Strathmartine Mini Coaches Archive

Strathmartine Mini Coaches (Dundee) was established in 1970 as a privately-owned coach service. Its speciality was in organised tours of Scotland and England; but the firm also had contracts with local authorities, schools, social welfare organisations, travel agents, and industrial/commercial personnel transportation. They also provided travel for airport transfers, dances, nights out, weddings and shows.

Examples of some of the scheduled routes included between Camperdown main gate and Camperdown mansion house (summer 1972 and summer 1973: 4p adults, 2p children), for National Coal Board employees between Ballingry and Solsgirth Milne, and from Downfield to Auchterhouse.

At one point all the mini-buses were painted with a series of dark green stripes to relive the box-van like exterior. The company provided luxury travel as standard. The 12-seater coaches had moquette high-backed seats, luggage boots, and a radio/stereo. The Dormobile 16-seaters had the same, and were further equipped with curtains and more headroom. The Reebur 17-seater also included a public address system, carpet, and luggage rack. The petrol driven engines ran with overdrives to reduce the noise. Caetano and Fiat provided at one time 19-seater buses (with many of the busses/coaches being manufactured by Ford). In 1975, a 29-seat Bedford PKJ Plaxton Supreme coach with a black-and-white television was acquired. A 45-seater coach was added later too.  In June 1989 an 18-seater Caetano Optimo with fridge, hot drink machine and colour TV/video was bought.

Bill and Vera Joiner ran the business from its inception: with Vera running the traffic office and clerical duties (though was a driver and mechanic too if required) and Bill being a driver and responsible for maintenance (with the assistance of a part-time mechanic). The painting of coaches and adding of luxuries was undertaken by the couple themselves, as the busses/coaches were bought in fairly standard condition.

The museum has a small archive of items relating to Strathmartine Coaches which can be seen by appointment.

Edited by Samantha Walker

Photograph from Strathmartine Coaches Archive

Audi 80 Donated

The museum would like to thank Mr John A. Smith for donating his Audi 80. John received his new 1994 Audi 80 from Lex Retail Group in Dundee on the 3rd of December 1994. He has been the proud owner of the car for 25 years until he donated it to the museum last week.  Along with the car John has kindly included various pieces of paperwork about the car including service invoices, instruction manual and DVLA letters. John was also able to supply the museum with two brochures about the Audi 80, both of which are in very good condition.

Back in 1994 Audi 80 Saloon was an impressive and luxurious car for all those who owned one. John’s car has a 1.6 litre engine, was capable of reaching 62 mph (miles per hour) in 13.4 seconds and could achieve a top speed of 111 mph. The Audi 80 came equipped with a 5 speed gear box, 5 forward gears and reverse, and the estate model even boasted a Final Drive Ratio. The base model came with a 4-cylinder engine and this was capable of producing 130 Nm of Torque and 100 bhp (brake horse power). The stats for the Audi 80 were impressive for a saloon car that weighed 1230 kg (the estate model came in at 1270 kg). In the 90s, the Audi 80 was a stylish and comfortable way to travel whether you were cruising around town or clocking up the miles on long drives down the motorway.

We at the Dundee Museum of Transport are very grateful to John for donating his Audi 80 to us and we are happy to give it a new home here.

Donor Mr Smith with Museum Manager Sam and the Audi 80

Ford Fiesta – Mk. III – 1996 (1.1 Litre). Charity Car


To toast Burns Night, the Dundee Museum of Transport celebrates its’ Tartan exhibit.                               The ‘Highlanders’ Jo Williamson, Gordon Blair, Rick Wright, and Brian Meldrum set out from John O’Groats to Siberia (via the Gobi Desert in Mongolia); and back through Russia. The 14,000 mile (22,500 kilometres) journey in two Ford Fiestas was accomplished to raise money for Findacure: a charity working to promote research into rare and fundamental diseases.

Jo Williamson sadly lost his wife to a rare form cancer caused by a faulty hereditary gene. The money raised is going towards research into potential treatments to find a cure for Phaeochromocytoma. Jo’s twins have the SDH-B gene and medical issues, while there is also a risk that their children could inherit the disease.

£30,000 had been pledged to Gordon and Jo before the journey took place. The no back-up vehicle or support crew drive took nearly eight weeks, travelling through 24 countries with the Highlanders raising the profile of the terrible disease Phaeochromocytoma. They also received donations for Findacure as they travelled.

Gordon Blair had the task of selecting two suitable cars, and having considered several makes, identical Fiestas were selected for their tough reputation and simple mechanics. Semi-independent torsion beam rear suspension helped the ride and refinement. The Mk. III was the first model to get Ford’s mechanical anti-lock braking system and featured a lean-burn engine. The two cars did not feature any electronics – so there was less to go wrong. Both cars performed without problems and returned safely to Perth.

The DMofT received one of the cars as a donation: to preserve the vehicle as an achievement, and keep the cause publicised. It is presented as it returned; although the mud on the outside has been removed, you can still see the dust of the Gobi Desert and Mongol Rally route on the dashboard inside the car!

Driving the route in Central Asia.
The Fiesta’s induction into the Dundee Museum of Transport.


Tay Rail Bridge Disaster Memorial Trust Donation

Dundee Museum of Transport was delighted to receive a cheque for £2427.73 from the recently dissolved Tay Rail Bridge Disaster Memorial Trust on Friday 24th March. With the Trust achieving its objective to erect memorials to those who lost their lives in the 1879 disaster, left-over funds were donated to Dundee Museum of Transport for a Tay Rail Bridge disaster display. Trustees and volunteers from both the Tay Rail Bridge Disaster Memorial Trust and Dundee Museum of Transport attended the cheque ceremony on Friday evening where Professor David Swinfen formally presented the funds to Museum Chairman, Jimmy McDonell.

Tay Rail Bridge Memorial Trust Chair Prof. David Swinfen presents the cheque to Museum Chair Jimmy McDonell on Friday evening at a reception in the museum.


Donation from The Weaver Incorporation of Dundee

Dundee Museum of Transport would like to thank The Weaver Incorporation of Dundee for their generous donation of £70 following their enjoyable visit to the museum on 13th December 2016. The group received a guided tour from our team of volunteers and enjoyed having ‘tea on the bus’ after their tour. Deacon David Edgar dropped by the museum this afternoon to hand in the donation which was gratefully received by the Museum Manager.

Deacon David Edgar of The Weaver Incorporation of Dundee presents a cheque to the Museum Manager (next to a load of jute, of course!)


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Charity Run Discovery Point

Hello all

I have been called by an old pal of mine Keith who runs the Armstrong Siddeley club in Scotland.

What he is proposing is that on Sunday May 15Th May his club will bring 8 / 10 cars through to Dundee and we, using all our contacts and groups get as many cars and unusual vehicles together and we all meet at Discovery point( I have spoken to them and they support this idea)

We get as much publicity going for the event then we offer the public a chance to have a drive in a vintage / unusual vehicle for a donation… Say from Discovery point to the cafe and back.

All the money goes to Help for Hero’s. I think Keith has spoken to the Army Cadets through here but I don’t know as yet their involvement.What do we think…. Would be a good exercise for us and would be helping a great charity.

If we can do it as well as Lochee High St that would be cool.

Contact me if you can help