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London Transport AEC RT 3708
9.6 litre 6-cylinder AEC diesel, bore 4.72", stroke 5.59" developing 115 B.H.P. at 1800 RPM.
Four speed air operated 'Wilson' pre-selector epicyclic gearbox to a worm drive differential.
Air operated foot brake to all wheels and a mechanical hand brake to the rear wheels.
After World War II, London Transport purchased 6,805 double deckers to a highly standardised design. These were similar to 151 pre-war AEC buses. Including these pre-war deliveries, 4,825 were AEC Regent III RT type, using specially modified AEC Regent III 0961 RT/2 chassis.
The other 2,131 used Leyland chassis, 1631 RTLs which differed only by chassis make, and RTW, which were 6 inches wider than a standard RT / RTL. What the RT designation stands for has always been a matter of debate, the most common theories being Regent Type or Revised Type.
For their time, the RTs had very advanced design features - lined ceilings, rubber corner panels (to reduce accident damage), a well designed cabin with clear vision etc. The design allowed for the body to be lifted off the chassis during overhaul. The London fleet contained more bodies than chassis, since overhauling the body took longer than overhauling the chassis - thus, bus RT 3708 could go in for overhaul in the morning, and the chassis come out again that afternoon but with a different body.
The Museum's bus, RT 3708, was registered NLE-815, entered service from Enfield garage in May 1953 with Weymann body 8545, an RT8/2 type, the most common type. It recieved three overhauls during its London Transport career - firstly in July 1956, when it came out with a 'green' body and was allocated to London Country services. At it's second overhaul in April 1961 it remained with the same body and continued on Country services. At its third and final overhaul in October 1965 it was fitted with 'red' body 9098, built by Park Royal Vehicles and another RT8/2 type, returning to London Transport services before finishing up its days at Southall garage and being withdrawn. It was sold in March 1977.
A company called Rebel Air Tours imported RT 3708 to Australia in 1984 through an operator / dealer called Brakell. It arrived in August 1984 and was registered (NSW) NAC-501. In 1989 the bus was purchased by the Museum. In 1995 it underwent a body overhaul and in 2008 a complete rebuilt of the air system took place.