Another picture from Longcross is of DM 2646 (THX 646S) – the superbly restored last of the DMS-type Daimler Fleetlines. If just one of the much-maligned B20s could be saved, this was the one, and Ensignbus have done a terrific job returning it to the Shillibeer livery which it wore in 1979.
Poor old DMSs – nobody liked them (neither passengers nor engineers), the majority completed less than seven years service each (the length of a Certificate of Fitness in those days) and only the B20s accomplished anything close to a decent innings, perhaps due to the fact that absolutely nobody would buy them! I grew up with the things – my school journey was on the 93, a route introduced to crew DMs on 4th September 1982 and converted to OPO the following 23rd April, on which date the 80 was extended up from Morden to support it. Never once did they give me any trouble, while quite a few Ms and Ts broke down while I was travelling on them…
This bus’s career, in fact, would end on the 93; after its period in Shillibeer colours (during which it was advertising the Leyland products of the time, the National and Titan), it moved to Stockwell and then to Sutton, where it spent its last six years (as D 2646), four of which were spent with an Iveco engine like the rest of the garage’s DMS fleet. It was Sutton’s last Fleetline, seen working the 93 on 19th June 1992. A spell with Haven Coaches followed before a formal decision was made to preserve it, but it wasn’t until this year that its transformation into Shillibeer glory was complete. And under the distinctive, dual-chimneyed bonnet, a Leyland engine beats once more.
With contemporary adverts all re-created to complete its period look, DM 2646 is seen working the 448 shuttle service to and from Woking station.