The Greyhound Bus has been an iconic part of the American transportation scene for over 100-years. A week ago the first part of this series, Go Greyhound with prewar photos courtesy of the Greyhound Lines was featured here on The Old Motor. This second part covers developments from the mid-1940s and on up through the 1950s.
This final installment starts out with an image of a GX-2 Greyhound Scenicruiser (above) parked at the Greyhound Terminal in Charlotte, NC, circa 1949. Roland E. Gegoux later redesigned this prototype and patented the Scenicruiser Motor Coach for the production version first built by General Motors Corporation in 1954.
To backup a bit, the GX-2 was the Bus Lines second postwar double-decked concept vehicle; the first was the 1944 Coach design patented by Orville S. Caesar and Raymond Loewy and assigned to the Greyhound Corp. in 1951. The operational prototype (below) built in 1947 was tested out on the open road.
According to National Bus Trader where you can view the excellent postwar history, Greyhound Buses Through the Years Part II by Larry Plachno, GX-1 was the first prototype, and it was constructed in 1947. Named The Highway Traveler, the full double-deck coach, was operated by the driver from the top level. Below is original film footage of the coach out on the road and being viewed by officials and workers.
The next development was the 1949 GX-2 Prototype Greyhound Scenicruiser Coach. It was the first 40-foot long bus to be built and special legislation, much like what needed with longer tractor-trailer units had to be passed before it could be used. Who designed and built this attractive vehicle is not known, but perhaps our readers will know more of its story?
The GX-2 was not the first bus to use this type of a post-war double-deck as it appears the Spanish Pegaso Z-403 Monocasco unit’s design originated in the same period. We are not certain, but the appearance of the GX-2 unit above at the Greyhound Terminal in Charlotte, NC, complete with a police escort may have been part of an introduction tour by the Bus Line around 1949.
The video above shows a short film taken by the Oregon State Police in 1949 of a GX-2. This demonstration may have been a part of the effort by Greyhound to show that the coach was maneuverable enough to use on the existing roads and facilities of the time.
The next and last development in the Scenicruiser line was the Roland E. Gegoux designed and patented Motor Coach for the PD-4501 production version built by General Motors Corporation. The forty-foot long coach was introduced in 1954; later versions included restrooms and air-conditioning. By the time the production run ended in the early-1960s, a little over 1000 of the famous Greyhound flagships had been built.
Below are ten more interesting period images showing both coaches and operations courtesy of Greyhound Lines.
- The 1954 Greyhound PD-4501 Scenicruiser (above) was introduced (below) by Miss America.
- Washing coaches at the Greyhound Garage, in San Francisco.
- The introduction of Greyhound Package Express.
- At a terminal on one of the routes to Los Angeles in 1952.
- A Greyhound Bus at the Paul Bunyan monument in Bemidji, Minnesota.
- 1947 publicity photo taken at a Florida Beach.
- A bus inspection on a two-piston Weaver hydraulic lift.
- Greyhound Mechanic posing with a flathead Ford-powered bus.
- 1941 publicity shot with a Greyhound cake.