British Motor Museums

3rd September 2015

Major bus acquisition for London Transport Museum London Transport Museum, at Covent Garden, will purchase three outstanding pre-1925 Leyland buses from Mike Sutcliffe MBE, the well-known vehicle restorer, over the next three years. 1914 LNWR ‘Torpedo’ charabanc; 1924 LB5 ‘Chocolate Express’ double-decker; the oldest surviving British-built motor bus, the 1908 X-type London Central double-decker . With the three buses having a London connection it means that this is one of the most significant single acquisitions the Museum has ever made. These new additions to the Museum’s collection will allow an audience of all ages and backgrounds to enjoy these vehicles for years to come.
The first of the three buses, the 1914 LNWR ‘Torpedo’ charabanc will be handed over to the Museum at the ‘Showbus’ event on 20 September 2015. In the lead up to the transfer of ownership Mike Sutcliffe is creating an archive of material relating to the bus, its operation and restoration which will help to ensure that the Museum staff are equipped to safely maintain and drive the vehicle. The ‘Chocolate Express’ double-deck bus, which was run by Arthur Partridge who became the most famous of the London ‘Pirate’ bus operators, will be transferred to the Museum next year, with the last of the three buses - the X-type, to be transferred in 2017. All three buses have won the Concours d’Elegance in the London to Brighton Commercial Vehicle Run having been meticulously restored to the highest possible standard from a very derelict condition by Mike Sutcliffe. In 2004 he was awarded the MBE for ‘Services to Motor Heritage’. Sam Mullins, Director of London Transport Museum, said, “The three Leyland buses are a wonderful addition to our collections. Each one has a fascinating history and will help us to bring the story of London’s transport heritage and development alive. The public will be able to see the ‘Torpedo’ charabanc in the Museum at Covent Garden from autumn this year”. Mike Sutcliffe, MBE said, “I am delighted to be working with London Transport Museum to ensure the long term future of these historically important vehicles and that such a wide public will be able to appreciate them”.

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