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Twin Coach Oddities

 
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fishbowl



Age: 70
Joined: 01 Sep 2010
Posts: 62
Location: Detroit

PostPosted: Sat Apr 20, 2013 10:14 pm    Post subject: Twin Coach Oddities Reply with quote

Here's a surprise (to me):

My memory of bus history is that Flxible, which bought Twin Coach in 1955, used both names on its transit buses until 1963, when it finally dropped the Twin Coach name.

Then, in 1968, a company called Highway Products began building a small bus in Kent, Ohio, for which it revived the Twin Coach name, building about 900 of these buses before going bankrupt in 1975.

Here's a brochure that shows the bus Highway Products built:



And yet, I recently ran across this (factory, I assume) photo of a demonstrator bus built by Highway Products (it says so in the destination sign) that bears no resemblance to their 1968 bus, but instead looks like a Flx-Twin (or Fageoliner), minus the aluminum waistline trim and sporting dual headlights and an elongated six-piece windshield.



What I can't figure out is where exactly this Fageoliner look-alike from Highway Products fits into the scheme of things. Can anyone help?
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Mr. Linsky
BusTalk's Offical Welcoming Committee



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

PostPosted: Sun Apr 21, 2013 1:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

fishbowl,

From a really technical point of view, Twin Coach officially went out of the bus building business in the early fifties but did license The Flxible Corporation to build their latest product for a ten year period at Flxible's Loudonville, Ohio plant with shared billing on the badges in that period.

Apparently, a former director of Twin Coach then opened Highway Products and used the Twin Coach trademark to manufactured his 900 or so buses at Twin's old plant in Kent, Ohio.

As far as the Fageol look alike goes it might be that Highway put it together with NOS Twin parts leftover from the last run of Twins by Flxible.

What makes it even more mysterious is the fact that not one word about it or a picture of it shows up in Luke's 'Fageol & Twin Coach Buses 1922-1956' which includes an entire chapter devoted to Highway Products.

Hope I've helped you.

Regards,

Mr. 'L'
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fishbowl



Age: 70
Joined: 01 Sep 2010
Posts: 62
Location: Detroit

PostPosted: Sun Apr 21, 2013 6:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mr. L,
Many thanks for correcting my Twin Coach-Flxible timeline with more precise/accurate information. (And thanks for staying awake in the wee hours of the morning to respond to my post!)

Perhaps the vehicle in the photo was Highway Products' first attempt at reviving a Twin Coach-named bus in the sixties. It would make sense for them to fall back on a previously successful design (especially if NOS Twin parts were still available) (after all, they were occupying the old Twin plant in Kent!) before coming up with an entirely new bus.

One wonders, however, whether Highway Products built this demonstrator with or without Flxible's permission, since, at that point, Flx had the rights to old Twin Coach designs.

Since, as you pointed out, there apparently exists no record, even in Luke's authoritative book, of the origin of the bus in the photo, it's fun to speculate. The mystery remains!
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frankie



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

PostPosted: Sun Apr 21, 2013 11:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mr L & Fishbowl: When I first saw the photo, something clicked into my mind that I've seen this bus before. With a little searching, I found it! What you have here is a Highway Products HB-35 built in 1961 on the frame of a highway post office. The information source and photo below courtesy of MCA July-Sept 2006 issue. This bus was Terminal Island (CA) Transit Co. #610.

It used body parts made on Twin Coach Fageoliner tooling after Flxible went to the new look design. Since it was powered by an underfloor Mack diesel, it originally carried a Mack badge as seen in the top photo just below the center windshield post. Since it was based on the HPO, note the taller windshield and rear window when compared to a normal production pre-Flxible TC. Nevertheless, no other copy was every made.

Note that the bottom photo is the same bus and same setting as the one in the photo that fishbowl provided. The top photo shows the bus in revenue service.

Hope this information helps!

Frankie

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fishbowl



Age: 70
Joined: 01 Sep 2010
Posts: 62
Location: Detroit

PostPosted: Sun Apr 21, 2013 12:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks, frankie!

What I know now that I didn't know before:

1. Being made in 1961, this bus does, in fact, predate the freshly designed TC-25.
2. It did use older-style, Twin Coach/Fageoliner-tooled body parts.
3. Flxible didn't need to worry about Highway Products copying a design it owned because they had already moved on to the New Look design.
4. Apparently it was acceptable to put a Mack emblem on the bus just because the engine was a Mack.

Fascinating!
Mystery solved.
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Mr. Linsky
BusTalk's Offical Welcoming Committee



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

PostPosted: Tue Apr 23, 2013 12:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Any of you Flxible watchers recognize the bus pictured below or the model thereof?

It apparently belongs or did belong to Keystone Tours as fleet #19 operating charter out of Pennsylvania and is signed for Pocono Downs in Wilkes-Barre.

There is nothing quite like it in either of Luke's books (Flxible or Fageol/Twin Coach) and the after market air conditioning on the roof is the first one I've seen on a Flxible (that is not to say that there never were others!).

Photo courtesy of 'Vintage-Vault75' and is up for bid on eBay as item # 171025834924.

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

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frankie



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

PostPosted: Tue Apr 23, 2013 1:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would venture a guess that this is a rebuild probably from an accident using parts from various buses along with some in-house prefabrication.

It looks like the windows were taken from the Clipper. The passenger side windows look longer (and only 4) than those on the driver's side. I'm sure the emergency door had to do with the different lengths. The entry door is a one piece sedan type. The unusual rounded shape of the driver's and door window look homemade. However, it looks like the window sash at least on the driver's side is square with the rounded outer skin over it.

Both front and rear are TC designs (note the TC rear windows). The double wheelwells are early Flxible new look, yet the lower panel with the two top hinged access doors are TC. The Flxible badge is off a Clipper, otherwise it would have carried the combo Flxible/TC badge typical after the Flxible takeover.

Someone had a good time designing and putting this one together! This is indeed a strange one and I'm sure it's probably the only one.

Thanks Mr. L for the photo!

Frankie
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