I first saw this remarkable bus at Detling a couple of years ago and today I got up close and personal with it. It is quite simply a mongrel - a Maltese mongrel if you will, which started life in 1943 as a Bedford QL British Army radio truck. Today roughly 3ft of the original chassis survives. The rest has been cobbled together from other bits and pieces. It was converted to a bus in the 1960's and rebodied in 2008 by Zinnu in Malta. It was brought over here in 2009 and has been lovingly looked after ever since. The engine and gearbox come from a Leyland 420 truck, and the steering has also been replaced giving it power steering. But aside from that it is one of those quirky vehicles that you can't help falling for.
|The Maltese Mongrel 312 YUK at Otford|
|The front of the Bedford with nearside bench seat - Driver Matt at the wheel|
|The drivers area, complete with religious posters, cash tray and other Maltese towels etc.|
|The Bedford, well sort of, at "The Pond" in Otford|
|The rear of the Maltese Mngrel, complete with Mark 1 Transit bumper|
|Matt posing in front of his pride and joy with a rather splendid London Country RT in the background|
|Roundabout OV2 Volkswagon Optare C526 DYT|
|LT327 leaves the Go Coach depot|
As a postscript I heard today of a company that sacked a driver for verbally abusing an enthusiast taking a picture. I won't name the company, but well done. It is good to see the industry starting to recognise the valuable role enthusiasts have to play. Running days like this one attracting thousands, both young and old are the proof of that.