Leyland Atlantean BOAC Airport Bus
1966, Outer Paddock, On long term display
This Metro Cammell Weymann bodied bus in BOAC livery was first registered in November 1966. It was used to ferry passengers from the London Victoria bus station to Heathrow Airport.
Rolled out in 1958, the Leyland Atlantean was the first mass produced rear engined bus. A significant drop in passengers following World War Two had led to bus companies looking for ways to reduce operating costs. The Atlantean design moved the engine to the rear and the door to the front of the bus. This resulted in a two fold increase in profits: firstly, it allowed the bus to be operated solely by the driver, as all passengers had to pass by on entry, removing the need for a conductor. Secondly, the extra space created by the realignment allowed for more seats per bus.
The Leyland Atlantean was available with a variety of bodies and proved to be a huge success. At the end of production, over 15000 had been produced, and were operated by bus companies across the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth. Over 200 were exported to Australia, and Singapore became the largest foreign operator with a fleet of 520. The final production run was exported to Iraq, and Atlanteans were still in use in Hong Kong in 1998.