Current Status: 583 will be making some appearances at events this year. GNJ583N is a rare survivor being one of a few pre-production prototype Series 3 Bristol VRT's. As you will see from the history below, she was new to Southdown Motor Services in 1975 and allocated to the Brighton area.
The latest news with 583
Pre-MOT Check and service
06/08/19 Southdown 583 has been off the road for some time this year whilst we rectified a problem with an air pipe and issues with rubber seals on it's gearbox.
A pipe runs from the compressor to the gearbox however, the union joint had perished with age and leaking badly causing the bus to lose air. Despite a repair by a local hose repair company, the pipe failed again so after much searching, a replacement was found by Bristol VR enthusiast, Rob Sly.
Rob also kindly supplied new rubber seals for the shaft coming out of the gearbox, a common problem with these buses. With help from family friend, Tom, 583 is now back on the road and attended two local events. 583 is still not quite ready for public use as there is still some minor interior work to be done but hopefully it will be given public rides soon.
Wednesday 13 February 19
Today with the help of family friend Tom, Heather and Jason carried out an engine service and pre-MOT checks on 583 ahead of it's annual test on Saturday.
The following work was undertaken,
Oil and Filter Change Fuel Filter Change New Air Filter Spring Lubrication Engine timing adjusted All round grease up Replacement air pipe Interior clean Rear stop light bulbs replaced
583 Unveiled at Alton Rally
Sunday 22 July 2018
On Sunday 15 July, 583 at long last attended it's first event after it's restoration back into Southdown (NBC) livery. Although there is still some work to do inside. the bus is now at a stage where she can be displayed at local events. 583 was driven to Alton by Jason accompanied by Heather in 510 and Daniel in 'Tilly the Triumph'.
"When we arrived, many people appeared to be jostling to get a photo as we pulled onto the field" explained Jason. "We received so many great comments and it is also surprising to learn just how many people follow our website too".
583 and 510 on display at Alton
Restoration Nearing Completion
Saturday 26th May 18
Since returning from Reliance Bus Works, we have done a few more small jobs on 583 including submission for MOT pass.
We're very pleased at how she's looking at the moment and hopefully we'll be attending some event with her soon.
On Sunday 20th August 18 Jason, Heather and Rich all set about preparing 583's upper deck for restoration.
Whilst Heather and Rich took care of the ceiling to floor deep clean, Jason removed the side heater skirts, rubbed them down and repainted them ready. The skirts are now ready to receive their second coat before being refitted to the bus.
Once the cleaning was complete, the seat frames and cushions were removed from the deck and put in store whilst we set about working through the deck.
Pictures below show some of the work carried out.
In addition to last weeks work, on Sunday 9 July Jason, Heather and Daniel continued with the refurbishment of 583's lower deck interior.
The rear side seat frames were sanded down as was the wheel-arch coving. They were then washed down and repainted. Seat cushions from the lower deck were also removed, hoovered and hand scrubbed to freshen up their appearance.
Overall, in just a short amount of time we have been able to transform the interior and make it look more like a bus!
Over the weekend 1/2 July, Heather and Jason together with family friend Richard made good progress in the lower deck of 583. Work on 583 has been slow over the past few months due to a combination of work commitments, special events, other projects and general lack of time. However, this weekend saw the lower deck seat frames removed for refurbishment, side skirt panels rubbed down and repainted, stairwell repaint and various other bits. Good progress was made and just a couple of seat frames remain to be painted and refitted.
Our aim is make the bottom deck usable for the time being. The original tread master flooring has long since been removed and so new Treadmaster needs to be fitted. We don't have the knowledge and skills for this particular area of work and so the bus will be sent away in the autumn to have new flooring fitted on both decks. Below are some pictures taken from this weekend.
Rub down and repaint
The paintwork on 583 was very rough when we collected it. With many layers of different primers applied on top of a number of years worth of different coats of paint, she certainly needed some attention.
Our good friends at IM Services in Romsey took on the challenge to rub the body work down and paint the whole vehicle, along with replacing some damaged rear panels.
After three long, hard working weeks the team completed the rubbing down process and set about repainting the old girl in a fresh lick of shiney Leaf Green paint!
As of Saturday 3rd December 2016 IM Services finished painting 583.
