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The History of Optare, Paperback / softback Book


Bus builder Optare was formed by some of its employees in 1984 after the closure of old-established coachbuilder Chas H.

Roe at Crossgates, Leeds. After establishing itself as a 'new company' and introducing a new product range - initially in the minibus field - it purchased the designs of Birmingham-based MCW when that concern took the decision to cease bus building.

After being acquired by Dutch bus builder DAF, following the collapse of that company Optare repurchased itself and became independent again.

Then, it was acquired by Hungarian manufacturer American Bus Industries but, history repeating itself, it was repurchased by its management to become independent again.

Then, it was purchased in a reverse takeover by the Darwen Group, who owned East Lancashire Coachbuilders which, in turn, was acquired by Indian manufacturer Ashok-Leyland, in whose ownership it remains today, albeit still working from its established manufacturing base in Yorkshire. A company with a fascinating story, it is one whose history should be recorded.




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