It carried the body code H43/31F, which denoted that it was a highbridge bus with 43 seats upstairs and 31 seats downstairs and being fitted with just the front entrance door.The East Lancs body number given to 171 was A2809 whilst the chassis number was 8101074. The model type was Leyland Atlantean AN68C/1R. The last batch of AN68s were all delivered with fully automatic transmission with 171 being converted to semi-automatic protected transmission on the 6th February 1985.
171 was delivered in the livery of red and cream with black lining throughout and would receive the additional cream below the lower deck windows with the name Plymouth Citybus also applied during October 1982. The bus was also painted into a special chocolate and cream livery for the G.W.R. 150 Years Anniversary from March 1985 to January 1986 when the advert was adapted for British Rail Sprinter Services.
It would carry this advertisement until September 1987 when the Sprinter wording would be removed but the all over chocolate and cream livery would be retained with a Citybus logo applied until the bus had a full repaint in July 1988, when it received the black and red post privatisation Citybus livery. The fleet gained an additional red skirt on those buses that had received the new black and white livery with 171 having it applied in November 1988.
171 would be repainted again around May 1993 carrying the same post deregulation livery of red and black with red skirt and again around August 1995, this time adopting the revised livery of red and white with a grey skirt, which had become the new fleet livery eliminating all the black below the lower deck windows. Sometime during the end of 1996 and the first half of 1997 the black part of the Citybus logo on both the offside and nearside plus the black lining below the lower deck windows was replaced with white.
The final repaint would be carried out during May 2002 and would be the same livery of red and white with grey skirt but with the new style Citybus logo. 171 would be the penultimate AN68 to be painted at Milehouse with the last ever fleet AN68, 170, being painted in June 2002.
Throughout the nineties 171 would be used a lot on contracts and private hire, as it was fitted with a tachograph. It would also be used a lot on the Plymco and Tesco free shopper bus routes, in addition to school services.
Towards the end of its operational life with Plymouth Citybus 171, along with the remaining few AN68s would only operate local low mileage school bus work. The bus was the very last Leyland Atlantean left in service at Milehouse, being withdrawn at the end of July 2006 and passing to the Plymouth City Transport Preservation Group.
The bus was subject of a “handing over ceremony” in Bretonside Bus Station from the Managing Director of Plymouth Citybus, John Ackroyd, to the Chairman of the Plymouth City Transport Preservation Group, Ralph Delbridge, in October 2006 when the group organised a special Running Day to mark the end of Leyland Atlantean operation with Plymouth Citybus.
Since then the Preservation Group have carried out various jobs on 171, including replacing all the seats with new red vinyl seats. In 2014 ownership of this bus passed to Eddie Watkins and it was soon followed by a full repaint into the red and cream livery it wore when new.
Further restoration will continue with a complete repaint and re-installation of the Setright motor and farebox.
The Last Atlantean at Milehouse
171 has the distinction of being the very last Leyland Atlantean to be delivered to Plymouth City Transport. 171 was delivered on the 16th December 1981 and would enter service two days later on the 18th December.
Like the previous two batches 171 was fitted with an East Lancs body although this final batch would all be fitted from new with just a single door, as opposed to the usual dual door layout.