In July 1972 WNO 481 emerged from the workshop transformed and ready to rock as Paul McCartney’s 1972 Wings Tour Bus.
Big thanks to Den Newell for the use of these few precious photo’s and the story of his dad Arthur Newell who played a very big part in getting WNO 481 prepared to carry Paul McCartney, Linda McCartney, their children Stella McCartney, Mary McCartney and Heather McCartney, Wings; Denny Laine, Henry McCullough, Denny Seiwell plus wives and girlfriends on the legendary 1972 Wings Over Europe Tour racking up over 12,00 km’s / 7,500 miles. When Paul McCartney gave WNO 481 its Wings he created a Legend of Rock & Road.
Den Newell wrote us this letter.
Hi Tom, Here is a summary of my dad’s life.: Arthur Denis Newell (Danny), 1919-2004
Stumbling across the Wings Tour Bus Facebook page has brought back many happy memories. I travelled in this bus on several occasions as a child of about 12. We went to Silverstone, Brighton and the Epsom Derby when the bus was painted in its Tricentrol colours. My father worked at Silverline coaches, previously Valliant coaches for many years and worked on the Wings bus interior and external body panels. After the tour my brother and I were given souvenirs that had been left on the bus. These included huge scatter cushions, tee shirts with Red Rose Speedway on, massive weather balloons and Red Rose Speedway frisbees. My memory jogged, I looked on eBay to see if any were still around. Wow, what a shock there was a frisbees for sale at £475. Ours ended up being used to flower pots in. In addition to driving the most famous bus in the world my dad also drove the most infamous bus in the world. In 1970 he drove the England football team coach across the states and to Mexico for the team to use. This greatly offended The Mexican authorities who had supplied a bus. Their bus drove around empty behind the official England bus driven by my dad. Tom leads me to believe there is a connexion between the England bus and the Wings bus in that some of the seats from the England bus Pullman configuration were used later on the Wings bus. My dad passed away aged 85 in 2004 having had a full interesting life. After leaving school he worked at Mulliner’s where he learned his trade as a coach builder on Rolls Royce bodies. In 1939 when war was declared he joined the army and was sent to France in 1940. Two weeks after the Dunkirk evacuations he was still in France shuttling soldiers to the port St Nazaire. He boarded a boat called the Lancastria but then was told to disembark and collect more troops from the far side of town. When he returned to the port the Lancastria had sailed and was then sunk with the loss of 5000 lives. He then served in North Africa and Northern Europe until the end of the war as a driver of tank transporters, the most common of which was his beloved American Diamond T. On his return to England he joined a company and drove coaches on glamorous tours of post war Europe. The customers were mainly wealthy people and the tips were better than his wages. In the late 1950s he joined Valliant where, if many of the summer excursions didn’t happen you were expected to work in the workshops, which he did using his body building skills from Mulliner. He drove and repaired coaches up until he was in his late 70s when he decided to stop work and become a full time carer for his wife. Huge thanks to Tom for not only buying the Wings bus and beginning its journey to restoration but also for setting up this group. I hope at some point to see the bus either during restoration or when it’s complete. Kind Regards, Denis Newell.
Arthur Dennis Danny Newell
Owner of Valliant
Friend of Alf Ramsey
Weather balloons Mulliners 14 years
50’s Valliant Continental
Grants Of St James