- Plaxton Paramount
The Plaxton Paramount was a design of coach
bodyworkbuilt by Plaxtonbetween 1982 and 1991. In its more common single-deck form, it replaced the Supreme V and Viewmaster IV, and was replaced by the Premiere and Excalibur in 1991.
The Paramount had squarer lines than its predecessor the Supreme, with square-cornered side windows including a small "feature window" just behind the front wheelarch. Forward of this, the window line sloped downwards to meet the deeper windscreen.
Initially the Paramount was available in single-deck form only, in two heights, the Paramount 3200 (initially available in 8, 10, 11 and 12-metre lengths) and the high-floor Paramount 3500 (available in 11 and 12-metre lengths, although only three eleven-metre 3500s were built). The figures 3200 and 3500 refer to the height in millimetres.
Around 30% of Mark I Paramounts were the 3500 high-floor option, a figure which rose to 34% of Paramount IIs and 55% of Paramount IIIs. The proportion of 12m vehicles also climbed steadily, from 66% of Paramount Is, 74% of Paramount IIs, to 91% of Paramount IIIs being of the then maximum permitted length.
In 1984 the design was adapted to create the Paramount 4000 double-decker coach, initially built on
Neoplanunderframes, and later also on Scania and DAF chassis. A further addition to the range in 1985 was the Paramount 4000RS, on mid-engined Volvo B10MT chassis. This was a 1½-deck version of the 4000, with a small lower deck saloon at the rear.
The Paramount II, the first update to the original single-deck design, incorporated only minor visual changes, but some important options were introduced, most notably bonded glazing. A low driving position option was also made available, which had already appeared on some Paramount I bodies on Quest 80 chassis.
Bonded glazing became standard on the Paramount III, which also introduced some more obvious changes to the design, notably the replacement of the small and sloping "feature windows" with a pentagonal one immediately behind the cab or door. Changes to the front end consisted of a new grille and bumper, and changes to the shape and angle of the windscreen.
A variant of the Plaxton Paramount III 3500 built to
National Expressspecification on Volvo B10Mchassis was named Expressliner. It was fitted with a windowless, moulded plastic rear end featuring an embossed National Express double-N logo. The rear end could be replaced by a standard Paramount rear end when the coach was no longer used for National Express services.
The Paramount was built on numerous different chassis. Here they are listed in approximate decreasing order of number bodied.
Paramount 3200 and 3500
Leyland Royal Tiger
Quest 80 VM
*Auwärter (Neoplan) N722
Scania K112, K113
From the 1982 to 1988 build seasons, Plaxton's body numbering system used three character codes to identify the body style. The following codes were used for the Paramount:
*P1C Paramount I 3200
*P1X Paramount I 3200 Express
*H1C Paramount I 3500
*H1X Paramount I 3500 Express
*P2C Paramount II 3200
*P2X Paramount II 3200 Express
*H2C Paramount II 3500
*H2X Paramount II 3500 Express
*P3C Paramount III 3200
*P3X Paramount III 3200 Express
*H3C Paramount III 3500
*D1C Paramount 4000
*D2C Paramount II 4000 or 4000RS
Examples of H1X, H2X and P3X are rare.
Since the 1989 build season, Plaxton's body numbering system has used a letter to identify the body style. The following letters were used for the Paramount III:
*A Paramount III 3200
*B Paramount III 3500
*C Paramount 4000
*D Paramount 4000RS
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