Restoration in 2010

In December 2009 Ensign acquired the bus from Bracknell where it had been languishing in an open yard for some years.  In March 2010 Ensign sold it to Mike Fuller of Rushden, who has experience of restoring many RTs and Routemasters.

The first job was to rebuild the rear end with new panels and light fittings.  The step edging had perished and was cleaned up ready for replacement edging.  Then the bus was driven to Hargrave, Northants, where Mike and James Day stripped off the old paint and prepared it for undercoat and topcoat.  During this process any panel deemed in poor condition was removed and replaced.  2 new front wings were sourced and fitted.  While still in the paint-shop, period adverts and London Transport transfers were applied.

I bought the bus from Mike in April 2010.

Mike had sourced blinds and I fitted these in May 2010.  I also fitted a battery isolator, new brackets for the battery tray, and a new section of exhaust.

When preparing for the MOT, I found that the floor dipswitch was seized solid, so this was removed and replaced with a new one.  Meanwhile the upstairs was stripped of seat frames and newly refurbished seats installed in the lower deck.  New edging was obtained from the Routemaster Association and fitted to the step.  

On 19th July 2010 I set off to Ward Jones (a respected authority on Routemasters and a service garage) who would check the bus over and take it for MOT.  However I only got 5 miles down the A421 when the fan disintegrated in spectacular fashion, piercing the radiator.  I was able to pull of into some roadworks, and sat waiting for a breakdown lorry.  So I arrived at Ward Jones a few hours late. 

Ward then replaced the fan and the radiator, and did a significant amount of work on the brakes.  The bus then went for MOT (which it passed) but on return to the garage, the engine failed (breaking the new fan!) and inspection pronounced it a write-off!

Ward fitted a replacement engine (an original AEC) and on return Bob and I fitted the offside route blind box complete with blind.  Then the bus went for its first appearance (as far as I know) to Showbus, where it created a lot of interest among all its red and green  colleagues.