In post-war London the AEC Regent III was a familar sight on the capital's streets. The first Regent III was built in 1938. There was limited production before the outbreak of the Second World War. Between 1947 and 1954 over 4,500 Regent III buses were constructed. It entered service with London Transport (LT) with LT's Green Line Coaches, connecting London with the Home Counties, and other operators around the UK. Today it is the later AEC Routemaster that is most identified with London Transport's post-war bus service, but over five times as many Regent IIIs entered service than the Routemaster. The AEC Regent III was a star of film and television, starring in the James Bond franchise film "Live and Let Die" with Roger Moore playing the British agent. In the film Bond and Jane Seymour's character Solitaire make their escape from the island of San Monique aboard an AEC Regent III.
The design for the Regent III (RT) was a collaboration between the Associated Equipment Company (AEC) and London Transport (LT). The first prototype was built in June 1938 and was initially fitted with an old coach body before the body was completed at London Transport's Chiswick Works.
Only 150 RTs entered service before the outbreak of the Second World War. Immediately after the end of the war raw materials remained scarce and production didn't restart until 1947. Advances in technology and wartime production experience allowed AEC and LT to update the design and production methods for the RT.
The RT chassis was available with different bodies, manufactured by coachbuilders Park Royal Vehicles (PRV) and Metro Cammell Weymann (MCW). To speed up production coachwork was also manufactured by Cravens Ltd and Saunders Roe in small numbers.
By the time production ceased in 1954, 4,825 RTs had been built. The final RT, RT624, retired from service in April 1969. Additional RT-types were also produced by Leyland (the RTL), including a wider version, the RTW.