Flxible New Look

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A Flxible New Look preserved by the MTA.

The Flxible New Look bus was a line of transit buses manufactured and sold in the United States. It was a major competitor to the popular New Look bus from General Motors.

History

Flxible introduced their own "New Look" design in 1960. Regular production began in 1961, replacing the Flxible Twin model. The Flxible New Look was produced until 1978 when it was replaced by the "870" Advanced Design Bus. Over its 17-year production run a totalof 13,121 New Looks were manufactured.

Interested in entering the Canadian market, Flxible licensed their New Look design to Canadair in 1965. Canadair was an aircraft manufacturer located in the Montreal, Quebec, suburb of Saint-Laurent. The 40-foot transit bus was assigned model number CL-218. Only 50 buses, ordered by the Commission de transport de Montréal, were ever produced. They were the only Flxible-design New Looks with a double rear exit door.

Design

The Flxible New Look looked similar to General Motors's New Look design. Both buses had a large 6-piece "fishbowl" windshield, fluted aluminum siding, and oblique passenger windows. The first model introduced was 40 feet long and 102 inches wide. In 1963, Flxible introduced 31, 33, and 35 foot models that were 96 inches wide.

By the end of the 1950s, GM was forced to sell its engines and transmissions to other manufacturers, free of royalties. Like GM's New Look, the Flxible bus could be fitted with a 6 or 8-cylinder Detroit Diesel Series 71 engine. Unlike GM, however, Flxible also used the inline 4-cylinder Series 71 engine. Furthermore, while GM did not offer an 8-cylinder engine in their 35-foot bus, Flxible did. The alternative to Detroit Diesel engines came from Cummins. The majority of Flxible New Look buses used diesel-fueled engines, but the Chicago Transit Authority placed an order for 150 propane fueled buses in the mid-1960s.

The standard Flxible New Look had quad headlights. Buses built in Evergreen (or to the Evergreen design) had only two headlights.

In 1964 Flxible introduced a suburban model intended for longer distance highway routes. The buses were equipped with all forward-facing high-backed seats and overhead luggage racks. They did not have a rear exit door or standee windows.

Model designations

Letter and number designations gave a basic description of the type of bus.

First generation (1960–0969)

Company Width Fuel Engine Length Engine mount Configuration Luggage Air conditioning
F = Flxible 2 = 102"
  • Omitted for 96" buses
D = Diesel
P = Propane
47 = Detroit Diesel 4-71
6V = Detroit Diesel 6V71
6VT = Detroit Diesel 6V71: T-drive transmission
6V5 = Detroit Diesel 6V71: built in Evergreen
V8C = Cummins 165-285
  • Omitted for propane-fueled buses
-31 = 31 ft1
-33 = 33 ft1
-35 = 35 ft1
-40 = 40 ft
1 = Transverse -1 = Transit
-7 = Suburban1
-UL = Under-floor luggage storage1
  • Omitted for buses without this feature
-AC = Air conditioning
  • Omitted for buses without air conditioning
Notes:
  1. Buses with this designation were available only in a 96" wide version.
21 buses were built between 1963 and 1966 at the former Southern Coach Manufacturing Co. plant in Evergreen, Alabama.
Canadair (1965–1966)
  • Designation: CL-218
  • Similar to the F2D6V-401-model (40' (12.2 m) long × 102" (2.59 m) wide), but with McKay gates, double rear exit and no air conditioning.
  • 50 buses built for the Montreal Transporation Commission (numbers 5051 to 5100). One demonstrator also sent to the RATP (Paris, France) for testing but it rarely ran because the bus was too wide for Paris' streets.

Second generation (1966–1973)

Build location Type Length Width Engine Air conditioning
1 = Loudonville, Ohio
4 = Evergreen, Alabama3
11 = Transit with a transversely mounted engine C = 40 ft
D = 35 ft
G = 33 ft
H = 31 ft
C = 102"
D = 96"
-C1 = Cummins 165-285
-C3 = Cummins 903
-D1 = Detroit Diesel 4-71
-D4 = Detroit Diesel 6V71
-D5 = Detroit Diesel 6V71: V-drive transmission
-D6 = Detroit Diesel 8V71
-1: Air conditioning
  • Omitted for buses without air conditioning
Notes:
3. 15 model 411 buses were built in Ohio in 1967.

Third generation (1973–1978)

Nominal seating capacity Width Engine Air conditioning
35 = 31 ft
45 = 35 ft
53 = 40 ft
096 = 96"
102 = 102"
-6 = Detroit Diesel 6V71
-8 = Detroit Diesel 8V71
-0 = No air conditioning
-1 = Air conditioning

See also

The Flxible Flxette was a 19-passenger minibus that had many design features of the Flxible New Look, including a 6-piece windshield, diamond-shaped windows, and fluted siding.