Gillig Phantom

From CPTDB Wiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Gillig Phantom
Gillig Phantom
Phantom (single-headlight, 40'/96")
Years of manufacture 1980 to 2008
Length 30, 35, 40 feet
Width 96 or 102 inches
Orange County Transportation Authority 4246-a.jpg
Phantom (dual-headlight)
Red Rose Transit Authority 168-b.jpg
Phantom Rear View
Gillig Phantom school bus
Phantom School Bus

The Gillig Phantom was a transit bus available in the United States and built in Hayward, California. It was produced from 1980 to 2008 and was especially popular with small and mid-sized transit systems.


In 1976, Gillig entered into an agreement with German manufacturer Neoplan to produce a bus of their design in the United States. Production of the small Gillig-Neoplan transit bus was short-lived, with production ending in 1979. Soon after, Gillig set out to design its own transit bus. The Phantom was introduced in 1980 with the goal to target small private operators and transit agencies.[1] It was soon able to compete with the popular GM RTS, the Flxible Metro and other high-floor buses that were available at the same time.

The Phantom remained in production until 2008, when Gillig focused on only selling its Low Floor product line. The final Phantom order was placed by San Luis Obispo Regional Transit Authority.


Initially launched in a 35-foot length and 96-inch width, the Phantom was soon made available in lengths of 30 feet and 40 feet. A 102-inch width was later offered three years into production.

The Phantom had a diesel-powered drivetrain in a T-drive layout at the rear. As an alternative to diesel, Gillig offered natural gas engines beginning in 1992. In 1996, Gillig built their first diesel-electric hybrid bus using a series hybrid arrangement. Their second bus, unveiled in 2001, used the newly developed parallel hybrid electric system from Allison.[2] Electric trolleybus versions of the Phantom were produced for King County Metro from 2001 to 2002.

Gillig supplied the Phantom as a "glider", which meant that they were delivered without a drivetrain. King County Metro removed the motors, propulsion controls and other components from their AM General trolleybuses, sent them to Alstom to be refurbished and then reinstalled them into the new Gillig Phantoms along with new fiberglass trolley poles from Vossloh Kiepe.[3] The unique fleet with recycled propulsion systems saved money for King County Metro in the early 2000s.[4]

The exterior of the Phantom would change little over the course of production. From the start of production to 1983, the bus had rectangular tail lights. A wide, louvred HVAC hood curved with the roofline. Round tail lights were later used and the HVAC hood was revised. Most Phantoms were built with dual headlights while others (an example being Foothill Transit) had single headlights. A defining characteristic of Gillig was introduced on the Phantom: its "half octagon" wheel arches have been featured in the design since the beginning.

A school bus version of the Phantom was produced from 1985 to 1993.



Guatemala Flag of Guatemala.png

Mexico Flag of Mexico.png

  • Transportes de Baja California Azul y Blanco, J. Magallanes, S.A. de C.V. - Tijuana, Baja California
  • Transportes Mixtos Del Valle - Mexicali, Baja California
  • Transporte Urbano y Sub Urbano 24 De Febrero, S.A. De C.V. - Tijuana, Baja California

