Buses and more FITZJOHN – DITTMAR Muskegon, Michigan, USA

Busbuilder FITZJOHN – DITTMAR Muskegon, Michigan, U.S.A.

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FitzJohn

Industry

Bus & coach manufacturer

Fate

Dissolved

Founded

Muskegon, MichiganU.S.(October 8, 1919)

Founder(s)

Harry Alphonse FitzJohn

Defunct

May 1958

Area served

North America

Products

Duraliner, Cityliner, Falcon

Subsidiaries

FitzJohn Coach of Canada Ltd.

FitzJohn was a bus manufacturer in Muskegon, Michigan. The company was founded October 8, 1919, by Harry Alphonse FitzJohn, and built over 5,000 bus bodies, complete buses, stretchout sedans and passenger-carrying trailers before closing down in May 1958.

Corporate names

FitzJohn-Erwin Manufacturing Company 1919–1933
FitzJohn Manufacturing Company 1933–1935
FitzJohn Body Company 1935–1937
FitzJohn Coach Company 1937–1958
FitzJohn Coach of Canada Ltd. 1949–1959

The FitzJohn company was formed in 1919 to build truck and bus bodies. The former were mostly for Ford chassis, while the latter were for REOs. Originally sold under the Fitz-Er marque, the buses were soon badged as FitzJohn. FitzJohn’s best selling point was the low price relative to its quality, which led to enough success that a new plant was purchased in 1924, five times larger than the original. Sales continued to increase, doubling from 1924 to 1925, and in the late 1920s FitzJohn was delivering almost 300 bodies a year. At that time FitzJohn models had a simple letter designation, although some had rather basic names, too. However, since so many options (such as rooftop luggage racks or polished aluminum bright-work) were offered, many of the variations were also given Indian names by the company’s sales & marketing department.

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1922 fitzjohn cab

History

From 1 January 1929, FitzJohn began selling directly to consumers, rather than exclusively through chassis manufacturers and dealers. This change, however, did not prevent a 40% decline in sales due to the Depression, and on 8 June 1931, the company went into receivership. Its founder (H.A. FitzJohn) was forced out, and went into partnership with Paul O. Dittmar to produce the 12- to 15-passenger Dittmar-FitzJohn Autocoach (similar to the model D, but with a lowered aisle along the right side). H.A. FitzJohn later became the first manager of the General American Aerocoach Company.

000 1937 fitzjohn model 100

1937 Fitzjohn stretched out 11 passenger

In 1934 FitzJohn introduced its 11-passenger stretchout model 100. It was based on the Chevrolet Master Sedan which was split in the middle, had an extra body section inserted and a baggage rack added to the roof. The 100 was an immediate success, primarily as an economical “mini-coach” for feeder routes, although some were used for airport transfers or sightseeing services. During World War II, when many other bus manufacturers suspended production in favour of war materiel, the War Production Board directed FitzJohn to build a 15-passenger version of the 100. Otherwise-surplus Chevrolet, Pontiac and Packard sedans had extra rows of back-to-back seats installed, but because of wartime restrictions, white ash framing and Masonite panels were used instead of metal. Sixty-two enclosed auto haulers were also converted to passenger-carrying trailers in 1943.

000a 1940 Fitzjohn model 625 in March 1940 for a White 1012

1940 Fitzjohn model 625 in March 1940 for a White 1012

Starting about 1940, under the direction of James J. St.Croix FitzJohn began to switch from building bodies for other manufacturers’ chassis to their own integral models. The last bus body delivered was a model 625 in March 1940 for a White 1012 demonstrator chassis. In 1950 diesel power began to be offered as an option. At the same time the current models were redesigned with rear engines. Even though the Cityliner offered unparalleled maintenance access to the engine (the rear corner panels swung out, as well as the back panels lifted up), FitzJohn could not compete against the larger manufacturers (such as GM and Twin Coach) and decided to leave the transit market in 1954.

