We have now successfully acquired from First Devon & Cornwall, former Western National 'Bristol' LeylandOlympian, A754 VAF in Barbie 2 livery and displaying fleet number 34754.
This represents a very important 'save' for the CBPG as it is the last vehicle from the initial batch of 8 first introduced in Plymouth in November 1983 to come out of service in Cornwall. Unfortunately sister vehicles, 34751/2/5 (A751/2/5 VAF) have not been so lucky and have been scrapped. However, 34753 (A753 VAF) had a few years with Cornwall Fire and Rescue but is now believed to have been scrapped. Olympian 34750 (A750 VAF) as an 'open-topper' was stored in North Devon for many years but that one too has now sadly been scrapped.
This Olympian has a Gardner diesel engine as per the specification in 1983 and not a Cummins as was later used and is built on one of the last chassis's to emerge from the Bristol factory before closure.
Originally numbered 1807, she is fitted with high back coach seats, as were all of the batch and was based at the Laira depot in Plymouth. From quite early on they were all painted green and white and wore the Western National version of 'Citybus' livery for use on the Plymouth Joint Services network. In 1986, the Olympians ran into Cornwall when they carried National Express livery on service X1 Plymouth to Penzance. A picture of our Olympian in this livery can be found in 'Royal Blue Days' by Colin Morris. Eventually, the Olympians were transferred to Cornwall except for 1809/10 (A756/7 VAF) which were transferred to another First Group area. During this time, renumbering took place and 1807 became 1754 before First's individual numbering system was adopted when she finally became 34754. Since we acquired this Olympian, we have managed to keep her on the road and in April 2012, she passed her MOT just before our Running Day at Penzance. She is still very popular with enthusiasts but looking 'tatty'. So it was decided that 34754 needed some attention regarding poor lower deck panels, damaged bumper and side roof dents before a re-paint could be considered.
Currently 34754 is under going these repairs in preparation for the re-paint. When this is complete she will again carry her original fleet number 1807. It is hoped she may make a return to the rally scene in 2021.