The Little Bus Company the-bus.gif (21152 bytes) LITTLE BUS COMPANY

6 Appleyard, Haworth Close,
Halifax, HX1 2NN.
Tel: 01422 301600

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MACE1 - Dennis Mace/Bristol B26F 1937 Western National

 

Dennis Bros. of Guildford, Surrey, developed two rural bus models in 1933, which replaced the previous G and Dart models. These were the 20 seat normal control Ace, based on a 40 cwt goods truck chassis and the 26 seat forward control Mace, based on a 50 cwt goods truck chassis. The short wheelbase was achieved by setting the front axle well back underneath the engine, which earned the Ace the sobriquet of "Flying Pig" on account of its protruding snout.

The forward control Mace was delivered in small quantities, the major user being the Southern and Western National Omnibus Companies (SNOC & WNOC), who found the 11’6" wheelbase, 7" 3" wide Mace very suitable for the narrow lanes of Devon and Cornwall. Initial deliveries to SNOC and WNOC in 1935 and 1936 had ECW and Brush bodies, but the 1937 batch of 17 buses, to WNOC only, was bodied by Bristol Tramways at its Brislington Body Building Works (BBW). These had a slightly taller body than the earlier buses and incorporated corporate styling features, such as the flared skirts and advertising panels above the windows, common to other saloons bodied for SNOC and WNOC in the late ‘30s by Bristol, Beadle and Mumford.

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The 1937 batch of Dennis Maces was supplied to WNOC in June and July of 1937 as fleet numbers 628-644, reg nos. CTA 521-537.

Details to note are:

  • Glass rain shields were fitted above the saloon side windows – these had a slight "V" shape, dipping towards the centre.
  • Brass etchings are provided for the roof luggage rack, which needs to be fitted into the holes marked in the roof. A brass etched ladder is also provided, which needs to be attached to the brackets on the nearside rear. The nearside vertical of this ladder extends as a handrail to join the luggage rack and a similar handrail needs to be fabricated from wire and attached on the offside of the step above the ladder.
  • Postwar livery was Tilling Green with cream applied as follows:
    • Round the front destination box, within the curved moulding
    • Round the front windscreen, cab and front bulkhead windows, also beneath the front canopy
    • Round the side windows, extending upwards to include the advertisement panels and downwards including the waist belt and curving panels at the back and at the front nearside
    • A small panel on the back underneath the windows, on which Western National lettering was applied
    • Black lining was applied to beading between the green and cream and above and below the side windows and windscreen.
  • It is believed that prewar livery was a lighter green, but that the roof and rear dome were painted a darker green, extending down the rear corner panels inside the beading.
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Illustrations of 636 at Penzance on the Mousehole service can be found in "Coachwork by Bristol Tramways" by Allan Macfarlane (Millstream Books, 1999), while Classic Bus Yearbook 4 (Ian Allan 1998) has a 1952 photograph of 629 at Falmouth, going to the popular WNOC destination of Duplicate.

 

Happy modelling! Tony Swift, Kirribilli NSW Australia, August 2006.

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