On reaching ‘retirement’ age, this bus was selected in winter 1966 / 67 by a group of students from South Essex from a batch of buses that had recently been withdrawn from service. They converted the bus to a mobile caravan, complete with bunk beds, cooker and kitchen sink, and a driver / top deck communication device (made from a hoover tube). Platform doors were also fitted – ONO 59 had been an open platform bus in service.
From January to August 1967, the bus covered 120,000 miles through 20 countries around the world, setting off via France, Italy, Yugoslavia, Greece, Turkey, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, Kuwait and Afghanistan to India, narrowly avoiding armed conflict in the middle east at the time. From India, the bus travelled to Singapore, Australia and New Zealand, by this time each side of the bus was adorned with a large ‘Union Jack’ based livery, and advertising claiming it to be a ‘London double deck bus’. The next stage of the journey was to the USA via Central America. Finally, the bus returned to the UK via Belgium.
For more on this part of ONO’s history, check out http://essexbusboys.com/
Having completed this adventure without any serious mechanical difficulty, the students were reluctant to see the bus go for scrap and wanted it to go to a good home. The bus was presented to the LVVS by Mr S Twell of Ingham, a dealer, who was then the Vice-President of the Society.
“Ono” was then used for many years as the Society’s Tender Vehicle and mobile accommodation, but was off the road for some years.Thanks to a PRISM grant, ONO will be making a debut at the next Transport Festival in November 2018.