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Frederick W Plaxton was a joiner in the Yorkshire seaside resort of Scarborough, becoming a building contractor. After the Great War there was demand for vehicle bodywork, so in 1919 Plaxton built a coach body on a Ford Model T, followed by many more, and by coachbuilt bodies for cars, in particular on Crossley chassis. Bus and coach bodies were built on many different chassis in the 1930s, when the company was reorganised as F W Plaxton & Son. After war work, the firm returned to peacetime production in 1946. The 1950s saw more advanced designs from Plaxton, with the trademark oval grille. The Panorama coach body appeared in 1958, with bigger windows than was common at the time. The Embassy was a similar body for lightweight, front engined chassis. In the 1960s Ogle designed the updated Panorama Elite. The Derwent was a new service bus. The Supreme was a new coach body eveolved in 1975 from the Elite, but without any timber in the framing. In 1977 the Viewmaster was a taller derivation of the Supreme, offering better passenger visibility and more locker space. This led to the Paramount of 1983, followed in 1987 by the Expressliner. From 1986 the popular Beaver small bus was produced by Plaxton subsidiary Reeve Burgess. Next came the Plaxton Pointer, and Plaxton merged with distributors Henly, then took over the rights to body designs from the recently defunct Duple. In 1991 the Paramount was replaced by the Premiere and Excalibur. In 1994 Plaxton took over double decker bus builders Northern Counties of Wigan, leading in 1998 to the Plaxton president double decker. In 1997 the Cheetah replaced the coach version of the Beaver. The Paragon and Panther were launched in 1999, suitable for all full-size coach chassis. In 2001 Henly merged its bus and coach interests with Mayflower Group (Alexander and Dennis) as Transbus. New coach designs included the Profile, Prima, Pronto and Paragon Plus. Transbus collapsed in 2004, and a management buyout acquired Plaxton. New designs followed; the Centro single decker bus, Primo minibus, and the Panther access bus. In 2007 Plaxton became part of Alexander Dennis Group, in which it is the coach brand, making the Cheetah XL, Panther and Elite
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