In November 2009, the CBPS took over ownership of Bristol VR 38873(LFJ 873W) from the Western National Preservation Group.
Originally numbered 1226, she was the last new Bristol VR bought by Western National in 1981 (later vehicles 1227 to 1238 went to Devon General). Based at the St Austell depot initially, she was one of only 4 new vehicles allocated to west Cornwall (1220(LFJ 867W) Truro, 1224(LFJ 871W) Newquay and 1225(LFJ 872W) Penzance) with the rest of the batch going to Torpoint and the Plymouth area. These later VR's had slight cosmetic changes to their outward appearance in the form of larger reshaped front and rear side light/indicator clusters and slightly deeper opening drop down windows.1226 was renumbered 38873 and has worn the majority of the different liveries used by Western National and has spent time at most of the Cornwall depots and even had a spell in the Plymouth area before eventually moving to Camborne from where, in a very run down and shabby state, she was retired. A number of VR's from this batch have been preserved but 1226's three 'sisters', 1220/24/25, have not been so lucky.
Due mainly to the efforts of our chairman, 1226/38873 was competely refurbished by First in 2006 into the current 'Barbie livery' just in time for the Western National Rally in July on the Hoe in Plymouth. She later attended the final closed top Bristol VR Running Day on 9th December 2006 and several other events the following year. These included the Brislington event at Bristol where, just briefly, she thought she was back home working service 18 in west Cornwall!
We have had 38873 stored for ten years as we knew she had major exhaust system failure which would probably require a full replacement throughout. So early in 2019 we decided the time was right to get her back on the road again. To carry out the repairs we had to get her back to Camborne so a tow was sorted. Due to lack of covered storage, our Dart 401 went to Devon and the VR came home.
Many hours of work during 2019 by the 'team' turning out on specifc working days has seen the complete exhaust system renewed, fuel tank straps replaced, various electrical issues addressed and some of her paintwork smartened up all just in time for our running day at Penzance.
Everyone involved with getting 1226/38873 (LFJ 873W) back on the road and many of those attending our 2019 Running Day were delighted she was back performing well after 10 years 'rest'!