In 1896, James Sumner and Henry Spurrier established the Lancashire Steam Motor Company in Leyland, Lanchashire, which became the direct predecessor of Leyland Motors Limited. The backbone of the business was production of steam lawn-mowers. In the beginning of the 20th Century, it began to install steam and oil engines in its vehicles for freight and passengers. In 1907, Lanchashire tookover the Coulthard & Company in Preston and Leyland Motors Limited was formed. Trucks and buses were then built in numbers. During World War I, Leyland concentrated in military vehicles and volume production of 10 vehicles a day could be achieved during the latter war years.
After the war, Leyland switched its concentration onto buses, charabancs and lorry for civil purposes. They developed the famous Lion, Tiger, Titan and many others in the 1920s. During World War II, it switched its production back to military vehicles again. However, buses were also made at that time. After the war, further development had been made on its existing models. On the other hand, it developed its pneumo-cyclic gearbox in early 1950s. In 1956, the first Atlantean went into service. It proved the success of rear-engined low-floor double-deckers. In 1968, when Leyland merged the British Motors Holdings, the British Leyland Motors Corporation was formed. The truck and bus division contained factories gained from previous mergers. The division rationalised its vehicle types so as not to duplicate the similar types in different factories. New developments, like the Olympian, resulted in great success. After Volvo tookover Leyland Bus in the 1985, all types of vehicles except Olympian ceased production.
Hong Kong operators tended to buy Leyland buses in the past years. It can be traced back to as early as 1926, China Motor Bus Co.and Kowloon Motor Bus Co started to buy PLSC1 Lions. Then there were orders for second-hand Titans and Atlanteans in the 1970s. On the other hand, over 100 Ashok Leyland Titans were also bought by CMB at that time. Since the early 1980s, Olympians have been widely used in the Great Britain, Singapore and Hong Kong.
Singapore Bus Services was also a very loyal customer of Leyland buses. The first successful double deckers were their BACo and Metsec bodied Atlanteans. They bought Atlanteans and Olympians to establish their double decker fleet.
Leyland Atlantean (Hong Kong, Singapore, Portugal)
Leyland Beaver (Malta)
Leyland Cub CU 335 (United Kingdom)
Leyland Fleetline (Hong Kong, Malta, New Zealand, United Kingdom)
Leyland Hippo (Malta)
Leyland Leopard (Malta, New Zealand, United Kingdom)
Leyland Lynx (Malta, Singapore, United Kingdom)
Leyland National 2 (United Kingdom)
Leyland Panther (Australia, New Zealand, United Kingdom)
Leyland Olympian (Hong Kong, Singapore, United States, United Kingdom)
Leyland Royal Tiger (India, Malta)
Leyland Tiger (Australia, New Zealand, United Kingdom)
Leyland Tiger Cub (Malta)
Leyland Titan (Malta, United Arab Emirates, United States)
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Page created: 19 January 1999
Last updated: 22 July 2012