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'HONOLULU'S LITTLE HILLCLIMBERS'

 
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Mr. Linsky
BusTalk's Offical Welcoming Committee



Joined: 16 Apr 2007
Posts: 5071
Location: BRENTWOOD, CA. - WOODMERE, N.Y.

PostPosted: Thu Nov 04, 2010 5:27 pm    Post subject: 'HONOLULU'S LITTLE HILLCLIMBERS' Reply with quote

Those of you who have been to Hawaii and particularly Honolulu and have done any bit of sightseeing will know that the hills surrounding that city are as steep as they come.

As the then major transit carrier for the region, Honolulu Rapid Transit Company (HRT) was obligated to service the lower volume routes that spiraled up through the hills and tried to do so using small capacity Ford Transits but found them lacking enough strength and power to maintain their schedules.

The solution to the problem came from HRT's own spare fleet of surplus GM TD 4505's and 6's that they had purchased from the U.S. Navy upon the end of World War II.

Eight of their twelve ex Navy single door buses were cut down by three full windows which reduced seating capacity from 46 to 34 while still maintaining the powerful 6-71 Diesel engines.

The experiment turned out to be very successful and drivers dubbed the little buses as 'The Hillclimbers'.

In a picture taken at a city storage lot in August of 1972 we see HRT fleet number 414 - a 1942 Yellow Coach Model TD 4505 in its shortened state.

Note that due to the fact that aluminum was in short supply these buses were fabricated of thin steel panels and that the two ridges running along the lower edge of the body were meant for strengthening.

Photo courtesy of the Motor Bus Society.

Mr. Linsky - Green Bus Lines, Inc., Jamaica, New York

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Brandon314159



Age: 32
Joined: 13 Feb 2011
Posts: 9
Location: Portland, OR

PostPosted: Thu Feb 17, 2011 3:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

What would have been the likely transmission mated up to the 6-71 on these buses? V-Drive auto or some manual box?
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Mr. Linsky
BusTalk's Offical Welcoming Committee



Joined: 16 Apr 2007
Posts: 5071
Location: BRENTWOOD, CA. - WOODMERE, N.Y.

PostPosted: Thu Feb 17, 2011 5:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Brandon,

Unfortunately, in that part of the GM Old Look era between 1940 and mid 1946, the transmission data was not translated to the builder's plates in the form of an 'H' or an 'M' so it is rather difficult to say how the Hawaii 4505's pictured were configured originally.

I would certainly add though that, for their particular steep hill assignments, they would have fared much better with mechanical shifts.

The U.S. Navy purchased hundreds of these buses during the war and probably outfitted them with what best served the particular purpose.

Regards,

Mr. 'L'

P.S.; I see that your Avatar is a picture of the 'Ghost' - good for you!
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