Metalcraft Buses 1946-1954
UK Metalcraft of Blythe Bridge (coachworks)
This magnificent creature is DUX 655, a 1947 Daimler CVD6 originally equipped with half-cab bodywork. It was barely two years old when rebodied with this elegant fully-fronted design by Metalcraft. Withdrawn from use in August 1966.the vehicle has been preserved in its original “Smith’s Eagle” livery by the group of enthusiasts who now own it, and has become something of a celebrity on the West Midlands bus rally scene.
(B Mel Gough Collection)
Cooper of Oakengates liked Crossley SD42s and the vehicles accounted for more than half of their fleet in the 1950s, seeing daily service on their stage-carriage operations in the Wellington area of Shropshire. Most were bodied either by Junction Coachcraft of Manchester (to a fully-fronted design) or by Metalcraft of Blythe Bridge (to a traditional half-cab design as illustrated here). The body from this vehicle, GAW 380, was later transferred to another Crossley chassis in the Cooper fleet.
Harper Brothers of Heath Hayes, the well-known independent operator with services from Cannock and Lichfield to Birmingham, ran two Leyland Royal Tiger coaches with the “British” style of Metalcraft bodywork. At the time when this photograph of VRF 630 was taken Harpers were still using the fleet-name “Gloria-de-Luxe” on the side of their coaches. In 1960 the Metalcraft body on VRF 630 was removed and replaced by a home-made Harpers unit with bus seating and a high ugliness rating.
Photo: The late Arthur Hustwitt © NA3T
1949 Maudslay Churchbridge’s shorter Marathon IIIs, Metalcraft bodied SRE 203
Another Cannock area operator, Churchbridge Luxury Coaches, liked their Metalcraft bodies on Maudslay Marathon Mk III chassis. Two of them were 30-footers and the second of those, URF 842, is seen here at the operator’s home base. Note the “cock’s comb” intake in the centre of the front dome, an optional extra which found few takers.
Down the road from Cannock in Rugeley, Whieldon’s “Green Bus” had long been enthusiastic about Fodens. The last of many was this rear-engined PVRF6 with Metalcraft’s “British” coach body, XRF 128, delivered in 1952. The next batch of deliveries would be from Sentinel, but they vanished within a few years of their arrival while the Foden would last until 1965.
(R H G Simpson)
And here’s a shot of one of Churchbridge’s shorter Marathon IIIs, Metalcraft bodied SRE 203, also fully-fronted, but without the roof-top intake to spoil its lines. For some reason the version of the Metalcraft body with the intake always reminded me of the “brush-headed Martian” character from Warner Brothers cartoons of the 1950s. Had Roy Snape been watching Daffy Duck?
(Authors Collection: possibly RHG Simpson judging from the location!)
Smith’s Eagle were so impressed by Metalcraft’s rebodying of the Daimler CVD6s that they came back for “British” style bodywork on two new AEC Regal IV coaches in 1951/52. This is the second of the pair, HUX 350. Withdrawn by Smith’s in 1961 it went to Jewitt of Spennymoor in County Durham where it gave a few more years service.
1951 Foden PVRF6 Metalcraft body
1952 Foden Cheshire Metalcraft
1952 Foden PVRF6 with Metalcraft’s “British” coach body, XRF 128
1954 Foden Metalcraft Alpine
1956 Foden + Metalcraft
Foden Metalcraft NTU125