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'GM OLD LOOK ODDITIES'
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Mr. Linsky
BusTalk's Offical Welcoming Committee



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

PostPosted: Wed Aug 31, 2011 4:24 pm    Post subject: 'GM OLD LOOK ODDITIES' Reply with quote

While the greatest number of the nearly 40,000 Yellow/GM 'Old Look' passenger buses built in several variations between 1940 and 1968 were 'cookie cutter' or off the shelf models, some operators elected to customize their orders and the depth of those customizations usually depended upon the size of the contract as far as the manufacturer was concerned.

As an example, we see two views of fleet # 205 - a 1954 GM Model TDH 3714 operating for the Boise Urban Stages of Boise, Idaho.

In the oddity department, we note push open rear doors and the unusual second set of floor vents under the windshield that indicate that this bus, which was purchased used, may have come from a much warmer climate.

Even rarer on # 205 is the lack of an emergency door with an operating window in its place (emergency doors being mandatory in some states while not in others at the time).

Note the after market 'Michigan Markers' attached to the ThermoMatic intake over the destination sign and the completely self contained under floor Air Conditioning system which is another hint as to the warmer atmosphere that this bus could once have operated in.

Photos thanks to NorCal Bus Fans.

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




Last edited by Mr. Linsky on Fri Aug 16, 2013 4:49 pm; edited 1 time in total
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frankie



Age: 71
Joined: 01 Feb 2011
Posts: 699
Location: St. Peters, Mo.

PostPosted: Wed Aug 31, 2011 11:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Boise chose a very clever name their bus fleet and when used as a acronym spells out BUS. Note that their "City" license plate reflects this including the fleet number - the same format used on Honolulu's bus tags.

Frankie
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JimmiB



Age: 76
Joined: 19 Apr 2011
Posts: 516
Location: Lebanon, PA

PostPosted: Fri Sep 02, 2011 12:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nice looking bus. I guess that in Boise they don't have curbside bus stops. I would have knocked off that right side mirror in the first hour!
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timecruncher



Age: 68
Joined: 23 Dec 2008
Posts: 456
Location: Louisville, Kentucky

PostPosted: Fri Sep 02, 2011 7:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Those appear to be home made push doors. Louisville Transit Company did this to all of their old-look GM coaches except for a couple of the TG3201s. It appears that either GM or possibly Vapor Corp. offered a retrofit kit with which to do this.

A lot of systems went over to push doors because drivers were forever closing people in the rear doors and the resulting injury claims got to be costly.

Those of us who were around when these buses were everywhere should remember that the original doors tended to rust prematurely. The monocoque bodies were aluminum sheet, but the doors, alas, were stamped steel. Especially in areas where there was a lot of road salt, the doors were replaced early on with homemade versions that were, I'm sure, a lot less costly than the original equipment replacements that GM offered.

I don't think this was a problem too much with new look coaches, perhaps GM got wise and switched to aluminum for the doors on those coaches. By then push doors were available as an option and some properties opted for them while others stuck with driver-operated doors.

All but two or three of Louisville's TDH4507 units got homemade front doors as well, made from 1" thick lumber with window slits cut out to go along with the homemade push doors in the rear.

timecruncher
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Mr. Linsky
BusTalk's Offical Welcoming Committee



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PostPosted: Fri Sep 02, 2011 1:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

timecruncher,

The very obvious reason as to why the original rear doors on the GM Old Looks deteriorated prematurely was probably because they always opened outwardly exposing them to the weather much more so than the front doors which usually opened the other way.

Your mention of wooden doors brings to mind that requirement on all trolley coaches to reduce the chances of accidental shock to passengers in the event of a short in the overhead.

Regards,

Mr. 'L'
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frankie



Age: 71
Joined: 01 Feb 2011
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Location: St. Peters, Mo.

PostPosted: Fri Sep 02, 2011 4:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Timecruncher: I may have to respectfully disagree with you regarding the rear doors on the Boise buses being homemade. I believe that these were factory options as with most old looks buses with push open rear doors. One telltale feature are the rounded ends (top and bottom). I would think that homemade doors lack this feature for the ease of contruction. Do the retrofits offer this feature? As for factory options, most company who took the option opt for single window doors as opposed to double window doors - one on top and one at the bottom - similar to the front doors.

The Louisville buses you cited may be an exception as I haven't seen photos of them (yet).

All photos from eBay used for educational purposes only.


SINGLE WINDOW DOOR:



DOUBLE WINDOW DOOR:



TDH-3714:



MR. L: Here a good example of a set of rear 4-leaf folding doors in the process of slow deterioration by way of outward opening!

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timecruncher



Age: 68
Joined: 23 Dec 2008
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Location: Louisville, Kentucky

PostPosted: Sat Sep 03, 2011 6:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't doubt that push doors were available from the mid-fifties on with old look buses. Louisville's were home made, with locking and equalizing equipment [probably] from Vapor. I'll have to dig around and find one of my photos of a 4507 or 5103 from the right side for an example. [edit: Found a few photos!]

Another local outfit here in Louisville was Blue Motor Coach, which operated five suburban routes with transit-style buses. They had six or seven 4512 models and a couple of 3714 units, some of which had operator-controlled doors and a couple of which had factory push doors. All of the newlook buses BMC ultimately purchased had push doors. Interestingly, Blue Motor disconnected the brake interlock feature on their rear doors, which I found disturbing.

A wee bit before I began driving, Louisville Transit purchased around 16 of these TGH3201 units - five went to Capitol Transit in Frankfort in these colors, and the rest were used on feeder bus routes and the [then] lightly-patronized Eastern Parkway route. All came with driver-operated center doors, and two or three only were retrofitted with homemade push doors. Trivia - these units had only a few LTC route signs on their curtains, but also had signs for bus service in Frankfort!



