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The Stout Bus – A Scarab for the Masses


The first snub nose transit buses hit the streets of the U.S. in 1931, but these were heavy, flat-faced, low speed affairs that didn’t need to take aerodynamics into account. Looking perhaps more like something out of Jules Verne than GM, our photos today show an example of the first generation aerodynamic intercity buses built by Gar Wood Industries based on the aircraft construction principles William Stout applied to his Scarab automobiles. Gar Wood is perhaps best known for his successful introduction of the world’s first hydraulic dump body hoist in 1915 and his beautiful wooden speed boats. When Wood could find no takers to mass produce Stout’s unusual design, he decided to do so himself.

The smooth front end of improved airflow at highway speeds and this, combined with a relatively light weight, reduced fuel consumption. Running costs were thus cut significantly, literally the bottom line in a fleet operation of any kind. Wood eventually sold off his bus operation to the General American Transportation Company of Chicago but not before building about 175 units in a few different versions between 1934 and 1939. You can find out more about William B. Stout on The Old Motor. Images from the May 11, 1935 issue of Automotive Industries.


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