Chassis & Bodywork Type Classifications

If, like myself, you thought that manufacturer chassis numbers were just a random collection of numbers or letters (or a combination of both) that followed the vehicle chassis type then you should be intrigued to know that there was actually a very precise identification system to display, at a quick glance, the exact build type of each chassis.

We won’t cover every chassis type but the most common, operated by Western Scottish, were as follows:

Leyland Chassis Types


The basic classification was PSU – Passenger Single-Deck Underfloor engine followed by a number denoting the vehicle length:

3 = 11m (36ft 0in)
4 = 10m (32ft 9 1/2in)
5 = 12m (39ft 4in)

followed by the sub-type letter denoting time-to-time mechanical improvements starting with no letter and progressing from ‘A’, the first modification, on to ‘B’, ‘C’ etc followed by an ‘oblique’ and a number denoting:

1 = Bus – Synchromesh gearbox
2 = Bus – Pneumocyclic (Semi-automatic) gearbox
3 = Coach – Synchromesh gearbox
4 = Coach – Pneumocyclic (Semi-automatic) gearbox
5 = Coach – 6 speed ZF synchromesh gearbox

finishing up with an ‘R’ denoting Right-hand drive. Some vehicles fitted from new with two speed axles had a ‘T’ following the right-hand drive ‘R’.

E.G:   a Leopard PSU3E/4RT is an 11m (36ft 0in) long Leopard coach with sub-type ‘E’ and a Pneumocyclic (Semi-automatic) gearbox, right-hand drive with twin speed axle.


The basic classification was a TR followed by:

B = Bus
C = Coach

followed by the engine type eg TL11 for the Leyland TL11 engine, LXB for the Gardner 6HLXB or LXC for the Gardner 6HLXCT engine followed by a number denoting the vehicle length:

1 = 10m (33ft 0in)
2 = 11m (36ft 0in)
3 = 12m (39ft 4in)

followed by the letter ‘R’ denoting Right-hand drive.

E.G: a Tiger TRCTL11/3R is a 12m Tiger Coach with a Leyland T11 engine and is Right-hand drive.

Newer models also had a letter following the last ‘R’ denoting the form of transmission:

H = Hydracyclic
P = Pneumocyclic
Z = ZF gearbox (manual or automatic)

National / National 2

The Leyland National was an integral vehicle where the classification denoted the body type as well. The first series were basically:

1051 = 10.3m long
1151 = 11.3m long

followed by an ‘oblique’ and a number denoting the number of doorways:

1 = Single door at front
2 = Dual door (usually front entrance / centre exit)

followed by a letter ‘R’ denoting a right-hand drive vehicle.

E.G: a National 1151/2R was an 11.3m long vehicle, with front entrance / centre exit and was right-hand drive.

In 1974 came the next series with a smaller roof pod and other modifications, the basic types of which were:

10351 = 10.3m long
11351 = 11.3m long

followed by the /1R or /2R as before. The dual-purpose or suburban coach version was denoted by an / SC after the full type.

E.G: a National 11351/1R/SC was an 11.3m long, single-door, right-hand drive suburban coach.

Further modifications (to Phase 2 standard) added an ‘A’ or an ‘OA’ into the designation after the basic type.

E.G:   11351A/1R or  10351OA/2R

A further version without the characteristic roof pod and various other cost-saving items and omissions was known as the Series B, denoted by a ‘B’ after the basic type.

E.G:   10351B/1R

1979 saw the introduction of the Leyland National 2, with a larger engine – initially the 680H and front mounted radiator increasing the overall length of both types by 300mm to 10.6m and 11.6m respectively making the basic types:

NL106 = 10.6m long
NL116 = 11.6m long

followed by the engine type:

L11 = Leyland L11 engine (actually the 680)
TL11 = Leyland TL11 engine
HLXB = Gardner 6HLXB engine
HLXCT = Gardner 6HLXCT engine

followed by an oblique and the ‘1R’ or ‘2R’  as for earlier types.

Modifications of sub-types are denoted by an ‘A’ after the basic type.

E.G:    NL116AL11/1R 

Fleetline (Leyland version)

Basic type FE = Fleetline

followed by the vehicle length (either 30 or 33 denoting length in feet).

followed by (if appropriate) an ‘A’ for automatic transmission

followed by the engine manufacturer:

G = Gardner
L = Leyland

followed by an ‘R’ for right-hand drive.

E.G:    a Fleetline FE30GR is a 30ft 0 in long Fleetline with semi-automatic transmission (no ‘A’ after the 30) with a Gardner engine and right-hand drive.

Daimler Chassis Type

Fleetline (Original version)

Basic type was CR denoting ‘Coventry’ (where made), ‘Rear-engined’ followed by the engine type:

L6 = Leyland 6-cylinder
G6LX = Gardner 6LX
G6LXB = Gardner 6LXB

followed by an ‘oblique’ then followed by 33 for the 33ft long version

E.G    a Fleetline CRG6LXB/33 denotes a Fleetline with a Gardner 6LXB engine being 33ft 0in long. The 30ft 0in long vehicles were not normally referred to with a /30, being considered the standard length. 

Bristol Chassis Types (Single deck)

Basic chassis types were:

MW = Medium weight
RELL = Rear-engined, Long (36ft 0in) with Low Frame (Bus)
RESL = as RELL but short (33ft 0in) chassis (Bus)
RELH = Rear-engined, Long (36ft 0in) with High Frame (Coach)
RESH = as RELH but short (33ft 0in) chassis (Coach)
LH = Lightweight, Horizontal engine (10m length)
LHL = as LH but Long (11m length)
LHS = as LH but short (9m length)

all followed by the engine type:

6G = 6 cylinder Gardner
6L = 6 cylinder Leyland
6P = 6 cylinder Perkins

Bodywork Notations

For anyone unsure of the various body notations (the letter before the seating capacity number) here is a quick recap of the standard notation used throughout the bus & coach industry:

B = Single deck bus
C = Single deck coach
DP = Single deck dual-purpose (bus / coach)
H = Double deck (centre gangway upstairs)
L = Lowbridge layout double deck (sunken gangway on one side of upper deck)
O = Open top double / single deck
CO = Convertible open top double deck
FH = Full fronted double deck (one which would normally be a half cab)
FCO = As ‘FH’ but a convertible open top
CH = Double deck coach
DPH = Double deck dual purpose

For double deckers the seating capacity is split with the upper deck shown first followed by the lower deck E.g 43/31 indicates 43 seats upstairs and 31 downstairs.

The letter after the seating capacity number shows the door position:

F = Front / Forward
R = Rear
RD = Rear with platform doors
C = Centre
D = Dual (usually front entrance / centre exit)

Vehicles fitted with a toilet have a ‘t’ after the entrance letter.

Vehicles fitted with a lift for wheelchairs have a ‘L’ after the entrance letter.

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