In deference to Daimler, whose Fleetline was so incredibly popular (but not in London), yesterday Omnibuses’ Northern Correspondent visited Coventry. It was the centenary rally to commemorate the foundation of Coventry Corporation Transport.
Miseries notwithstanding on an otherwise enjoyable and well organised day, it was an odd anniversary, really, for three reasons, because:
- Coventry was somewhat late on the scene as a municipal undertaking (from 1912, obviously, when the corporation purchased Coventry Electric Tramways and, after a few months of pre-war motor bus operation, again from 1919)
- It was 40 years ago, in 1972, that an Act would see the undertaking disappear two years later under a sea of WMPTE blue
- The Coventry name only began to appear on buses again from 2002, 10 years ago, albeit under a very different guise, as Travel Coventry and, latterly, National Express Coventry. This was far removed from Coventry’s municipal past & heritage. The subtle livery variations on its current buses were quite a few in number.
One such difference was the centenary bus. National Express Coventry had entered into the spirit of things by painting a vehicle in celebratory CCT livery.
Coventry was once the cradle of UK vehicle manufacturing. NC did muse, however, that for a city synonymous with the auto industry, how come it has a ring road with such ill thought out and ridiculously short junctions & interchanges?
Unsurprisingly, Coventry Corporation was a major client of Daimler buses, right till the end. They appeared with the famous crinkled, finger-marked radiators and grills. Indeed, it was a year after the merger that British Leyland rebadged the Fleetline as Leyland rather than Daimler. I’m not sure how that would’ve gone down with Coventry’s city fathers with their civic pride in their bus service, and it is perhaps as well that the undertaking was subsumed by WMPTE at that point.
Finally, the occasion saw the rare opening of the museum storage area, in which you could see a range of the unusual and not so unusual Coventry-manufactured vehicles. But what is this interesting car and when was it made? Answers in Comments. If no one has guessed correctly by 0700 tomorrow, I’ll let you know.