North East Bus Preservation Trust Limited
Wednesday 29 November 2023  

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Beadle bodied AEC Regal - DCN 83

Registration Number DCN 83
Chassis AEC Regal
Body Beadle C35F
Date New 1953
Fleet Number 1483
Original Owner Northern General
Acquired for Preservation 1982
Current Status Awaiting Restoration

Historical Information

1483 was one of a group of 10 coaches which entered service in 1953. Northern General decided to re-use the chassis of pre-war AEC Regals, and had them lengthened and re-bodied by a coachbuilder, J C Beadle of Kent.

1483s mechanical parts were from fleet number 889, (DUP 139) a 1939 AEC Regal, and in March 1953, Northern removed the original Weymann B38F body and sent the chassis to Beadles works to have the new coach body fitted.

The coaches were registered with new numbers in 1953, but 1483 did not enter service until April 1954. These vehicles were mainly used on the Tyne Tees Mersey express service, from Newcastle to Liverpool, which in those pre-motorway days took about nine hours to travel the full distance of 160 miles.

Towards the end of the 1950s, newer coaches were used on this service, and the Beadles were used on day tours and private hire contracts. In 1960, the batch was withdrawn from service, and 1483 was sold to a dealer who in turn sold it to A G Linfield of Thakeham, Sussex where it was used for staff transport until 1965.

1483 was then sold to the legendary vehicle breaker, Percy Voakes of Adversane, Sussex. Percy owned what was affectionately known as The Great Car Dump and had been taking cars for scrap since the about 1936. His yard was a four acre field into which he moved anything on wheels. No. 1483 was first spotted here by Ken Rodham when on holiday in the area with his family in 1980.

The coach had been bought for scrap in 1965, but was never cut up. During the fifteen years it stood in the field, the windows and roof lights were removed, presumably by someone who wanted spares for a similar vehicle. All of the interior of 1483 was in a bad state, but mechanically, it seemed intact.

Interior views of 1483

Ken reported his find when he returned home, and a fund was set up to purchase the bus. Percy was helpful and keen to see the bus restored, and it was eventually purchased from him for £500 in 1982. It was hauled out of the undergrowth and a local haulier, Brown Wharrier Transport collected the coach and returned it to the North-East in 1983, when it was placed in secure indoor storage.

1483 on its return to the North East in 1983

Little has happened to it since then. It was established that the engine was free to turn and after a little work, it was possible to start and run the engine. There are problems with the gearbox and first and third gears cannot be engaged.