Leyland Olympian – 700 (A700 DDL)

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owned by  –  The Isle of Wight Bus & Coach Museum (click title to read more…)

Leyland Olympian No.700 (A700DDL) is seen in service with Southern Vectis, note the Red spot next to the fleet number indicating a Ryde vehcile
Leyland Olympian No.700 (A700DDL) is seen in service with Southern Vectis, note the Red spot next to the fleet number indicating a Ryde vehicle © Darren Tasker

With the absorption of Bristol and ECW into the British Leyland group, Leyland’s standard models quickly phased out the products of Bristol & ECW, though the early Olympian chassis were built by Bristol at Brislington and the bodies constructed by ECW at Lowestoft. SVOC received its first Olympians in the 1982 programme, they were followed by 5 more in 1983 and 6, including 700 (A700DDL) in 1984. These were Bristol/ECW products, Gardner engined, with semi-automatic transmission, painted in the standard NBC leaf green/white and were put into service on the Island’s trunk routes, replacing crew operated Bristol FLFs.

With the expansion of Southern Vectis into Southampton, where an operation had been established trading as Solent Blue Line, the 5 Leyland Olympians that were still in NBC leaf green & white and not repainted into the deregulation Southern Vectis livery, including 700, were selected to be sent to Southampton in 1989. Three of these were subsequently sold to Johnson Bros. Hodthorpe, Nottinghamshire in 2002/3, leaving 699, 700 as sole survivors. Initially, the Olympians ran in Southampton still in NBC leaf green but then received Solent Blue Line phase 2 (striped) livery, and later still the livery 700 is currently wearing.

A700DDL continued on Southampton city routes until September 2005 when it was loaned to Wilts & Dorset for School contract work. It was withdrawn in February 2006 and sent to the island for disposal, ironically being stored at Ryde depot, 700 was then most generously donated to the Isle of Wight Bus & Coach Museum for preservation.

The Olympian is currently undergoing a full restoration. 700 is mechanically sound but major body restoration work is required.


Vehicle Details/Specification:

  • Leyland (Bristol) Olympian, ONLXB/1R
  • Body: Leyland (ECW) No. 25825

Key dates:

  • New, in NBC leaf green & white  – February 1984
  • Withdrawn  – October 1989
  • Transferred to Solent Blue Line as 700 – October 1989
  • Repainted into SBL phase 2 (striped) livery  – unknown
  • Repainted into Solent Blue Line current livery– unknown
  • Loaned to Wilts & Dorset – September 2005
  • Withdrawn – 2 February 2006
  • Transferred to Ryde depot for Disposal – 4/5 February 2006
  • Donated to the isle of Wight Bus & Coach Museum – February 2006
  • Restoration started late 2017

Current Status:

  • Undergoing a full restoration