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Transport Museum Wythall’s 1931 Birmingham City Transport AEC Regent double decker bus 486 won the prestigious Restoration Award at the 2022 Royal Automobile Club’s Historic Awards ceremony in London on November 24th.

This glittering event, held at the Club’s Headquarters in Pall Mall, recognises excellence and outstanding contributions to the UK’s historic motoring and motorsport industries, highlighting the organisations and individuals responsible for influencing and driving the British historic motoring movement.

Judges notes:  The winner of Restoration (supported by Bicester Heritage), the 1931 AEC Regent bus, was a huge restoration in every sense for the Transport Museum Wythall. The judges were bowled over both by the scale and quality of the project, saying: “The AEC Regent bus was chosen for its survival against the odds, its importance in British transport and social history, the remarkable attention to detail and quality of its restoration, and the amazing dedication of the volunteers who have worked so hard, unpaid, to save and restore this evocative vehicle.”

TMW is a 100% volunteer run transport museum based at Wythall in Worcestershire and houses the history of public road transport in the West Midlands. Its collection of over 90 vehicles tells the story, through the exhibits and archive and social history, of the wide range of manufacturers that became established across the region and the people they employed plus the operators such as Birmingham City Transport and Midland Red, a unique business that designed, manufactured and ran its own fleet right across the Midlands.

The restoration of AEC Regent 486 was completed just a few short months ago. The long story of its life in Birmingham from entry into service in 1931 to its scrapping (or not) in 1946 and then its miraculous appearance in a field in Herefordshire in the early 1970’s after being thought long gone is akin to a miracle. Even its reappearance and challenging recovery is a story of its own in a period when bus restoration was uncommon and facilities in which to carry out such work was virtually non-existent, unless you enjoyed toiling in the open air or draughty farm buildings.

The whole team at Wythall and before are to be congratulated for their tenacity and sheer bloody mindedness in getting this job done over 40 years. Starting not once or twice but four or five times is to be applauded. Thanks to thousands of man hours, hundreds of individual donations, corporate sponsorship, much appreciated personal legacies and specific fundraising projects amounting to around c£500,000, 486 is better than new and a tribute to all the men and women involved.

This prestigious award is dedicated to the whole team, the people who made this reincarnation possible.