Haidley's boss reunited with the beauty who started it all
VETERAN Warwick bus driver Cameron Haidley got a blast from the past when a classic bus enthusiast arrived at his workshop this week with a restored 1954 Ansair Flxible Clipper coach.
It was the same bus Mr Haidley learnt to drive in as a young man in the 1970s.
"We bought seven of them from Continental Coachlines in Brisbane in the 1970s,” Mr Haidleys said.
"We drove it for years.
"It was used for charter work - the school runs - but we traded it in for a new 1976 MAN Automotive.”
The Ansair coaches are a hot item in the classic bus collector clubs.
Mr Haidley said they were favoured for their sleek design.
"They are all riveted down the side,” he said.
"They were a stand-out vehicle when Ansair finally brought them into Australia but they only brought a handful into the country.”
Their streamlined design and high horsepower rear-mounted motor gave the vehicles a top cruising speed of about 120km/h.
"They were all rear-geared with spring or air-bag suspension and were well ahead of their time,” Mr Haidley said.
Haidley's Panoramic Coaches sold the bus to an indigenous school in the Northern Territory.
It was sold a second time and converted into a camper bus.
For years it sat under the new owner's home until Daryl Booth bought and restored it.
"Daryl is from the Blue Mountains and he owns a coach company down there,” Mr Haidley said.
"He was at a Flxible Clipper Club meeting at Crows Nest on the weekend and dropped in on his way home to say hi.”
The chance encounter gave Cameron son's Mitch a chance to drive the bus his father and grandfather, Don, used all those years ago.
Along with running his coach business, Mr Haidley is an avid collector of old buses.
"Every coach has its own character. I like them for their character but in the outside market they are not worth much money,” he said.
Mr Haidley's collection includes a restored 1966 Commer minibus, 1974 Hino with freighter body coach, a 1979 V8 Hino with Denning body, a 1986 Scania with Superior body and a 1988 Hino with PMC body.
"It is lovely to own them and take people for a ride in them,” Mr Haidley said.