Coventry bus body maker retires after 49 years of service

A Coventry coach body manufacturer is retiring after almost half a century of service to National Express Coventry.

64-year-old Dave Little, from Bell Green, began working as an apprentice in Coventry’s bus industry at the age of 15.

Described as the ‘point of contact’ at the workshop, the colleagues said Dave’s wealth of experience and dedication has helped keep Coventry buses in service for decades.


Dave’s highly specialized work sees him repairing the bodywork of buses that become damaged in service.

And his work continues in the form of his son Chris, who will be taking the reins.

Dave’s 40-year-old son Chris has been with National Express Coventry for 15 years and has worked on coachwork for five.

Dave started his career at the age of 15 as an apprentice with the company when National Express Coventry was still Coventry Corporation Transport.

Originally stationed at the Sandy Lane works in 1972, then moved to the Harnall Lane workshop and finally in 1986 to Wheatley Street, which is now the current National Express Coventry coach garage.

When asked what particularly stood out to him during his long career at National Express, Dave said, “When I think back to my time with the company, I will always remember the amazing craftsmen I have worked with over the years.

“As bodybuilders, we all take great pride in the work we do in repairing damage that has occurred to buses in service. It is very important to us that they look their best.”

Dave retires he will be working on other vehicles including restoring a vintage Volkswagen Beetle and two camper vans bought by his son Chris.

Dave with his son Chris, who also works as a coachbuilder for buses.

In addition to working on his son’s vehicle restoration projects, Dave has purchased carpentry equipment to pursue his own personal projects.

He’s looking forward to spending more time with his two grandchildren, aged one and five, and now that he has more time to play wants to practice golf – although he joked he might not have the time!

Chris said: “I would also envision staying with the company for a long time. In this role, I really enjoy using my initiative to work on some of the larger repair jobs.

“And like my father, I take great pride in getting the buses fixed and looking good so they can be back on the road as soon as possible.”

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Graham Livesey, Engineering Manager at National Express Coventry, said: “Dave has been the go-to person for repairs to both colleagues and supervisors – I have seen his extensive knowledge and experience used on many occasions in our workshop.

“His dedication and commitment to showcasing our vehicles has always been second to none.”

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