The 1920s were the heydey of private buses in Australia. The commercial vehicle market was very competitive, and manufacturers, including those from North America, offered light weight chassis to Australian operators.
This bus was new to Riley Brothers of Ettalong Beach in 1925. The chassis is a Ruggles, a manufacturer with plants in Michigan, USA and Ontario, Canada. The body was built by Syd Wood of Bankstown, the frame and panelling is of timber construction. The vehicle seats 22 passengers.
The Riley Brothers operated the bus on the Central Coast for 21 years until it was withdrawn in 1946. The vehicle was observed during the late 1960s and early 1970s in use around Newcastle as a mobile food shop. It was discovered derelict some time later, acquired by a Museum member for preservation and underwent a major rebuild, finished in 1978.
Due to the vehicles age and rarity, 1924 is normally only a display vehicle.
When the Museum was in the process of moving from the old Tempe premises, the Ruggles was put into working order and driven from the old Tempe site to the new Leichhardt museum.
It remains a highlight of the collection at Leichhardt as the oldest bus in the collection.
Engine: Hercules 4 cylinder side valve petrol engine, bore 4", stroke 5".
Transmission: Three speed constant mesh 'crash' gearbox to a crown wheel and pinion differential.
Brakes: Foot and park brake mechanical to the rear wheels only.