MELBOURNE AEC REGAL III - 352
Between 1951 & 1954, AEC (Associated Equipment Company, UK) supplied 135 chassis to the Melbourne & Metropolitan Tramways Board, who operated a fleet of nearly 300 buses in addition to its electric trams.
The Museum's example, 352, was bodied by the Commonwealth Engineering company of Granville, Sydney. It was completed on the 3rd of March 1952. It was then forwarded to Melbourne and commenced operation from Doncaster depot in the outer eastern suburbs.
An industrial dispute regarding conversion of some buses to one-man / driver only operation saw the body of some of the buses shortened after the rear wheel to lower the vehicles capacity. These rebuilt buses became known as 'bob-tails', and 352 is one of these so rebuilt.
Following withdrawal from service in Melbourne, 352 was one of three buses purchased by the engineering firm, Simon Carves, for transport of employees to construction sites. All three ended up in Sydney, and a syndicate of bus enthusiasts inspected the buses and in 1982 purchased 352 as it was judged to be in the best condition.
A full restoration took place under the leadership of Bob James and ownership later passed to Bob James & Jim Miller. In 1996 the bus was donated to the Museum.
The bus is off the road as of mid-2015, but several mechanical defects have been repaired and it is hoped 352 will be back on the road soon.
Engine: 9.6 litre 6-cylinder AEC diesel engine, bore 4.72", stroke 5.59", developing 125 b.h.p. at 1800 r.p.m.
Transmission: Air operated 'Wilson' four speed pre-selector gearbox to a worm drive differential.
Brakes: Full air operated footbrake and a mechanical hand brake.