Over 7,700 Leyland Nationals were built over a period of 14 years during which there were several significant model changes and special export and other customer-requested variations that challenged the mass production arrangements at the Lillyhall factory
The first of 7,723 Leyland Nationals to be built at Lillyhall were ten pre-production vehicles, all of them dual-door 11.3m models.
Six were retained by the manufacturer, with the first of these emerging in November 1971 registered DAO 251K. Another of the six, the tenth pre-production bus, was FRM 499K, the first UK demonstrator. Two were export demonstrators, a right-hand-drive bus shipped to South Africa and DRM 590K, a left-hand-drive 36-seater exhibited at the RAI show in Amsterdam in 1972 as part of Leyland’s campaign to win business from continental European cities.
The other four — the third, fourth, fifth and ninth — were supplied to three National Bus Company (NBC) subsidiaries. Most appropriately, the first of these to be handed over — PP5 — went to Cumberland Motor Services in March 1972 as its 350 (ERM 35K), for use on town services in nearby Workington.