Two illustrations from the Motor Coach original 1949 instruction manual
Motor coach on the bench during construction before roof fitting
No.1 Clockwork motor and chain drive to twin rear wheels
Modified steering mechanism and front end
Ready to be put into service
I was inspired to build this model following email correspondence from an Italian visitor to my web site Claudio. Like me he enjoys building models from old manuals from the 9 and 10 sets as well as modern 10 set models. He sent me several pictures of his models including the Motor Coach (9.8) from a 1949 number 9 manual. I thought it looked rather attractive and at that time had never seen the the model built. I had a copy of the 1949 number 9 manual and thought I will have a go at that with a few changes it would make an attractive model.
I decided to use dark blue & yellow, I thought this made an attractive colour scheme for the coach. For the the floor of the coach and luggage compartment I used pre war blue cross hatched plates. From the outset it was clear that this simple model was not going to be straightforward particularly the rear curves of the roof. Can a 5 x 11 hole flexible plate really be curved like that? Well no but it could have been in the Binns Road art department!
Another area of impossibility is the rear luggage compartment door as described its quite impossible to build, this necessitated the need for part mutilation,something I rarely do. Flexible plastic plates were trimmed to fit around the hinge. You can see how I curved the plates to make the streamline body shape in the pictures. The "simple but effective steering mechanism " involved the steering wheel turning the front wheels the opposite way! The sliding door as shown in the illustrations was another bit of work from the art department. I made use of 4mm carbon rods for the door so slide on these offer much less resistance the a metal rod.
I t soon became apparent that I would need to make many other changes.In building my model however I did not restrict myself just to the parts in the contemporary number 9 set. The use of post 1954 slotted plates, triangular plates and plastic flexible plates made for easier construction than using the 1949 non slotted parts. Another major change was to make improved seats. I stuck to the original instructions and used a post was No.1 clockwork motor, surprisingly as it must be a lot heavier than the original it still goes along. I decided that the windows on the model were incorrectly proportioned, by adding extra strips to reduce their height he coach looks I think much more attractive.
These type of six wheel coaches and buses were built during the nineteen thirties. London Transport operated fleets of them on Central routes through to the nineteen fifties. The six wheel configuration had originally come about through ministry of transport regulations regarding the length of vehicles. In 1937 London Transport ordered 28 Luxury coaches with a six wheel chassis, see above picture. Perhaps this was an inspiration for the Meccano model. Although the style of the front roof line on the model looks like an earlier type of bus or coach but it rather adds to its appeal.
The model is an an updated version of the Saloon Motor Coach model (9.2) from the 1937 9 -10 manual. This had a shaft drive and reverse gear, the number 1 clockwork motor at that time was not reversible but was included in the set. However I think it lacks the charm of the later coach and the seats are decidedly odd to say the least.
Around the same time as I was building the coach my friend Stan Knight of Bonners Ferry, Idaho, USA was also building it. Stan built his own coach using red and silver finish parts you can see Stan's version of the Motor coach and his thoughts on improvements on the next page.
July 19 2013 revised February 17 2014