The Spice Bus

Marina Office: 01983 539 994 ~ Breeze Restaurant: 01983 533 388


Photograph courtesy of Andrew Cooke, Wightime Clock Repairs



On 18 July 2014, The Spice Bus was put on permanent display at Island Harbour Marina. This is THE actual bus used in the Spice Girls’ 1997 film, Spice World!!! In the film, the brightly-coloured, Union Jack-painted tour bus transported the Spice Girls around London, driven by a character called Dennis, played by Meat Loaf. At the end of the film, the bus was destroyed by a bomb, but as this was only heard off-screen, the real bus was thankfully completely unharmed.

Unfortunately, the bus suffered years of neglect after the making of the movie. Her general condition was pretty poor, both inside and out, when we bought her. However, she has been completely resprayed so that from the outside, she is back to her old self. The inside will also be completely renovated and re-fitted as soon as possible, so that visitors will be able to go on board.

In the meantime, she is there for the general public to come and see and to have their photograph taken outside of the bus. There are also life-size images of all five Spice Girls, to make photographs an even more authentic Spice Girls experience!

The Spice Bus is a 1978 British Leyland Bristol VRTSL3 double-decker. For bus enthusiasts, it has a 10,450cc Gardner 6LXB 6 cylinder diesel engine that can produce 180BHP. These were made by L. Gardner and Sons, who operated from 1868 until they ceased production in the mid-1990s. The ‘Bristol’ marque comes from Bristol Commercial Vehicles, who were taken over by British Leyland in 1965. The VRTSL3 class shows that it has a Vertical Rear Transverse engine, a Short and Low chassis and that it is a Series 3 model. The VRTSL3 is the most common variant of the Bristol VR range, being manufactured from 1966 until 1981.

When in service, the bus had a H43/31F configuration. This means that it was a Highbridge, or ‘double decker’, with 43 seats upstairs and 31 seats downstairs. The ‘F’ shows that the door is at the front. Other configurations had the doors at the rear, or occasionally, even in the centre. I am sure that you can now all sleep at night, now that you know all about her!

Whilst being re-fitted for the movie, the roof of the Spice Bus was lowered at the same time.

Come and see her! Yet another reason to come and visit Island Harbour!

With many thanks for technical information on Bristol buses to Rob Sly of the Bristol Commercial Vehicles Enthusiasts.


Uavend Investments LLP, Island Harbour Marina, Mill Lane, Newport, Isle of Wight PO30 2LA

Telephone: +44 (0)1983 539 994 Fax: +44 (0)1983 523 401 Email: