New Look

PRODUCTION HISTORY 1961 - 1978: 12,993 built

Flxible acquired the production rights to the Twin Coach transit design and built its first transit bus in 1953 on an order of 300 for Chicago’s CTA. When production was discontinued in 1959, 1,033 had been built.

The first Flxible partial new look was Chicago Transit Authority No. 8499, delivered in 1960, which had a new-look front end/windshield assembly, matched to an old-look Twin Coach body. The unusual bus was removed from regular service in 1974 and placed in CTA’s historic collection. The first Flxible in the full new-look style was CTA No. 8500, delivered in 1961. For several years the buses were marketed with the name Flxible-Twin Coach.

In 1970, Flxible was acquired by Rohr Industries, an aerospace company in Chula Vista, California. Production of new-look transit buses was shifted from Loudonville to Delaware, Ohio in 1974. The old factory in Loudonville, Ohio became a parts warehouse and subassembly manufacturing facility.

The last Flxible new-look was delivered to Metro Regional Transit in Akron, Ohio on October 31, 1978, bringing the total of new-look Flxibles to 13,121 including 128 suburbans. A higher production figured announced by Flxible was reduced by 131 units by Flxible historians Thomas Albert and John H. McKane to account for orders which were cancelled before production.

The model numbering system used by Flxible from 1968 through 1973 covered both intercity and transit buses. With groups of symbols, the numbers specified the basic coach type, the length and width, the engine type and manufacturer, and indicated amenities such as lavatory and air conditioning.

In 1973 the model numbering system was simplified because it no longer needed to accommodate intercity coaches. The first digit group indicated length and width. Length was indicated by the first two digits (53=40’, 45=35’, 35=30’). Width was indicated by the last three digits (102 or 096). Most buses were using Detroit Diesel engines, so “6” indicated the 6V71 and “8” indicated the 8V71. The final symbol was either “0” for no air conditioning or “1” for air conditioning. A typical model produced during this time is the 53102-8-1.

In 1978 with the introduction of the Model 870, Flxible changed its model numbering system again, however the former model numbers show on the builders plates of 870s produced through late 1980. Under the new system, the first two digits were the length in feet. Engines were “6N” for the 6V71, “6T” for the 6V92, “6C” for the Cummins L10, and “8” for the Detroit Diesel 8V71. Engine designations were dropped in 1985.

Information from the Bus World Encyclopedia of Buses - 1988

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