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This should go in the bus thread, but alas I could not be bottomed to find it.

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*Edit: ex-Crosville?

And not far from the National was this garden full of Cortina chord. Proper 'hills have eyes' type place and my missus said the bloke came out of his house as I was turning round at the end of his road


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There was a National lurking in a barn near me, only accessible (publicly)  by cycle.    I rode up there last month and its gone.   Bloke told me it had got vandalised and "been towed away".   Shame I didn't log the details - it wasn't in a bus livery, some kind of private/charity ambulance job.

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After a bit of detective work, the National is UOA 322L, new to Eastern National in February 1973 as WNO 551L.

 

I do love a National, me.

Excellent work Billy and even excellenter work GGS. Nice to give it an identity. I love old Eastern National/Counties buses, I randomly amassed a small 1/76 collection of them, together with a rogue 'Blue Bus' National 2

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After a bit of detective work, the National is UOA 322L, new to Eastern National in February 1973 as WNO 551L.

 

I do love a National, me.

 

Brilliant, how the hell did you find that out though?

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Excellent work Billy and even excellenter work GGS. Nice to give it an identity. I love old Eastern National/Counties buses, I randomly amassed a small 1/76 collection of them, together with a rogue 'Blue Bus' National 2

You don't want 300 or so EFE buses and coaches  i suppose  ??? 

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Brilliant, how the hell did you find that out though?

 

Plopped 'Leyland National Crosville' into google, a load of bus pictures came up and one bus with half a tarp hanging off that was parked next to a very similar wall. Clicked on the pic and hey presto!

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One thing I've never driven is a National, I'd love to at some point.

 

I'd also like to dig a bit deeper into understanding the 510 engine - the theory of not bothering with separate heads is all well and good for sorting head gasket issues but it does seem a very odd way of doing things. No wonder many were retrofitted with Gardner, Volvo and DAF lumps, not to mention Leylands own O.680 and TL11.

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I'd also like to dig a bit deeper into understanding the 510 engine - the theory of not bothering with separate heads is all well and good for sorting head gasket issues but it does seem a very odd way of doing things. No wonder many were retrofitted with Gardner, Volvo and DAF lumps, not to mention Leylands own O.680 and TL11.

Step this way, sir, (hence the username) if nobody has done it, I'll put up a potted history on the 500 series when I'm set up later.

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I don't know, around Shrewsbury where I grew up there were plenty of 510-engines Nationals, that sounded good. Then GMB 383T turned up from Crosville, fitted with a Gardner 6HLXB. It sounded mean - a deep burble compared with the 510's high-speed clatter.

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Right, now I’ve set up, let me tell you a tale.

 

The Leyland 500 series was conceived as part of a rationalisation of the commercial side of Leyland Motors by the then chief, Dr Albert Fogg in the mid 60s. His idea was to replace the entire range of large commercials by a few, standardised products. The bus (Forward Bus Project 7) became the National but there was also a large truck (Forward Project Truck 70) as well. As far as I know, apart from one prototype being built, this wasn’t developed very far.

The rationalisation programme stretched to engines too. The idea was to replace the entire Leyland engine range with three engines. These were a 500ci engine for smaller and medium weight trucks, a 700ci engine for larger trucks and FPB7 and a large V8, which was being developed by AEC, suitable for heavyweight trucks and possibly a high speed coach yet to be developed.

 

Both the 500ci and the 700ci were designed to solve the head gasket troubles found in the then current 0680 engine, an engine that was effectively an enlarged 0600 that was designed just after the second world war. Fogg's’ design was unconventional in that there was no separate head. Instead the block and head were bolted to a separate crankcase in a was that was reminiscent of cars from the 1920’s. Also, the design was to have a overhead camshaft. This was to provide a slim profile to fit underneath the rear of a bus and had the added advantage of a lighter valve-train, combined with an over-square bore and stroke, to allow the engine to achieve higher speeds demanded by the increasing motorway network. The engine was also designed to be stressed for turbocharging, therefore future-proofing the engine for a good number of years.

As FPB7 (the bus) was the furthest developed, it was the 700ci engine that was developed first. A small number of engines were built but then things went wrong for Dr Fogg's master plan.

 

As costs were spiralling for the rationalisation project (including building a brand new factory for the construction of FPB7) the accountants became involved. After the take over of Triumph a few years previously, many of the accountant staff originated from there but a good number were ex FoMoCo. The accountants looked at the range of engines and noted that the outputs of the smaller, 500ci, engine when turbocharged were comparable to the larger, 700cu engine. They argued there was no need for the 700ci engine at all but failed to realise that by doing this, there was no more room for future increases in power for the engine to cater for increasing demands for higher power from the truck industry. What they also didn’t realise was a bus engine was a very different animal to a truck engine. A bus engine needed high torque at low revs for best results, something the turbo 500 could not satisfactorily provide.

Many heated meetings were held at the Leyland headquarters with the management and Dr Fogg tried in vain to keep the 700ci engine part of the development plan. The final blow came when the truck side of the business requested an engine and gearbox combination that weighed around 1000kgs for the Reiver(?) to give a load advantage over the increasing competition from foreign companies.

 

The 700ci engine was cancelled. Dr Fogg left Leyland Motors to become chief at the then developing MIRA at Nuneaton where he developed this into one the leading testing facilities in the country. Of his “children†FPB7 had been developed to the point of no return and so was continued after careful scrutiny by the accountants and cheapened dramatically from its original concept with many components cheapened and features removed or reduced. It became the staple single deck bus around the country, not necessarily because it was good more that there was little other choice. It was, of course powered by the turbocharged 0500. This engine was developed into the replacement for the 0680 yet never achieved this due to poor build quality and cheapened components such as the CAV fuel pump and ancillaries. As the 500 was never designed initially to be laid flat, the design was rushed and suffered from poor scavenging of oil from the bottom of the bores resulting in plumes of oil smoke from the back of Nationals. The turbo installation was also rushed and a new fuel pump was not designed with boost control meaning a cloud of black smoke erupted from the exhaust as excess fuel entered the bores before the turbo could provide enough oxygen for it to burn properly.

