02 September 2022
Ixo AEC Regent III RT 1939 - London Transport
REF NO: BUS034
AEC'S double-decker RT is a variant of the company’s Regent III, borne out of a collaboration between AEC and London Transport. The sheer number on the roads in the 1950s went a long way to creating the image of London’s iconic red buses, later hijacked by the Routemaster – although the RT still outnumbered its now more famous counterpart deep into the 1960s.
London Transport originally ordered 338 chassis and these were in production when World War II broke out in September 1939. The original orderbook was reduced to 150, and the last of this first batch, RT151, was not delivered to London Transport until January 1942. Production restarted post-war, in late 1946, and these new vehicles were built to a modified version of the pre-war design but were similar in appearance. Including the RTL and RTW variants, a total of 6.956 were built. The very last RT in London Transport service (RT624), now preserved by Ensignbus, operated the final day on route 62 from Barking Garage on 7th April 1979.
The RT also had quite a life as a film star. Its three most notable appearances came in Summer Holiday (1963), Live and Let Die (1973) and Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004). For the Harry Potter movie, three RTs were built into one triple-decker, painted purple and called the 'Knight Bus' – this still exists and can be seen at the Warner Bros Studios in Leavesden, Hertfordshire.
Ixo unveiled the first few examples of its new series of 1/43 scale buses from around the world at the 2015 Spielwarenmesse, in Nuremberg. The buses were to be initially marketed as a Hachette partwork in France, Autobus & Autocars du Monde - the fifth issue in the series in the series was to be an AEC RT. Ixo later began to release its large scale RT under its own brand name and this is now growing into a great collection of this wonderful casting.
This is a good model of a real Saunders-bodied bus that has survived into preservation - the fleet and registration numbers are correct. One error, though, is that the front destination box layout is incorrect and there should be a roof-mounted route number box. We still love it though!