1909 Commer Single-Deck Country Bus


Early Buses and Trams 1863-1919

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Commercial Cars Ltd (‘Commer’) started in 1905. It was one of the first manufacturers of commercial vehicles in the United Kingdom. Rural bus services started in the early 1900s. David MacBrayne ran one in the Scottish Highlands in 1907; the Sussex Motor Road Car Co (later Southdown Motor) had buses serving downland villages in 1904. Besides plying for hire, light motor omnibuses were used as station buses, estate coaches (this one was Lord Lansdown’s estate bus), carrying mail and even farm produce to market. Only a few examples of the early motor bus have survived. This vehicle was discovered and restored by R. G. Sloan. The basic well-shape of the body shows the influence the horse bus has had on its design; the details of its construction from the heavily upholstered blue plush seats, drop windows, straps and interior mirror to the rear entrance door all echo the railway carriage. Ten passengers sat facing each other inside, with room for an additional two passengers alongside the driver. Ample luggage space was provided on the roof, which was reached by an iron ladder on the near-side which swung out to a vertical position. The huge Ducellier acetylene headlamps were a necessity in negotiating country lanes at night. It was permitted under the 1904 Heavy Motor Car Order to run at a maximum speed of 20 mph. The wheels were built with ash spokes and rims with bolted-on steel face plates. The 4-cylinder engine developed 16 to 18 hp. The vehicle is owned by the son of the restorer and might be seen at rallies and shows.

Additional information

Dimensions 47.5 × 34.5 cm