Clipper

Specification

  • Length: 35 feet (Some units were as short as 27 feet)
  • Width: 96 inches
  • Height: 114 inches
  • Wheelbase: 218 inches
  • Typical engines: Chevrolet/Buick
  • Seating: 21-37
  • Rear Luggage: 309 cubic feet
  • Aisle Width: 15 inches
  • Front door width: 24 inches

Production History

1937 – 1950: 4,400 built

The Flxible Company was founded in 1912 to build a motorcycle sidecar with a flexible connection to the motorcycle. Originally the Flexible Side Car Company, the name was intentionally misspelled in 1919 to permit the name to be copyrighted.

The first Flxible bus, a 12-passenger sedan on a Studebaker chassis, was delivered in 1924 from the Loudonville, Ohio factory and was followed by others, some with special body work as specified by the customer.

The original Clipper, built in 1937, had a Chevrolet chassis with the engine mounted in front. The wood-framed, 25-passenger body was built over the engine, giving the appearance of a rear-engine bus, except that the entrance door was behind the front axle. Somewhat streamlined, it had a family resemblance to later model Clippers.

The next year, 1938, the first all-metal Clipper had a rear engine, lighter weight and greater capacity. Although it looked more like the later Clippers, this model had vertical window pillars, a semi-rounded rear end, a flat windshield and no roof air scoop.

The famous 29-passenger Clipper, introduced in 1940, used a straight-eight Buick engine. Containing over 101 improvements, the 1940 Clipper had the round rear end and the air scoop on the roof. Angled window pillars were added in 1941. Production of Clippers ceased during World War II as Flxible built aircraft and blimp parts.

Clipper production resumed in 1944 with a curved windshield and new front sheet metal. Clipper models were produced also with “Visicoach” and “Starliner” designations which were all similar but differed in details. (Starliner buses were equipped with Torsolastic suspension and were manufactured as late as 1967.

Between 1946 and 1950, Flxible built the Airporters for deluxe transfer service between hotels and airports. The Airporter seated only 23 in extra-wide, three-abreast seating. The Buick engine was still used and the transmission was a four-speed. Airporters are identified by lack of a front destination sign.

Regarded as one of the classic early buses, nearly 4,400 Flxible Clippers were produced as airport coaches, sightseers, suburban and intercity buses. A few highway post offices were also built. The last Clipper was delivered on June 6, 1950 to Minnesota Transit Lines.

Some information from the Bus World Encyclopedia of Buses – 1988

More information at http://flxibleowners.org/

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