1954 Flxible Visicoach Bus
Donated by: Larry D. Eggert, Kearney, NE
Number made: 925, 1950 – 1956
The VisiCoach intercity bus was produced from 1950 – 1958.
The VisiCoach shells were made into numerous specialty buses including the “Land Cruiser” home-on-wheels, the post office bus, and the bookmobile bus. It was introduced in 1950 and updated the Clipper-style bus. It featured three inches of additional interior headroom (which can be seen by the extra strip of metal below the windows) and twelve more inches in the engine room.
The Flexible Sidecar Co. was founded in 1913 by Hugo H. Young and Carl F. Dudte in Loudonville, Ohio to manufacture motorcycle sidecars. The name was changed to the Flxible Co. (no “e”; still pronounced “flexible”) in 1919 so the name could be registered as a trademark.
In 1924, Flxible turned to production of funeral hearses and ambulances. The bodies of these early vehicles had all wood frames and were made with a great deal of hand labor. The company maintained that quality should be the main objective even if it meant higher costs.
The Airway Coach appeared in 1936 and was used on bus routes across the United States. The Clipper model was introduced in 1939 and used at airports and many national parks.
During World War II, Flxible turned from bus manufacturing to supporting the war effort. It made winches for Liberty ships, parts for the M-4 tank, and parts for the Navy’s Corsair fighter planes. Under a contract with Goodyear, it also made control cars, fins, rudders, and nose cones for blimps which were the most effective weapon in overcoming the threat of enemy submarines in U. S. coastal areas.
In 1953 Flxible absorbed the bus-manufacturing portion of Fageol Twin Coach Company and had its first order for transit buses from the Chicago Transit Authority.
Over the years, Flxible purchased other companies and was purchased several times. The last owner was Grumman Corporation which bought it in 1978 and changed the name to Grumman Flxible. In 1983 it was sold to General Automotive Corp. and in 1996 Flxible declared bankruptcy and its assets were auctioned off.
The former Flxible factory in Loudonville, Ohio is now a bus maintenance facility for Motor Coach Industries and the former factory in Delaware, Ohio is a parts facility for New Flyer Industries, a subsidiary of North American Bus Industries.
http://flxibleowners.org/history/ and http://flxibleowners.org/breeds-of-flxibles/
See also: http://flxibleowners.org/the-flxible-clipper-user-manual/ (Flxible Owners International web site; The Flxible Clipper User Manual.)