Seen arriving off the boat on Tuesday March 24th is Ribble Leyland Leopard 465. It joins a growing number of preserved vehicles arriving on the Island, this one by John Davis. It had been towed to Heysham behind a PD2 tow bus, and was driven on to the Ben-My-Chree before making the short journey to former TOURS depot at Summer Hill.
The vehicle is a 1963 Leyland Leopard PSU3/1R fitted with a B53F "BET'-style single deck body by Marshall of Cambridge. It is essentially a longer version of John's other Ribble Leopard 665.
The Leyland Leopard was introduced in 1959, a development of the 'lightweight' Leyland Tiger Cub, one of the most important changes being the introduction of the larger and more powerful 0.600 engine. Whilst Leyland Motors built chassis that were a mainstay of many large bus fleets in the UK and abroad, Marshalls Bus had what has been described as an 'on-off' relationship building bus bodies. During the 1960s Marshalls built many buses for British Electric Traction, featuring the distinctive 'BET' (British Electric Traction) front and rear screens, examples of which could be found all over Britain - including on Leopard 465 shown here. The company ceased manufacturing in the early 1980s, before re-entering the bus building market in January 1992.
In 1997 Isle of Man Transport purchased 25 Marshall 'Capital' bodied Dennis Dart SLFs numbered 16-40 (DMN-16-R - DMN-40-R) for the still-born 'New Bus Network', buses which when new carried 'Easyrider' coke-can livery. The buses were sold for re-use off the Island whilst still relatively youthful to be replaced by new double deckers. One of these is now in preservation at Jurby, former 25 (DMN 25R), renumbered 35, and in full Easyrider colours.