Vintage Morecambe bus to go back on the road after refit

Darren Hunt on the restored Morecambe bus. Picture: Lorne Campbell.
Darren Hunt on the restored Morecambe bus. Picture: Lorne Campbell.
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A vintage Morecambe bus has been lovingly restored and will be on display at a special event in the resort next month.

Darren Hunt bought the bus along with his friend John Hewitt and has spent the last two-and-a-half years bringing it back to its former glory.

The bus before being restored.

The bus before being restored.

The bus, which had been on show at Keighley Bus Museum for the last 12 years, was brought into service in Morecambe in 1951 and operated around the town until 1974, when it started being used as a towing vehicle.

It was latterly owned by Ken Wade of Burnley, who sold it to Darren for £2,000 and also helped with some of the restoration work.

A further £12,000 and many hours’ graft later and the bus is well on its way to being ready to show off at the Morecambe Running Day event organised by Ribble Vehicle Preservation Trust on May 24.

“We took it on and rebuilt it to get it back on the road,” Darren, 44, said. “It’s now running for the first time in about 18 years. We have brought it back to life instead of it going to the scrap yard.”

Darren Hunt (extreme right) polishes the 1951 AEC Regent MK III which he and his friend John Hewitt (second right) jointly own and have rebuilt from being in very poor condition. Pictured with them are former owner Ken Wade of Burnley, and Darren's son, Reece, eight.  Picture: Lorne Campbell

Darren Hunt (extreme right) polishes the 1951 AEC Regent MK III which he and his friend John Hewitt (second right) jointly own and have rebuilt from being in very poor condition. Pictured with them are former owner Ken Wade of Burnley, and Darren's son, Reece, eight. Picture: Lorne Campbell

Darren, who lives in Halifax with his wife and three sons, has been working on the vehicle during the evenings and weekends in a bid to rejuvenate it.

“I have always had an interest in historic vehicles,” he said. “I have got three young lads and they have got involved too, and I have been teaching them the skills of painting and metal work.

After the Morecambe event, Darren will look to show off the bus at other similar events around the north of England.

“It’s not a commercial venture,” he said. “I have just been doing it for personal pleasure.”

The AEC Regent MK III bus, bus was originally owned by Morecambe & Heysham Corporation. It weighs 7.5 tonnes and has a top speed of 38 mph. After service in Morecambe and Heysham, it came under the control of Lancaster City Council.

Darren, who works in commercial tyre fitting, added: “Most people will recognise it by the original colours. We have cleaned it up and replaced some of the panels and the tyres and will now be looking at the inside and repairing the seats.

“To see the end product after all your efforts is nice, and it will also be an investment in the future for my kids.”