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Thanks for your well researched history. Could you confirm that 84 D was a typo and that it should have been 84 G or are there two of them? Everything you say makes sense in relation to her but the questions is was she with Burkes in the South before then passing to Barratts of Donoghmore before coming to us?
So can you confirm (a) that she is 84 G and (b) that Sureline did build that type of body. I am little puzzled that the Greyhound style windows were built outside the UK but perhaps Sureline got kits and assembled them.
Obviously I am no expert but I was under the impression that this model body was Plaxtons last gasp with Duple and they were only built in the UK.
The front is definitely Plaxton but the Wright involvement has me totally puzzled.
As you seem to be pretty expert on Fords any chance you could help identify our other three to wit:
82 D 2571
82 C 1941
81 KE 398
Fords seem very difficult to trace!
All help appreciated and thanks again.
Duple used trapizoid windows on their Godliner and Dominant III bodies, mainly for Scottish Bus Group in the early 1980s. SBG initally had some Alexander bodied coaches with similar windows. Plaxton did not buy Duple until 1989 and there is no connection between them at this time. Plaxton only built a few 320 and 425 bodies from Duple's range after take over.
Sureline was reknowned for build odd bodies such as this. It may have been a long winded process. The classic irish buses site gives a "new" date of 1979 which may have been the chassis build date. Ford R series ceased in 1985 and prior to that R1015/1115s were standard not R1014/1114s. The Plaxton front style must pre-date even 1979
My error, the registration is of course 84 G 659. Since my last communication I have been advised this coach was with Chambers of Moneymore (after leaving Beattie's) and it is believed that Chambers sold it after a short period into the Republic. After that all trace was lost of it as far as I know until surfacing with Kells Museum.
Although it was only completed and entered service in 1984 the chassis had been with Sureline for a long time, possibly as much as 5/6 years. Records originating with Ulsterbus indicate it to be an R1014 and not the later R1015.
Although there may be a temptation to see Duple in the side-window design I believe there is no connection with that Company nor Plaxton except in the latter case that Wrights bought some parts from Plaxton in order to complete what Sureline had started. Both Plaxton and Duple used steel framing for their construction (and hence it is not unusual for surviving coaches from those sources to be riddled with rot particularly at the rear) - I think you should find that 84 G 659 is of alloy construction.
The other Ford coach constructed by Sureline also had no connection with either Duple or Plaxton - in fact it was of a rather unfortunate design (not unlike 84 G 659 in some ways); however, it was sold out of service by Sureline even before the Ulsterbus takeover in 1987 (to a church in Lisburn) and was probably scrapped some time ago.
The further Fords referred to are unknown to me but I will make enquiries to see if any information can be discovered.
Will check them out when they re appear on this run
Thanks to both Paul and Howard again. It is very interesting and I am now delighted to have this vehicle and we will look after her carefully as she is one of a kind.
What is more amazing was that she literally just turned up in our yard as if from the dead!
I have not driven her yet but will make it a point this weekend to see what condition she is in mechanically but she loooks fine. I will keep you informed.
Next question: Did Sureline go out of business and what other types of chassis did they body? My interest is aroused now and does anyone know if any other Surelines exist?
Sureline came into existance in 1966 shortly before the demise of the Ulster Transport Authority. Initial purchases were secondhand vehicles from various G.B. operators but eventually a number of new, or almost new vehicles were purchased during the 1970's. By the early/mid 1980's Leyland Leopards and Bristol LH's were purchased from Ulsterbus.
Aside from 84 G 659 the only other vehicle built by the Company was another Ford R1014 (previously referred to).
Aside from the former vehicle the only Sureline vehicle still thought to exist is an AEC Reliance (ex-Hutchison of Overtown) but this has been used as a store in the Craigavon area for many years and is certainly little more than scrap nowadays.
Sureline sold out to Ulsterbus in June, 1987 and their services were intigrated into those of Ulsterbus from 27 June of that year.