Since then our friend Kevin Parsons has assisted us with refitting the windows back into the bus in brand new, original spec Grey rubber. On Friday 15th December 2016 we neared the completion of fitting the windows. We now plan to remove the windscreens along with the destination box glass to replace the surrounding rubbers.
Also on 15/12/16 the vehicle received two brand new rear tyres - one on each side, to replace the slightly aged and woren tyres.
Welcome! 583 collected from Seaford & District
We are pleased to annouce that on Saturday 5th November 2016 former Southdown Bristol VRT GNJ 583N joined our collection.
The vehicle was towed from Seaford in Sussex by JEA Recovery to IM Srvices in Romsey where she is to spend a number of weeks being rubbed down and repainted into a well deserving fresh new look.
Although the vehicle runs very well under her own power, she is not currently MOT'd and currently has now windows meaning she is not road worthy to drive back to Hampshire.
We plan to restore the vehicle back into her former Southdown livery as to which she wore during the 80's when based in Hampshire. We will also be carrying out a number of cosmetic jobs whilst replacing the window rubbers and restoring the original seating into the vehicle. It's full steam ahead to get this very rare vehicle back into action.
We would like to thank David Mulpeter at Seaford and District for letting us purchase the vehicle and also Lee at JEA Recovery for his fantastic assistance in getting the vehicle home.
Collection from Dorchester - Delivery to Seaford & District
In November 15 we were given the privilege to collect 583 from it's previous owner in Dorchester on behalf of Seaford & District.
The vehicle was purchased by the company to join their private preserved collection however, a year later in 2016 we enquired whether they would be interested in selling the vehicle to us for restoration to which David Mulpeter agreed.
The history of GNJ 583N
Bristol VRT/SL3/510 VRT/SL3/108 ECW H43/31F 20561 Series 2 (Southdown body number B3677)
This vehicle had a pre-production VRT/SL3/510 chassis with BUTEC G2 automatic gearbox.
5/75 New in NBC green bus livery with white NBC logos and Southdown fleetnames to Southdown Motor Services Limited, Brighton, East Sussex (583). 6/75 First licensed. 6/75 Allocated to Hove (Conway Street). 8/79 Allocated to Whitehawk. 12/80 BUTEC G2 gearbox converted to semi-automatic. 8/81 Delicensed. 12/81 Painted in NBC green bus livery with white Southdown fleetnames and red, white and blue NBC logos. 12/81 Relicensed. 16/7/82 NBC logos replaced by Chairman’s Award 1981 symbols. 6/84 Painted in multi-coloured all-over advertisement livery for Berger Paints. 6/84 Allocated to Hove (Conway Street). 12/85 Allocated to Whitehawk.
1/1/86 Acquired by Brighton, Hove & District Omnibus Company Limited, Conway Street, Hove, East Sussex, BN3 3LT (583). 1/1/86 Allocated to Whitehawk. 1/86 Given Brighton & Hove fleetnames.
21/4/86 Acquired by Brighton & Hove Bus & Coach Company Limited, Conway Street, Hove, East Sussex, BN3 3LT (583) (change of title). 21/4/86 Allocated to Whitehawk. 6/86 Painted in Brighton & Hove red and cream livery. 10/89 Delicensed.
1/90 Acquired by Martin’s Bus & Coach Sales Limited, Station Goods Yard, King Street, Middlewich, Cheshire, CW10 9EA (dealer).
2/92 Acquired by Wirral Borough Council, Engineers Department, Cleveland Street, Birkenhead, Merseyside, CH41 6BJ (non-PSV). 2/92 Converted to mobile safety unit and painted yellow.
12/05 Acquired by Neil Halliday, Yorkshire, for preservation.
09/08 Acquired by Alan Bennett, Dorchester for preservation
10/09 Acquired by Michael Macey, Luton, Bedfordshire, for preservation.
1/11 Acquired by David Patrick Mulpeter T/A Seaford & District Motor Services, Dover Cottage, Wilmington Road, Seaford, East Sussex, BN25 2LA, as preserved vehicle.
9/14 Re-acquired by Alan Bennett, Dorchester, for preservation.
11/15 Re-acquired by David Patrick Mulpeter T/A Seaford & District Motor Services, Dover Cottage, Wilmington Road, Seaford, East Sussex, BN25 2LA, as preserved vehicle.
5/11/16 Acquired by Hampshire Bus & Coach Preservation, Winchester, Hampshire, for preservation.