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|289: Optare Solodekka Classic|
|289: (OH55 HDS) Optare Solodekka Classic H43/34F
One of the beauties of fleet modelling is being able to think "What if?" and then do it. So, what if Optare built a double deck version of the Solo? The result could be a rear engined, low floor double decker with the door aft of the front axle so allowing easy wheelchair access to the lower deck. This layout is something similar to that which Leyland could have achieved if they had built a forward entrance version of the Lowloader in the 1950s. The half cab and bonnet design are inspired by the second Lowloader XTC 684. This bus was the first double decker in the pale green livery and joined the Padbus fleet in 2005. It was withdrawn in 2017 and passed straight into preservation.
A dual door, open platform, hybrid electric version with a small engine under the bonnet and an AEC Regent V grille sadly failed to impress Transport for London.
The Padbus model is built from various parts of a couple of Corgi OOC Solos although the top deck is mostly scratchbuilt. The TfL version is a computer generated image and there are no plans to actually build it.