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1930s Washington Motor Coach System Kenworth W-1 Deck and a Half Bus

The Kenworth W-1 Deck and a Half – A High Style Pre-War Bus

Last fall the Kenworth W-1 Deck and a Half Bus was covered here on The Old Motor and just recently the interesting photo above was found of this Washington Motor Coach System unit. To bring you up to date as many as 25 of these pre-war buses were built by the Pacific Car and Foundry Co. Power was provided by a Hall-Scott Model 190 horizontal 779 c.i. gasoline engine that produced 240 h.p. The rear-mounted engine and the luggage compartment are located below the floor of the elevated rear passenger compartment.

You can view two more Kenworth W-1 Bus images here and learn all that has been uncovered about these unique vehicles as a result of our earlier coverage. We are looking for more detailed photos and information and want to learn more about the W-1 if you can help. The photo is courtesy of pauldorpat.

8 responses to “The Kenworth W-1 Deck and a Half – A High Style Pre-War Bus

  1. Thank you for publishing this! I didn’t know of the Kenwoth W- 1, and when I went from LA, Calif. to Oshkosh, mostly by Greyhound SCENI-CRUISER in 1956, their advertising and attitude about their double decker WAS AS IF NO ONE had ever done it before!!! A pleasant surprise to discover the W-1! The Hall-Scott engine configurations were not designed as economical, but WERE very powerful! This SOHC is almost like working on a (smaller) Mercedes- Benz engine, except that everything on a Hall-Scott is huge 2 men & a boy stuff !!!
    Take note of the excellent STREAMLINING and also take note of the “standoff insulators & wire” Radio Antenna (Aerial)” on the front lower roof. WE love our ’30 Ford 157″ W.B .STAKEBED, “Belle'”, and we appreciate ALL early truck, bus, & “other” of Commercial Vehicles!!! Edwin

  2. Did I miss the actual year such a Kenworth bus was introduced? Very forward looking conveyance! While here I should state that I have hotlinked your Frank Lockhart engineering article to my Facebook blog, Looking Back Racing, if that is OK with you. Welcome to visit….

  3. I am pretty sure this is a Kenworth KHO-33, a collaboration between Kenworth Motor Truck and Heiser Body Company. The Kenworth W-1 was a post war design which entered service in about 1948. About 15 went to North Coast Transportation and 5 or so went to a firm in Montana. The North Coast buses ended up as Greyhounds and were retired in the mid 1950s. I saw them all parked in a fenced yard before they were surplussed.

    My father, Sherman Howard, designed the W-1 body, and a gentleman named H. L. Simi designed the chassis. The body design also served as the basis for several suburban, trackless trolley, and school bus layouts up till Kenworth exited the bus business in 1957. The front and rear end caps, side windows and seats were the only body differences between all those models.

    There is only one known W-1 survivor, which was rescued from a field in Western Washington after laying unused for many years. It was cleaned up by the buyer and later sold to a bus line owner and collector in the Midwest. It is awaiting restoration.

  4. In 1935 when i was 8 years old our family travelled from Montreal across the US to Spokane and then north to our home in Gray Creek BC mostly by Greyhound but from North Dakota to Spokane by Washington Motor Coach – will all coaches sporting ‘The Northern Short Route” in large lettering. We did ride in a Deck and a half as remember well that coach had a stewardess who rode up front next to the driver. Drivers told us that there was a possible flexible bus under consideration – also that the drivers might benefit from a PA system to save their voices.

  5. In December 1944 I bought a ticket from Vancouver BC via Seatle and Spokane to Gray Creek BC . Pacific stage took me to Seatle where I found a very congested bus station – a shipload of servicemen from the war against Japan had landed, the men paid off and left to make their own way to their homes. The buses were only accepting men in uniform so I couldn’t board. Washington Motor Coach brought out all available coaches, including some of their older Kenworth W-1 deck and a half units. Eventually at midnight I was able to get on my way to Spokane over the snowy Snoqualmie Pass in a WMC bus and got home to Gray Creek 24 hours late.

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