|Registration Number:||VMP 8G|
|Chassis Type:||Albion Viking VK43AL|
|Body Type And Seating:||Alexander Y C40F|
|Date New:||September 1968|
|Original Operator (Fleet Number):||Road Transport Industry Training Board|
This vehicle was one of a small but very varied fleet bought new by the Road Transport Industry Training Board. In its early days, it was used by High Ercall (Shrewsbury) MOTEC for driving instruction, where it was apparently involved in a serious front end accident, before being transferred to Livingston in the early 1970s. Used for training for MOT inspection and other uses, it did little mileage before being laid up for a lengthy period in the open, where it was extensively vandalised. During its working life it was thus not used in fare paying service. A reasonable claim can be made for this being the 1st of many Alexander Y-types in Scotland to be purchased for preservation, initially at the Scottish Vintage Bus Museum's Whitburn premises.
The Viking model VK43L, announced in the summer of 1965, was a development of front engined prototypes. It was designed to provide the Scottish Bus Group (SBG) with a simple lightweight vehicle for touring and dual-purpose work, especially on less demanding rural routes, and owed much to contemporaneous commercial vehicle design. It features a Leyland 400 engine, vertically mounted at the rear of the vehicle. It came with a 5 or 6 speed constant mesh gearbox. The AL was a later modification featuring a reduced 15" clutch for improved gear change. With very light steering, the bus was liked by many drivers, but problems arose with hearing the engine and gear change in traffic, and with the slow gear changing, especially in hilly areas. Vikings were purchased, mainly by the SBG, until 1969/70, and were found throughout Scotland.
Its first owner carried out some pressing repair work, and accumulated many of the parts required for the vehicle's future restoration. It passed to its current owner in July 2001, since when a systematic and fairly comprehensive programme of restoration had been undertaken. The bus is now finished in Highland Omnibuses' smart blue and grey coach livery, dating from 1966, complete with gold leaf lettering and handsome forward facing eagle crests. Highland ran a small number of Vikings, all 2nd hand; VMP 8G is presented as AV48, the next number Highland would have used had this vehicle been operated.