Restoration of a Classic Bus: Page 1.
Photograph: "1928 SOS "QL" type bus with a few problems.
With alternative description for non graphics or blind users.
SOS "QL" type: A Classic bus design of the late 1920's and 1930's. This type was the first design of Midland Red bus to have brakes on both axles - previous buses had rear wheel brakes only. Examples were sold to other associated companies and some lasted into the 1950's.( www.Wheels.co.uk)
The Birmingham and Midland Motor Omnibus trust have a SOS 1928 bus like ours and their website looks back at the development of motor transport during the 20th century. It includes many buses and commercial vehicles of the period.
1928 SOS type Bus Project is Ongoing.
Chronological History of Project Reports.
(First printed in the Friends' Newsletters.)
For many years now we have been working on the complete rebuild of a 1928 SOS "QL" type bus. The job has always stopped when there were more pressing things to do, but it has restarted again.
Amongst the items of which there is little remaining evidence, are the seats and the head lights. Following considerable research, using photographs and the few perished bits of wood we have, it has been possible to work out how to make the seats and fix them into the body. We now have a temporary seat frame with which we can experiment and we have also been able to work out how the body is lined inside.
By gathering up all the pieces of headlights we have, we can now make patterns to use in having some replicas cast in aluminium. Then we will have to solve the problem of finding/making reflectors and bulb holders. If you can offer help or advice with any of these projects, please contact me.
The 1928 SOS "QL" type omnibus continues to make progress. After considerable research, patterns have now been produced to ensure the vehicle's accessories can be manufactured using a large proportion of the volunteers' skills and experience.
Work is proceeding on the 1928 SOS bus since a team of volunteers visited Birmingham and Midland Motor Omnibus Trust to gather information from a derelict bus they have there. We now are working on the roof, driver's cab and passenger seats and are sourcing fittings. A mechanical check up is going on simultaneously.
Autumn 2004 1928 SOS "QL":
In the RMS workshop we are progressing the work on the 1928 SOS "QL" bus, which has had no attention for some time whilst we have been engaged with other tasks. The cab area is being modelled in softwood until we have it built up correctly, when we will be able to copy it in ash.
Apart from a few decayed scraps of ours, the only evidence is a derelict body at the Midlands Bus Museum, Wythall, Birmingham and a partly restored 1927 "QL" type, which they have too.
We have visited twice recently to measure details and compare notes. We are working with them on the production of some parts which neither of us has, but where we can pool knowledge and various broken and worn bits to come up with dimensions.
We are working on interior lamps, interior lamp glasses and window pull leather straps, and when we have them right, we'll commission enough for both groups to keep costs down. We are working with Sunderland Glass Centre on the interior lamp glasses. Bob Graham is progressing this and has produced drawings, which will go in the restoration file for the future. We have borrowed and returned several parts from Wythall, which we have copied for the "QL".
Ray Mankin has copied a full set of interior lamp bases in aluminium and an ignition cut out switch. The switch fits into another beaten aluminium part which we have had copied. The driver's cab is so closely tailored about the driver, that there is not enough room for his hand to move the gear lever through its full travel. The beaten aluminium part forms a blister out into the engine compartment to give room for that action.
All of the standard roof hoops are made and temporarily in place waiting for their flitch plates. The team is now making the cant rail which goes over the engine compartment and which will complete the roof shape and allow the cab to be fitted. The match boarding for the roof is being sourced and, when we have it, we can work out the shape for the non-standard roof hoops. When they are in, the boarding can begin.
The window stops are being made too, and when they are fitted we can think about window glass. Co-operation with B.A.M.M.O.T (Birmingham and Midland Motor Omnibus Trust) at Wythall has already provided the correct section of white rubber channel for the fixed glass.
Meanwhile, a mechanical overhaul is proceeding and the chassis is being repainted. It is several years since the mechanical parts were first refurbished and assembled and the bus has been little used since then.
The whole braking system has been stripped and cleaned and refilled with fresh hydraulic oil, the carburettor has been overhauled and soon we hope to start the engine again.
The hydraulic brakes are a remarkable feature of the SOS, which was probably the first full sized bus to have such an innovation. Not only that, but they work on all four wheels! There was a small oval plate fitted in the drivers cab which said "This vehicle has four wheel brakes. Use with due care." had when we acquired it and it has a new set of wheels.
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