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A Century of Transport - Styling Developments
British vehicle styling was strongly influenced by the USA after the war. Some companies were American owned but British manufacturers also followed the trend to bulky, flowing styling. Bus designers were also influenced. Midland Red from 1945 modernised the look of front engined buses by concealing the radiators. Birmingham City Transport soon followed and the revised styling was dubbed the 'new look' after Dior's latest ladies' fashions. Amongst the manufacturers Foden, a minor supplier in the bus market, led the way but the others soon offered 'new look' options.
Curved glass became practical on vehicles in the late 1950s and wrap-round windscreens began to feature on trucks, coaches, and even buses. ERF, Foden and Guy all produced striking designs of truck cab with curved screens. Interestingly, however, the major bus operators in the Midlands (e.g. Midland Red, Birmingham City Transport and the succeeding West Midlands PTE) preferred to specify flat glasses whenever the option was there on the grounds of cost of replacements.
©Copyright 2020 Malcolm Keeley for the Transport Museum, Chapel Lane, Wythall, Worcestershire B47 6JA, England.
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