|The model -
this new casting from ABC Models was released in Hong Kong on 6th April,
2001. One of ABC's best castings.
- to cater for the ever-increasing number of passengers, CMB ordered, in
1963, ten Guy Arab V single-deck buses, featuring only 29 seats, but with
a standing capacity of 50! The first standee bus?
They were 35ft 9in in length, having a 22ft
wheelbase and rear overhang of over 10ft. This long low appearance gave
them the nickname "The Long Dragons". Their introduction
was delayed owing to the Government having concerns over their size and
manoeuvrability, and their initial refusal to grant a licence for the prototype,
however, undeterred, CMB ordered a further ten such vehicles!
The first batch of ten were delivered between
July and September 1965, whilst AC 4788 was one of the second batch, delivered
between March and June 1966. A further twenty vehicles were delivered between
December 1966 and September 1967, making a total of forty vehicles.
Owing to structural problems, CMB later carried
out modifications, which included adding new body strengthening pillars
just behind the front axle and behind the central doorway.
In 1971, CMB embarked on a programme to rebody
these vehicles as double-deck buses, but with a reduced length of 31ft.
The first five vehicles to be rebodied received CMB's own locally built
bodies, however, owing to the slow progress with these bodies, the next
eighteen chassis received second hand bodies from the UK. Fifteen received
BAC (British Aluminium Company) bodies, whilst the final two, earmarked
to have similar bodies, received Wong Chow bodies after their intended
bodies had already been used on other chassis!
By 1976, the eighteen vehicles that had received
second hand bodies had deteriorated such that it was decided to rebody
these for a second time, these receiving Wong Chow bodies.
As part of a further rebodying programme
in 1979, nineteen of the Long Dragons received Alexander body kits, similar
to those fitted to the Victory, but, of course, still as a half cab.
The above information is extracted from Mike
Davis's excellent book 'Hong
Kong Buses - China Motor Bus - 65 years'.