TUO497 – 1956 Bristol LS
|Original Operator||Southern National|
|Joined our collection||March 2015|
|Status||Classic Vehicle. roadworthy|
TUO497 is a remarkable survivor; one of only three surviving Bristol LS buses from the Western/Southern National fleets and is one of only two roadworthy standard Bristol LS buses in the UK out of more than 1400 built.
The Bristol “Light Saloon” type was one of the first generation of “underfloor engine” buses and used integral aluminium construction techniques learnt during wartime aircraft production.
Entered service 2nd June 1956 with “Southern National” at Weymouth. Crew operated and without modern features like indicators. Primarily used on routes to Portland (replacing pre-war buses), but on summer weekends used for express service duplication (even as far as London)
Converted to One-Man-Operation in 1963; indicators, luggage pen, cash tray and ticket machine fitted and 4 seats removed. Re-allocated to Seaton Garage where it remained until withdrawn after more than 20 years front-line service, and sold to J.P.Wood of Craven Arms (better known by their brand name “Chukie Chicken”) on 4th February 1977. Later fitted with a larger Gardner 6HLW engine.
Over a dozen “Chukie” buses survive in preservation and our advert on the boot is a little “thank you” to the firm.
After the factory closed, on 3rd November 1981 the bus was sold to a private owner and didn’t see road use again for over 30 years. In an attempted caravan conversion in the 1990s it was painted red and the interior completely removed. Sold again in 1998 as an empty shell and stored on a farm out of sight.
We took ownership on 14th April 2015. Moved by low-loader and mechanically re-commissioned. On 31st July 2015 returned to the road 33 years to the day after last tax disc expired (when one of the current owners was only 10 days old) During 2016 and 2017, the missing interior was replaced including new luggage racks, seats (despite appearances, not all bus seats are the same), floor tread strips and other decorative designing.