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Category Archives: 1972 WINGS OVER EUROPE TOUR

BBC Three Counties Radio with Nick Coffer

Nick Coffer interviews Tom Jennings about WNO 481 Paul McCartney’s 1972 Wings Tour Bus.

Guests include renowned artist Geoffrey Cleghorn, friend of Pink Floyd, The Who, The Rolling Stones et al. Geoffrey painted the artwork for Paul McCartney.

Also interviewed was Denny Seiwell, the legendary Wings drummer, who played on the 1972 Wings Over Europe Tour and travelled for two months in The Summer of ’72 – The Summer of Wings – on WNO 481, Paul McCartney’s 1972 Wings Tour Bus.

Nick Coffer: “You’ve got this new owner, Tom Jennings, who bought the bus a year ago, he’s having it restored and it’s going to be back to its full glory. How does that feel for you? Obviously that was 49 years ago, you’re based in LA. Does it matter to you? Does it feel nice that this bus is going to come back to what it once was?

Denny Seiwell: “Oh sure it does. Everything should come full circle. Those were such formative years, you know. They were profound in many ways as far as my life went> You know as far as going from a top session guy to becoming a band guy and becoming part of a band called Wings. And that bus was a big part of it because the European Tour that was our breaking out. The other stuff before that was nice but this was saying ‘ok, we’re ready now’. We had put a lot of hard work into becoming a real band. The last tour that I did was the British Tour and by that time we were really solid as a high performing… one of the top bands in the land.”

Also interviewed was Chris Edwards whose Dad actually drove WNO 481.

Downloads:
Low quality audio version for small file size
https://bit.ly/3iIEU6q

High Quality version – larger file size
https://bit.ly/3mF57Fx

Interview Transcript PDF
https://bit.ly/32UQq9l

Link to BBC Three Counties Radio Interview
https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/p08qvcvw

Wings Tour Bus Special on BBC Radio Featuring Denny Seiwell

On Saturday night at 10pm, Nick Coffer hosted a special Wings Tour Bus show on BBC Three Counties Radio. (September 19th, 2020)

Nick spoke to owner, Tom Jennings, as well as Geoffrey Cleghorn, one of the people that painted the bus for the 1972 “Wings Over Europe” tour.

Nick also interviewed Denny Seiwell, the original Wings drummer, who travelled around Europe on the bus on the 1972 tour.

There was also a surprise guest, Chris Edwards. His father worked as a Transport Manager for Silverline, in Hounslow, the 1972 owners, and then worked at subsequent owners, Tricentrol in Dunstable. Chris himself also did odd-jobs on the bus, such as cleaning out leaves and confetti.

Chris had responded to an earlier plug for the show asking for people to get in contact who had local knowledge about the bus.

You can listen to the show online for at least the next month.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/p08qvcvw

More Pictures And A Request For Help

We would like your help with the creation of a comprehensive vehicle history. Whilst we have the vehicle’s ownership and location history more-or-less complete, we are also interested in hearing from people with their own recollections of WNO 481.

Tricentrol and Dunstable

We have quite a few pictures, and know most of the details of our bus’s time with Tricentrol. This is from the company takeover of Halls Coaches/Silverline Tours in 1973, to the bus being sold-on in 1982. However, we have not been able to connect with anyone who worked for Tricentrol, in Dunstable, from 1975 – 1982, when our bus was stationed there.

It is appreciated that this was a long time ago, however we have made contact with people from earlier than this, so we hope to be able to do this, too.

It is also possible that the people working at Tricentrol in Dunstable were not aware of the bus’s prior history. We do not know where and when the mustard/gold Tricentrol livery was applied and it could have been added when it was still at the Cowley Road, Uxbridge depot, between 1973 -1975. It could therefore have arrived in Dunstable with its Wings livery already covered over.

Bearing that in mind, we would like to speak/make contact with anyone who worked for Tricentrol at Dunstable, who knows of, remembers, or even worked on their open-top, double-decker bus, from 1975 – 1982. We are pretty sure that this was the only one Tricentrol had – and certainly the only Bristol KSW.

We’d love to speak to drivers in particular, but also admin staff, who may have known about its bookings, or even its being sold-on, or anyone else from there who recalls anything about our bus.

St Albans, Godfrey Davis and the BAFTA Rally to Cannes

We would also like to make contact with anyone who had any dealings with WNO 481 during its St Albans days, between 1982 – 1993. This would include anyone who worked at Godfrey Davis, who has knowledge of our bus, as we know there was a relationship between them and Roger White, the owner at the time.

Our bus’s livery is believed to have been put back to the Wings livery in 1982 (after Tricentrol), then changed into a red/white livery for the 1989 BAFTA London – Cannes Rally, before reverting back to the Wings livery, prior to going to Amsterdam, in April 1993, and then being sold-on, in August 1993.

We would be particularly interested to hear from anyone involved in the red/white livery change and anyone who may have gone on the BAFTA rally, in 1989. Again, as with Tricentrol and its time in Dunstable, we would be happy to hear from anyone with any personal knowledge or experience of our bus, between 1982 – 1993.

