The Leyland Leopard had an underfloor mid-engine . Developed on the basis of the successful Leyland Tiger Cub , it was originally intended to replace it, but both types were built in parallel for a period of over 10 years. The main difference to the Leyland Tiger Cub was the use of the more powerful O.600 diesel engine . Leopard built later were equipped with the O.680 with 11.1 l displacement . In 1950, the United Kingdom raised the maximum length for buses to around 9.1 m (30 feet). The versions produced initially corresponded to these specifications. When the maximum permitted length was later increased again, Leyland also produced the chassis in versions with a length of 10 and 11 m. Together with the Tiger Cub , the Leopard almost completely ousted the Royal Tiger from the British market in a short period of time. With over 1700 buses produced, the Leopard was one of Leyland's most successful bus models, but it was unable to match the sales success of the Tiger Cub . It was replaced by the Leyland Tiger in the early 1980s . Its main competitor in the UK market was the AEC Reliance , although the Associated Equipment Company was also part of the Leyland group. The chassis produced were initially given the abbreviation L1 or L2 , later the abbreviation PSU3 (11 m length) or PSU4 (10 m length). The only difference between the L1 and L2 was the construction of the rear frame, while the latter was more suitable for the construction of coaches, the former was primarily intended for the construction of buses.
Series production began in 1959 after the prototypes were presented at the 1959 Scottish Motor Show. The buses were equipped with the six-cylinder O.600 diesel engine from Leyland with 9.8 l displacement and 125 bhp . In the four-speed transmission, which is pneumatically assisted by hand, the third and fourth gear were synchronized. Later the O.680 with 11.1 l displacement and 180 bhp as well as a semi-automatic transmission was installed. The engine was arranged in the middle under the floor. Optionally, a rear axle with a countershaft and pneumatic brakes on all four wheels could be ordered. The chassis was air-sprung. Until the 1980s, it was common for chassis and superstructures for buses to be manufactured by different manufacturers. The chassis manufactured by Leyland were therefore completed by coachbuilders . Some of the buses were superstructures from Leyland's subsidiary Charles H. Roe in Leeds ; other major superstructure manufacturers were Alexander , Beadle , Burlingham , Crossley , Duple , East Lancs , Harrington , Marshall , Metro Cammell , Northern Counties , Nuttall , Park Royal , Plaxton , Strachan , Willowbrook, and Weymann . Both coaches and city buses were built.
In England, the subsidiaries of British Electric Traction (BET) became major customers of the Leopard . For city buses and multi-purpose vehicles that could be used both as touring and city buses, BET developed a standard design for the bodies. The superstructures themselves were primarily obtained from Marshall and Willowbrook , and occasionally from Weymann and Metro-Cammell . Another important customer for the Leopard in England was Barton Transport from Chilwell near Nottingham . Barton operated a fleet of 200 buses with Panorama Elite and Supreme bodies from Plaxton . Barton used the buses for all types of passenger transport, so these buses were equipped with a wider, double-leaf door. The body variants themselves were referred to as express . At the time, the British government subsidized the procurement of buses if they met certain specifications and were used for a prescribed proportion in urban traffic. Other operators also made use of these grants and procured Leyland Leopards made to these specifications .
In Scotland many buses were bought by subsidiaries of the Scottish Bus Group and mostly equipped with an Alexander ( Y type ) body both as a coach and as a city bus.
The Irish company Córas Iompair Éireann (CIÉ) also bought a large number of buses and usually provided them with a body made in its own workshops.
The Northern Irish counterpart to CIÉ , the Ulster Transport Authority (UTA) and its successor Ulsterbus , procured the buses with the X type body from Alexander . For a period of 40 years the leopard was a common sight on Northern Irish roads. During the riots in Northern Ireland, a total of 228 leopards were stolen from their depots and publicly destroyed. From 2006, the Leopard were decommissioned, some of them after 28 years of service. However, Ulsterbus converted some Leopards for use as tow trucks. Fifteen of these were still in use in 2008.
The British military also used a number of leopards . The bus was exported to Australia and New Zealand.
|Surname||construction time||number of pieces||annotation|
|L1||1959-1969||243||Coach / city bus / multi-purpose bus 30–45 seats|
|L2||1959-1967||413||Coach / city bus / multi-purpose bus 28–45 seats|
|PSU3||1975||408||Coach / city bus / multi-purpose bus 45–62 seats, 11 m length|
|PSU4||1966||92||Coach / city bus / multi-purpose bus 36–44 seats, 10 m length|
|PSU4||1967-1969||234||Coach / city bus / multi-purpose bus 36–47 seats, 10 m length|
|PSU4||1970-1982||369||Coach / city bus / multi-purpose bus 40–45 seats, 10 m length|