FitzJohn’s last offering was the Roadrunner. Officially designated the FID (FitzJohn Interurban Diesel with a 150 hp Cummins JBS-600) or FIG (with a Gasoline Waukesha 176 hp 140-GK), the Roadrunner was offered as a 37-passenger coach with a 237-inch (6.0 m) wheelbase, or a shortened 33-seat version on a 201-inch (5.1 m) wheelbase. Only 14 FIGs were built, and all but a handful of the Roadrunners were 37-seaters. The last FitzJohns built for an American customer were five Roadrunner Sightseer variants (with roof windows) for Florida Greyhound Lines. The 85,000-square-foot (7,900 m2) Muskegon factory closed in May 1958, after the last order of 54 FIDs was delivered to Mexico.

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Sales records exist for the 31 years 1927 through 1958. During that time FitzJohn constructed 2,621 buses and coaches, 1,460 bodies, 776 stretchouts, and 62 trailer conversions. It is estimated that over 400 bus bodies—plus a small number of truck bodies—were built in the years 1921–1927, for a total of over 5,300 units.

Foreign operations

In 1949 FitzJohn purchased surplus land and a 42,000 sq ft (3,900 m2) airplane hangar adjacent to the Brantford, Ontario airport. The first buses built by FitzJohn Coach of Canada Ltd. were delivered to Hollinger Bus Lines (a suburban Toronto company) in May 1950. The Brantford plant built 197 buses during its entire existence. Initially the front-engined 310 Cityliner was produced, but construction switched to the rear-engine FTD and FTD. In 1958 the facility was sold to Blue Bird, allowing that company to expand into Canada.

Shortly after World War II FitzJohn established a sales unit in Mexico City. Mexico proved to be a fertile market for the company, and 40-passenger Super Duraliners were sold there until 1956, many built to an unusual rear-entrance/exit configuration. Although sales dropped in the mid-1950s when the Mexican government began to encourage domestic manufacturing, over 50 Roadrunners were exported. Following the dissolution of FitzJohn, a Mexican company began building the Roadrunner.

Products

003

1923 fitz-er bus

Model

Seats

Type

Built

Notes

F-60 18 transit 1921–1927 for ¾-ton Reo Speed Wagon chassis; replaced by model F
F-75 18 parlor 1921–? sedan-style; for ¾-ton Reo Speed Wagon chassis
B-51 21 transit 1922–1928 for ¾-ton Reo Speed Wagon chassis; replaced by model B
22 parlor 1924–1927 for Reo W chassis
B 21 transit 1927–1933 Pay-Enter GrandSeneca without upper sash windows, Sioux with upper sash windows
C 17–25 parlor 1927–1933 Observation Coach (21 seats); Mohawk with 17 seats, Tecumseh with 25 seats
D 12–17 transit/suburban 1927–1933 Utility CoachAlgonquin with 12 seats, Juniata with 14 seats, Apache with 17 seats
F 17 transit 1927–1928
G 21 parlor  ?–1933 Observation CoachTomahawk with inside lofts, Shiawassee without inside lofts
H 29 transit  ?–1933 Pensacola
K 25 transit/suburban 1928–1933 Navajo
L 19–29 parlor 1928–1933 Commander of the Highways (19 seats); Chippewa with 21 seats, Shawnee with 25 seats, Pocahontas with 29 seats
S various school  ?–1933 Hiawatha
5 13 parlor 1933–? streamlined body; only 3 built
10 16 parlor 1933–? streamlined body; only 7 built (2 as railbuses)
15  ?  ? 1933–? no details
20  ?  ? 1933–? no details
25  ?  ? 1933–? no details
30  ?  ? 1933–? no details
35 21–29 transit 1933–1939 198 built (includes 35A, 35B, 35C, 35X and streamlined 35Z versions)
100 11–15 sedan 1934–194x stretchout Chevrolet Master Sedan; 776 built; 15-seat version built during World War 2
135  ? parlor 1935 2 built
150  ? parlor 1934–? Deluxe Streamlined Intercity
175  ? parlor  ? no details
215 16–21 transit 1934–? 101 built
250 21–25 parlor 1934–? Dural Intercity: all-metal flat-front duralumin body; replaced by model 325
300  ? transit 193x–1942 245 built (14 as bodies only); replaced by model 310
310 27–39 transit 1944–1950 Cityliner; forward-entrance flat-front bus; also offered with Hercules JXLD engine; standee windows added in 1947; replaced by models FTD & FTG
325  ? parlor  ?–1940 available as body-only or integral coach; replaced by models 500 & 600
350  ? transit 1936–1937 forward-entrance flat-front all-metal body for Reo 3P7 chassis; 25 built
500 24–32 parlor 1939–1945 Duraliner; 243 built; replaced by model 510
510 24–32 parlor 1946–1952 Duraliner; 499 built
525 28 parlor  ? Duraliner; 7 built
600 36 parlor 1939–1940 Falcon; mid-ship underfloor engine
610 36 parlor 1940–1946 Falcon; front engine; replaced by model 635
615 36 parlor  ?–1946 Falcon; air-conditioned version of the 610; replaced by model 635
625  ? parlor 1940 last body-only design; for White 1012 chassis
635 36–40 parlor 1949 Super Duraliner; 25 built; export version sold in Mexico until 1956
FTD  ? transit 1950–1954 Cityliner; rear diesel engine (usually Cummins JT-6B)
FTG  ? transit 1950–1954 Cityliner; rear gasoline engine (usually Waukesha 140-GK)
FSD/FSG  ? suburban  ? Suburbanliner; high-back seats and no center door; only 3 built
FID/FIG 33–37 interurban 1954–1958 RoadrunnerSightseer offered with roof windows; 14 FIG built
 ? trailer 1943 auto-hauling trailers converted to passenger units; 62 built

