NKY 805H

Privatly Owned Not for Hire

AEC Matador

Chassis 08531041

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The Story

This AEC Matador was delivered new to the British Army as a gun tractor and served with the armed forces until 1947 when it was purchased by Bradford City Transport in June of that year for use as a towing/recovery vehicle for their trolleybus and motor bus fleets. When purchased it had some of the original gun tractor body removed and a chariot style body fitted with a with a small workshop area for roadside repairs. Also fitted was a 5 Ton Harvey Frost crane while at the front of the vehicle was a snow plough attachment for use in wintry weather. The Matador was initially allocated fleet number 081 in the ancillary fleet and painted in an all over Bradford blue livery, operating from Ludlam Street depot on trade plates 065AK, or occasionally 164KU. In a renumbering of the ancillary fleet in 1953, the wagon was given the new number 018, and it was repainted in the late 1960s in all over yellow.

Although in January 1970 the Matador was officially registered as NKY 805H, it continued to operate on trade plates, however early in this decade the signs of wear were appearing, particularly around the timber framed cab area. The BCT management decided to give the vehicle a complete overhaul, which was to include a more modern appearance.

On the mechanical side the original AEC 7.7 Litre engine was replaced with a bigger AEC AV590 9.6 Litre unit and drive was supplied through a Thornycroft D166WX gearbox as used in Bradfords large AEC Regent V fleet of buses. Externally a major facelift was undertaken with the removal of the body and cab with coach built panels incorporating many bus parts. The new cab contained an Alexander Fleetline/Atlantean roof dome, an AEC Regent mk V front grille and corner panels, East Lancashire trolleybus cab doors, with lights and lamps also coming from bus related designs. A small workshop was also installed within the design and the Harvey Frost crane was re-fitted with all the work being carried out at the Thornbury works between 1972 and 1973. On completion of the work the vehicle was repainted in the new revised Bradford City Transport livery of blue and cream while the front grille and wheels were painted yellow, and re-designated fleet number 025.

As with the rest of the Bradford fleet the Matador was passed to the newly formed West Yorkshire PTE, who operated under the Metrobus/Metro name from 1st April 1974 and was quickly repainted into an all cream/white livery and carried the Metro/Bradford fleet name. It was later to receive the standard PTE livery of Verona Green and Jonquil Cream and have WYPTE logos fitted but remained in the fleet as number 025.

On October 26th 1986 the Matador passed to Yorkshire Rider upon the deregulation of bus services and although it retained its towing-recovery duties, it now operated from the Bradford Interchange bus garage. Another repaint was applied this time into full Yorkshire Rider livery together with a new fleet number of 9360, and the vehicle continued in service until the early 1990s when it was replaced by a Guy Big J and then a more modern DAF 3300 breakdown truck.

The Matador remained parked up at the Interchange garage until finally being donated to the Transperience bus museum in Bradford. On the closure of this museum it was sold for private preservation at auction but rarely seen and, having a variety of owners including Stoneywood recovery of Halifax who carried out extensive chassis, welding, clutch and gearbox repairs.

In November 2008 the vehicle was sold again this time to Neil Millington and Kiaran Tolsen for on-going preservation, and is now in the sole ownership of Kiaran Tolson.