1969 Leyland Panther Bus 722

This vehicle was the very last of 204 Leyland Panthers built by Athol Hedges for the Brisbane City Council between March 1968 and March 1969. These buses were ordered to convert Brisbane’s tram and trolleybus systems. In total, the 340 Panthers supplied by Leyland were the largest batch of these vehicles anywhere in the world. This replacement programme cost the Council $6.8 million at the time. The Panthers hold great historical significance to Brisbane because they signify the end of one transportation era, and the evolution of another.

To coincide with their arrival, the Council introduced a new livery of two-tone blue and white. Fitted with an underfloor rear-engine, the Panthers were ahead of their time with low floor entry. Other vehicle features included automatic transmission, independent front and rear air brakes, fresh-air circulation plant, wide entrance doors, panoramic side windows, and padded seats. Bus 722 ran in service with the Council for over 17 years and was largely based at Light Street depot.

The vehicle operated its last service on 29 December 1986 for the Brisbane City Council on route 178 (Dutton Park to New Farm Wharf) and was donated that same day to the Brisbane Tramway Museum. Bus 722 then passed to QOCS during April 2000 for continued preservation. In anticipation of its 50th birthday, the vehicle was extensively restored back to original condition between March 2018 and April 2019. The restoration project cost close to $100,000 and was made possible by the donations of several generous members and supporters.

Vehicle Specifications

ChassisLeyland Panther PSUR1/1
Engine11.1 litre, 6-cylinder Leyland 0.680 diesel engine, 150bhp at 1950rpm
TransmissionZF 2 HP-45 two-speed automatic
BrakesWestinghouse dual air brakes and spring handbrake
SteeringConventional (non-power steering)
BodyAthol Hedges Pty Ltd, Northgate, Queensland
ConstructionTubular steel frame with exterior aluminium panelling
ColourZenith Blue body with Araluen Blue band and Arctic White roof
Seating82 passengers (39 seated, 43 standing)
In Service11 April 1969 to 29 December 1986

Bus 722 is pictured here in original condition on a service to Wavell Heights during 1969. Photo: Vic Hayes
Bus 722 on Victoria Bridge heading to Dutton Park on a 171 service during the 1980s. Photo: Percy Merra
Bus 722 at the 2005 HCVAQ Show at Cleveland Showgrounds under QOCS ownership. Photo: Paul Garred

Restoration of Bus 722

Between March 2018 and April 2019, Bus 722 was extensively restored to original condition by Watt’s Bus and Coach Works and Coachworks in anticipation of the 50th birthday and anniversary of Brisbane’s tramway closure.

Thanks to the generousity of our members and supporters, combined with a $7,500 Queensland Government Community Benefit Fund grant, the club spent up to $100,000 on a complete interior and exterior refurbishment to return the vehicle back into service after 10 years off the road.