#52 - 1963 AEC Reliance
Built in 1963, this rare, historic bus is quite possibly the last one left in existance in Australia. The bus is 1 of only 10 built with this chassis/body configuration. Searches across Australia haven't found any sisters to this bus, but more importantly the bus itself played an important role in Tasmanian tourism for over 20yrs.
The bus is a 1963 AEC Reliance with Denning body, built for Greyhound to operate primarily the Toowoomba to Brisbane service. Later years saw the coach operate for Parlorcars in Victoria and Centralian Tours before being purchased by Dennis Maxwell from Wilmot. Dennis, and wife Jeanette, were operating extended tours across Tasmania for numerous school groups, Tasmanian Government's Tasbureau and the service run between Devonport and Cradle Mountain - a service they operated for over 50yrs. The bus was ahead of it's time, with jet-air conditioning, air brakes, air suspension, and enough power to tame the Tassie mountains.
Dennis Maxwell, operated the coach from 1974 which he'd purchased from Centralian Tours, right up to 1992 before upgrading. From then, the vehicle sat on his property at Lilaco (near Devonport) before he kindly donated the bus to the Tasmanian Bus & Coach Society for preservation and restoration.
Although the Society had high hopes for the vehicle, even with some bus building skills within our group, it was quite apparent, the vehicle was more than we could handle. Years of salt air from Bass Strait had deteriorated the framework considerably, so much so it needs to be completely replaced. Many parts can be recycled, and numerous businesses and members have offered their time and expertise to restore once the framework is re-established.
Once completed, this coach will be our pride & joy, because of it's rareness, being the only one of it's kind left in Australia.The Society hope to register the coach, and offer trips around Hobart, as it did all those years ago, but also display the coach here in Tasmania at numerous shows and possibly mainland displays, giving the community a chance to see how tourists traveled many years ago.
The Maxwell's are renown across the NW Coast of Tasmania and have contributed extensively to the bus industy in our state, giving a lot of his time for free, assisting community groups and servicing one of the most beautiful areas of Tasmania for over 50yrs.
To talk to people in Tasmania who know the Maxwells, there is not a bad word spoken, and considering his contribution to the state with tourism, community work, industry advocate, the Society are very consciencious to give back to the family as a tribute to their hard work. The Society's aim is to restore the coach back to it's original condition with Maxwell's, an icon around Cradle Mountain, however to do this, we require financial assistance.
In 2015, Dennis Maxwell was inducted in the National Transport Hall of Fame in Alice Springs as recognition of his contribution to the industry.
Chassis: AEC Reliance
Engine: AEC AH690
Cylinders: Flat 6, in line
Output: 192 bhp
Displacement: 11.3 litre
Mounting: Mid mount, underfloor
Transmission: ZF 12 speed manual
Features: 45 recliners, JetAir conditioning, air suspension
Capacity: 45 seated passengers