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1958 Leyland Comet 63-Passenger Bus with Freighters Co. Semi-trailer

1958 Leyland Comet in Look at Life: Under the Rocket, Documentary, 1960

Class: Trucks, Trailer truck (tractor) — Model origin: UK

1958 Leyland Comet 63-Passenger Bus with Freighters Co. Semi-trailer

[*] Background vehicle

Comments about this vehicle

AuthorMessage

rjluna2 US

2014-05-13 13:36

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What a bus :)

JCB UK

2014-05-13 14:16

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Yes it could certainly carry a lot of passengers , it's at Woomera rocket range .

-- Last edit: 2014-05-13 14:45:00

Sunbar UK

2016-09-18 20:36

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COMETS FOR ROCKET TOWN (1958)

"Claimed to be the largest articulated buses ever built in South Australia. three Leyland Comet 63-passenger outfits have been supplied to the Department of Supply, Woomera, to carry scientists and technicians from the township to the rocket range. The semi-trailers were built by the Freighters Company at a total cost of nearly £A15,000. The steel bodies are 43 ft. 6 in. long and have 12 seats above the coupling, two rows of 29 double-seats and a five-passenger seat at the rear."

Link to "archive.commercialmotor.com"

dsl SX

2016-09-18 22:22

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Comet 90 finished in April 1955 - upgraded to 100bhp so plain Comet or Comet 100 name.

johnfromstaffs EN

2016-09-18 22:44

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dsl wrote Comet 90 finished in April 1955 - upgraded to 100bhp so plain Comet or Comet 100 name.


Does that apply to the normal control chassis as well? There was also a Comet 75 with the O.300 engine.

dsl SX

2016-09-18 23:04

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I don't know. Glass's Commercial check books are - for me at least - difficult to understand - long tables of codes with minimal narrative, so I can only pick out snippets of info rather than follow a sequence, and I only have the 1950-61 edition for this period. That said, there is no mention of a Comet 75 or O.300 engine, the Comet (90) had O.350 5760cc from 1951 until at least Jan 61, plus from Dec 58 the O.375 6170cc unit alongside. Beaver had O.600 9800cc throughout 1950-61 plus O.680 11100cc alternative from Sept 55. Super Comet from Oct 58 had O.375 6170cc and from Sept 60 added 400-S 6540cc.

As for info like FC/NC, wheelbases or tonnage, the permutations are too vast to summarise and I don't really understand how they're listed. Info on model/body changes is minimal to non-existent.

johnfromstaffs EN

2016-09-19 09:12

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Just to prove I didn't imagine the Comet 75.

http://www.old-bus-photos.co.uk/?tag=leyland-comet

Sunbar UK

2016-09-19 11:52

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All excellent information dsl and johnfromstaffs; my findings as follows. Not hard 'facts' but as reported in CM, so there could be more information missing! Tonnage is particularly loosley applied in the period.

Prior to the LAD cab only the 'Comet 90' appears to be promoted as such in adverts. The remainder (before and after) being called plain 'Comet'.

The Comet was introduced early 1948 with a 5 litre 75 bhp diesel engine as normal control only with the emphasis on export sales. It was rated as 6-7 tons.
January 1950 saw the introduction of the option of a Leyland 100bhp petrol engine of the same basic design as the diesel.
In early 1951 the 75bhp unit was replaced and the truck called the Comet 90; with a 5.75 litre 90 bhp engine, still n/c only and rated at 7-8 tons.
In October 1953 the full-frontal cab (f/c) was added also as the Comet 90 "with chassis details and 90 bhp engine as the n/c truck".
The 100bhp engine was introduced in June 1955 as an uprated design based on the 90bhp engine; with no mention of a Comet 100 name (it was advertised only as 'Comet'); it still was known to be rated at 7-8 ton (10-ton tractor).

Wheelbases for trucks differed between n/c (125", 170" and 183") and f/c (118", 163" and 180"); passenger bus chassis wheelbases possibly differ, also other wheelbases could have been introduced later.

-- Last edit: 2016-09-19 13:10:05

dsl SX

2016-09-19 12:56

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Just to add a point that Glass's Commercial check books are apparently trucks and vans only - nothing on buses and coaches. So for Comet 75, I can only say not mentioned. I think the Glass's info is consistent with Sunbar's summary - the differences are more about how the information is expressed rather than what happened. There also seem to have been some shorter chassis tractor units (8'7", 9'2", and from 1956 with Scammell couplings 8'0" and 8'1").

And it lists the turning circles of every version.

