In an effort to maximise carrying capacities of bus chassis’, manufacturers experimented with engine mounting positions by the 1930s. The standard front mounted engine design worked well but because of legal restraints at the time regarding maximum lengths and seating capacities particularly on single deck vehicles, various other designs were tested.
Among these were the rear-engine Leyland REC and the side-engine AEC Q although these were not built in great quantity, and with the onset of World War II, further developments were put on hold. Shortly after the war, the Birmingham & Midland Motor Omnibus Company (BMMO), brought out a underfloor engine chassis in 1946 for its own Midland Red Company’s use, and this design was quickly followed by other major manufacturers.
The new standard layout which featured the engine sitting horizontally high within the chassis frame, allowed coachbuilders to fit bodywork with seating for up to 45 passengers the only negating factor was the higher chassis frame would require a higher floor level within the vehicle. By the early 1960’s the design layout was altered again by fitting the engine to the rear of the chassis, which allowed a lower chassis frame and thereby allowed the floor level to be dropped while also dispensing with the steep steps required to enter the bus. The lack of a front radiator on the underfloor engine buses left nothing for the body designers to work with and therefore they usually ended to be “box-like” and flat panelled only improved in later years with the introduction of the wrap-around windscreens.
Unusually Halifax’s first underfloor vehicles were Weymann-bodied Leyland Royal Tiger Worldmasters in 1958, a model normally associated with export only. In 1961/2 Leyland Leopards were added, again bodied by Weymann of which 232 was delivered new in September 1962.
Along with other members of the JOC fleet 232 became part of the merged Calderdale Joint Omnibus Committee fleet in 1971, before being absorbed into the West Yorkshire PTE fleet, entering this as 3232 in 1974. After withdrawal it was acquired for preservation in 1981 and was regularly seen on the rally circuit before finally passing to the West Yorkshire Transport Museum in 1984. It was acquired by the Keighley Bus Museum from the administrators of Transperience in September 1988 with support from the Heritage Lottery Fund, the Science Museum PRISM fund, and Bradford Metropolitan Borough Council..