Archive for May, 2011

Ikea shuttle buses

May 24, 2011

Ikea furniture mall started shuttle bus service for shoppers sometime in 2002.
Here are some of the Ikea shuttle buses in the past and present :
2002 :
2005 :
2011 :

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May 17, 2011

Russia (a.k.a. Soviet Union in the old days) was never associated with car manufacturing. All the local cars are imported from other European or Asian countries. Russia did manufacture cars and there was an attempt to introduce their cars to the Singapore market. Lada is a brand of car sold here in the 1980s. The cars were clones of the Italian Fiat 124 design built by AvtoVAZ, a Soviet automotive company. The first model is the Lada 1200 :
By the time the 1200 model went on sale, the model and its design was already very outdated compared to other cars sold in Singapore. It was sold mainly to people with a very low budget. The next model introduced by Lada to the Singapore market was more modern in design. It was called the Samara :
Price was very competitive but it was not popular. The handling was rough and quality was poor.
Some motorist called it the worst car that was ever sold in Singapore.

Acknowledgement : Photos from Wikipedia

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Hock Lee’s Albions

May 10, 2011

The most popular bus chassis purchased by the “chinese” public bus companies in the 1970s was the Mercedes LP1113.
Hock Lee Amalgamated Bus Company is one of the few “chinese” bus companies which did not operate any Mercedes LP1113 buses. The company chose Albion Viking EVK41L instead.
This an ex-Hock Lee Albion Viking EVK41L photographed at Kim Seng Road :
The buses were bodied by Soon Chow. All the buses were built with center door way even though an entrance door can be built at the front before the front axle on these chassis. The buses came with three section destination and roller blinds.
All the buses were passed on to Amalgamated Bus Company in 1971. Delivery of the model with the same body style continued after the bus re-organisation. Those delivered after the re-organisation had only one section destination signage, with the route number mounted at the back of the destination box :
These buses are mainly deployed on ABC’s route 41, 41A, 62, 63, 65, 176.
Although most of this Soon Chow model on Albion Viking chassis were sold to Hock Lee and Amalgamated Bus Company, a handfull of Albion Viking buses with the same design were also sold to Associated Bus Service which went on ABS service 10, 50, 158.
All these buses were passed on to SBS and by that time, all of them were in very bad shape. All those fitted with roller blinds were removed and only the centre part of the three section destination signage were used. The other two sections were painted over with red paint. The front radiator grille and front roof marker lights have all but disappeared :
The buses were eventually rebuilt by Soon Chow to two door configuration in preparation for one man operation by SBS.
Acknowledgement : Photos from National Archives Singapore.

Unusual coaches – Berliet PGK205

May 4, 2011

French built buses and coaches are rare in Singapore. Singapore Bus Services operates a fleet of twenty Soon Chow bodied PGK205 buses in the in 1970s. Besides the twenty PGK205 buses, there were three units of Berliet PGK205 tour coaches belonging to Singapore Sightseeing Pte Ltd. These three tourist coaches are the only other PGK205 in service. Bodywork was supplied by Caetano of Portugal, making them even more rare and unusual. Body design of the PGK205 coach is as follows (picture from Wikimedia Commons) :


Compared to the picture above, the Singapore Sightseeing Caetano coaches are slightly longer in length.
Below is a picture of the French ambassador Mr Gasseau and the Managing Director Mr Tan Chee Chye standing on a bulldozer shovel (unsafe act!!!) to christen one of the coach “Spirit of Singapore” in 1977. Names of the other two coaches was not mentioned.


Acknowledgement : 1. National Archives Singapore, 2. Wikimedia Commons.
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