It has proved popular with many bus operators in the UK, and has since been sold to several other countries around the world.
It was finally launched in 1989 and was originally offered with the stylish Duple Dartline bodywork. It was 2.3m wide and was initially available in the length of 9m, but soon available in lengths of 8.5m and 9.8m. It was powered by the tried and tested Cummins 6BT engine and coupled to the Allison AT545 gearbox (the same engine and gearbox were also used in the MCW Metrorider, latterly the Optare MetroRider).
This model was sold well to London Buses and to some operators outside London. Unfortunately, however, soon after it was launched, Duple was sold to Plaxton and its Blackpool plant was closed down. Plaxton decided not to acquire the design rights of the Duple Dartline and it was sold to Carlyle, who continued producing the bodywork from 1991. Production passed to Marshall of Cambridge in 1992 who bodied five Darts to this design. In 1993, Marshall updated the design to the C36 and later, the C37, ironing out the weaknesses of the original design.
In 1990, Wadham Stringer became the next builder to body the Dart with a bodywork called the Portsdown, but it was sold in small numbers and replaced by the UVG Urbanstar in 1995. In the same year, Wright bodied the Dart with the Handybus, which was more functional than stylish. In early 1991, Plaxton launched the Pointer (which was initially designated as Reeve Burgess Pointer as it was built at Reeve Burgess's plant, until later in the same year when it was transferred to Plaxton at Scarborough). This bodywork quickly became the most popular, even though its boxy appearance was considered unattractive. Later in 1991, East Lancs bodied the Dart with its EL2000. In the latter half of 1991, Alexander launched the Dash, which was sold reasonably well. Another contender entering the market at the same time was the Northern Counties Paladin. Initially, it was built with a design of a barrel shaped windscreen with quarterlights (which were mainly sold to Warrington Borough Transport), later models had a deep double-curvature two-piece windscreen. It was phased out when Plaxton bought Northern Counties in 1995.
As the low floor buses became more popular in late 1990s, orders for standard-floor Dart dropped heavily and production was ceased in 1998.
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