1949 Foden Plaxton Full Front coach / Motorsport Transporter
This old 1949 Foden Plaxton Full Front 33 seater coach, registration GGA670, was originally equipped with a crash box (i.e. no clutch), no power steering, and only did 38mph flat out! Quite the contrast to its current state and use.
Built at the Foden factory in Sandbach, Cheshire it went into service until early in the 1970’s, before languishing in various states of neglect and part restoration, before being completely revived many years later.
This was the first coach bought for Gray Line Of Clackmannan for private hire and was an ex- Co-operative Wholsale Services of Glasgow vehicle. The Foden was later sold by Gray Line to the Glencryan Preservation Trust around 1987. By 1992 it was part of the collection at The Scottish Bus Museum in Lathalmond near Dunfermline in Central Scotland where an attempt had been made at restoration. They encountered some difficulty concerning the mechanicals, particularly the hydraulic braking system and sliding roof, and the vehicle was moved on before completion.
However, before that it was bought by a scrap dealer and preservationist named Ted Heslop from Hexham, who then sold the aging Foden coach to Alan Purvis from Seaburn, also of northern England. Alan Purvis later passed away and his collection of preserved buses and coaches was broken up, with GGA 670 passing to Rod Wallace at the Scottish Bus Museum.
Some time later, possibly early this century, the coach passed to another preservationist by the name of Keith Dickens of Goostrey in Cheshire. He was principally a lorry preservationist and had a few Foden lorries in his collection but fancied the idea of preserving a Foden coach.
It was then moved southwards to Foden specialists near Sandbach who neared the completion of the restoration of the Plaxton Fullfront coach. In fact, previous employees of Foden were involved in the restoration.
Once restored by Dickens the coach was put up for sale. Having seen the vintage Foden for sale, and with a particular purpose in mind, I commissioned the conversion of GGA670 into a stunningly unique car transporter – which is now an integral part of the historic racing car fleet of Sub-Zero Motorsport. It really is a marvellous feat of engineering, capable of carrying team members and a race car enclosed within the graceful lines of the old coach.
Resplendent in its striking cream and crimson two-tone paint with vintage sign-writing, the old coach is a highlight of the paddock whenever it makes an appearance.
As a tribute to its origins, the Foden features the old Gray Line logo prominently on the front above the grill as it did many years before.
The once forlorn Foden Plaxton Full Front coach has been sympathetically modernised and now boasts a 6 cylinder turbo diesel Cummings motor and smooth manual gearbox, power steering and power brakes.
Reenvisaged as a historic motorsport team car transporter, with hand painted period livery, it flies along compared to the original 1949 specification, regularly carrying classic racing cars, such as the teams Corvette and Mustang, to events around the country such as the Goodwood Members Meeting.