Monday, 1 January 2018

New year news

It's been a over a year since I lasted posted on this blog, and my fleet has been through some changes in that time.....

In terms of events attended, 2017 was the quietest year since I got into the preservation scene 7 years ago. The big issue has been lack of money - increased monthly storage costs since being forced to move due to redevelopment  of my previous storage location at Yeldham being the main problem.

So the decision was made in October 2017 to reduce my fleet from four vehicles to two. I was also paying for a spare space - "just in case something else comes along" - but in reality this was being used to store all the equipment associated with my Basildon Bus Rally. With that equipment moved to a mates garage I was able to free up 3 storage spaces and slash my storage costs back to a level which is more manageble and thus allows me to attend more events.

The decision to reduce the fleet was the easy bit - actually choosing which two to sell was initially the hard part, though I used this rationale in the end:

I had two double deckers and two single deckers, so it made sense to keep one of each.

Once I'd decided to split them into the categories of doubles and singles, the choices became a little easier to make;  the deckers were relatively straightforward in that DAF P337ROO had a brake issue that needed sorting but which I couldn't afford to put right, and I'd started repainting Olympian H105GEV into its former Grey Green livery (cheaper to do as I use Dulux and a roller!). So the DAF was put up for sale.

The choice between the single deckers was easier still - 45mph automatic Dart (J317XVX) or 70mph six speed manual B10M (D302PEV) - the B10M was originally bought to give me the "longer distance rallies motor", so the Dart lost out and was also put up for sale.......the Dart was my first bus which I'd previously sold and instantly regretted. On the previous occasion I got it back after six months; although this time I needed to let them both go because it makes finacial sense, will I regret my actions again?.....

As it happens two buyers from within the same group came forward - the group is based in Northern England and so the chances of me seeing the two vehicles again in the flesh is quite remote (though Showbus 2018 may well provide the oportunity for a timely reunion). This is in contrast to when I sold the Dart previously as it was kept in the same storage place and was thus constantly 'in my face'. I'm happy with the outcome this time around though as not only are the vehicles far enough away to not be a constant reminder of my loss, but the new owners really appreciate the livery and history of the vehicles; they've found a really good home.

So that was that........or so I thought.....

I'd always fancied a coach but I also had this self imposed criteria where I would only buy vehicles I had an association with - this limited my interest in coaches and most I could muster an association with had been scrapped anyway. Having reduced my fleet and bearing in mind coaches usually command much higher prices than buses, I'd given up on the idea of adding a coach to my fleet.

Then, just I was down to two vehicles I saw an appeal on a Facebook preserved owners group to save a coach! Agghhh!!

The motor in question, W649FUM, is a Volvo B10M and a six speed in some respects similar to already owned D302PEV. The coach belonged to Essex operator Hedingham so is local, but has no other association to me. Mind you, I did take the last UK Olympian off First Eastern Counties despite having no association with it so the precedent was already there to ignore my previous association rule I guess........

Curiosity got the better of me and so I asked what the price was - the answer that came back got my attention! Thing is, its too good to scrap but at 17 years old and with DDA regulations for coaches on the horizon, that was its likely fate. So I threw caution to the wind and bought it.

Ah!, yes, I was now back to three vehicles........ONE HAD TO GO!

It made no sense to keep two vehicles that essentially do the same thing, so D302PEV had to go. This was really hard to do given its rarity and I was extremely wary about ensuring the right person took it on, but financially I couldn't afford for sentiment to get in the way. Happily the right person did come along and 302 is very much in the safest of hands.

So there we are, my fleet now consists of just two vehicles - Leyland Olympian H105GEV and Volvo B10M Plaxton Premiere 350 W649FUM.