Double-Decker Bus: 1942 Leyland Titan

To me, one of the more entertaining aspects of finding vehicles for sale not formally sold in the U.S. is the story that accompanies such cars and trucks. Take this double-decker 1942 Leyland Titan bus for example: how did it get here? Who imported it? What was its life like before it came stateside? So many questions. Factor in how expensive it is to ship something this large to the states and the story gets even more intriguing – to me, anyway. Find it here on craigslist for $10,500 in Maine.

Thanks to Barn Finds reader AMXBrian for the find. I once lived in a town called Worcester, Mass. where you could regularly spot a double-decker bus like this, as it was used by a popular restaurant called Maxwell Silverman’s for ferrying diners from other parties and gatherings back to the restaurant for a nightcap or two. It was impossible to miss as it drove through downtown Worcester, and certainly a local attraction when parked in the restaurant parking lot. I see a similar future for this double-decker, but you could also convert it for camping purposes and build a wicked custom RV.

The seller is asking a cool $10,500 for the bus, which seems reasonable given the rarity. The cosmetics are rough, but Leyland buses from this era featured an aluminum body structure that helped keep rust to a minimum (I say that without looking underneath this Leyalnd bus to inspect the floors). No pictures of the interior are included, and those really are a must for no-local buyers. The bus I used to see in Massachusetts was listed for $15,000 when I last checked, and that had to have been the last time one of these oddballs popped up for sale. Would you convert it or restore it?

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  1. Howard A Member

    Whatever you do, don’t sit in the front on the top level,,,

    Like 7
  2. mallthus mallthus

    I grew up in Long Beach, California and, when I was a child, our local transit system ran Routemasters as regular busses on downtown routes, mostly to help promote visits to the HMS Queen Mary.

    Like 7
  3. NotSure

    With this one being a 1942 model, I can’t help but wonder what changes or modifications were made due to wartime shortages or restraints. By ‘42 the UK had been at war for two years and I have to believe that almost all manufacturing was committed to war materiel. It would be interesting to know what Leyland was having to deal with in this regard.

    Like 7
    • TCOPPS TCOPPS Member

      Leyland was heavily involved in making Cromwell Tanks by 1943. I believe they started getting involved in late 1940. Towards the end of the war they were involved with the Centurion tank. I believe the Centurion Tank variants were used by the UK up to The Gulf War in 1991. 1942 was the last year I believe for the Titan.

      Like 6
    • Paul Bateson

      This bus does not date from 1942. That is utter rubbish. This RTL type bus dates from 1950 – 1954 period. If I knew its identity I could be more precise with its age but definitely not 1942. Someone is badly informed.

      Like 5
      • N Hatcher

        Yep, this bus is a Leyland TD type used to augment the supply of AEC Regent buses in London. They were the mainstay of the London double deck fleet before the Routemaster was invented in the 1960s. There was certainly a pre war AEC Regent, but with many differences from the post war version with the same body as used on this Leyland; the most obvious being the the wooden frame used on the pre war version. With the surplus of aircraft manufacturing materials after the war the natural replacement for the wooden frames was the aluminium….

    • Adam Smailes

      I’m not sure that it is 1942 but whatever age it is, the wartime restrictions applied to most vehicles in production stripped them down to bare necessities and throttles production numbers.
      The first is more noticeable on the cars of the period while the second affected everything. Almost all vehicle factories were dedicated to producing wartime necessities or some civilian vehicles that were needed for life to carry on (basic cars, buses etc). Even great luxury manufacturers like Daimler and Jaguar were building wartime machinery.

      Like 1
  4. luke arnott Member

    This will be SERIOUSLY expensive to restore.

    Like 6
  5. Peter K

    These DD busses had a top speed of 45 mph. Engine work or replacement will have to be taken into consideration in the restoration of this rig to make it highway worthy

    Like 4
  6. mikestuff

    A few years back, 2014 I think, I was in Hollywood for a few days. I saw a concert at the Hollywood Bowl and played tourist on Hollywood Boulevard. There was a bus like this, not sure if it was the same make but I didn’t get to ride it. Very interesting and I saw it twice, full to the brim with visitors.

    Like 1
  7. Mntbikerxs

    A guy has one in a town 10 miles from me. Repurposed as a (mobile) restaurant. Kitchen upstairs, seating for diners downstairs, pretty cool idea.