Brian Phillips

Brian Phillips was one of the younger workers at the Halls/Silverline depot at Cowley Road, Uxbridge, when WNO 481 was there in 1972. We believe he is in one of the pictures below and may have knowledge about the bus from that time.

After leaving there, Mr Phillips started Phillips Motorcycles, based off Hayes Road, in Southall, London. It is understood that he worked there with his son/a son. The last we know of Mr Phillips and his business was from about 15 years ago and it seems to have since gone.

If you could put us in contact with Mr Phillips, or his family, not only might we be delighted, but so might one of his former workmates.

If you do know of anyone else at all who worked for Halls Coaches aka Silverline Tours aka Valliant Silverline, out of the Cowley Road depot, Uxbridge, we would also like to make contact with them.

Charlie and Lucky Smith

Charlie was one of the original Wings livery painters in 1972. Lucky was his daughter – and many were lucky she was around in July 1972, because it was her ruler that got used to draw and design the “W” for the Wings logo that got bolted to the back of the bus and used by the band from then on.

Charlie also hasn’t been heard from in about 15 years and is believed to have spent time in the US doing “Art Direction”.

You guessed it – we’d love to make contact with them, as I’m sure are others that we are in contact with.

OK, Now Those Pictures…

Another angle of WNO 481 at Epsom on Derby Day, 1972. Photo by Paul Bateson, used with permission.

The full Great British Film Rally livery, taken circa 1989. Image from Roger White, courtesy of Greg White.

This picture above has been identified as being taken at the Cowley Road, Uxbridge depot, when the Wings livery was first applied, circa July 1972. We believe the man exiting from the rear is the aforementioned Brian Phillips. Picture from Roger White, courtesy of Greg White.

Wings livery + "Oslo" taken Jan 73 at Brunel Uni by Tony Wilson

It really wasn’t taken in Oslo. Honest! Don’t believe the web sites or anyone that says so! This was taken at Brunel University at the previously mentioned Bus Rally there, in January 1973, that went on to become Showbus.com. This image you may see us use quite a bit. Thanks to Tony Wilson for the permission and for the confirmation of its date/location.

More History and Images of WNO 481

There was some surprise amongst our followers that the livery on WNO 481 had changed at all since the 1972 “Wings Over Europe” tour.

We are compiling a comprehensive history that will be published here in due course. We thought however, in the meantime, that we could give a bit more information on these liveries and post a few more pictures.

The Eastern Bus Liveries

WNO 481 was built and registered in 1953 as a standard double-decker. It has a Bristol KSW5G chassis from Bristol Commercial Vehicles and a body from the Eastern Coach Works, Lowestoft. The bus first entered service with Eastern National Omnibus Company Limited, Chelmsford, with a plain green livery.

Here’s a video of a preserved Bristol KSW5G (VNO 859) to indicate what our bus would have looked like in its early days.

WNO 481 was Converted to an open-top in 1966. It was given a cream livery, with a green trim, including around the wheels and engine. Below is an image of WNO 479, appearing in Eastern National colours. WNO 479 has an identical open-top conversion to WNO 481.

Photo from Wikipedia, uploaded by Dave Catchpole.

Our bus changed hands in 1968 and moved to Eastern Counties Omnibus Company Limited, Norwich. Here, it’s green trim was exchanged for a maroon red.

WNO 481 at The Epsom Derby,  29 May, 1968. Photo by Paul Bateson, used with permission.

Silverline and the Wings Tour

Our bus was sold on to a dealer in July 1971. Late in that year it was acquired by Halls Coaches, trading as (T/A) Silverline Tours.

Halls had, not long before this, acquired Valliant Cronshaw, another coach firm. Their combined vehicles utilised Valliant’s red and grey liveries and used the name “Valliant Silverline”. WNO 481 had such a livery and was seen at Epsom with it, on Derby Day, 1972.

WNO 481 at The Epsom Derby,  7 June, 1972. You can just make out “Valliant Silverline” on its left side. Photo by Paul Bateson, used with permission.

The Wings livery was applied shortly before the tour, probably in July, given accounts of the time.

We are not sure how long the Wings livery stayed in place but we do know it was still there in January 1973. This is when WNO 481 attended the Brunel University Bus Rally that became ShowBus.

The Ownership Passes to Tricentrol

Halls, T/A Silverline, was acquired by Tricentrol in or about August 1973. In 1975, WNO 481 was moved to Dunstable, which is where we believe it acquired the mustard-gold Tricentrol livery that would stay in place until at least 1982.

WNO 481 at the ShowBus Rally, Thorpe Park, 7 September 1980. Photo by David Mant. Used with permission.

This may be a good point to note a correction to the previous post. The pictures taken of WNO 481 in Tricentrol’s livery in Volendam and Amsterdam were of a one-off Bus Rally, not the actual Tulip Rally. The British contingent called it their version of that rally at the time, “The Tulip Bus Rally”. Our thanks to Frans Angevaare for pointing this out.

