Old Coaches

 

 

Here we will examine some of the older coaches. Some of you (and me) have driven some of these, and can fondly remember our first MC8! I'm sure there are some of you who remember your first J4500...

But, without further ado, lets explore some of these older coaches.

GM Buffalo bus is the slang term for several models of intercity motorcoaches built by the GM Truck and Coach Division of the General Motors Corporation at Pontiac, Michigan between 1966 and 1980. "Buffalo" buses have a stepped roof in front, and the first three rows of seats are at different levels, mounted on stepped floors similar to some theatre seating.

1968 GMC PD 4903

1969 GMC PD 4107 (This unit has a new life as a conversion)

1969 PD4903A of Baltimore and Annapolis Railroad Company.

The first Eagles were the Golden Eagles made by the German Company Kässbohrer. The first 54 Eagle coaches built of the 200 contracted by Continental Trailways were these Golden Eagles. Four of those 54 coaches were articulated buses that were longer and bent in the middle. All of these coaches were of the "Setra Design" which meant that they had a chassis-less frame called selbst tragend (self-carrying). The bus was called "Setra" from the first letters of both words. A slightly less equipped model called "Silver Eagle" with the traditional silver siding was designed and became standardized as the fleet bus for Continental Trailways.

In the late 1950s, Kässbohrer announced its decision to concentrate on European coaches, and Continental Trailways formed their own company Bus & Car Co. with a Belgian partner. Kässbohrer built the first Model 01s, then Bus & Car picked up the production. The Trailways Eagles provided a noticeably more comfortable ride than the competing Greyhound MCI coaches. During rides between Boston and New York in the middle 1960s, Trailways and Greyhound ran competitive services with hourly departure schedules, which allowed good baseline comparisons for frequent travelers. The Eagles were warmer in the winters, had a softer ride, better upholstery and cushioning on the seats and offered a much quieter cabin.

A small amount of other models were built in Belgium for different markets through 1968. In 1968 the Model 05 was introduced and was produced in Belgium.

In the early 1970s, drivers referred to Old Eagles and New Eagles. The Old Eagles had the tag axle located behind the drive axle, like a MCI. The New Eagles had the tag axle located in front of the drive axle which made them very interesting to drive. The front suspension was very soft with a lot of travel and since the tag axle torsion bar was pushing the front end up also, some drivers said it was like driving a diving board. The front end went up and down at the slightest provocation and occasionally the driver had to hang on tight to the steering wheel to stay in his seat. A few New Eagles had air ride seats and some drivers would take the hydraulic jack from the tool kit and set it under the seat to keep it from moving up and down. They said the front end of the bus moved up and down enough on its own!

In 1974 Eagle International, Inc. started building coaches in Brownsville, Texas, United States, and for two years, the Model 05 was built both in Belgium and Texas. Since 1976, all US-bound coaches have been built in Texas. The Model 10 was introduced with many design changes in 1980. In 1985 the Model 15 was introduced making the standard bus 102 inches wide, then four years later coaches could be ordered 45 feet long. In 1987 Greyhound purchased Trailways and Eagle International, Inc. The name was then changed to Eagle Bus Mfg. Inc. In the 1990s, Greyhound declared bankruptcy, which also included all of its subsidiaries including Eagle Bus Mfg. Inc. Some Eagles were being made, mostly "Entertainer Coaches" for celebrities.

Trailways Eagle 05.

Pawtuxet Valley Eagle 05.

Michaud Eagle 05.

American Eagle, Eagle model 10.

Trailways Eagle 10 at night.

Eastern Bus Eagle 10.

Fitzgerald Model 10.

Peter Pan Eagle 10.

Harran Coachways Model 10.

Another Peter Pan Eagle 10.

Three Rivers Travel Model 15.

Model 20 Demonstrator.

Free Enterprise Model 20.

