The Mancunian was a double-deck bus built by Crossley Motors between 1933 and 1940. A small number of single-deck buses were also constructed.
Manchester had always been the major customer for Crossley Motor's buses as they were based there.In 1933 reacting to a new specification produced by the city a new chassis for both single and double deckers was designed.
This was designated the Mancunian. The double decker had a wheelbase of 16 ft 7 1/2 in and the single-deck had a wheelbase of 17 ft 7 in. Apart from the back axles the mechanical specification was the same. The VR6 engine was retained but now mounted in unit with the gearbox. The gear change also moved to the left hand but a central accelerator pedal was surprisingly retained.
To help reduce the bottom end problems of the VR6 a "short stroke" 8365cc version of the VR6 came out in 1935 with a slight reduction in peak power to 93.5bhp but this increased to 99bhp in 1938 with the improved "Comet III" Ricardo head. Interestingly, at the request of customers, some Mancunians were fitted with 6LW Gardner diesel engines.
The majority of Mancunians had Crossley bodies and at first these used the traditional timber frames but in 1932 a metal framed Metro-Cammell body had been fitted to a Condor for Manchester. This performed well and Manchester decided to go over completely to metal framed bodies. Early experiment involved aluminium frames from Metropolitan -Vickers and steel tubed ones from Accles & Pollock but Manchester preferred the Metro-Cammel design and so an agreement was reached that they would supply frames to be completed and clad by Crossley at Gorton. Some were also used to rebody earlier buses in Manchester Corporation's fleet including, significantly Leylands. This was the first time Crossley had built bodies on other people's chassis and this was to grow to be significant work in the post-war period.
A redesigned modernised version of the Mancunian was introduced in 1935 with modernised curved bodywork and a much higher specification interior. It became known as the "Streamliner". Although many were built using Metro-Cammel frames, these were joined by English Electric.
A further update to the Mancunian happened in 1938 with improvements to the frame to give extra support to the rear platform and a gearbox with constant mesh introduced. Synchromesh prototypes were also successfully tried but did not go into production until after the war. Crossley also experimented with fully automatic transmission systems and prototypes were put in service but the war intervened and development was shelved.
Total production of Mancunians was 234 "Standard", 277 Streamliner and 2 Standard body on Streamliner chassis double deckers, and 25 Standard, 20 Streamliner and 1 Standard body on Streamliner chassis single deckers.
The single decker chassis was priced at £1350 in 1937. The double decker chassis was priced at £1400 in 1938.