The History of the Bristol SU

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The Bristol SU (small underfloor)  was a joint venture between Bristol Commercial Vehicles Limited and Eastern Coach Works (ECW) for a small capacity coach and bus to replace the Bristol SC.  The SU was produced between 1960 and 1966 .

There were two types of SU developed; 

They were powered by an Albion EN250H 4 cylinder 4.1 Litre engine with a five speed David Brown gearbox.  EWT 386C (West Yorkshire's SMA17) was later fitted with a Perkins H6.354 5.8 Litre and was re-designated SUL6P.

The SU was only 7 feet 6 inches in width, which was ideal for the main users, Western National and Southern National Omnibus Company Ltd for their rural services in the West Country.

There were 181 Bristol SU's built; 25 SUS buses and 156 SUL (118 buses and 38 coaches).  The SUs were delivered to the following operators, Bristol Omnibus/Bath Tramways (9), Western National (83), Southern National (50) which ran from the same headquarters in Exeter, West Yorkshire (18), Southern Vectis (8), United Counties (6), United Automobiles (5) and United Welsh (2).  All the Southern National vehicles were transferred to Western National in December 1969.

The SU remained in service with many of the original operators until the late 1970s.  After this,  many were to see further service with local independent operators on the Mainland, in Guernsey and the Isle of Scilly.  The last SU (280 KTA) in operational service was with Tillingbourne Bus and came out of service in May 2000. 

When production ceased in 1966 it was to be replaced by the  Bristol LH.