The London Bus Museum [http://www.londonbusmuseum.com] at Brooklands, Surrey, exists to chronicle the development of the London bus from the earliest days of horse-drawn buses to the end of the twentieth century.
One of its most treasured exhibits is RT1, dating from August 1939, the prototype of nearly seven thousand classic post-war London double-deckers. Its diesel engine, air brakes and pre-selector gearbox made it easy to drive and comfortable to ride.
It stands in a line of development that was pioneered by the London General Omnibus Company and its manufacturing arm, the Associated Equipment Company [AEC], that shed the horse-bus ancestry of early motor buses and was continued after the formation of London Transport in 1933 by the design-conscious CEO, Frank Pick (1878-1941), who insisted that every possible aspect of London’s public transport operations should be elegant and attractive.
RT1 remained in LT ownership until 1978, was sold for preservation and got into various scrapes, including time in the USA, before being scrupulously restored to 1939 condition at a cost of over £200,000.
The London Bus Museum acquired it in 2010 and displays it in a clear chronological sequence of vehicles dating from the mid-1870s to 1979.