Type of Vehicle - Bus
Year built/registered - 1940
Vehicle Description - Dennis Ace/ECW B20F bus. New with Gardner 4LK engine, but presently fitted with Dennis sidevalve 4 cylinder petrol engine.
Reg No. DVF 519 Fleet No. D3
Livery/Operator - Eastern Counties Omnibus Company, pre-war 'Foochow red' and cream
DVF 519 consists of the body of one time CAH 923, which was married to another Dennis Ace chassis in the mid 1960s to create the vehicle preserved today. Both DVF and CAH were among a small number of Dennis Aces bought new by Eastern Counties between 1938 and 1940, uniquely with 4LK Gardner engines. The buses were bodied almost to coach specification by Eastern Coachworks, featuring high backed seats and saloon heating. After a short working life of only 10 years or so, all of the Aces were withdrawn by ECOC in the late 1940s. While they had been reliable, their small size made crew operation uneconomic and limited their effective usefulness. ECOC kept the chassis' running gear for incorporation into a small number of experimental 32 seat chassis-less buses built by ECW (the 'CD' class). The bodies were sold off to the independent operator, scrap dealer and motor engineers Bickers of Coddenham, just north of Ipswich. Bickers mounted the bodies onto a variety of withdrawn Dennis chassis already in their possession, some of which had been Ipswich Corporation dustcartsanother one had been a fuel tanker, and one was taken from a furniture van. A few of these re-purposed vehicles kept their original body registration, while some carried their old chassis registrations! All these vehicles when withdrawn again were laid up in Bickers yard. In the mid 1960s the fledgling Ipswich Transport Preservation Group negotiated with Bickers to acquire the best surviving body, and the best chassis to mate together. Thus the vehicle formed the nucleus of the Ipswich Transport Museum collection. The restoration was a stop start process, thwarted many times over the decades by a series of relocations. Eventually the decision was made to finish the job to celebrate the museum's 50th anniversary in 2015, and cosmetic restoration was achieved. Further remedial works to the engine, chassis and interior saw the bus return to the road in 2019. It passed its first ever MOT in 2022.