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Historic Commercial Vehicle Society: Southdown No 81

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1927 Dennis with Aluminium Body

UF 1517 Southdown No 81

This little bus - it seats just 19 - lives at the Amberley Working Museum in West Sussex. It was built in 1927 and has a Dennis chassis. Interestingly it is an early example of an all-metal body. The body is made of aluminium and was built by Short Brothers, the Belfast aircraft manufacturers. It is the only surviving example of a batch of all-metal bodies built by the company.

The restoration story of this bus has a familiar episode in it. When the bus body was rediscovered, it was found to be a part of a summer house or prefabricated cottage! In the past, this was often the fate of redundant railway carriages, and also early bus bodies which had similar characteristics: a room on wheels.

It fact this bus was only in service 6 years before it became part of a summer house.

UF 1517 does not appear to be an official entrant in the HCVS run. It has another role in the VIP area.

The restoration of UF 1517 was carried out at the Amberley Museum and was partly funded by a grant from the Science Museum.


1927 Dennis Bus with Short Brothers Body


For more on the HCVS Run, click below
K148, the overall winner
J144, a 1915 bus
L163, a 1911 double deck bus
Fire Appliances
The Outspan Orange Car
J134, 1909 Commer car
Southdown bus, reg UF1517
Steam wagons


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