The future of the 1908 X2 type London Central double-decker, the oldest surviving British-built bus, The 1914 LNWR Torpedo charabanc and the 1924 LB5 Chocolate Express is now secure.
Thanks to the support of London Transport Museum Friends and the generosity of individual donors, London Transport Museum has been able to acquire all three vehicles into the collection.
Together they mark the birth of the motor bus at the beginning of the 20th century, the beginnings of affordable coach travel before the First World War, and the independent ‘pirate’ operators’ challenge to the monopoly of the London General Omnibus Company in the 1920s.
The Museum will ensure the rich and productive future of each of these three rare survivors of a bygone age for future generations to come.
All further donations to the appeal will support the care of our collections.
1908 Leyland X 2
This double deck bus is an incredibly rare survivor from the first generation of motorbuses, and is in fact the oldest surviving Leyland motorbus. It is historically important in marking the experimental transition in London from horse buses to motor bus services. When acquired, the X-type bus will be the oldest complete motor vehicle in the Museum collection.
1914 ‘Torpedo’ charabanc
Before the First World War the experience of private motoring was only available to the wealthy. Charabancs allowed the masses to access the countryside and coastal resorts in greater numbers and contributed to the growth of the leisure coach industry between the wars.
This 1914 model is the only surviving full-size ‘Torpedo’ charabanc (with seven rows of seats) and is one of only two surviving charabancs, all others being replicas. Both the chassis (model S4.36.T3) and its 32 seat body were built by Leyland Motors.
1924 The Chocolate Express
Representing the best remembered of all the London ‘pirate’ operators, this beautifully preserved bus, with its 48 seat body designed and built by Christopher Dodson of Willesden, is truly unique.
The London General Omnibus Company (LGOC) was the principal bus operator in London. Partridge’s bus company was the first of over 250 independent ‘pirate’ operators to seize the opportunity to challenge the monopoly of the LGOC in the 1920s.
Help us acquire these exceptional vehicles for future generations to access and enjoy.