The Flxible Co. was an American motorcycle sidecar, funeral car, ambulance, intercity coach and transit bus manufacturing company.
In 1913, Hugo H. Young developed a method for stabilizing the sidecar on a motorcycle. It consisted of a tilted axle pivot connection between the two bodies that was "flexible". Young and partner Carl Dudte formed the Flexible Side Car Company in 1914. By 1919, the spelling was altered to "Flxible" in order for it to be trademarked.
In 1924, demand for the sidecar had dropped significantly with the increased popularity of affordable automobiles. At this time, Flxible introduced their first bus. The following year, the company began producing funeral hearses and ambulances. These vehicle were built on chassis from a number of suppliers. The company later developed a relationship with the Buick Motor Company, using their passenger car chassis for their bus bodies.
Flxible introduced the Airway Coach built on a Chevrolet chassis in 1936, which soon found success. Two years later, the company introduced the Clipper which used integral construction.
In 1951, Flxible entered into an agreement with Fageol Twin Coach and eventually to Flxible acquired their bus manufacturing operations two years later. Flxible delivered 300 transit buses to the Chicago Transit Authority in 1954. During the 1960s, Flxible began to focus mainly on transit buses. Production of hearses and ambulances ended in 1964. And in 1968, the company ended production of its intercity line of buses.
Flxible was purchased by California aerospace company Rohr Industries in 1970. A new manufacturing facility was opened in 1974 and allowed for expanded production. However in 1976, Rohr encountered financial difficulty and chose to divest itself of Flxible. Flxible was sold to Grumman Corporation in 1978 for $55 million and became known as Grumman Flxible. Grumman Allied Industries, as subsidiary of Grumman Corporation, had produced aluminum truck bodies, fire trucks, and a small bus by this time.
Flxible was sold to General Automotive Corporation in 1983. The name of the company reverted back to Flxible.
By 1995, Flxible was in financial troubles. Western Star, who recently acquired the ailing Ontario Bus Industries, expressed interest in purchasing 50 percent of the company. They later withdrew their intentions later that year, however. Flxible declared bankruptcy in 1996 and its assets were auctioned off. Flxible had plans for a transit bus with a low floor centre section prior to shutting down. It is unclear if this bus progressed past the concept stage.
Production in Canada
- Airway (1932-1936)
- Airporter (1946-1950)
- Clipper (1937-1942, 1944-1950)
- Clipper Eagle (1960)
- C-1 (1950)
- FlxLiner (1963-1969)
- Hi-Level (1959-1962)
- Intercity coach (1924-1932)
- StarLiner (1957-1967)
- VisiCoach (1950-1958)
- VistaLiner VL-100 (1954-1959)
- 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.
- Heinrich, Erik. "Western Star Bows Out of Flxible Purchase: Daily Edition." Financial Post, 1995.
- Low-Floor Transit Buses. (1994) Transportation Research Board National Council. Retrieved on 18 August 2013