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Duple

Herbert White was a pioneer motorist and racing driver who lived in Hampshire. In 1914 he made the Bifort, a car which could be converted between car and van, hence the name 'Duple'. In 1919 he set up Duple Bodies and Motors Ltd, in Hornsey, London to build his dual-purpose Duple bodies. As demand grew he moved to larger premises in Hendon. White then built bodies for buses and coaches, notably on Bedford chassis, though he continued to produce coachwork for cars and vans, including large contracts for the GPO. Duple expanded in the 1930s and took over coachbuilding competitors. During the Second World War Duple built 750 fuselages for Halifax bombers, and it was the only company permitted to make bodies for single-decker buses, all on Bedford OWB chassis. Duple also built Utility double decker bodies in wartime. After the war the company became Duple Motor Bodies Ltd. The most famous early postwar body was the Duple Vista on the Bedford OB chassis. In 1956 the Kegworth and Loughborough plants were combined as Duple Motor Bodies (Midland) Ltd. In 1958 Duple took over Willowbrook, also in Loughborough. In 1960 Duple took over Burlingham of Blackpool and renamed their factory Duple Motor Bodies (Northern) Ltd. This gave Duple manufacturing bases in three regional areas; the South, Midlands and North. Later bodies were the Super Vista, Vega, Super Vega, Bella Vega, Bella Vista and Vega Major. The Viceroy replaced most of those body styles in the 1960s. In 1968 Duple concentrated production in Blackpool as Duple Coachbuilders Ltd, and in 1970 the Hendon plant closed. Duple suffered from the drop in demand for lightweight coaches, and in 1983 Duple was acquired by Hestair Group, who were unable to make a profit on coachbuilding. A management buyout in 1988 failed to save the company, and Duple closed in 1989.
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