Central SMT


Keith A Jenkinson

First published 1984, Autobus Review Publications, Cover Price £5.50

ISBN 0-9078-3407-8

Here is some more information on this book, provided by Fr Alex Strachan.

The author owes much to RJ Bellingham and his three articles printed in Bus Fayre, mentioned elsewhere in 'Central In Print'.

The book contains technical information and sets the Lodekka within the broader context of the development of the British double decker bus. He chronicles events, including purchases, on an almost year-by-year basis. At the back he has tabulated all purchases. One notable omission from this chart are the Central FSFs. These are referred to in the text, however.

Jenkinson includes a very broad range of monochrome photos of all variants and oddities, from north and south of the Border. In total 23 Scottish Lodekkas find a place (including both a Baxter's and a Perth City LD). Central Lodekkas are as follows: B3 (in Helensburgh); B4 (in Fife livery); B46 ('church windows' rear view); B67 (as new - view of cream cab); B110 (jack-knife doors rear view); B127 (rear end view); Central FLF chassis at Bristol (unnumbered); BL274 (at Buchanan Bus Stn with wrap-around advert); BL282 as new in Parliamentary Road bus park.

Of greatest interest to Central fans is Jenkinson's supplement to the VR at Earl's Court story: "The most important milestone of 1966 was however the reappearance of Bristol at the Motor Show at Earl's Court, London after an absence of eighteen years. Included on their stand was a long FLF painted in the colours of Central SMT but owned by Bristol Commercial Vehicles. This was the only Lodekka ever exhibited at a Commercial Motor Show and after returning to Bristol for some minor modifications, it was despatched to Central SMT for whom it operated on extended loan until 1970 when it was purchased by them." [p.35]. Which one??!!

He is inaccurate with a few facts, e.g. referring to the long FLFs as having the 'BE' prefix, and the 1966 FLFs as being 78-seaters, in contrast to Eastern's 76-seaters. Central's were also 76 seat models that year, but 78-seat in both '65 and '67. On the whole, however, the book is a great read for anyone interested in Lodekkas, and  those with a leaning towards the SBG batches. Three NBC/SBG vehicles are included in the photos, including NRD1.

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