 

Without a doubt, the 500 was the most hated engine of the Leyland range. In trucks, it proved troublesome to the extreme and when time for overhaul came (failed little end bearings usually spelled the need for rebuild at around 150,000 miles compared to the previous generation engines lasting in excess of 4-500,000) it was difficult to rebuild due to the lack of separate head. Cheap tooling (reputedly the tooling had been already been made for the 700ci engine and was reused for the 500 to reduce costs) and bad manufacture meant the engines leaked oil from end plates and the cam cover as faces didn’t line up properly (I found a 500 I was rebuilding once was bending the front end plate to seat on the front of the block/cam cover. It should be a close fit and seal a oil journal – a large amount of silicone had been bodged in the gap to stem the tide of oil flowing from the gap). The biggest failure was the fact that there was no more room for development of the engine as it was already giving its designed higher power outputs from the start and so the engine was effectively dead when launched.

The engine it was meant to replace? Well the 0680 carried on and was eventually developed into the L11 and Turbo TL11 range and was built until the end of Leyland engine Production in the late 80s.

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I don't know, around Shrewsbury where I grew up there were plenty of 510-engines Nationals, that sounded good. Then GMB 383T turned up from Crosville, fitted with a Gardner 6HLXB. It sounded mean - a deep burble compared with the 510's high-speed clatter.

Crosville did 50 national mk1s with Gardners. Partially because the 500 was crap and partially they had a load of lightly used 6HLXs from the their Seddon RUs that they were withdrawing at the time at an early age(because they were really hopeless).

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Thanks for that FPB7, as I understand it wasn't the 500/700 also designed to make power at higher revs thanks to the over square design?

 

It has all the hallmarks of a typical BL development story - a great idea ruined by accountants, leaving the customers to do the R&D.

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When my dad worked for Eastern Counties, I believe there were two Nationals with Gardner engines fitted. LN781 (DPW 781T) which had a 'bull-nose' front and in 1981, a 6HLXB engine was put in accident-damaged LN600 (WVF 600S) as an experiment. DPW 781T was the only Gardner-engined National with EC that was fully operational.

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When my dad worked for Eastern Counties, I believe there were two Nationals with Gardner engines fitted. LN781 (DPW 781T) which had a 'bull-nose' front and in 1981, a 6HLXB engine was put in accident-damaged LN600 (WVF 600S) as an experiment. DPW 781T was the only Gardner-engined National with EC that was fully operational.

781 was a beast! When initially converted to Gardner, the radiator was put into a "box" protruding from the front. To protect it, a mk2 front bumper was used creating a platform either side of the radiator box.

Later, for some reason, it was rebuilt again with a complete mk2 front end. Shame it want saved as it was a true mongrel. Only to be beaten in the rebuild stakes by GMPTE mk1 national 113(I think). That was rebuilt after a engine fire by grafting the entire rear end (three complete bays) from another national that just happened to have severe front end damage....

The leyland national. The mecano bus.

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Thanks for that FPB7, very interesting, now I know where your user name comes from!

 

I have always liked the noisy National MK1, styled by David Bache who also styled the Rover P6.

 

I have a very good 1984 book on the bus, the author's name escapes me.

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Bache only did some detail work on the unstyled prototypes. The finished article was a combination of the prototypes with Michelotti front and rear with some slight detailing on the sides.

 

It is alleged that he did do some work on the mk2 restyle though.

 

I think that book was by Gavin Booth.

 

You might have guessed, I know my Nationals. I've been in the fortunate position not only to have worked, driven and owned them but have been able to speak to the people who worked on the whole project from the start including designers, engineers and metallurgists.

I keep meaning to write a book on the subject but it's a very long and complicated story.

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The lifeliner was rebuilt after its show time as a normal bus for Midland red as its 438 GOL438N

 

The special Nationals (lifeliner, business commuter, mobile bank etc) came under a seperate division of Leyland National Company Limited called the super national project. All sorts were thought of including using an unpowered bodyshell, running backwards, as a trailer for exhibitions. All super Nationals came under the management of Mike Cornish.

 

The business Commuter still exists and was the reason I had a bit of a spat with Gaydon. They were given it by Volvo and was in wonderful, original condition, having been used as a corporate shuttle to the Leyland plant from nearby airports and railway stations. It couldn't be sold as it was found to be grossly overweight on the rear axle due to water tanks fitted in the oversized roof pod. Anyway, I found out that the custodians of the best collection of rare British transport artefacts had proceeded to park it in the corner of a field where Windows got smashed, ruining the original interior and serious corrosion set into the structure. The emergency door fell of due to rotting of the highs and the resulting hole was left uncovered. I may* have contacted them and called the curitorial staff a complete bunch of useless tossers that didn't know a historical object if it bit them on the arse. They asked me to leave.

 

Silly fact No. 173. The Leyland National Company Limited was not a new company. It was, in fact, a dormant company that was owned by Leyland and renamed for the purpose - Crossley Motors.

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You might have guessed, I know my Nationals. I've been in the fortunate position not only to have worked, driven and owned them but have been able to speak to the people who worked on the whole project from the start including designers, engineers and metallurgists.

I keep meaning to write a book on the subject but it's a very long and complicated story.

 

With your knowledge and descriptive powers you really should write a book about it, I bet it'd be an ace read.

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