Mystery Tour

Welcome to my Mystery Tour!  Any images that I cannot place under a heading elsewhere will be displayed here and/or in the Memory Lane page in the hope that someone might be able to determine more about them or what they are:  

This is a bus with Alexander bodywork!  Now that's a fairly impressive deduction don't you think? Having so little to go on, I know you are curious how the brilliant editor has worked this out but seemingly knows nothing else about the bus.  Do you?

Peter Williamson has advised that this bus is an Alexander bodied Ailsa chassis dating from pre-1978.  Ailsa was a Scottish Volvo truck dealer that changed to bus chassis construction using Volvo parts.  It was later taken over by Volvo.

Originally William Alexander and Sons Ltd, was both a major Scottish operator and a bus body builder. The body building business became a separate company in 1947 but in 1961 the bus and coach operations, that was by then part of the state-owned Scottish Bus Group, was split into three parts. One of these was Alexander Midland, of which the bus shown here is an example of the company's output.  In 1978 however, Alexander Midland was re-branded as Midland Scottish.

Pictured here in Nice, France, in the mid '70's by Michael Pravikoff, is a very similar bus bodied by Alexander seemingly for their fleet covering the Fyfe area. (There appears another rather British looking single deckker [it isn't British see below] to the left of the picture and it was during the "Semaine Internationale du Car" [International Coach Week] so maybe it was a bus rally. Does anyone know why this bus was in the South of France? Ed..)

Michael Pravikoff has kindly since written: "Your guess of a bus rally is correct. Every two years or so, there was a "Semaine Internationale du Car" that was extended to include buses.  I have been unable to research these events, except that they've been held in Nice in 1961 (14th edition), 1973 (21st edition), 1975 and 1977. I was living in Nice during the three last events, hence the picture taken in 1975 or '77.  The Berliet PR100 standard bus was presented to the public for the first time in '73 and some catalog reproductions are to be found on the Internet.  In 1975, there was another double-decker, but from Germany; the first-ever MAN SD202 for Berlin. And, by the way, the other bus on the left is a French. Saviem SC50; a midi-bus with the body built by Heuliez.  It was not a commercial success; very uncomfortable and noisy.  Its body was largely inspired by the German VöV standard bus specifications of the time.  I also possess a newspaper article (Nice-Matin) about the 1977 event, mainly concerning the various competitive tests regarding maneuverability etc., but the focus then was on the Neoplan Skyliner. That is about all there is, or at least, all that is Internet-searchable!"


Now this sure is a potentially dangerous situation!!!

"Look", says the young lady, "I can reach in and with a little extra effort I could shake hands with the driver." "Don't you think that's dangerous?"

"You mean like this!" "I guess this would be a problem if the bus moved off, eh!" (A bit of an understatement, Ed.)

"OK, perhaps we'd better fix this soonest."

I wouldn't like to contemplate the potential consequences of doors like this.  This is possibly a Leyland bus registered in 1972; maybe an Atlantean (it isn't - see below).  I do not know where it is taken but I would hazard a guess at Liverpool (I'm correct here).  Evidently the door rubbers were too soft and/or not fitting properly and this was a demonstration of the potential hazard (sort of true but see Jonathan Cadwallader's comments below).

Jonathan Cadwallader has kindly written in and commented that this appears to be a safety demonstration. He says "I'm guessing that it is to illustrate an interlock between the rubber seals on the doors and the gearbox selector preventing the bus from moving off if someone was trapped between the doors. This is supposition on my part, but I can say with total confidence that the bus is YKF 709K, a Bristol VRTLH6G with dual door East Lancashire bodywork (No. 2071) in the fleet of the Merseyside Passenger Transport Executive."

I'm grateful to Jonathan for identifying the vehicle and his opinion that it is a demonstration is highly plausible.  The consequences of such a possible situation are too catastrophic to wish to imagine.  So this mystery is, I think, solved.  What isn't is why these photographs were discovered in a haul emanating from the Charles H Roe works and probably originating from PRV.  More comments welcome. Ed.


Can you identify this gentleman and/or his car?  This picture was in an envelope seemingly associated with PRV and the background does look like the PRV factory.  The outer envelope reads MacBraynes, so might this gentleman have been a MacBraynes director? Judging by the car, the image seems to date from the 30's.  PRV certainly supplied MacBraynes during that period. 


Now for a mystery - can you solve this puzzle?  This object was discovered by a reader's plumber who found it behind a water tank. 

This metal fabrication appears to be some form of cover, a cowling perhaps, though it is too small for an engine. Part of a drive-shaft cover?  Shown here balanced on a chair to give some reference as to its size, it is clearly marked with "Coachwork by Charles H. Roe, Limited, Leeds, Crossgates Carriage Works" on what would appear to be the inside, assuming the "orange" paint is external.  Evidently Roe was proud enough of this fabrication to stamp it with their emblem, so does this mean the fabrication was potentially visible to the public?  Is it some form of hinged luggage cover?  On the "orange" (external?) view there are holes in the top and left edges that definitely had some form of flange attached. And in the white (internal?) view, the side holes appear to have some strengthening strip.  Was this flange a hinge to the top with strengthening or buffering to the left?  But if it was, the logo would be upside down when viewed by a user.  So if it was hinged then the hinge was at the bottom and the object was lifted into position.

Basil Hancock thinks this may be an internal roof cove panel (above the window, curving into the ceiling) as he believes that Roe may sometimes have mounted their transfers there. (Excellent possibility and if this is the case, and it seems probable, the quality and style of the logo makes me think it is a very early example; perhaps the 1920's? The public might have had to crick their necks to see it though. Please write in with your views. No prizes for solving it but definitely the kudos! Ed.)

I am advised this fabrication is available; should anyone be interested please email the webmaster.


Can you solve this puzzle?

Here is an inter-roof panel for an RT shown after de-rusting. In the second image a PRV inspection stamp can be seen showing PRV 15.  Did "15" denote a particular inspector?  Does anyone know? Ed.

Please write in with your ideas. No prizes for solving it but definitely the kudos! Ed.


How about this one!!!

Here are two roundels about 8.89cm diameter (3.5 inches) and approximately 3mm thick with 9.5mm holes about 5cm (2 inches) apart; made of plastic or perhaps perspex, just one of the holes is countersunk. Christine Patterson's late father-in-law worked as a mechanic with Scottish Road Services and these mystery roundels were discovered in his collection.

Tantalisingly printed with "PRV Ltd" in yellow/gold on black they may be something to do with Park Royal Vehicles or are they from a similarly named company.  Might these badges being sought by Bob Jones be a clue?
Please write in with your ideas. No prizes for solving it but definitely the kudos! Ed.

This mystery has been solved by Stephen Gray who advises that these roundels were definitely fitted to Mandator and Mammoth Major Mark 5 cabs.