In 1977 CIE asked bus designer, Otto Schultz of Hamburg Consult to design a new bus family based on GM engines and Rockwell axles and Allison transmission. He along with FFG Hamburg built KD1. All of the KD class were built by Canadian bus/rail manufacturer Bombardier at the former Rippon Piano factory in Shannon in the west of Ireland. The KD class had Detroit Diesel 6V71 engines and Allison V731 fully automatic transmission with integral retarder and Rockwell axles. Between 1981 and 1983 366 buses were built. After about two years in service structural problems began to occur and proved costly for CIE to fix, much of this was caused by the roughness of Irish roads. The KD class were the backbone of DCS throughout the 1980s and early 1990s. From the day they entered service they wore the two-tone green livery and were withdrawn in that livery however examples that went to Bus Éireann gained red&white livery and also gained an extra red stripe between the two decks. The last remaining KDs were withdrawn in the last few months of 2000. In January 2001 KD 353 along with KD 114 & KC 100 operated a farewell trip for the KD/KC classes on the route 11 & route 8. Ironically the route 8 was the first route to operate the KDs in 1981 and the last in 2001 after 20 years in service.
KD353 is preserved by the Transport Museum Society of Ireland at Howth. KD156,184 are preserved by Kells Transport Museum, KD70 is in the Glasgow Bus Museum in Scotland, KD199, KD221, KD236 and KD241 are privately preserved.
Below: KD353 at the National Transport Museum in Howth on Saturday 6 July 2002.