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Bristol Commercial Vehicles
Type Ltd
Founded 1908
Headquarters Bristol, England
Industry bus and truck manufacture

Bristol Commercial Vehicles Ltd was a manufacturer of buses and trucks based in Bristol, England.


  • 1908 Bristol Tramways & Carriage Company built its first bus.
  • 1931 Bristol Tramways & Carriage Company was acquired by Tilling Group.
  • 1948 Bristol Tramways & Carriage Company became part of nationalised British Transport Commission.
  • 1955 Bristol chassis production was separated from Bristol Tramways & Carriage Company's bus operating activities and renamed Bristol Commercial Vehicles.
  • 1962 Rear-engined Bristol RE introduced
  • 1963 Bristol Commercial Vehicles became part of the Transport Holding Company.
  • 1965 Leyland Motor Corporation buys a 25% holding of Bristol and Eastern Coach Works(ECW) from the Transport Holding Company, allowing sales to non THC fleets.
  • 1967 LH introduced
  • 1968 VRT introduced
  • 1969 All English and Welsh THC (and British Electric Traction(BET)) bus interests pass to newly formed National Bus Company. Leyland (by now British Leyland) acquires an extra 25% holding of Bristol and ECW through a share swap: 50% of Park Royal (and its subsidiary Roe) and the Leyland National Company pass to the NBC in exchange. Bus Manufacturers (Holdings) Ltd. is formed to hold the joint venture's shares in Bristol, ECW, Park Royal and Leyland National.
  • 1981 Leyland Olympian introduced and VRT production discontinued
  • 1981 LH discontinued
  • 1982 British Leyland buys the National Bus Company's 50% stake in Bus Manufacturers (Holdings).
  • 1982 RE discontinued
  • 1983 The Bristol works is closed - All production moved to Leyland plant in Workington.

Although the factory has been closed since 1983, the bus stop flags outside the site still refer to the bus stops as "Bristol Factory".


Citybus Bristol RELL 2539 (AXI 2539) new in 1982 fitted with Alexander (Belfast) bodywork. Pictured here in Belfast, circa late 1990s early 2000. Now withdrawn.

A preserved Bristol LH, owned by Tally Ho!

Bristol KSW6B ECW Lowbridge

1920 Bristol 4-ton truck

Single deck

  • L type
  • SC - Small Capacity
  • SU - Small Underfloor engined
  • LS - Light Saloon
  • MW - Medium Weight
  • LH - Light Horizontal engined
Note: A small number of Bristol LH and LHL bus chassis were bodied as pantechnicons for the 'Silver Cross' prams company
  • RE - Rear Engined
    • RELL - Rear Engined Long and Low
    • RESL - Rear Engined Short and Low
    • RELH - Rear Engined Long and High
    • RESH - Rear Engined Short and High
  • B21 - also known as Leyland Lion
  • B52 - sold as a Leyland Bus

Double deck


Main article: Bristol (trucks)
  • HG - Heavy Goods
  • HA
  • ST - Semi-Trailer


Bristol provided the chassis for an experimental class of railbuses in 1958. The railbus used a Gardner 112 horsepower (84 kW) engine and a hydraulic automatic transmission. The bodywork was built by Eastern Coach Works. Two such vehicles were built and used on branch lines in Scotland, but no further orders were placed and the pair were withdrawn and scrapped in 1966.

See also

References / sources

Based on WP article initially.

  • Curtis, Martin (1984). Bristol Buses in Camera, Ian Allen. ISBN 0-7110-1361-6
  • Curtis, Martin (1994). Bristol VR, Ian Allen. ISBN 0-7110-2238-0
  • Roberts, Duncan (2002). Bristol RE, NBC Books.
  • Townsin, Alan (2000). The Bristol Story Part Two, Venture Publications. ISBN 1-898432-78-3

External links

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