Matchbox Number 17 Leyland Titan

London Transport's Leyland Titan

Leyland consulted closely with London Transport to produce a bus that would stand up to the conditions of London. There were several prototypes of the Leyland Titan - at this stage called the B15. Prototype 04 was to the London Transport specification, and started trials at Chalk Farm from May 1976. As the buses proved to be successful, a decision was made to order 50 as a starter order, for delivery in 1978. A further 200 were ordered by London Transport. They were built at the Park Royal plant. Leyland closed the Park Royal assembly line due to high costs and low productivity in 1979 before all 250 were built. The Titans dribbled off the production line. Leyland built a new production line for the Titan at Lillyhall, on a guarantee that London Transport would buy enough to make it worthwhile. Production recommenced in 1981. London Transport was left as basically the only customer after Leyland lost Titan orders from the rest of the UK: Manchester, West Yorkshire, Scottish Bus Group, the National Bus Company due to production difficulties.

The first 31 (T1-T31) delivered were paint red with white window frames on the upper deck. All others were paint red only.

On the road, the Leyland Titan will reach 48 kph (30 mph) in 25 seconds when loaded to 16.25 tonne (16 ton) gross with a full capacity of passengers. Maximum speed varies between 64 kph (40 mph) and 96 kph (60 mph) depending on the transmission ratio.

T1, the first Titan delivered to London Transport was overhauled in March 1981. It became the London Transport showbus, retaining its white window surrounds upstairs. For the 1983 London Transport 50th celebrations it was decorated with the London Transport Golden Jubilee symbols on each side.

London Transport retired it’s Leyland Titans in June 2003 25 years after it took delivery of T1. Many smaller bus companies are still using ex London Transport Leyland Titans throughout UK.

Lesney Matchbox Toys Leyland Titan

After a 10 year run using the Daimler Fleetline bus, Matchbox Toys introduced the Leyland Titan in 1982 as the 7th version of number 17. It was modelled to a scale of 1:124.

Again, there are many different variations of this model. This model was manufactured in three different countries - UK until 1985, Macau until late 1986 and then China. The base was made of plastic and early versions had a smooth finish. Within a short time the base was changed to have a textured finish. Initially, on the base was the wording "London Bus". This was changed to "Leyland Titan" when manufacturing was moved to Macau. I have not gone into the detail of variations for each model. The purpose of these pages are purely as reference material so collectors have an idea of what is available.

Perhaps the most interesting feature of this bus is the way it was designed for assembly. The previous Daimler bus was riveted together, but this caused quite a few manufacture ring problems. The Leyland Titan was design to "clip" together. The upper deck clips into the lower deck.

As with the Daimler Fleetline model, Matchbox Toys used this model as a promotional tool for many companies. Subsequently, there have been thousands of "code 3" models made with labels applied by collectors, charities and businesses.

A code 3 model is where a label is applied to the model without the consent of Matchbox Toys. This does not deem the model illegal however many "die hard" collectors do not recognize these models as genuine items. It is virtually impossible to compile a list of code 3 models. I have featured a page here showing ones I have come across over the years. If you have ones not shown here, you are welcome to email me information and photos and I will update and include them here.

Return to Bus Index
© 2008 Moko Lesney Matchbox