Leyland Swift

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Leyland Swift
Leyland Swift.jpg
Leyland Swift tourist coach on Jersey, 2008
Manufacturer Leyland Bus
Body and chassis
Doors 1 door
Floor type Step entrance
Engine Cummins B Series engine

The Leyland Swift was a midibus chassis built by Leyland Bus from 1987, sharing many components with the Roadrunner light truck but with the engine relocated to behind the front axle which was itself set back to permit a passenger entrance in the front overhang. Mechanically a 6-cylinder Cummins turbo-diesel powerplant was standard with the choice of synchromesh or Allison automatic gearboxes. It was available in a choice of short wheelbase (3.6 m) or long wheelbase (4.4 m).

A number of coachbuilders produced bodies on the Swift with Wadham Stringer enjoying healthy sales with a very tidy adaptation of its Vanguard II body. The Reeve Burgess Harrier was also popular, while Wright of Northern Ireland produced two distinct designs and Elme 2001 of Portugal supplied a number to Orion coach specification and also to Welfare CareCoach specification with a centrally mounted underfloor wheelchair lift. Welfare and Bus versions were also constructed by PMT to the Knype outline, mainly for their own use, although a demonstrator was built. Several Swifts were built as mobile libraries. Sales declined markedly once production of the lower-floor Dennis Dart was in full swing.

The Elme Orion and Vanguard II proved particularly popular with operators on the Channel Island of Jersey and Elme on Guernsey owing to its close fit to the maxiumum vehicle size regulations, seating up to 43 and allowing the replacement of elderly Bedford SB coaches. Otherwise, the Swift was only a moderate success in an uncertain UK marketplace and was disadvantaged by the relatively high floor necessary to clear the mid-mounted powertrain.

After Leyland Bus was purchased by Volvo, the Swift was phased out and in some respects replaced by the rear-engined B6 model. A Swift "clone" has since been manufactured in small numbers by Cannon Coaches.