Southdown Bus pedal car, LUF 634 Leyland Royal Tiger coach (unknown maker)
Southdown Bus pedal car, LUF 634 Leyland Royal Tiger coach (unknown maker)(i)
The bus is modelled on a green Southdown coach, with a cutout in the roof to allow a small person to sit inside, and has an internal bench with cushion, and a large protruding metal steering wheel. The front roof is marked "SOUTHDOWN" above a rectangular black destination panel reading "BRIGHTON", and there are metal side-panels reading "Express London and Brighton Service". The numberplates read LUF 634, and there are script Southdown logos on the sides, along with painted detailing and decoration corresponding to the original coach paintwork.
The coach is an odd combination of the sophisticated and the not-so-sophisticated, which makes it difficult to judge whether it was a commercial piece, or produced at home by someone with advanced engineering skills, or perhaps even a prototype.
While the wooden bodyshell is thin, and the detail painting is simple, some of the internal work is professional-quality – the car incorporates a working metal pedalcar mechanism, it has twin opening rear doors for the luggage stowage compartment, it has not only working headlights but twin front and rear indicator lights, and the coach would originally have had some quite fine front fretworked windowframe detailing that hasn't survived.
The original bus
According to online listings (classicbuses.co.uk), bus LUF 634 (1634) was one of a batch of twenty-five sliding-roof express Leyland Royal Tiger C41C coaches (number 1620-1644) built on a Leyland PSU/15 chassis, with sliding roof, for express services, in 1952-53.
The Royal Tiger PSU (Passenger Services) chassis and coaches were produced between 1950-54.
- Leyland Royal Tiger pictures (old-bus-photos.co.uk)
- Leyland Royal tiger PSU (wikipedia.org)
- SOUTHDOWN COACHES 1951 - 1961 (classicbuses.co.uk)