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The AEC Society

History of AEC and the AEC Society


About the AEC Society

The AEC Society was formed in 1983 following the final closure of the works at Southall.

For over sixty years AEC Limited, formerly the Associated Equipment Company Limited, was the builder of commercial vehicle chassis and diesel engines for use around the world, including the iconic London double decker bus.

Founding Of The Society

The AEC Society was founded by enthusiasts of the marque in 1983. The AEC name will always be one of the most respected marques in the British commercial vehicle industry, although production ceased at Southall in 1979.

The Society has grown to be one of the largest clubs in the country with a specialised interest in commercial vehicles. Our paid up membership figure was 817 at the end of January 1999 and new members are joining evey month. The Society caters for many interests, including vehicle preservationists and current operators of AEC vehicles both at home and abroad.

Many former AEC employees are members, along with transport historians, photographers, journalists and former AEC operators, drivers and mechanics. Many members are enthusiasts who have happy memories of AECs operating in their own locality, or who took an interest in a particular haulage or passenger fleet.

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AEC History

The London General Omnibus Company, or LGOC, was founded in 1855 to amalgamate and regulate the horse-drawn omnibus services then operating in London.

The company began producing motor omnibuses for its own use in 1909 with the X-type designed by its chief motor engineer, Frank Searle, at works in Blackhorse Lane, Walthamstow, London. The X-type was followed by Searle's B-type design, considered to be one of the first mass-produced commercial vehicles.

In 1912, LGOC was taken over by the Underground Group of companies, which at that time owned most of the London Underground, and extensive tram operations. As part of the reorganisation following the takeover, a separate concern was set up for the bus manufacturing elements, and was named Associated Equipment Company, better-known as AEC.

AEC's first commercial vehicle was a lorry based on the X-type bus chassis. With the outbreak of the First World War in 1914, AEC's ability to produce large numbers of vehicles using assembly line methods became important in supplying the increasing need for army lorries.

AEC began large-scale production of the 3-ton Y-type lorry, commenced in 1916, and continued beyond the end of the war. From then on, AEC became associated with both lorries and buses.