  8. Alexander

    Never heard of Marshall, Virginia. Born and raised in Northern Virginia but travelled all over the state between music camps, family trips and college. Seems odd the diners would sit UNDER the kitchen…you would think they’d want to be on top for the view…..

    Like 1
    • Phil

      Marshall is on I66 halfway between Front Royal and Arlington

    • Alexander the Fourth

      Marshall is a quaint little town off of Interstate 66 halfway between Manassas and Front Royal, Va., kind of “ex-burban D.C.” by now and close enough for DC weekend day-trippers. I managed to run into singer Mary Chapin Carpenter there the last time I was in Marshall a couple years ago; she reportedly has a farm/ranch/whatever close by.
      I believe I’ve seen that bus being referenced when it was stored nearby before being set up as the “food bus”.

      Like 2
      • Alexander

        Wonder if she put up money for the restaurant? I’m in Nashville now, and loved MCC ever since she was being pigeonholed as a straight County artist. I know she recorded her first gold/platinum album in Springfield Virginia in a studio that I once interviewed for. Circa around 1988.

  9. Mike

    The only thing I can think for this is to repurpose it as a tiny home conversion. It would be too expensive to restore back to road use. The 7 year old in me would think it the mostest bestest thing ever!

    Like 5
  10. 86_Vette_Convertible

    There’s a limo company here that at one time had one similar to that one (don’t know if they still have it or not, haven’t seen in a while). Don’t know the type events they would use it at but they definitely had one.

  11. Chebby Staff

    It’s cool and it’s rare, but probably not worth it even for free. Seller would be lucky just to get someone to take it off his property.

    Like 3
  12. JF85tr99

    I think i’ve seen the Maxwell Silverman’s double decker that you mentioned seeing years ago in Woostah. i used to drive by it on the way back from Boston in like 04′. I just saw it recently coming back from Cape Cod last year and was shocked its still there. The bus im talking about can be seen in a junkyard on the right side of the Mass Pike coming out of the parking lot of the last rest stop going toward Connecticut before Rt84.


    • DKW

      I also lived in Worcester, MA. My wife is from Millbury and we lived up off Salisbury St. when we were first married (I worked at Hanscom AFB for a while, then downtown Boston… and I was a Grad student at Tufts). We got married in Worcester and had our rehearsal dinner at Maxwell Silvermans just about 20 years ago. The Double-Decker bus was one of the things that attracted us to that location, so I guess the novelty worked. We go back to that area for the holidays to see her family.

      The bus may have been moved… I think they closed this location.

  13. H5mind

    I’m lucky to be living in London this year and have spotted a few of the classic DD buses still plying the streets. The modern versions are comfortable and seem to have plenty of power, judging by how fast they can squirt into any gap in traffic.

    Like 1
  14. sluggo

    i have no idea on worth it or not to restore, although anything is possible. But I just think, Best Yard Art ever! Park a few BSA-Nortons-Triumphs static displays along with it. Serve shepards pie, Bangers & mash and Plenty of India Pale Ale.

    Like 3
  15. ACZ

    Can I buy your Magic Bus?

    Like 1
  16. Charlie

    I don’t know if it is the former Worcester DD bus or not, but Imperial Cars in Mendon, MA (about 15 miles southeast of Worcester) has a nicely refurbished, but essentially immobile, DD Bus next to its Miss Mendon Diner. Patrons of its summer ice cream shop often sit on the top deck and enjoy the evening with ice cream.

    If I were to buy the DD bus pictured, I’d probably park it and use it as a guest house or a place to retreat from ordinary business. It would make a wonderful camper, except for one thing – between overpasses on the highways and low branches in campgrounds, one would have a hard time driving it to a place to camp.

    • DKW

      Wouldn’t surprise me if this is the one that was in front of Maxwell Silvermans for years. Hard to move something that big for long distances. Close enough to Worcester, though, for it to make sense. And it wasn’t at the Union Station location back in December when my family stayed near there. We were at a new hotel (the AC) over the holidays and one night it was pretty warm (unusual in December in Worcester) and I got out and walked around. Didn’t see the bus at the station.

      Like 1
  17. Saul

    Nobody seems to be mentioning the livery already painted on the bus in question. Other than the Union Jack, has anybody thought to connect this bus to a business called “Real Things Fish & Chips?” Agree that the year of manufacture most likely was NOT 1942, more early 50s as stated already.

    Like 1
    • Russell

      Yep – looking at a few of the windows I’d say this was already converted to a food truck/diner rig.

      Like 1

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