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503 was one of a batch of eight 30ft long examples with Willowbrook 69-seat forward entrance bodywork that entered service in 1964. Initially based at Torquay, it soon transferred to Newton Abbot where it saw regular service on the scenic ‘2’ coastal route to Exeter via Teignmouth and Dawlish, also initially to Buckfastleigh via Ashburton until that route was converted to one-man operation in the early 1970’s. When the coastal route was similarly converted, using brand new Bristol VRT rear-engine double-deckers in March 1980, 503 operated the very last duty for a Newton Abbot-based Regent V. It was withdrawn from service soon after and sold to a Surrey based enthusiast for preservation.

Continuing serious mechanical problems with its large number of Leyland Atlantean rear-engine double-deckers purchased between 1959 and 1961 forced Devon General to return, for a period, to the tried and tested AEC Regent Mark V with its traditional front-engine and manual gearbox.

It returned to Devon in 1982 when it was acquired for continued preservation by Colin Shears. In 1999 it was sold to Ron Greet of Ipplepen and its restoration commenced with renewal of the window rubbers, a brake reline and attention to the bodywork in readiness for repaint. Unfortunately, this was not completed and, after being parked outside for a while, it was acquired by a local preservationist with the aim of completing its restoration. In late 2013 it was acquired by the Trust, thanks to the generosity of donations, and its restoration is now almost complete.

AEC Regent V - 503 RUO

These photographs show the progress that is being made on the restoration AEC Regent V - 503 RUO