Beaulieu’s popular Veteran Bus, which has driven thousands of visitors around the attraction, is celebrating 40 years since its star appearance in the classic film The Thirty Nine Steps.
The impressive replica of a 1912 London General Omnibus Company B-type double-decker made its film debut recreating an early 20th century London street scene in the 1978 film adaption of John Buchan’s novel. was the perfect prop in the film which starred Robert Powell, John Mills and David Warner.
The Veteran Bus was one of six National Motor Museum vehicles which featured in the film – including the 1909 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost, one of Beaulieu’s most prized cars which also carried celebrities to the Royal Premier of the film in Leicester Square.
But this was not the only time the Veteran Bus featured in a film, having also appeared in 1975’s Love Among the Ruins, a period TV drama starring Katharine Hepburn and Laurence Olivier and set in Edwardian times.
The build of the Veteran Bus was commissioned by Edward, Lord Montagu, in 1973 to transport visitors between the newly-opened National Motor Museum and Palace House, his home which he opened to the public. It still carries visitors on the same daily journey today.
The open-top body was constructed on the chassis of the then modern Ford K Series tipper truck. Fully road-legal, the Veteran Bus can be seen on the open road being driven to and from its MoT test each year. With no windscreen or cab doors, a warm coat for the driver is a necessity!
Unlimited rides on the Veteran Bus are included in a general admission ticket to Beaulieu, which includes entry to the National Motor Museum, World of Top Gear, Palace House, 13th century Beaulieu Abbey and the stunning grounds and gardens.