East Lancashire Coachbuilders Limited was a manufacturer of bus bodies and carriages founded in Blackburn, Lancashire, England in 1934. The company went into administration in 2007 and was bought by the Darwen Group and re named before merging into Optare.
The Company was founded in Lancashire in 1934 as East Lancashire Coach Builders Ltd
(Company history between 1934 and 1994 missing !!) - can you help expand this article ?
In 1994 the company expanded in to new premises and commenced a programme of development that resulted in a range of single and double deck buses which was the primary source of income for the company.
On August 17, 2007 the company went into administration, but was saved and bought out by the Darwen Group the next day. It is thought that the problem was a direct consequence of changing to the Euro 4 chassis, with a shortage of Scania chassis being a factor. After the purchase, the Darwen Group rebranded the company as Darwen East Lancs.
In 2008 Jamesstan Investments, an investment company controlled by the Darwen Group purchased another bus manufacturer Optare. Later, in June 2008, a reverse takeover was performed, with the Darwen name disappearing in favour of Optare's. This brings East Lancs name into the Optare Group, now providing an expanded range of vehicles.
East Lancs has had many different styles of bodywork. They had a tradition of using 'miss-pelt' product names which continues until the Esteem and Olympus series.
Older past bodies
- EL2000 predecessor to the Flyte
- Cityzen predecessor to the OmniDekka
- Pyoneer predecessor to the Lolyne
Lolyne and Spryte series
In the early 1990s, East Lancs created a new style of bus body. Like most East Lancs buses, this body style didn't have a definite name and was named by its chassis as follows:
- Lolyne for Dennis Trident
- Vyking for Volvo B7TL
- Lowlander for DAF/VDL DB250
- Nordic for 3-axle Volvo B7L/B9TL
In 2001, a new body was launched. Again, the product didn't have a definite name, it varied according to the chassis.
- Myllennium Lolyne for Dennis Trident
- Myllennium Vyking for Volvo B7TL
- Myllennium Lowlander for DAF/VDL DB250LF
- Nordic for 3-axle Volvo B7L/Volvo B9TL
- Myllennium for DAF SB220 and Alexander Dennis Dart
- Hyline, a high-floor variant of the standard Myllennium single-decker body but used to re-body older chassis
Until bought by Darwen
The generation until East Lancs went into administration continues the tradition of misspelt names but each has a different name and does not vary on the chassis.
This series are the last surviving variants of the myllennium series. They are now part of their own series. These have the standard body but with Scania own front styling.
- OmniTown for Scania N94UB chassis
Esteem and Olympus series
The Esteem was launched early in 2006. The Olympus was launched at the Euro Bus Expo 2006 and its lower dash is the same as the Esteem. The Visionaire launched in summer 2007 with Arriva's Original London Sightseeing Tour.
- Olympus for Alexander Dennis Enviro400, VDL DB250, Volvo B9TL and Scania N230UD chassis
- Visionaire open-top body for Volvo B9TL chassis
Production of these buses continued under Darwen ownership.
The Kinetec series was launched at the Euro Bus Expo 2006. They are designed as low-floor bodies for MAN chassis. They have the Esteem/Olympus body but with MAN's own Lion's City design front and rear.
East Lancs subsidiaries
East Lancs also ran sub-divisions of the company, in addition to the production of buses:
- British City Bus
- East Lancs Overseas - The export of East Lancs buses
- NW Bus & Coach Repairs - A bus and coach repairs business in the North West of England
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