PVV 88J was first ordered by John Bull in 1970,
it was the first new coach ordered by John for Country Lion
Plaxton, the coach builder had first sent a general specification sheet of what the breakdown of costs would be to purchase a new J2 model to Country Lion back in the August of 1970.
Eventually an order was indeed placed and the coach, which would have probably been early in 1971 and was advised to be ready for collection on its completion on 25th May 1971. It was finally collected on 3rd June, having been registered the day before with the memorable registration PVV 888J.
Paintwork was finished in an attractive British Leyland Bronze Yellow and Ermine White which suited its coach work well.
Said to be a favourite vehicle of John Bull, it enjoyed a long stay in the Country Lion fleet, up until an accident in 1994 caused substantial damage to the lower offside panels meant that it was withdrawn from service after some 23 years in operation.
It remained laid up at Country Lion until on 29th November 1998 when purchased by Mr Guy Wren who drove it under its own power to its new home in East Sussex for repairs and restoration to commence.
Mr Wren did keep in touch with John Bull to the coaches progress to return to the road again, which eventually it did. Attendance at various rallies showed it off with a new lease of life, but on 4th October 2003 it was sold to Mr Geoffrey Alton in Derbyshire for private use with his family.
Its original 20 seat configuration was changed upon the purchase of two genuine period Plaxton tables so it would now have an interior featuring 16 seats, with 8 of them around tables. Its colour was also changed, this time to red and cream.
It was then purchased by Empress Coaches who restored both the coachwork and the mechanicals to bring it back to its 1971 running configuration with its 20 seat configuration.
Daniel O Dell of Country Lion was keen to bring PVV 888J back into the Country Lion family and was able to acquire it from Empress and in October 2020 it made the journey home to Northampton.
Work began immediately to restore the original 1971 Country Lion Livery which is how it stands today.