1938 - AEC T499 – EL223
Concourse condition, original interior design and features, amazing history
Built for London Transports Green Line Coach service, these were among some of the most attractive buses ever bought by LT. Following a repatriation three year restoration the vehicle has been returned to the glory days of the late 1930’s and includes numerous period features and fabrics unique to this vehicle. Book one of our most stunning single deck buses now!
The T class was a large and varied class in the London Transport system, the first dating back to London General days in 1930. The 10T10 class was the zenith of the design and involved a total of 266 being ordered in two batches in 1938. The early batch were all delivered in the stunning three tone green livery of Green Line at the time and the vehicles were popular with staff and passengers and were quickly noted for their great turn of speed and handling ability. Early vehicles were 30 seats and the later they became 34 seats (interestingly our one was the only built to 33 seats presumably as a trial vehicle and is thus a unique layout which we have retained). The war brought to an end all of London’s commuter coaches and plans were already in place to utilise the 10T10s as ambulances as their speed was well known, this was duly done on the declaration of war in a matter of hours, although the phoney war led to some being returned to Green Line duties before the Blitz and then further shortages saw the network removed again but further military service awaited these vehicles. 55 of them now went to the US Forces, for either use as an Army transports or to the American Red Cross for us as Clubmobiles. These vehicles would tour US airbases and army camps, with an LT driver and three ARC serving girls, who would supply coffee, chewing gum, baseball cards, a smile from home and even some US music through the buses PA. The vehicles were fitted out to include a doughnut machine and bunk beds for the crews.
Following war service the vehicles returned slowly to Green Line work, albeit in a duller two tone livery and with many of the 1930s interior features and detail now gone. The end of front line service was heralded by the arrival of the RF class and by 1952/53 most 10T10s were gone although some survived as staff buses until 1957. A lot were exported overseas, particularly to Yugoslavia and for many years there was only one known survivor in the UK, until T499 was discovered near Perth Australia and was repatriated by us in 2004.
For more on this class why not visit Ian's Bus Stop
T499 was the 46th 10T10 built and was a little bit experimental have a darker green interior and 33 seats she was delivered to Grays garage on June 30, 1938 where she took up duties the following day on the Z series of routes running from Grays, through East London and into Aldgate. In November 1938 she moved to Watford before early in 1939 again moving this time to Hatfield. The war interrupted her commuter career and in September 1939 she became an ambulance and was based at Hendon where she would have had a busy time working throughout the Blitz in recovering casualties from all over London. She was returned to London Transport by August 1945 and in March the following year was a Windsor bus before having her final stint as a passenger carrier at Staines and then going into store awaiting a buyer.
She was purchased by W. North’s (dealer) of Leeds Yorkshire on the 15 April 1954 and was sold to Mr Creasey of Perth Western Australia for use as a school bus. For nearly the next decade shoe plied her trade as a school bus near Mt Barker before eventually being sold in 1962 for conversion into a camper. Fortunately this conversion never took place as surely much of the original interior would have been stripped out and T499 sat on a farm forlorn and forgotten about until 1997 when she was discovered by a group of enthusiasts which led Ian Kerr to move quickly to acquire the vehicle for preservation. Sadly the condition was worse than expected and whilst the vehicle was now safe it remained out of use. The vehicle was kindly donated to the Ensign collection in 2004 and it returned to the UK in December of that year. Following a wait in the ‘queue’ of vehicles work began on restoring her in February 2011, and she was eventually recertified on November 29, 2013. She debuted on the road a week later carrying passengers in the UK for the first time in 60 years wearing for ‘one day only’ the drab grey livery of the American Red Cross before she receives her original three tone green livery in 2014.