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(Nonetheless, the prewar Dennis Lancet with four cylinder petrol or diesel power was noted for smooth running.) The 4LW had a capacity of 5.6 litres, almost exactly the same as the experimental 6LK engine made in the 1930s but not produced in volume.

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Just think, if the BET Group management had not been so awkward, North Western might have bought a couple of hundred Atkinson Alphas instead of Royal Tigers, Tiger Cubs and Reliances of the FDB, KDB and LDB series. You would expect Atkinsons with their quality and traditional reputation and low volumes to be an ideal manufacturer for the bus industry. Eventually, they all eat each other, aided by too much direction- are rear engines or double deckers the answer to everything- so we now have over-large, wallowing buses with all the control subtlety of a dodgem. I tend to agree with Don’s comment about the lorry chassis.

The layout is probably the most odd of all the Atkinson bus production as, to an extent, all the other body layouts followed traditional or, at least, accepted formats yet a long wheelbase with a double width door behind the front axle needs some explanation!

At the 1953 Scottish Show they displayed an Alpha fitted with Self-Changing Gears semi-automatic gearbox – quoted as being the first to be fitted to a PSV chassis (Leyland – owner of SCG – had a minority shareholding in Atkinson at the time).

At the same time a lightweight version was offered.

long buses with semi-automatic gearboxes and modern-style Marshall bodies, but these were the last of the line. Sorry folks, in my haste I forgot to add the fleet and registration numbers for the Sunderland Atkinson. More photos of the vehicle were posted in my Metro Center May 2013 gallery. Self Changing Gears did not succumb to Leyland control until 1957, when the Lancashire maker bought the Hawker Siddeley third of the shares in the company.

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