131 was delivered to Plymouth City Transport on the 12th April 1979 entering service seven days later on the 19th April.
It would form part of the final batch of Roe bodied Leyland Atlantean AN68A/1Rs to be delivered to Milehouse with all subsequent batches carrying the East Lancs body instead. Roe were behind with supplying their orders so the local undertaking decided to use East Lancs instead although Roe bodies always looked far more pleasing to the eye than the East Lancs bodied ones.
131 would mark a change in the body specification for Plymouth Atlanteans in that 131-135 (STK131-135T) would be delivered in just single door layout with no centre exit and furthermore 131-135 would be delivered in a different livery to those within the earlier part of the batch, 131-130 (STK121-130T).
121-130 were delivered in the normal dual-door layout and in the livery of all red, with cream around the cantrail and lower deck windows and windscreen, whereas 131-135 were delivered in the red with cream roof and cantrail also around the lower and upper deck windows, and also around the windscreen. They were also lined out with black below the upper and lower saloon windows and above the cantrail. The entire batch of 121-135 would also carry the crest and Plymouth City Transport names above the cab window and front entrance door and also they would all carry the new gold leaf style fleet numbers as opposed to the white fleet numbers that had been used for some considerable amount of time on the undertakings buses. Another difference with this batch is that whereas 121-130 were fitted with the normal heavy grain Rexene seat cushions and seat backs, 131-135 would be delivered with special red and black moquette seat cushions and seat backs with vertical Rexene strips added to the seat backs.
The body code for 131 was H43/31F meaning that it was a highbridge vehicle with a front entrance and 43 seats to the upper saloon and 31 to the lower saloon. The chassis number was 7804975 and the Roe body number was G08075.
131 was fitted with a public address system and courier microphone on the 6th July 1979 as 131-135 would all be used for both stage carriage working and private hire and excursions as well as covering the country routes, services 58/59 and service 60.
The five single door AN68s would also receive special names through a local schools “name-choosing competition”. 131 was named “HENRY WINSTANLEY” after the famous lighthouse builder who built the first lighthouse on the Eddystone Rocks, 9 miles off the coast of Plymouth. It was completed in November 1698 and would remain there until November 1703, when it was completely destroyed during the Great Storm of that year. Henry Winstanley died in the lighthouse the night it was destroyed, while visiting it to make some repairs. The nameplate of Henry Winstanley was applied in July 1979 and was fitted behind the staircase in the lower saloon, just above the luggage rack. The name was also painted in red between the windscreen and destination box on the front of the bus. 131 would be named by Class R.2B of Southway Comprehensive School, Class 4W of Widey Secondary School and Class 1/3 of Devonport Secondary School.
131 would be one of the first buses with Plymouth City Transport an all-over advert for a private company. It was repainted into blue livery and featured a phoenix on both the offside and nearside for Phoenix Life Assurance in May 1980 and although slightly modified in May 1982 the advert would remain on the bus until August 1983.
After the Phoenix all-over advert had expired in August 1983, 131 was repainted into the livery of red with the cream roof and cream windows with the Plymouth Citybus name applied. The Plymouth City Transport name and crest was still retained above the cab window and above the front entrance door. The name, HENRY WINSTANLEY, was also reinstated on the front of the bus with this repaint.
The bus was withdrawn again in February 1996 and sold to North Birmingham Busways who painted the bus into a green and cream livery and gave the bus fleet number 31. They ran the bus until April 2000, then sold it onto Edwards of Llantwit Fardre. This operator would repaint the bus into a School Bus yellow livery and reinstate the fleet number 131.
131 would be used by Edwards until March 2006 when it was purchased by Ian Byrne, Plymouth, for preservation and restoration. He returned the bus to Milehouse in April 2006 restoring the bus back to its original as delivered livery of red and cream with the full black lining throughout. The original nameplate had been saved by Gareth Ruby and this was also returned to its rightful place back on 131. The interior also benefited from some refurbishment by having all the multi-coloured seats either re-trimmed or tidied up so that 131 now has a full set of original moquette seats. The restoration continues on 131 with hopefully the correct style front opening windows and vents being fitted very shortly. Also, further restoration will continue inside the bus.
During April 1987, 131 was repainted again into an all-over advert, this time it was an all-black livery for Westward Home Improvements. This would stay on the vehicle until September 1989, when the bus would be repainted into the post-privatisation livery of red roof and skirt, with white below the upper deck windows including the cantrail and black below the lower deck windows down to the skirt. 131 would have one final repaint during August 1992 at Milehouse which would be identical to the previous repaint of September 1989. On this occasion the side route number box would be painted out as well.
131 was withdrawn from service in February 1994, along with 115 (OCO115S), 129, 130, 132, 134 and 135 (STK129/130/132/134/135T). Although it would be reinstated in June 1995, with fleet number 1131, employed as an addtional driver training vehicle for London General.