The St Albans Saviour

Tricentrol had slated WNO 481 to be scrapped when it was acquired in 1982 by Roger White of St Albans. We believe, from his family’s recollections, that the bus was repainted with its Wings livery after that. This was until 1989, when, assisted by Godfrey Davis, the bus was given the red/white livery it sported for the BAFTA London – Cannes Rally of that year.

The livery for the London-Cannes Great British Film Rally, circa May 1989. Photo from the Roger White Collection, courtesy of Greg White.

Our previous post asked about a picture of WNO 481 in the above livery. We have now confirmed that it was taken at the Southend Bus Rally of 1989.

We are not entirely sure, but we believe the red/white livery was retained for a few years until shortly before the bus was auctioned by Sotheby’s, in August 1993.

WNO 481 back with its Wings. This photo is believed to be from just prior to it attending a Beatles convention in Amsterdam on 10 April 1993 (see flyer). Photo from the Roger White Collection, courtesy of Greg White.

When the Wings livery was reapplied before the auction, it was, to the best of our knowledge, the third time it had been painted onto WNO 481. It is also the one that remains on our bus to this day.

If you have any photos, memories or stories about The 1972 Wings Tour Bus, whether it was in its Wings livery, or at any time before or since then, do please get in touch. We’d love to hear from you!

We’d also like to hear from anyone who worked for Hall Coaches/Silverline Tours and Tricentrol that had any involvement in WNO 481, or if you know someone who did.

WNO 481 – PAUL McCARTNEY’S 1972 WINGS TOUR BUS VIDEO

in 2017 Paul McCartney tweeted to his millions of followers on Twitter, “We’ve heard the 1972 Wings Tour Bus is back on the road in the UK. Have information on this? Send us a DM!

Enjoy this excellent compilation of video footage to the soundtrack of Sir Paul’s Yesterday.

 

PAUL McCARTNEY & WNO 481

“We knew we were going to tour in Europe and that the weather would be nice, and the idea of being stuck in a bus all the time, going from city to city, hotel to hotel, wasn’t too appealing so we decided to travel around in an open-top bus and get some sunshine as we travelled from one place to another.”

– Paul McCartney.

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The first show of the European tour was booked for a deliberately out-of-the-way location – a 2,000-seat Roman amphitheatre at Châteauvallon, high in the pine-forested hills above Toulon on the south-eastern coast of France. Here, before the gig, on Sunday, 9 July 1972, Paul gave an informal press conference. ‘I’m starting all over again and working my way upwards,’ he accepted. ‘You don’t fight Cassius Clay on your first time out.’ He hinted at his recent crisis of confidence and the worry of being smothered by the weight of his reputation:

‘A year ago, I used to wake up in the morning and think, I’m a myth. I’m Paul McCartney. And it scared the hell out of me.’ “We painted the outside psychedelic, like a magic bus,” McCartney says of their tour transport on that halcyon trip. “If you look at it very straight, very conventionally, it was quite a mad thing to do, to put a playpen on the top deck of the bus and put all the children in there while driving around Europe. It was not what you’d expect from a normal band. But we weren’t a normal band.”

 

WNO481 Paul McCartney's 1972 Wings Tour Bus
WNO 481 Paul McCartney's 1972 Wings Tour Bus

 

Paul McCartney’s Wings Achievements

Paul McCartney’s Career Achievements

PAUL McCARTNEY, WINGS & WNO 481 TRAVELLED 12,072 KILOMETRES-ACROSS-EUROPE

Paul McCartney, Wings & WNO 481 travelled 12,072 kilometres, 7,500 miles to do 25 concerts in 25 cities in 9 countries across Europe.

Paul McCartney's 1972 Wings Over Europe Tour Map

July / August 1972 Wings Over Europe

WNO 481 is THE bus that Paul McCartney customised for his first major tour without The Beatles after their break-up in 1970.

By 1972 with The Happening at Woodstock in 1969 still ringing in everyone’s ears Paul got himself a double-decker open-top bus and turned it into Macca’s Mother Ship by having it painted in a ‘Woodstock on Wheels peace and love’ psychedelic design. He then set off with family and band on board to kick-start loud and proud the legendary Wings phase of his musical life and continue his amazing streak of writing and performing songs that would ultimately make music / rock and roll history. 25 concerts in 25 cities in 9 countries in Europe. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wings_Over_Europe_Tour

Our amazing bus combines 67 years of beautiful classic automotive transport of the people design heritage, coming up to 50 years of music / rock and roll history on wheels and time-capsule Magical Mystery Tour artwork painted by the renowned Geoffrey Cleghorn, friend of Pink Floyd, The Who, The Stones et al. Also involved with setting up the bus was Paul’s Tour Manager Tom Salter, owner of the Gear boutiques of Carnaby St and Kings Road fame.

Paul McCartney, the biggest pop/rock star on the planet, really did give WNO 481 its Wings, thus creating a true inter-national treasure. It is said that Paul wrote time-less classics such as My Love and James Bond theme song Live and Let Die on the bus.

WNO 481 & MPL

“We would like to wish you the best of luck with the refurbishment and please do send photographs when the bus is completed.”
MPL (Sir Paul McCartney’s Company)

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