This page created 11th April 2012, updated 11th August 2018.
Optare had had success in offering its stylish bodies on established chassis: the Optare Prisma on Mercedes, the Optare Delta on DAF, the Optare Vecta on MAN. The Excel was its first large integral bus, aiming at the Leyland National replacement market, and offering a low floor to a bus industry suddenly awake to this idea.
It was certainly stylish, although drivers likened it to being in a huge goldfish bowl, especially when the sun was shining. But the sun didn't shine on the Excel for long. They proved mechanically unreliable. Many companies soon found their availability figures plummeting. That said, some companies mastered the Excel, and have had long service from them.
XL376 finishes a journey on the 108 at Lewisham Bus Station, August 2002.
They went to a variety of companies in the old London Transport area, mainly in the suburbs.