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West Midlands PTE Volvo Ailsa Alexander 4787 & London Transport MCW Metro Scania MD30
Preparing the SHOWBUS brochure this week we have been searching through some old colour slides and could not resist scanning this one from SHOWBUS 76 at the Hillingdon Show. It was the era of the Swedish bus invasion and this pair of European doubledeck models were aiming to topple Leyland from its top spot. Two very different approaches with Volvo coming up with the front engined Volvo Ailsa actually manufactures at their Scottish plant in Irvine and bodied by Alexander at Falkirk, as were most Ailsas. In contrast Scania co-operated closely with MCW to produce what became the Metropolitan and later morphed into the MCW Metrobus with no involvement from the Swedes. The Ailsa had been in production two years and West Midlands PTE bought large numbers. The Metro-Scania had been around about the same time and its fortunes rose when London Transport bought a large batch. The Metro-Scania is MD30 (KJD230P) and the large rosette on the screen shows it to be a SHOWBUS prize-winner. The bus entered service three months later. Ne Ailsa 4787 (JOV787P) went straight into service. Last year saw a special Ailsa display with two preserved West Midlands PTE examples, one from Tayside, one in Black Prince colours that was new to Derby, the preserved Maidstone & District example and one of the trio bought by London Transport. It is a measure of the relative success of the two models that the Metro-Scania has only been seen in preserved form once at SHOWBUS with the example restored by Ensignbus in 2014, MD60 (KJD260P). The pairing of these two buses at SHOWBUS was typical of the reputation the event established in its early days for special displays and is still doing so 41 years later, check it out on September 17th at Donington Park.
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See August 27th's picture of the week here.