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Scenicruiser/Eagle production years
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NEW YORK OMNIBUS 2629




Joined: 18 Dec 2007
Posts: 5199
Location: NEW JOISEY

PostPosted: Tue Mar 28, 2017 11:15 am    Post subject: Scenicruiser/Eagle production years Reply with quote

Fellows:

I have always been a bit puzzled as to why Scenicruiser production only lasted from 1954 through 1956, while the production of the EAGLE began circa 1957, and ran through the 1980's.

Why was SCENICRUISER production so short, while the production of the EAGLE lasted for decades?

I have always enjoyed speculating as to how the Scenicruiser design would have evolved through the 60's and 70's, though still retaining its basic recognizable overall appearance.......

Your thoughts?

"NYO"
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Hart Bus



Age: 68
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 28, 2017 11:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think that the GM deck and a half (PD 41xx and PD 49xx) was the answer.
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NEW YORK OMNIBUS 2629




Joined: 18 Dec 2007
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 28, 2017 1:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hart Bus wrote:
I think that the GM deck and a half (PD 41xx and PD 49xx) was the answer.


I STILL, to this day, refer to "Buffalos" as "Baby Scenicruisers"! Wink

Still, there was the span of roughly a decade between the last SCENICRUISER produced and the first "Buffalo"; no matter, it's all fascinating, nonetheless.......


"NYO"
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Q65A



Age: 61
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 28, 2017 5:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Not sure about the answer to this question, but I checked Larry Plachno's book Modern Intercity Coaches to find out more info about the Scenicruiser:
1. Greyhound initially had ordered 500 Scenicruisers from GM, with deliveries starting in August 1954.
2. A follow up order for 500 more buses was placed, with final deliveries ending in June 1956.
3. Dimensions were 40 feet long, 96" wide, and 11'2" high.
4. Air ride suspension was used.
5. The as-built drive train was quite unusual: two 4-71 Detroit Diesels jointly drove a fluid coupling, driving a 3-speed mechanical transmission that also had a 2-speed splitter for a total of 6 forward speeds. Apparently some Scenicruisers used an electric clutch, adding further complexity to an already complicated powertrain.
6. Perhaps not surprisingly, Greyhound encountered many problems with this powertrain, but they had to suffer these troubles until GM launched the 8V-71, which was sufficiently powerful to replace the dual four-banger arrangement. Interestingly, when Greyhound sought to have GM perform engine swaps on the Scenicruisers, GM declined, and instead Marmon Herrington got the contract, performing this upgrade from late 1961 to late 1962 on 980 buses (which were only 6-8 years old). Scenicruisers repowered this way were re-designated by Greyhound as "PD4501R".
7. Plachno commented that a PD4501R was the functional equivalent of a GM PD4106 (which came with the 8 cylinder Detroit as standard equipment, but in a 35-foot coach) which cost far less than a Scenicruiser (especially given it was a Greyhound exclusive design).
8. By 1966, Greyhound was receiving GM PD-4107's, which ultimately would be the last GM buses ordered by Greyhound. Ominously for GM, MCI started delivering MC-5A's to their parent Greyhound around the same time.
9. A true Scenicruiser replacement eventually came from MCI in 1968: the MC-7 (MCI's first 40-footer that, unlike the ill-fated MC-6, was 96" wide and 8V-71 powered),
10. About 500 Scenicruisers remained on the Greyhound roster by 1973, and the very last units were retired in 1977-1978 (which at that time were running out their careers in San Francisco commuter service).
So, why did the Scenicruiser production last only 2 years?
Clearly, the coach was plagued by a complex powertrain design that ultimately proved to be a maintenance headache: Plachno noted that Scenicruisers were "by far the most costly buses on the road in conventional passenger service."
By contrast, early Eagle Model 01's were powered by MAN diesels driving semi-automatic ZF transmissions, a powertrain that was exotic by US standards but which apparently was well proven in European service.
Those BTN members who are or have been bus maintainers likely would agree that complex powertrains might be intriguing to engineers but are bad news in the real world.
Some bus historians have theorized that all the problems encountered with the Scenicruiser program ultimately prompted Greyhound to acquire a financial interest in MCI, which eventually doomed GM as a builder of intercity coaches.
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NEW YORK OMNIBUS 2629




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PostPosted: Tue Mar 28, 2017 5:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Q65A:

THANK YOU for taking the time to post this tremendous amount of historical Scenicruiser/Eagle trivia.......so much of great interest that still lies just below the surface, waiting to be discovered.

Until only a few years back, there was an OUTSTANDING Scenicruiser site on the 'net; anything and everything you wanted to know about the Scenicruiser was there.....the historical photo collection alone was exceptional!

Sadly, the site vanished into thin air, with nary a trace.

I recall, years ago, when NJT began operating Eagles; I saw them many times, but, for whatever reason, never got a chance to ride them.

If I am correct, they did not last all that long in service with NJT.

Again, greatly appreciate your time and input!