TARC/LTC TDH4507 #798 in St. Matthews, I was running an AM tripper with this beauty in 1974. This bus was delivered new to Louisville Railway Company in 1948 with driver-actuated doors. Wish I had taken a pic of one of these with the front door shut - but if you look closely, you can see that it is also homemade. Only the 4507s got this treatment. TDH4007s, which lasted well into the 1960's as well as the 5103's, never got new doors fabricated for the entrance.



TARC/LTC TDH5103 #566 at the Taylor Blvd. Iroquois Park loop in south Louisville. Twenty five of these were delivered new in 1951, all had driver-controlled center doors, and all were eventually rebuilt with push doors:




timecruncher

Schedulers give you the runs!
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Mr. Linsky
BusTalk's Offical Welcoming Committee



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

PostPosted: Wed Sep 07, 2011 4:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

A member on another channel was wondering just what extras or options could be had on a GM 'New' Old Look (those are the ones with the paired windows 1948 to 1959).

Well, judging by the exterior of the attachment, the original owner went all the way not only with split sash passenger safety windows but with two extra pairs of stainless steel bars under the windshield and the 'mini' silversides strip below the window line (usually seen on suburban models).

The photo which was taken in 1975 (and, I'm going to have to wing the rest of this because of the lack of details), is either a late phase 4509 or any 4512 and carries fleet # 156 with the flag of the Allentown (Pa.) Transit Lines.

The company does not show up as an original buyer in OMT records at least for the models mentioned and it is likely that 156 came from neighboring New Jersey where safety windows or bars were required.

Image courtesy of eBay.

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

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roymanning2000



Age: 70
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 08, 2011 7:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

A lot of buses operated by the Red & Tan companies in New Jersey had these additional ornamental bars under the windshield.

Roy
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RailBus63
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Joined: 16 Apr 2007
Posts: 1063

PostPosted: Thu Sep 08, 2011 7:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great shots, Cliff! How was it driving those buses without a right-hand mirror, especially the behemoth 5103's?

Jim
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timecruncher



Age: 68
Joined: 23 Dec 2008
Posts: 456
Location: Louisville, Kentucky

PostPosted: Thu Sep 08, 2011 8:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Not as bad as you might think. We were trained to make turns and to "drive right" at all times, and there were few accidents that might have been avoided because of the lack of a right-side mirror.

Louisville is an old city with lots of low-hanging Elm and Catalpa trees lining the curbs in many neighborhoods. LTC got tired of replacing right-side mirrors (and marker lamps) early on, so mirrors were not used. When new look buses came with them standard, they were all removed until after TARC takeover, when flip-out door-mounted right mirrors were eventually installed.

The "big 500s" were a favorite of mine to drive because of the deep-throated roar from that 6-71 Detroit in back. It was the same engine as in the 4507s, but it sounded different! I can still hear them growling through the long railroad underpass on 4th Street near U of L. Southbound, I was known to slow down in anticipation of the traffic signal at Montana Avenue just so I could listen for the "shh-clunk" of the tranny into hydraulic drive, drop the hammer and hear that big engine load up!

timecruncher
That's not a bus - this here's a bus!

These sissy 4-stroke Cummins engines and electronic trannies nowadays just don't have the soul of an inline nonturbo Detroit. 'Nuff said!
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RailBus63
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 08, 2011 11:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

timecruncher wrote:
These sissy 4-stroke Cummins engines and electronic trannies nowadays just don't have the soul of an inline nonturbo Detroit. 'Nuff said!


No kidding. The 92-series Detroit was the last decent-sounding bus engine in my opinion.
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traildriver




Joined: 26 Mar 2011
Posts: 1157
Location: Queens, NY

PostPosted: Thu Sep 08, 2011 10:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

RailBus63 wrote:
timecruncher wrote:
These sissy 4-stroke Cummins engines and electronic trannies nowadays just don't have the soul of an inline nonturbo Detroit. 'Nuff said!


No kidding. The 92-series Detroit was the last decent-sounding bus engine in my opinion.


Agreed! The two-stroke Detroit's 'ruled the road'. Too bad the pollution issues could not be surmounted to continue their realm.... Sad
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Mr. Linsky
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 09, 2011 1:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This just in!

Reliable sources tell me that Allentown # 146 (pictured again below) was a 1955 TDM 4512 and one of five (145 to 149) originally purchased by Red and Tan Lines/Rockland Coaches, Inc. of New Jersey.

Keeping the same fleet number, 146 then found its way to Passaic Athenia Bus Company and finally to Allentown.

Those of you who speculated Red and Tan were correct!

Regards,

Mr. 'L'

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Mr. Linsky
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 17, 2011 1:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Times Theater in Downtown Cincinnati features The Andromeda Strain so it must be early 1971 that we see fleet # 155 - a 1951 GM Coach Model TDH 5103 and one of eighty numbered between 101 and 180 delivered to the Cincinnati Street Railway Company in that year.

In the oddities department we note the unusual use of a single long safety bar stretching across both the forward and aft sets of passenger windows and unbroken except for the rear door.

This system by no means meets the goal of preventing elbows and flailing arms from protruding to the exterior as does the optional stationary lower sash but does discourage full upper torso involvement.

Also of note on #155 is the lack of factory directional signals with under headlamp after market substitutes later installed ala Fifth Avenue Coach.

Thirty-Two of Cincinnati's 5103's were sent to Atlanta in 1972 but # 155 was not among them.

Photo courtesy of Bruce K. of eBay.

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

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