Guild members’ free ride at BYOVD

Guild members stepped back in time with a ride on a 90-year-old double-decker bus at the 2022 Bring Your Own Vehicle Day.

The vintage bus tour was the mid point in the day following a whistle-stop viewing at the Transport Museum Wythall, on the outskirts of Birmingham.

The beautifully restored 1931 Birmingham City Transport AEC Regent, using a 6.1-litre six-cylinder petrol engine and 48-seat Metro-Cammell body, was almost scrapped in 1946 after being taken out of service before the Second World War.

It was discovered in a field in Herefordshire in the 1970s as the home of an elderly recluse. A prolonged period of restoration ended with it being homed at Wythall since 2018.

The museum is home to more than 90 buses. Midland Red, WMPTE blue and cream and the corporation fleets from Birmingham, Walsall, West Bromwich and Wolverhampton are all represented, plus local independent operators.

Wythall also has the largest collection of battery electric road vehicles, including over 30 electric milk floats and bread vans from operators such as the Co-op, Midland Counties and Birmingham and Handsworth Dairies.

Hosted by Friend of the Guild and trustee at Wythall Denis Chick, attendees were shown around some of the significant exhibits before heading off in a variety of machinery they had brought along.

Also present was Ian Elliott, who worked on the PR team at British Leyland during the 1970s, and was present at the launches of the Princess and Rover SD1 models.

Transport Museum Wythall would definitely justify a second visit with more time spent appreciating the exhibits and the cultural and social history of the Midlands they represent.

The second destination for the day was the British Motor Museum, Gaydon, where attendees learned about plans to expand the venue with new exhibiting space, and a hotel.

The museum’s managing director Jeff Coope offered a preview of the next steps in a slide presentation and also spent more than 30 minutes taking questions from attendees.

The visit ended with a self-guided tour of the British Motor Museum, which is currently displaying a number of familiar models from Vauxhall’s heritage fleet.

Guild chair Richard Aucock thanked Denis and Jeff for making the event possible, as well as Guild organisers, including John Griffiths for liaising with both museums and coordinating the driving route.

Words: Simon Harris

Photos: Jeff Bloxham