By Barry Lafbery
I am sure that most people who collect Vintage and Classic cars also collect model cars, and I am no exception. I have about one hundred diecast models, I’m sure you know the type, Dinky, Matchbox, Lesney or whatever so long as it’s of the make or model that you want. That brings me to the question of what makes a person buy a particular make or model, in my case, at least to one series of models that I have, ‘The London Double-decker Bus’ I have fifteen different models, the purchase of these came about because of very fond memories of when we lived in England in the mid. 60s and I drove Double-decker Buses in London for a living mainly of the RT and RM type. I also have many books on London Buses and buses of the UK. A couple of models I have ‘Solido’ that are 1/50 scale are of very good quality and detail. As for driving London Buses for a living I can honestly say that it was a pleasure to go to work and you could hardly call it that, as Double-deckers are some what of a novelty the world over, it was certainly a novelty to drive them in London and get paid for it, especially in the summer when London is full of tourist and these tourist had question after question for my conductor and always wanted to ride on the top deck, it was a great feeling to know that you were doing your bit to make there holiday one they will always remember. My conductor was a girl, ‘a clippie’ as they were called, and having a good conductor or clippie made the job, and I can honestly say that my ‘clippie’ was the best. London is full of Bus enthusiasts, and there are many publications to help these enthusiasts in there hobby they will collect bus numbers, not number plate numbers but the body number i.e. RM 945 or RT 1934, and they will follow buses through there entire service life, knowing what garages they worked out of what routes they were on and when they were transferred to other garages. They would ride the buses at every opportunity simply to spot bus numbers and mark them off in their bus spotter’s guide. Many enthusiasts would have a favorite bus and when that bus came up for retirement they would buy the bus from London Transport, and would restore it to its former glory with original route signs of the routes it used to work. When a particular model of bus was being taken out of service, usually after about 30 years, London Transport would have to put on extra buses just to accommodate the enthusiasts that wanted to ride the last bus, regular bus riders just did not stand a chance of riding a bus on that day. I think I can safely say that these enthusiasts will have hundreds of models and quite often one or two of the real thing just like you and me.