Sunbar UK

2016-09-19 13:20

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Any idea, dsl, when the normal control version Comet ceased production?

By 1955 they appear to be missing from Leyland's adverts, but probabaly continued for some time?

johnfromstaffs EN

2016-09-19 14:19

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Trawling through the various items on view in the inter web, it seems that the cab was a Briggs effort, shared with the Ford and Dodge NC vehicles of the period. Wiki says that following the Briggs purchase by Ford, the others developed new cabs. As there are no (that I have seen) pictures of NC Comets where the vehicles are dated later than 1955 this may be right, and possibly the use of the FC cab was precipitated by this, it would not imho have been worth developing a new cab for the relatively low sales of the premium Leyland product.

NB. There is one picture of a Comet 90 with a three axle conversion dated as 1962 by the photographer, but the TRB (Derbyshire 6/53) registration suggests that he knows more about photography than he does about dates.

-- Last edit: 2016-09-19 14:25:33

dsl SX

2016-09-19 18:34

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Scans from Glass's Commercial Vehicles Check Book 1950-61 of all Leyland pages (pp144-49) posted at http://imcdb.opencommunity.be/forum_topic-8442-68061.html#p68061 - it didn't work legibly when trying to post here. (thanks @chico for suggestions).

PS @jfs (and anyone else) - you occasionally mention Stevens-Stratten as a source - is this "British Lorries 1900-1992"? And have you seen "British Trucks Since 1945" (Forbes & Hayward)? Local Oxfam has just thrown up cheap copies - should I grab them or are there better sources for lorry-numpties like me to dabble with?

Sunbar UK

2016-09-19 18:42

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:king: True dedication there, dsl. :king:

Thank you.

I'm sure it will be interesting reading, off to learn what I can...

dsl SX

2016-09-19 19:03

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I just hope you can make more sense of it than I can ...

johnfromstaffs EN

2016-09-19 19:05

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If it's cheap, buy it.

If it's rubbish give it to your Labrador puppy.

Stevens-Stratten, affirmative, but of very limited use as the write-ups are very sketchy. There are, however, lots of pictures so you might strike lucky.

It looks like the NC Comet went on to '61. Very surprised.

-- Last edit: 2016-09-19 19:20:53

Sunbar UK

2016-09-19 19:56

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johnfromstaffs wrote ....

It looks like the NC Comet went on to '61. Very surprised.


True, my conclusion also.

However being picky would like to find some other confirmation.

Other reading still points to Briggs being bought by Ford in 1953 and they continued to fullfill existing contracts for other (non-Ford) companies, and that they supplied truck cabs until about 1956. But was it extended?

Ford would still have to provide parts on a service and repair basis. What happened to specific Leyland tooling (wings/bonnet)?

dsl SX

2016-09-19 20:22

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Glass's is very rarely wrong. But it can be incomplete, poorly described (eg gobbledegook or obscure technical codes instead of obvious names), inconsistent etc .... Its purpose is listing UK availability so export-only continuations for instance should not be present. At one stage it had an Australian off-shoot which did their own guides and they surface occasionally on ebay but I've never explored further (too expensive and Australian gobbledegook would be even more impenetrable than the UK version).

Sunbar UK

2016-09-19 21:14

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Dodge with is parrot nosed Briggs cab was still in production through 1968 before or alongside the LAD cab when it came on stream.
Ford's ET6 could be in production through to the early 1960s

Commercially (considering Ford's otherwise lower presswork production quantities) knowing for the others they were to be superseded soon by the LAD cab, and from Glass's info it looks 1961 was indeed the last production date of Leyland's version.

johnfromstaffs EN

2016-09-19 23:32

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Briggs was certainly bought by Ford at that time or thereabouts. The folklore has it that Jowett were driven out of business by Ford's refusal to supply Javelin body shells, but that wasn't quite right, the Yorkshire firm had bitten off more than it could chew and Briggs' production rate was the real problem, Jowett couldn't use the bodies fast enough.

The wings and bonnet fitted to the Comet NC cab may not have come from Briggs, there were many firms capable of pressing such smaller items who may have been cheaper. To my certain knowledge the two sub frames for the Mini came from different suppliers, for instance, and any saving multiplied out by production quantities is worth having. It may also have been policy of Leyland to retain control of tooling for unique to marque parts.

-- Last edit: 2016-09-19 23:36:33

dsl SX

2016-09-21 19:13

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johnfromstaffs wrote If it's cheap, buy it.....

Thanks - got them both. Lots of pictures and simple text captions - that'll do me. Deeper stuff - over my head ....

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