UVL 873M - 1973 Bristol RELL6L

Restoration Diary

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An unexpected difficulty - Summer 2001 April 2006

May 2001 - A number of spare windows have kindly been given to us by the Manchester Museum of Transport. Further spare parts including a replacement front panel have been purchased and work has started on various mechanical parts.

A 'Farespeed' ticket system and farebox was donated by Messrs Simmonds (Reliance) of Grantham, who bought the equipment from Lincoln City Transport in the 1990s.

July 2001 - A good supply of windows (side and rear) have been sourced together with a much better front lower panel which should eventually be reinstated on No 73. These have been collected and stored in the bus. Meanwhile the engine stop control has been checked over and now works, and the main fuel supply connected. The accelerator linkage needs some work, however. The serious engine water leak has also been sorted with new hoses and clips etc.

October 2001 - After a hatching in May, and a brief absence of blackbirds from No 73, we thought we had got our bus back. Some research kindly carried out by the mother of one of our members suggested that blackbirds do not have two clutches of eggs in the same nest. So, No 73 was duly started up and moved to allow better access for various mechanical work and replacing the missing windows. (Thanks to the Manchester Museum of Transport for these). On concluding the move, however, it was noticed that "Mrs Feathers" was once again in residence and looking mildly irritated by the noise. She obviously had not read the same book! A further two (at least) chicks hatched during June - visitors to the museum yard on the occasion of the Castle Rally were therefore requested not to disturb the bird sanctuary. In late June the nest had been vacated and work since has included attention to the front (detachable) panel, repairs to the offside front framework and removal of the side panels on the offside (revealing an excellent frame) prior to re-panelling. Some new light fittings are also being sourced.

January 2002 - One of the two front end panels we have for the bus is being repaired and is looking good. New panels have been cut for the offside of the bodywork, and the framework damage at the front offside has now been repaired.

July 2003 - This bus has gone to Colin Rogers for the start of mechanical work.

April 2005 - This has now returned from Colin Rogers Ltd who have made the bus 'mobile'. With a series of minor problems solved the bus can move under its own power. Thanks to Colin and Dave Wells for their assistance. Work on the body should start soon.

July 2005 - Work has started on the front of the body to rectify damage to the framework and general deterioration. The engine and engine bay have been cleaned.

October 2005 - More work has recently been carried out on the front end of the bus - new front screen being obtained from the Scottish Vintage Bus Museum - thanks lads! The chassis frame exterior and axles have been blasted clean and primed together with the wheels. Work planned shortly is the replacement of the front and rear springs, exhaust system and brake inspection.

{short description of image}January 2010 - We are delighted to announce that No. 73 has temporarily left the Museum to undergo restoration.

No. 73 is being restored so it can hit the road again in 2011. The vehicle being restored by Lincolnshire Co-operative’s Transport Department as a community donation. When complete, the bus will be used as part of Lincolnshire Co-op’s 150th birthday celebrations in 2011.

Many of this batch of buses carried all-over advertising liveries in service, and this will be a rare example in preservation of this aspect of the 1970s bus scene.

The Society is delighted that the Co-op has taken on this project with us to return the bus to running order and see it back on the road for the Lincolnshire Co-op's celebrations. Having the work done with a local firm is a fitting way to see this bus restored.

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No. 73 at Lincs Co-op Workshops, February 2010 Seats and front axle removed for attention, February 2010 Electrics receiving attention, February 2010

April 2010 - Work on this project with Lincolnshire Co-operative is progressing well with the front axle being overhauled and new road springs fitted, along with the new exhaust system.

The necessary welding work has been finished on several of the seat frames and members of the Society will be renovating these shortly. One disappointing step back is that the replacement seat cushions we had sourced are just a little bit too small for the frames so we may have to look at recovering the old set in due course, if funds can be raised.

The seat frame tops are very rusty and these too may have to be painted rather than being re-chromed due to cost. I had always thought these unusual shaped grab rails were the usual stainless steel! The seats have been removed for repair and for the front floor to be replaced.

New alternator belts, accelerator cable and shock absorbers have been bought by the Society to assist with the project and new brake cams are on the way too. New bushes for these are a problem and the next challenge! At the time of writing the rear axle is being overhauled too. We welcome assistance from members to help with the body preparation, lots of parts need cleaning and painting, so if you like Bristol RE's please make yourself known!

July 2010 - The Lincolnshire Cooperative workshop has now completed the majority of the mechanical work and have now turned their attention to the bodywork with the roof being prepared and etch primed.

UVL873MOctober 2010 - The Co-operative workshops have been busy with new paint on the roof and new panels fitted on the offside. New panels are ready to be fitted to the nearside. New window rubbers are being sourced too.

At the museum the seat frames have been thoroughly cleaned and repainted. We hope to powder coat the unique seat frame tops when funds allow - maybe after the Open Day perhaps?

Offside front corner, showing new panelling, November 2010.

January 2011 - All the panel work is now complete with the front fibreglass section receiving attention recently. Painting of the sides should start soon . All the seats are being recovered and the all the frames have also been repainted.

A decision whether to powder coat or re-chrome the frame tops (as they should be) will be made soon depending on cost.

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Progress as at March 2011 - exterior showing finished panelling and paintwork, interior showing repainted ceiling and seat frames ready to be fixed in place.

April 2011 - Former Lincoln 73 will see its completion in May at the Lincolnshire Co-operative's 150th celebrations. At the time of writing it isn't far off and is showing off its white and blue livery - a fantastic job by all concerned.

The seat frames are in, the cushions and backs have been generously reupholstered by 'Stagecoach' at Lincoln, and the seat frame tops powder coated.

The wheels have been shot blasted painted and new tyres fitted, and new window rubbers are awaited. Lots more has recently happened to the cab area and it too looks great.

A post-deregulation era destination blind was acquired in early 2011 from the North West Museum of Transport, believed to be from one of the Lincoln REs that passed to Warrington Transport.

An original style 'Autofare' set (believed to have been new to West Midlands PTE) has been fitted, being appropriate to No. 73 as it was new. The ex Reliance farespeed set has been kept aside for a future project.

LINKS

Bristol Commercial Vehicles Enthusiasts
Lincoln Corporation Transport - Book
Lincolnshire Co-operative