United States Flag of the United States.png

Demonstrator/Special Units

Thumbnail Build
VIN Engine Transmission Notes
1980 5371 Detroit Diesel 6V92TA Allison HT-740
  • Prototype #1 (35T96T6V92) & Demonstrator
  • Destroyed in January 1982.
1980 5296 Detroit Diesel 6V92TA Allison HT-740
1981 80052 Detroit Diesel 6V92TA Allison HT-740
  • Prototype #3 (35/96T6V92) & Demonstrator built to Santa Cruz Metro specifications
  • Sold to AC Transit as 2049 in March 1983.
  • Its headlights were retrofitted by AC Transit to the 2nd revision of Gillig Phantom headlights (1982-1985).[5]
1981 80123 Detroit Diesel 6V92TA 253 hp Allison HT-740
420 Torrance Transit 420-b.jpg 1982 15GCD0812C1080149 Detroit Diesel 6V92TA Allison HT-740
  • 40/96T6V92 demonstrator
  • Sported the 2nd revision of Gillig Phantom headlights (1982-1985).
  • Sold to Torrance Transit as 421 in 1984.
1983 15GCD0811D1080574 Detroit Diesel 6V92TA Allison HT-747
TheBus 903 Demonstrator-a.jpg 1983 15GCD0812D1080604 Detroit Diesel 6V92TA Allison HT-747
1/1985 15GCA081XE1081073 Detroit Diesel 6V92TA Allison HT-747
1986 15GCA091XG1081477 Detroit Diesel 6V92TA
1987 15GCA091_H1081778 Detroit Diesel 6V92TA Allison HTB-748
1987 15GCD091_H1081924 Detroit Diesel 6V92TA 40102TB6V92T demonstrator
1992 15GCD0913N1084578 Detroit Diesel 6V92TA
  • 40102TB6V92T Altoona test bus; tested from July 1992 to November 1992.
  • Sold to Valley Metro as 3010.
6513 1992 15GCD2010N1084613 Detroit Diesel Series 50
  • 40102TBS50 Altoona test bus; tested from November 1992 to April 1993.
  • Sold to Valley Coach/Arizona State University as 3.
12/1994 15GGD201085190[8] ? ?
  • C20D1-2N4 APTA/Golden Gate Transit Electric test bus demo.[8]
  • Spotted at Complete Coach Works in Riverside, CA in October 2010.[9] It was likely parted out & scrapped afterwards.
  • Its VIN and model number are non-standard.
7/2002 15GCD191421111983 Cummins ISB GM-Allison EP40
hybrid system
  • C19D102N4 GM-Allison hybrid demonstrator bus.
  • Featured in a promotional video starring Bill Nye the Science Guy when new at Allison.[10]
  • It tested at NYCMTA as 5770 in Manhattan and the Bronx in 2005.

Preserved Coaches

Year Thumbnail VIN Original Owner Fleet Number Current Owner
1983 Alameda-Contra Costa Transit District 2098-a.jpg D1080292 AC Transit 2098 Private owner
4/1983 D1080453 Kitsap Transit 806 Private owner
1984 ? Lane Transit District 8xx Private owner
5/2/1990 15GCD0918L1083360 Sacramento Regional Transit District 9045 Sacramento Regional Transit District
1990 Alameda-Contra Costa Transit District 2601-a.jpg 15GCD0910L1083661 AC Transit 2601 Private owner
1991 Roanoke Valley Metro 436-a.jpg M1084298 Valley Metro (Roanoke) 436 Commonwealth Coach & Trolley of Roanoke
12/11/1991 Alameda-Contra Costa Transit District 2738-a.jpg 15GCA0915N1083859 AC Transit 2738 Pacific Bus Museum
12/21/1992 Island Transit 108-a.jpg 15GCB0911N1084732 Island Transit (WA) 108 Private owner
1993 15GCD0919P1084684 AC Transit 2835 Private owner
1993 15GCD0918P1084689 AC Transit 2840 San Francisco MUNI
5/25/1994 Fairfield-Suisun Transit 641-a.jpg 15GCB2014R1085355 Fairfield-Suisun Transit 641 Private Owner
1996 n/a Foothill Transit F1045 Foothill Transit
9/21/1998 San Mateo County Transit District 643-a.jpg 15GCD2114W1088812 SamTrans 643 Private owner
9/25/1998 San Mateo County Transit District 649-a.jpg 15GCD2115W1088818 SamTrans 649 Private owner
1999 ? Clallam Transit 596 Private owner
1999 ? Clallam Transit 597 Private owner


  1. United States. Urban Mass Transportation Administration. Office of Bus and Paratransit Systems, United States. Urban Mass Transportation Administration. Office of Technical Assistance, and Transportation Systems Center. Energy and Environment Office. Transit Bus Manufacturer Profiles. , 1982.
  2. The Gillig Story. Gillig Corporation. (archived 2002).
  3. About Metro > Metro Vehicles > Gillig Trolley Bus, King County Metro. Retrieved on October 1, 2016.
  4. Metro to partner with New Flyer on next generation of electric trolley buses, King County Metro. Dated June 17, 2013, retrieved on October 1, 2016.
  8. 8.0 8.1