mrs Anne Rolinson the surviving daughter of Mr Hammond remembers one of the AEC's in particular. 'We had just finished a beautiful example for a nobleman who sadly died just before delivery. His son cancelled the order and it was a worrying time, especially as the horse-box was already painted in their racing colours. However, the trainer suggested father drove the 'box' to the front of the owner's house and parked it with its ramps down where the new earl and his fiancée would pass it on their way back from church the next Sunday. That trainer proved a very good friend because the successor to the title could not resist showing off 'his' new horse-box to the young lady and the payment for that big expensive AEC was honoured'.

When AEC took over Maudslay in 1948 the Coventry firm's chassis were also used by Hammond and became the star attraction on the AEC/Maudslay stand at the Tattersalls Newmarket horse sale. It is a Maudslay which is used for the Dinky model of a Hammond horse-box produced by Meccano between 1953 and '61.

Illustrated are an early offering on the AEC chassis, a stunningly beautiful interpretation on a 1950s Regal coach chassis and the cover of a brochure depicting a special low-loading chassis, probably from the mid-1930s.

Photos and article courtesy of Martyn Nutland, who has checked his research with the Hammond family. Martyn advises that the gentleman driving the Regal is Joe Froman; he wonders if Joe is still alive and welcome the opportunity to speak with him or members of his family.

Martin Ingle knows a bit about the horseboxes too. In July 2006 he wrote:
"There were three postwar Regal chassis bodied as horseboxes for the UK. Chassis number O6624782 was HXA 167 and 6821A157 was CCF 822, both with Vincent bodies. Can anybody advise me of the reg of chassis number O6625487 and who bodied it please? And maybe provide a picture? One of them survives as a preservation project and was the subject of an earlier Messageboard post by Keith Finlay from Australia on 23/1/06 unfortunately the email address given then no longer functions. Can anybody put me in touch with Keith please?"

Well, we now know that BCF 662 pictured above, one of those sent by Martyn Nutland, is the third Regal.

Martin has also learnt that one of the ex Railway Company Maudslay Marathon - Harrington horseboxes, HXW 626, was rescued from a farm near Chepstow.

You can contact Martin at joyandmartin.lamornacove@talktalk.net

AEC TRAINS

AEC provided the running units for a number of manufacturers of diesel railcars and multiple units in the 1960s when British Rail was sourcing these types of trains from multiple builders to speed up the modernisation process. In the case of the 'Class 103' multiple units, Park Royal also built the bodywork. The standard engine used for these was the A220, which was an 11.1 litre unit and was a precursor of the AH690. Two engines were fitted to each carriage (or "car", in railway parlance).

Graham Thornton, who owns the only surviving 'Class 105' "Cravens" unit, has provided the following information about preserved AEC multiple units:
The Cravens is unique and is based on the East Lancashire Railway at Bury; it is a class 105. There are approx 10-12 preserved DMU vehicles on A220 engines including a class 126 based at Bo'ness in Scotland (4 engines), three cars at the Midland railway centre at Butterly - one being a class 100 built by Gloucester carriage and wagon (two engines), the other two cars being Derby lightweight vehicles (4 engines). A Park Royal class 103 set is at Helston (in Cornwall) for use there, and another in Coventry (again two engines each). Finally there is the Wickham class 109 on the Llangollen railway with two engines! So the A220 is alive and well as most of the above are working vehicles.