Newcastle Corporation purchased its first two Leyland Atlantean PDR1/1s in 1960. One had an Alexander body and the other a Metro-Cammell (MCWW) body. A further 155 were to follow between 1961 and 1965. In 1966 a further 56 vehicles were ordered, 28 with Alexander bodywork and 28 with MCCW bodywork.
KBB 118D was one of the MCCW batch delivered to Newcastle Corporation Transport in August 1966 as fleet number 118. This batch of 28 vehicles were numbered 106 to 133 (KBB 106D to KBB 133D).
It was transferred to Tyneside PTE on 1st January 1970 and rebuilt to O44/34F in May 1974, after a disagreement with a low bridge, for use at South Shields.
The vehicle has been painted in a number of different liveries over the years.
In 1974 it was painted in a special Black & White striped livery for Newcastle United,
Later in 1974 it was painted in a special livery for Newcastle Festival, still sporting 118 fleet number. Then renumbered 218 in July 1974.
It was also painted in a special livery for Newcastle Festival in 1976.
In 1976 it was also painted in a special Livery to commemorate The Olympians of Gateshead, at Montreal Olympics.
In 1977 it was painted into Silver Jubilee livery, which it carried when used for transporting Muhammed Ali around the North East in July 1977. This is the livery KBB has been restored in.
In July 1977, to the huge surprise of Johnny Walker, a Whitburn painter and decorator, Ali accepted his invitation to travel from the United States to South Shields and help raise money for his boxing club.
During his four-day visit he toured the region in KBB as thousands of people took to the streets to catch a glimpse of him.
He visited Newcastle’s Pendower Hall Special School and Grainger Park Boys Club. He sparred with local boys and ex-professionals, played darts at Gypsies Green Stadium in South Shields. and attended South Shields Al-Ahzar Mosque with his wife and baby daughter to have his wedding blessed by the imam.
To mark “100 years of Public Transport on Tyneside” in 1978 it was painted into a special commemorative livery and was renumbered 1218 in May.
In 1984 it was repainted in a special blue livery to publicise the coastal service.
Withdrawn in September 1997, it was sold in May 1998 to North East Bus Breakers. In early 1999 they sold it to Galway Tours, High Ryan, Moycullen, Co. Galway for use on sightseeing tours in Galway, Ireland, where it was re-registered ZV 1510. It was last operated in April 2004.
In 2004/5 we learned that that it was for sale and contact was made with Galway Tours owner, Michael Healy, whom kindly donated the vehicle to NEBPT. Whilst we were working out the best way to get it back to the North East, Mr Healy generously arranged for it to be transported as a return load on a low loader.
Late on a Sunday evening towards the end of August 2006 KBB 118D arrived back in the North East.
The vehicle was in reasonable mechanical condition but had some severe body corrosion on the lower deck due to water ingress from the top deck and a rather spongy upper deck floor.
A bonus was was the South Shields destinations blinds had been retained, having just been covered over whilst in Galway.
Due to the significant work required, we had been looking for some time for funding to get this vehicle back on the road again. We were therefore delighted to secure Awards for All England funding from the Big Lottery Fund in June 2017 enabling KBB 118D to be professionally restored.
KBB 118D departs for restoration
A lot of additional work has been undertaken by members to complete the vehicle. A long list of unexpected repairs, which perhaps is inevitable with older vehicles, was also undertaken adding a significant amount of additional expenditure to the restoration. The vehicle is a credit to everyone concerned,