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Gillig Corporation
Gillig Logo-a.png
Company Type Bus Manufacturer
Foundation 1890
Founder Jacob Gillig
Location Livermore, California, United States
Area Served United States
Industry Manufacturing
Products Transit Buses

Gillig Corporation is an American manufacturer of heavy-duty transit buses located in Livermore, California. Prior to 1993, Gillig had also been a manufacturer of school buses; and prior to May 2017, Gillig had been headquartered in Hayward, California. Currently, Gillig produces around 1,200 to 1,300 buses a year.


The company was founded by Jacob Gillig in 1890 in San Francisco, CA where he opened a carriage and wagon shop. He was joined by his son Leo in 1896. The original shop was destroyed by fire in the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, but was reopened by Leo in 1914 as the Leo Gillig Automobile Works manufacturing automobile, hearse, truck, and bus bodies. In 1920, Leo's brother Chester Gillig joined the company. He introduced and patented the "California Top" roof construction style which consisted of a hard-top roof and drop-sliding windows. Around this time, the company became known as Gillig Bros.

In 1929, they built their first bus followed three years later with their very first school bus body built. After their first bus was built, Gillig had seen a sharp drop in sales for their other products, so they converted their manufacturing plant over to handle the construction of the school bus line, which almost immediately became Gillig’s number one business. A short time after Gillig experienced a drop in sales for their other products, and decided to focus solely on building school buses. In 1937, Gillig moved to a new, state-of-the-art construction facility in Hayward, CA where they built their first “transit-style” school bus. Gillig purchased Pacific Bus division of Kenworth Truck Company in 1957, and further developed their school bus range.

The company became known as the Gillig Corporation in 1969, with the purchase of the company by Herrick-Pacific Steel.

Gillig entered the transit buses market and partnered with Neoplan in 1977 to build a series of transit buses that had the option of propane fueled engines. However, the partnership was short-lived, only lasting until 1979. Gillig began designing a transit bus with AVIS Rent-a-Car, and the Phantom was introduced in 1982. Production of the Transit Coach School Bus ceased in 1982 as demand dwindled. However, with the success of the phantom a prototype school bus variation of the Phantom was built in 1985 and offered in 1986. But faced with dropping sales again, school bus production stopped in 1993. In 1997, Gillig produced their first low floor bus developed with Hertz. Initially purchased by rental car companies for use as shuttles, transit agencies soon began purchasing the low floor bus. With the popularity of low floor buses rising, the Phantom was discontinued in September 2008.

In 1996, Gillig built their first hybrid bus which used a diesel-electric series hybrid system. In 2001, the built their first diesel-electric parallel hybrid. This 40’ Gillig Phantom bus was powered by GM-Allison's EP40 hybrid system. Demonstrators were built, but few, if any, were produced for clients. In 2004, Gillig began offering a hybrid version of the Low Floor, which began Altoona testing in March of that year. The same year, Gillig along with ISE Corporation and Complete Coach Works unveiled a gasoline-electric hybrid version of the Phantom for Elk Grove Transit. These however saw little success as the fleet was plagued with problems and subsequently withdrawn. The diesel-electric hybrid Low Floor, would prove to become popular with approximately 40 transit agencies ordering them. In a further development in alternative fuel, Gillig partnered with Enviromech Industries in March 2010 to supply CNG systems for use in Gillig buses.

In August 2008, Gillig Corporation was purchased by Henry Crown & Co. operating under CC Industries Inc. (CCI), based in Chicago. In May 2017, Gillig relocated their headquarters and manufacturing facility to Livermore, California, which is twice the size of their former location in Hayward, California.

Model Breakdown


1st letter (model):

Suffix Length
C Phantom
G Low Floor/BRT
S School bus

2nd & 3rd number (engine):

Suffix Engine
18 Cummins C8.3/ISC
19 Cummins B5.9/ISB
20 Detroit Diesel Series 50
21 Cummins M11/ISM
22 Detroit Diesel Series 40
26 Detroit Diesel Series 40E
27 Cummins ISL/ISL9/Cummins Westport ISL G until 2017
28 Electric Motor/Fuel Cell
29 Cummins ISL (2004-2007)
30 Cummins ISB/ISB6.7 (Hybrid)
31 Cummins Westport ISL G NZ since 2017

4th letter (length):

Suffix Length
A 30 feet
B 35 feet
C 37 feet
D 40 feet
E 29 feet

5th-7th numbers (width):

Suffix Length
096 96 inches
102 102 inches

8th letter & 9th number (brakes):

Suffix Length
N4 Air brakes
R2 Hydraulic brakes

Current Models

All three models offered by Gillig are essentially the same bus with different styling options. The individual styling options (i.e. frameless windows, dual-piece front windshield, roof fairings, and BRT front and rear ends) can be mixed and matched by transit agencies in order to "customize" their buses.

Gillig's products are available in 29, 35, and 40 foot variants, all of which are 102 inches wide. The trolley replica option was not available in the 40 foot model until recently.

Past Models

  • Gillig-Neoplan (1977-79) - A Rear-engine design transit bus built as a joint venture with Neoplan, that was available in 30 and 35 foot lengths, and diesel or propane engines.
  • Microcoach (early 1970s-1974)
  • Phantom (1980-2008)
  • Spirit (1989-early 90s)
  • Transit Coach School Bus (1957-1982) - A long-running series of transit-style school buses that Gillig produced prior to the production of the Phantom.

See also


External Links

Transit Buses
Types Articulated Bus · Bus Rapid Transit · Double Decker Bus · Low Floor Bus · Highway Coach · Shuttle Bus · Trolley Bus
Fuel Compressed Natural Gas · Diesel · Diesel-Electric Hybrid · Gasoline · Hydrogen Fuel Cell · Liquified Natural Gas
Manufacturers Alexander Dennis · Blue Bird · BYD Auto · Commercial Truck Equipment Co. · ElDorado National · Environmental Performance Vehicles · Ford · Gillig · IC Bus · Motor Coach Industries · New Flyer Industries · North American Bus Industries · Nova Bus · Optima Bus · Orion International · Prevost Car · Proterra · Setra · Stewart & Stevenson · Thomas Built Buses · Van Hool
VIN Pages Alexander Dennis · American Ikarus · Blue Bird · BYD Auto · Champion · Designline · Eagle · Ebus · ElDorado National · Environmental Performance Vehicles · Flxible · Flyer Industries · Ford · General Motors · Gillig · IC Bus · Ikarus USA · Maschinenfabrik Augsburg-Nürnberg · Millennium Transit Services · Motor Coach Industries · New Flyer Industries · Neoplan USA · North American Bus Industries · Nova Bus · Optima Bus · Orion Bus Industries · Prevost Car · Proterra · Setra · Stewart & Stevenson · TEMSA · Thomas Built Buses · Transportation Manufacturing Corporation · TransBus International · Van Hool