FORD FCB 194 'AUSTERITY' - 1756
During World War II, it became impossibly to obtain chassis from the United Kingdom. Requiring more buses to cope with extremely heavy loadings, the Department of Road Transport & Tramways turned to American and Canadian chassis, even though their chassis were relatively small in size.
The Department was able to obtain 61 Ford FCB 194 chassis through the local agent, Hastings Deering, between 1943 and 1945. Three were powered with Hercules 6 cylinder diesels engines, 38 with Mercury V8 petrol and 20 with standard V8 petrol engines. 18 were equipped with two-speed diffs.
Arrangements were made with a local body builder, Properts of Newtown, to construct 'Austerity' bodies to DRTT specifications. These were timber frames, with metal sheeting up to window level, wooden window frames and a canvas roof. Upholstered perimeter seating was provided for 26 passengers with approval for 28 standing. 55 were built by Properts and six by the DRTT at Leichhardt Bus Workshops.
1756 was bodied by Properts of Newtown and entered service in August 1945 at the end of the war. It clocked up only 44,000 miles before being withdrawn in January 1948. The bus was sold in February 1948 to Fairbridge Farm School, Molong and used as a school bus. In 1963 the bus was de-registered and left to languish on a property near Molong.
After many years of negotiation, the bus was donated to the Museum in 1990 by the Fairbridge Old Students Association.
The body was in poor condition after many years of outside storage, and restoration was carried out by Museum volunteers and funding from the NSW Government and Public Transport Union. Restoration was finished in 1998.
The bus remains in an operational condition however owing to its rare status it rarely sees use on the road.
Engine: Ford V8 side valve petrol engine developing 85 B.H.P.
Transmission: Four speed Ford constant mesh 'crash' gearbox to a crown wheel and pinion differential.
Brakes: Vacuum assisted hydraulic, transmission parking brake.