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1968 Leyland Panther

Colour (Exterior): White and orange
Colour (Interior): Cream
Transmission: Automatic
Location: Sherwood, QLD
Description: This vehicle was one of 340 Leyland Panther route buses ordered by the Brisbane City Council between 1968 and 1970 as tram replacements. It was the largest order of Panthers anywhere in the world. The order was split between Brisbane body builders Athol Hedges and Denning, with this vehicle one of 205 bodied by Athol Hedges at Northgate. It was delivered new to the Toowong bus depot in November 1968, which had only been open for a year at the time. It operated for the Council on urban and school runs for two decades before temporary withdrawal from service. What separates it from all the others of its kind is that the vehicle was fitted with a regenerative braking, storage and propulsion system under trial by the University of Queensland in 1987. This involved the installation of pressurised accumulation tanks, which used hydraulics and nitrogen gas to convert braking power into driving power. At the same time it underwent refurbishment and was fitted with power assisted steering and high-back fabric seats. In what would ultimately pave the way for hybrid buses, Bus 498 - nicknamed ‘Reg’ - was the only vehicle in the world at the time to successfully return to passenger service after the experimental system was implemented. It lasted until October 1989 when it was saved from sale and donated to the Brisbane Tramway Museum for preservation, given its significance as a one-of-a-kind vehicle. The vehicle then passed onto the Queensland Omnibus & Coach Society during 2000 for its ongoing preservation.
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