Thomas Harrington Ltd - The Cavalier: Compared To Its Competitors - 1963 Sales

1963 Sales

In the 1963 season the Cavalier faced internal competition from the Grenadier (see below) but 21 of the 31 ft 5in version and 49 of the 36 ft were sold. Existing customers who placed repeat orders for the short Cavalier were Southdown (4 Leopard L2), Greenslades (another Reliance), Grey Green's orders included a short Reliance and ten Leopard L2 and Harris of Greys, Summerbee of Southampton and McIntyre of Aberdeen all took further Reliances, Harris' being a rebody of a 1958 chassis damaged in an accident. New customers for the 31 ft 5in Cavalier were Munden of Bristol (Leopard L2) and Crump of Pinner (Reliance). A new option was fixed side glazing and forced ventilation. Southdown having this on its Leopards.

All but one of the BET customers for the long Cavalier had taken the style before, Neath and Cardiff had two Reliance 470 and East Yorkshire four Leopard PSU3, Ribble had 22 on Leopard PSU3 with the new forced ventialation option, the other three were for a newly acquired Ribble subsidiary, Scout Motor Services of Preston, to the same specification as the Ribble examples. Grey Green had one Leopard PSU3 and one Reliance 470, the latter with forced ventilation. The other repeat orders from independents were from Yelloway who took 5 Reliance 590 with the jet-vent system, as well as the additional side destination screens and Ellen Smith, also of Rochdale, with a Leopard fitted with 45 reclining seats, Yelloway standardising on this luxurious option on its Reliances, the short ones seating only 37 as a result. New purchasers of the Cavalier 36 in its second season were Anglo-Continental of Tunbridge Wells (5 Reliance 590) Valliant of Ealing (4 Reliance 590) and Regent of Redditch with a single Reliance 590.

In 1963 Duple had three new styles for underfloor-engined chassis, the Alpine Continental was a longer-windowed version of the Continental whilst the Dragonfly was a 36 ft central entrance coach, both were built at Blackpool, the latter having a steel reinforced hardwood body frame. For the shorter AECs and Leylands the Britannia was finally replaced by the Hendon-built Commodore, which was a modification of the mass market Bella Vista body being 1 ft 10in longer with a front entrance and a maximum capacity of 45. Total Continental/Alpine Continental sales were 17, while only six Dragonflies were built, two Leyland demonstrators on Leopard and four for BET coach operator Samuelson of Victoria. The Commodore was also a sales disappointment, eight Reliance and three Leopard L2 being sold. Willowbrook however were gaining express-coach orders for its version of the BET-standard single decker. In coach form four main bays were fitted as was fixed glazing and forced ventilation and there was an optional solid coach door and brighwork grille. Marshall and Weymann also built BET style express coaches.

In contrast Plaxton had a further revised Panorama, with barely perceptible waist curvature and only three main side window bays on the 36 ft body, the dome was refined and thinner trim strips were used producing a body of unusual restraint for a Plaxton, it was an instant sales success. Ribble, for one, placing large orders.

Another competitive body was Alexander Y type, first shown in 1961, which in coach form had four trapezoid windows on each straight-waisted side and double curvature glazing front and rear. As well as selling massively to the Scottish Bus Group, BET fleets who took the style from 1962-3 were North Western and East Midland, followed in later seasons by Trent, Potteries, the Northern General Group, Hebble, Yorkshire Traction, Yorkshire Woolen and Stratford Blue, whilst three independents purchased the style over its lifetime, Scottish co-operative Wholsale Society had four Reliances, Venture of Consett took 12 Reliances and 26 Leopards, with eight more on order when Northern took them over, whilst Premier Travel of Cambridge had sixteen on Reliance. BET favoured steel-tube body framing and, as introduced, the Y type featured this Alexanders reverting to aluminum framework from 1972/3.

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