Having acquired almost every other British bus builder, British Leyland proceeded to kill them off one by one, leaving the market open for its own products. These were to be reduced to three standardised types …one single-deck bus, one double-deck bus and one coach. That was your lot, pal …take it or leave it. Most left it and went abroad. Thus perished a great and long-established British industry. In came the Volvos, Setras, Van Hools and Bovas. Much the same happened in the car industry. It was only fitting that BL should itself share the fate of the industry …but a great shame since it was the descendant of the most distinguished of all bus manufacturers, Leyland Motors, based in the eponymous Lancashire town.
In fact I can hardly think of BL and Leyland Motors as one. Under its Brylcreemed Tibetan supremo Michael Edwardes, it simply lost the ability to build a bus. This rolling, swaying, smoke screen-producing, alternately over or under-heated, delayed-action, all-skidding turbocharged joke, with its silly sub-American appearance and ergonomically-designed cab (laughter) was BL’s standard single-deck bus, the Leyland National. This particular example, the shorter, 10.3-metre variant, belonged to the fleet of the Greater Glasgow PTE, and is seen late on a midsummer evening, Thursday 28th June 1979, in Duke Street. In a way the Passenger Transport Executives were a product of the same kind of thinking that gave us BL. They eliminated the numerous and diverse municipal bus operations of the provincial conurbations and combined them into single entities. Small-scale, diverse and local = bad; large-scale, standardised and widespread = good. That was the idea anyway.
Tagged: , British Leyland , Leyland Motors , bus industry , Greater Glasgow PTE , Leyland National , GGE 173T