"NYO"
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Q65A



Age: 61
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 29, 2017 8:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My pleasure, New York Omnibus 2629, anytime!
The Scenicruiser was an iconic coach that symbolized Greyhound during their heyday.
It helped popularize the 40-foot coach concept at a time when 35 footers were the norm.
It arguably was one of the most successful "deck and a half" parlor coaches.
Apparently, even during its twilight years, the Scenicruiser was valued as a durable package hauler for Greyhound's express services: according to Plachno, the tandem rear axles removed from retired Scenicruisers were installed under certain MC-7's to improve their freight carrying capacity when running in Greyhound package express service.
The concept of custom designing a unique motor coach model (e.g. the Scenicruiser or Eagle)to serve as the flagship of a single bus line now is long gone. Today one might argue that such a practice is an ill-advised extravagance, but in years past the use of custom-designed equipment for exclusive use by a specific transportation company was not unusual. Railroads did this extensively for many years (e.g. PRR's GG-1, Burlington's Zephyrs). Truck historians also will note that certain now-famous brands originally were designed for specific carriers (e.g. Peterbilt was designed for Peterman Lumber Co. and Freightliner was designed specifically for use by Consolidated Freightways and its affiliates).
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NEW YORK OMNIBUS 2629




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PostPosted: Wed Mar 29, 2017 9:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Q85A:

Again, greatly appreciate the detailed input.....most interesting, to be sure! Very Happy

Dug this from my files; take notice of the design of this Spanish highway coach, which pre-dated the SCENICRUISER.......the overall design DOES look familar..... Wink

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pegaso_Z-403
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NEW YORK OMNIBUS 2629




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PostPosted: Thu Mar 30, 2017 10:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Recalling the SCENICRUISER's distinctive deck-and-a-half design, this early 50's coach design from Great Britain should be of some interest......

http://www.vintagebritishdiecasts.co.uk/dinky4/dinky29fxb.htm
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NEW YORK OMNIBUS 2629




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PostPosted: Sat Apr 01, 2017 2:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Personal thoughts on both the SCENICRUISER and the EAGLE......

Through the 60's, both the SCENICRUISER and the EAGLE (both Silver and Golden) epitomized the last of an era when long-distance bus travel was still both stylish and popular.

From the earliest models, the EAGLES, like the SCENICRUISERS, could not possibly be mistaken for any other type of highway coach; both types of buses were built during a time when modern coaches were sleek, stylish, and handsome.........and could not be mistaken for a giant, mutated insect or an oversize shoe box.

CONTINENTAL TRAILWAY's famed "5 Star Red Carpet Service" today, in 2017, seems light-years ago.......whatever happened to the glitz and glamour that was, at once, so associated with long-distance bus and rail travel?

Even more popular than toy EAGLE buses, the SCENICRUISER was, without a doubt, the most widely replicated real-life bus with postwar Japanese toy makers....the varieties of these wonderful old toys are many and varied.....take it from a fellow who has nearly 100 in his collection today! Shocked Wink

And, today, in 2017....the mystique of both the SCENICRUISER and the EAGLE continues to shine brightly......

"NYO"
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traildriver




Joined: 26 Mar 2011
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 01, 2017 3:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

To answer your original question as to why the Scenicruiser only was built from 1954-1956...

At around that time, GM and Greyhound were under fire by the US Government for various anti-trust cases, alleging unfair monopoly and and trade practices.

One of the complaints, was that Greyhound got priority treatment from GM, and always received the first choice for purchasing any new models. (Such as the all-new PD-4104.
They also complained that Greyhound got exclusive right to purchase the PD-4501 Scenicruiser (even though Greyhound's own engineers and designers, created that particular coach for GM to build).

So the government told GM that it could no longer give precedence to Greyhound in new deliveries, and also, that it would have to offer all its products to all who wished to purchase them.

Since by that time, Greyhound had 1,001 Scenicruiser's, representing close to a sixth of their total fleet....they decided that that was a sufficient number to be their flagship "halo" coach, used in principal, long distance mainline routes.
Further, since they owned the basic design, they exercised their right to order GM not to build any more for them, or anyone else...

Another result of the Greyhound-GM "divorce" by the government, was the requirement that Greyhound buy some coaches from other manufacturer's, and after searching, Greyhound 'discovered' that their subsidiary, Greyhound Lines of Canada, had a major stake in Motor Coach Industries, an old Winnipeg based minor bus manufacturer.
So Greyhound Lines bought its first MC-5 'Challenger's', and the rest is history..... Wink


Last edited by traildriver on Sun Apr 02, 2017 2:41 pm; edited 1 time in total
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NEW YORK OMNIBUS 2629




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PostPosted: Sat Apr 01, 2017 4:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

traildriver:

Thank you for a most interesting (and informative) read!

Just as GREYHOUND's huge fleet was dominated by GM products for many years, it was, by later in the 60's and 70's, that MCI coaches were indeed becoming the vanguard" of a "new (non-GM) look" for the carrier.

GREYHOUND ordered its last GM products from 1966 through 1967 ("Buffalos"); earlier, in 1962, according to GREYHOUND's Annual Report:

".......bus shells (for the MC-5 and future buses) will be manufactured and painted, and interiors finished by Motor Coach Industries Limited.......the completed shells will be shipped from Winnipeg to Pembina, where Motor Coach Industries, the United States bus-building company, will assemble the buses....."

(source: "THE GREYHOUND WAY", by Robert Gabrick)
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NEW YORK OMNIBUS 2629




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PostPosted: Sat Apr 01, 2017 7:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Shakespeare once wrote thusly:

".......A SCENICRUISER by any other name would look just as sleek....." Wink

"NYO"
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NEW YORK OMNIBUS 2629




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PostPosted: Sun Apr 02, 2017 10:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Also of interest:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PD-4501_Scenicruiser

http://www.greyhoundcoach.com/gallery.html
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NEW YORK OMNIBUS 2629




Joined: 18 Dec 2007
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 02, 2017 10:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

See also:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eagle_Bus

http://eaglesinternational.net/eagle-history

(courtesy: Eagle History.net)
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Q65A



Age: 61
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 02, 2017 5:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Terrific info, NYO 2629; thanks!!!
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