I am indebted to reader and fellow webmaster Chris Hebbron for this fascinating article on Gloster Gardner Buses, powered by Gardner diesel engines but bodied by the Gloucester Railway Carriage and Wagon Company Limited before they embarked on building diesel railcar chassis on AEC chassis for the Great Western Railway
Photographed when new, here’s a rare Gloster-Gardner coach in the livery of Red & White Services, the company which collaborated with the Gloucester Railway Carriage & Wagon Works in the production of these vehicles. The robust chassis were fitted with overdrive and could achieve 53mph and 20mpg. The robust chassis were designed to take the Gardner diesel engine from the outset.
In 1932/33, Red & White Services of Chepstow took delivery of six Gloster-Gardner 6LWs with GRC&W C30R (coach type 30 seat rear entry) bodies. Numbered 223-229, they were registered in the WOXXXX (Monmouthshire) series. It is said that the unusual seven-bay bodies were not the most robust products and, in 1938, at least number 223 was re-bodied by Duple as C32F ( as illustrated by WO 7518, pictured left). They were withdrawn between 1948 and 1951.
Another user was Neath & Cardiff Luxury Coaches, who took two in 1934, one of which was fitted with a replacement second-hand body in 1946. Both were withdrawn in 1953.
The range of chassis numbers between these two vehicles was 563, but such is the arcane nature of chassis numbering, that I remain unconvinced that that was the number of chassis built. The production period was between 1932 and 1934, after which the company was busy with rail orders and this remained the only bus chassis the company ever built. Interestingly, Gloucester Corporation did not support their local bus maker, being users of Vulcan Empresses and Thornycrofts.
More about the Gloster Gardners can be found on Chris Hebbron’s Old Bus Photos website.