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Information and specifications on Flxible Coaches
Click on the links below to see the manuals available for that coach

Clipper SPECIFICATIONS

  • 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://www.flxible.net/

Thanks to Jim Powell for the photo
Flxible Hi-Level

Produced from 1959 to 1962, the Hi-Level was similar to the Vistaliner except that the raised roof was pushed forward to about three feet back of the windshield. Seating 39 passengers the Hi-Level had all high-level seats and a six-cylinder Detroit Diesel 6-71 engine with a five-speed, fully synchronized transmission. All were air conditioned.
Information from the Bus World Encyclopedia of Buses - 1988

More information at http://www.flxible.net/

Grumman

     In 1970, Flxible was acquired by Rohr Industries, an aerospace company in Chula Vista, California. During Rohr ownership, Flxible built a prototype Transbus which did not continue into production. Some Transbus features were included in the model 870 which was designed to the Advanced Design Bus specification.
     
Prior to delivery of the first model 870 in 1978, Rohr sold Flxible to Grumman Allied Industries. Under the new owner, Flxible became the Grumman Flxible Corporation and began delivery of 134 870s in April, 1978 to MARTA in Atlanta, Georgia.
     
The 1978 870s introduced large 10-inch leters on curtain-style destination signs which were the most easily-read ever built. Passengers and transit marketing departments liked them, but the all-electronic dot matrix signs were also being introduced and most major transit agencies specified the difficult-to-read dot matrix signs.
     
Soon after an order for 1,013 buses for New York City began delivery, hints of trouble began to surface. NYCTA eventually withdrew their 637 870s from service, claiming the buses were dangerous and inadequate to withstand the potholes of New York streets. Grumman acknowledged a potential structural weakness in some chassis components and, in December 1980, announced the details of a massive strengthening program in which 2,656 buses were rebuilt at several temporary centers around the country at a cost of over $7 million. All later production units had the structural improvements incorporated at the factory.
     
Grumman sold Flxible on August 1, 1983 to General Automotive Corporation of Ann Arbor, Michigan which now sells an Advanced Design Bus based on the 870, identified as the Metro. Under GAC ownership, the bus unit was renamed the Flxible Corporation.
Information from the Bus World Encyclopedia of Buses - 1988

More information at http://www.flxible.net/

New Look SPECIFICATIONS

  • Length: 30, 35, 40 feet
  • Width: 96, 102 inches
  • Height: 120 inches (124 with A/C)
  • Wheelbase: 176, 225, 285 inches
  • Turn radius: 29, 34, 41 feet
  • Typical engines:
    • DDA 8V-71
    • DDA 6V-71
    • Cummins 165-285, 903
  • Seating: 53 maximum
  • Luggage; none
  • Aisle Width: 21 inches
  • Front door width: 33 inches

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

More information at http://www.flxible.net/

Twin Level

Flxible built 208 of the split-level Vistaliner VL-100 in Loudenville, Ohio, from 1954 through 1958.  Continental Trailways purchased 126 of these 39-passenger buses. They could be ordered with either a Cummins JT 600 or General Motors 6-71 diesel engine. The VL-100 had a separate gasoline engine to power the air-conditioning. Some of the other companies to order this coach were Colorado Motorways, Missouri Transit Lines and Painter Bus Lines of Texas.
Information supplied by Jim Powell

More information at http://www.flxible.net/