ORDER OF PROJECTED WORK
The Trust has a policy of restoring individual components as they are removed from a vehicle, at the same time sourcing the correct type and size of fixings to reinstall correctly.
As items are removed from no25, their location will be photographed, and a documented record of the status and location of each component will be kept.
The first job will be to remove all the seats to strip down, and prepare the frames for powder-coating. The cushions will be sent away to a specialist for restoration. A spare set of seats came from the donor vehicle, and these can be utilized to obtain the best combined set.
A variety of fittings will be stripped and restored, such as light fittings, ashtrays, bright aluminium interior window finishers, speaker grilles etc; again the Trust has spares of these fittings. There will be quite a lot of polishing and re-chroming to fund at this stage.
All glass will be removed, and the sliding ventilators removed for stripping and polishing. New white perspex will be obtained, and cut to fit the obscured windows to the rear lower deck. At this stage new glazing rubbers will be sourced for all windows.
The luggage racks will need removing, and suitable Rexine sourced, probably custom-made, to trim the interior (two different patterns). Both the sides and ceiling are trimmed in this material, as well as the interior luggage racks, which also have padding with decorative piping.
The bright aluminum extrusion that decorates the exterior of the vehicle is of three different patterns, two of which are still obtainable, with the wide one around the lower panels being the exception. This trim will be stripped, as will all panels, to reveal the condition of the frame.
The Trust volunteers have some experience of rebuilding MCW-bodied Atlanteans, having refurbished a similar service bus type vehicle. The body is all metal - an unpleasant mix of steel frame with aluminium outer and inner panels, the inner ones being sandwiched between steel for the lower 9”, where the chassis outriggers are connected to the body. We believe the body sides would have been assembled on a jig, and the whole side then attached to the chassis. The frame is a hollow 'top-hat section' in steel; there is a wide aluminium 'top-hat' below the lower deck windows. All fixtures are rivets, and junctions between frame and truss pieces are braced in the corners with steel brackets.
We anticipate all frame work in the lower deck will need replacement, and in order to carry this out, the plywood floor and all wheel boxes and bulkheads will need careful removal. The chassis can then be inspected and stripped of pipework, fuel tanks, wiring etc, before being blast- cleaned and protected by several coats of anti-corrosion paint. Once blast-cleaned, the axles and road springs can be removed, and springs, kingpins, bearings, seals, brake linings and drums can be sourced. At this stage the chassis can be put on blocks with the minimum of components in the way of the bodybuilders.
Our experience of the bodies of this type is that they tend to be sound from above the lower deck windows. No 25 was parked in the open air with a broken upper deck front window, and the front dash has suffered as a consequence. If this ingress of water has rotted the upper deck floor framework/floor, this will need cutting out and replacement. The upper deck floor is a one piece sheet of plywood bolted to a steel 'zed section' in steel. This 'zed section' runs the length of the vehicle, the upper deck floor cross members being square tubes formed with an arch to divert water to the sides of the floor. These cross members are connected to the side framework with flitched brackets. As stated previously, the upper deck on our previous project was sound. If we are lucky and No 25 is also in good order, a suitable solution to attach the new side framework is to weld the replacement top hat to the good top deck frame, just below the brackets that carry the top deck floor. The top deck will need supporting whilst the replacement sides are welded and riveted in place.
The front and back end frame will be repaired as required, and new framework will be needed around the driver's cab.
The lower deck floor frame will need replacement. The bus version of the MCW body has the floor situated on the chassis, and outriggers with a step-up over the back axle. The Gay Hostess has a flat, slightly ramped floor with no step, and the heavy-duty batteries are mounted in boxes under the floor just in front of the back axle. These will all need replacement.
Next, the wheel boxes and toilet/luggage compartment can be refitted; the aluminium 'check plate' having been polished and Formica and wipe clean surfaces replaced. Once the wheel boxes are in place, the chassis pipework, replaced as needed, can be refitted and the chassis electrics rewired. We anticipate the body wiring should be OK, but any suspect wiring should be changed whilst exposed.
The fuel tanks can be refitted at this stage, then the plywood main floor fitted and also the aluminium plate flooring around the front entrance.
The re-trimmed inner roof panels can now be fitted and the new lower deck side panels trimmed in suitable Rexine, after this the luggage racks can go back in.
Light fittings can be refitted and the cab electrics put back in place. All interior window surrounds can go back in place. Apart from the floor covering, the interior will be trimmed.
Attention can now turn to re-panelling the exterior, starting at the lower rear end working upwards towards the roof. The bright trim can be formed to shape and temporarily fitted - it will be removed prior to painting. The overhauled axles and drive train can be fitted and connected to the new wiring. The drive train of the Atlantean sits on a sub frame across the rear. No25 was obtained in a stripped down condition and it is still in that state. Its current 'engine pack' is not the original - it is from a Glasgow bus, and as such has a low speed angle drive. We do have a suitable engine pack and angle drive in stock ready for refurbishment and use in no25.
The early Atlanteans sported a one-piece engine cover, this is missing from 25, and a replacement will need to be made/sourced. The interior flooring can be finished and handrails fitted. The exterior painting can be done, glazing fitted and then the polished bright work replaced along with exterior lights etc.
The doors can be remounted and finally the re-trimmed seats installed along with the toilet and servery. Signwriting and legal lettering can then be completed, all oils and lubricants checked, and the Hostess should be ready to roll. If only it was thatsimple!!
GAY HOSTESS PROJECT
ITEM / TASK COST
OVERHAUL PASSENGER DOORS
REPLACE WINDOW RUBBERS
REMOVE UPPER & LOWER DECK EXTERIOR PANELS
REMOVE & REPAIR DOMES
MANUFACTURE NEW ENGINE BUSSEL
REPLACE BODY TIMBERS
BEAD BLAST CHASSIS
REPLACE FLOOR FRAMES WORK
OVERHAUL FUEL TANK
BEAD BLAST CHASSIS
OVERHAUL SPRINGS & SUSPENSION
REPLACE FLOOR FRAMEWORK
REPAIRS TO WHEELARCHES
WHEELS & TYRES
NEW BATTERY BOXES
OVERHAUL RADIATOR 3,390
RE MOQUETTE SEATS
ASH TRAYS & TABLES
REFIT INTERIOR FITTINGS
REMOVE LUGGAGE RACKS
REFIT LUGGAE RACKS
FIT TOILET & KITCHEN
REPLACE UPPER & LOWER DECK FLOORING
TOTAL COST £52,975
The above analysis was carried out by the Ribble Vehicle Preservation Trust in 2008. It showed the estimated of skilled hours required to be 5,750 and a cost of materials to be £47,225.