Associated Equipment Company

Associated Equipment Company had been producing commercial vehicles since the beginning of the 20th Century. It was based at Southall, London, and a virtual monopoly of London bus supplies before 1920s because it had close relationships with London Passenger Transport Board. It was not until late 1922 when Leyland developed the "LB" (London Bus) range, meeting the strict requirements of Metropolitan Police, to break this monopoly. AEC had been the principal rival of Leyland in the 1920s and 1930s. Its Regent series competed with Leyland Titan for more than 30 years. The AEC is also famous for its worm and nut steering and electro-pneumatic preselector gearbox and these systems had been used by many other bus manufacturers. Since 1936, AEC and Leyland had built large numbers of trolleybuses for London Transport and the two companies pooled their trolleybus technology to form a joint holding company called British United Traction Limited (BUT), which remained active until 1966. After BLMC was founded in 1968, the BUT changed to BUTEC and manufactured automotive electrical components in a factory in Leyland.

A new legal body, called the Associated Commercial Vehicles Group, was formed before it merged Leyland in 1962. The group comprises the Associated Equipment Company, Maudslay, a company which largely manufactured axles, Crossley Motors Limited, an engine designer and maker formed in 1910, Park Royal Vehicles of London, a bodybuilder, Charles H. Roe of Leeds, another bodybuilder, and Thornycroft, a gearbox manufacturer. Apart from AEC, the well-known members in the group in Hong Kong should be Thronycroft and Park Royal. The China Motor Bus Company bought Thronycroft buses when the the operator started in 1921. A picture of the bus has been preserved by the Hong Kong Government. Some of the ex-London Transport Fleetline FE30AGRs of KMB and CMB in the 1980s were bodied by Northern Countries.

The Leyland Panther was the first major passenger model to have been designed after the merger. In its AEC version, the design retained the frame, front end, engine, transmission, and the two axles of the AEC Swift. Since 1968, no more AEC double deck models has been produced. The last vertical front-engined AEC Ranger chassis were completed in 1978. They were all exported to Iraq, Africa and South America.

AEC Mercury (Malta)

AEC Regent 3 (United States)

AEC Regent 5 (Australia, Hong Kong, United Kingdom)

AEC Reliance (Malta)

AEC Routemaster
(Argentina, Canada, France, Hong Kong, Hungary, Malta, New Zealand, United Kingdom, United States)

AEC Swift (Malta)

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Page created: 16 January 1999

Last updated: 26 November 2017