Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Highway Buses of the 20th Century

Rare Spartan coach expected for historic bus gathering

We got an e-mail over the weekend from classic bus enthusiast and historian Tom McNally, who’s at work authoring a history of the GM Coach PD 4501, the fabled Greyhound Scenicruiser. Tom sent us some photos of buses from the past that are expected to attend an imminent gathering that he’s putting together. We wanted to share one of those photos because we’ve never seen a bus like this before. It’s a 1948 Spartan intercity coach, which Tom told us belongs to Don and Sandy Moyer of Eastlake, Ohio.

We had to do some research on this, finding some answers in William A. Luke and Linda L. Metler’s excellent book, Highway Buses of the 20th Century; and at Mark Theobald’s terrific Spartan was a very short-lived manufacturer that built buses from 1946 through 1949 in Sturgis, Michigan, just as an explosion in car sales was rapidly making its specialty, the mid-sized coach, obsolete. The number of side windows appears to identify the Moyers’ coach as a 21-passenger Spartan. They bore a very strong resemblance to the Flxible Clipper, but used an International Blue Diamond gas engine and five-speed Fuller transmission for power. At least five were apparently shipped to Syria. Spartan was later reborn as Cub Industries, building small city transit buses.
A horde of historic coaches is expected to be in attendance next week at the Ghosts of Highway 61 gathering that Tom is organizing for April 4-6 in Blytheville, Arkansas, at that city’s Greyhound terminal, which is on the National Register of Historic Places. For more information, visit

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