The company was incorporated in 1933 as Fort Garry Motor Body and Paint Works Limited, in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada by Harry Zoltok. In 1948 Greyhound Lines of Canada, at that time MCI's major customer, became a majority shareholder when it purchased 65% of the company. MCI was purchased outright by Greyhound Lines in 1958. In 1962 a new plant was opened in Pembina, North Dakota to increase capacity as Greyhound widened its markets and switched increasingly from GMC to its own in-house products. In 1974 another plant was opened in Roswell, New Mexico under the title Transportation Manufacturing Corporation (TMC)

In December 1986, Greyhound was split, with Greyhound Lines being sold to an investor group, and Greyhound Lines of Canada, MCI and TMC remaining part of The Greyhound Corporation, which was renamed Dial, Inc. in 1991.

In 1987, Greyhound Corporation bought the transit bus manufacturing operations of General Motors Diesel Division (GMC), which was based in Canada. (GM phased out intercity and transit bus construction at the large GMC Coach and Truck plant in Pontiac, Michigan facility, shifting medium duty school bus chassis production to Janesville, Wisconsin.)

MCI also took over production of GM's RTS model, transferring production to TMC. MCI also purchased the GM bus assembly plant in Saint-Eustache Quebec that produced GM's Canadian transit bus model the Classic. TMC ceased production of the older MCI vehicles in 1990 to concentrate on manufacturing the RTS, and on the "A-Model" intercity coaches.

In 1993 MCI became an independent corporation, Motor Coach Industries International Inc. In 1994 MCI merged with DINA S.A. of Mexico, and over the course of the next couple of years developed the Viaggio 1000 DOT for production and sale to the U.S and Canada. In late 1999/2000 the G4100, G4500 and F3500 models were released to the U.S. and Canadian markets under the new MCI Mexico structure. Production of the G4100 and G4500 later moved to Winnipeg and Pembina.

TMC, including production rights for the RTS, was sold to NovaBus in 1994.

After a period of falling demand, increased competition and lay-offs in the early 2000s, production at MCI plants in Winnipeg, Manitoba and Pembina, North Dakota increased in 2006, and 130 employees were added.

During the early 2000s, MCI consolidated its operations. A facility in Mexico was closed and the Winnipeg site was expanded and modernized. A new coach finishing and paint facility and customer delivery centre were constructed on the site. At the same time, a 7-year contract was attained with the IAMAW union local. This agreement contained cost improvements and production operations flexibility to improve the productivity and competitiveness of the manufacturing and assembly operations.

The buses, especially the older MC-8 and workhorse MC-9 models of the 1980s became the standard for interstate travel for many bus companies. Those particular buses featured metal frames and roof supports, metal panels on the sides and were extremely durable and reliable. Many of the buses, having survived millions of miles of commercial use, have been given a second career serving churches or other organizations, while the MCI / TMC coaches are very popular "conversion shells," used for motorhomes.

Currently, the "J" and "D" models are the leading coaches in the North American intercity coach market.

The MCI model list is extensive, but we will be concentrating on the MC5, 7, 8, and 9 on this page. The 6 is missing because they were 102 inch wide when that wasnt allowed on the road. There is one good one owned by Allstate (see picture below) and there were less than 100 ever built.

Happy Times Tours MC5.

Yellowstone Parks MC5.

This is the beautiful MC6 I was referring to...It's 102 wide and VERY heavy.

Here's a MC7, owned by Sun Set Stages.

Ansett Pioneer MC7.

PCL MC-8.

Kerrville Bus Lines, MC-8.

Friendlys workhorse, the MC9 Crusader II.

James River had a buch of MC9's as well, as did just about everyone.

A couple of Peter Pans MC9's.

Royal Coach Tours and their MC9.

A backside view of the Wisconsin Coach MC9.

M&L Charters and their example of the MC9.

 

I want to thank Wikipedia for allowing me to use their historical research in the making of this page.

 

Much more on the way!

 

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