Chassis – Volkswagen LT55 HH000774
Body –Optare City Pacer 235 C21F
Power – Volkswagen with manual gearbox
During the late 1980’s the dawn of the popular minibus arrived in many large fleets in Yorkshire. Business and economic dynamics meant that many full-size buses were being laid up out of service and smaller minibus style vehicles were being acquired in large numbers in an attempt to reduce purchase costs whilst increasing frequency of service on many routes.
Yorkshire Rider was no exception to this wave of change and embraced the purchase of several minibuses including D901 MWR. The “Magic Rider” you see today is a City Pacer model and was the first body to be designed by Optare based at Leeds Crossgates in the former Charles H Roe factory.
D901 is based on a Volkswagen LT55 chassis and was delivered to Yorkshire Rider in April 1987 being a unique coach seated example, unlike its stablemates that had conventional bus style seating. It was initially allocated to Sovereign Street Depot and was then transferred to Bramley in 1987. As with many minibuses of its era, it was to have a short life with its original operator and was withdrawn by Magic Rider in March 1990.
By January 1993 it had found its way to Patterson & McLoy of Birmingham and by November of the same year was with Howarth of Merthyr Tydfil. February 1997 saw another move to Thomas of Porth where the minibus was moved on again only a month later to Jenkins of Pen-y-waum.
In 1998 D901 had almost reached the end of the road and was slumbering in a scrapyard but amazingly was resurrected by Hartwool of Bicester in December of that year. Having served the operator for two years D901 was on the move again in January 2001 and passed to Treblequest of Upper Sundon.
By October 2001 the fate of D901 once again hung in the balance as she was passed to a dealer but by September 2003 she was with Borkowski of Axminster.
In December 2005 she was finally acquired for preservation by Andrew Tindall and was treated to a professional repaint at Busworks Blackpool and a mechanical overhaul by Andrew before being placed back in service at Dewsbury Bus Museum events.
She has been a regular performer at our open days but was then laid up for over a year until her current owner acquired her and put her back on the road in 2018. She has a cult following with a certain age group of preservationists and is always well loaded when she is out and about.
Despite the enthusiasm in the 1980/90’s for minibus operation, the fad soon came and went and as can be seen today most fleets now operate mainly full-size vehicles once more. It is therefore essential that the Museum has D901 in its collection to depict the era when the minibus was king of the road!
Click on this image to see more photographs of D901MWR