First generation (1927-1942)
The Leyland Titan started mainly focused on the British Market. Leyland appointed its very experienced chief engineer Mr. G J Rackham in 1926 to design a double decker bus to stave off competition from rival companies like AEC.
The Titan was a front engine right hand drive double-decker bus and its first version, the TD1 came to the market in 1927. The concept of TD1 was so advanced for the time that it left its competition far behind, It had a powerful engine, great brakes and sharp drop in its rear frame to allow easy passenger entry. The TD2 was introduced in 1932 with higher engine capacity for greater load. Several other models appeared with the last one TD8 appearing in 1942.
Despite Mr. Rackham’s opposition for a 6 wheel design double-decker bus, Leyland went on to built one, as "Titanic".
Post war (1945 – 1968)
The first model that rolled out post war was PD2 (P stood for post-war and D for double deck). Few other models rolled out until 1955 when British regulations were relaxed and the popular PD3 was born. This new model had 8 feet wide bodies and could carry larger number of passengers. Sales soared internally as well as exports to South Africa, Sierra Leone, Indonesia and Kenya went up. Finally in 1968, the plant making the PD3 was closed and Leyland shifted its entire plant to India.
It was in Madras (now Chennai) where Ashok Leyland started making these. With a slightly modified chassis the PD3 entered the Indian market in a new avatar as Ashok Leyland Titan and the rest is history. Anyone coming to Bombay could see these B.E.S.T (Bombay Electric Supply & Tramways Co.) Titan buses plying all over the city in the late 60's, 70's and early 80's.
Leyland Titan B15 (1978 -1984)
By 1977, London Transport was planning to withdraw their RT & RM(Route Master) series of buses and replace them with modern hi-tech vehicles that could be operated by one person. British Leyland designed prototypes based on the requirements of the London Transport and project was codenamed B15. When the project finished development, it was named “Titan” and a huge order of 250 units was placed by the London Transport.
Leyland produced the chassis and the body was produced by Park Royal –Roe in London. Even though production had started, it wasplagued by constant strikes, high wage costs and hence low productivity which forced the delivery orders back by almost 18 months. One by one, the customers including London Transport started cancelling their orders and moreover Leyland also realized their customer base was limited only to the big cities when the Titan was deemed too bespoke for rural use. The last Titan was produced in 1984 and it cost Leyland, millions in lost revenue due to cancelled orders.
And therefore, the Leyland TITAN can be considered to be the most iconic public transport vehicle of all times.