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1923 fitzjohn bus

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1927 fitzjohn ad

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1927 fitzjohn bus

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1927 fitzjohn gruber 1

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1928 Harry A FitzJohn

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1929 fitzjohn bus

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1929 fitzjohn bus

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1930 fitzjohn bus

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1932 fitzjohn ad

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1933 Dittmar-Fitzjohn Autocoach Safeway Lines, inc. Chicago. Il

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1933 fitzjohn ad

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1933 fitzjohn bus

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1934 fitzjohn bus

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1934 fitzjohn bus

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1934 fitzjohn bus

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1935 Dittmar-DMX De Luxe Motor Stages od Illinois 185

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1935 fitzjohn bus

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1936 – Chevrolet-Fitzjohn

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1936 chevrolet fitzjohn 100

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1936 chevrolet fitzjohn 100

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1936 fitzjohn 15-pass

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1936 fitzjohn bus

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1936 fitzjohn bus

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1936 fitzjohn bus

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1936 fitzjohn bus

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1936 fitzjohn bus

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1936 fitzjohn bus

031

1936 fitzjohn bus

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1936 fitzjohn bus

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1937 fitzjohn bus

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1937 fitzjohn model 100

035

1938 Dittmar International Harvester

036

1938 Dittmar International Harvester

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1938 Dittmar International Harvester

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1938 Fitzjohn Chevrolet Cityliner

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1939 Fitzjohn Chevrolet Duraliner

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1939 fitzjohn falcon

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1940 fitzjohn 300

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1940 fitzjohn falcon

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1940 Fitzjohn Falcon

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1940 FitzJohn, Modelo 610 Falcon

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1941 chevrolet fitzjohn 100

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1941 fitzjohn duraliner

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1942 Chevrolet Defense Workers Coach 15-Passenger Military Fitzjohn

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1942 Chevrolet Defense Workers Coach 15-Passenger Military Fitzjohn

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1942 Chevrolet Defense Workers Coach 15-Passenger Military Fitzjohn

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1942 chevrolet fitzjohn wwc5

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1942 fitzjohn falcon

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1942 fitzjohn trailer

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1943 fitzjohn trailer

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1944 fitzjohn duraliner

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1945 fitzjohn cityliner

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1945 fitzjohn falcon

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1946 fitzjohn cityliner

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1946 fitzjohn duraliner

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1946 fitzjohn duraliner

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1946 fitzjohn duraliner

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1946 fitzjohn falcon

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1946 fitzjohn falcon

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1946 fitzjohn falcon

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1946 Fitzjohn model 510 Duraliner Central Trailways (TN) CT-503

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1946 Fitzjohn Model 510 Duraliner MacKenzie Coachlines 2865 &2866 at Springhill Nova Scotia

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1946 Fitzjohn Model 610 Duraliner MacKenzie Coach Lines Inc 2865

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1947 fitzjohn cityliner

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1947 fitzjohn cityliner 1

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1947 fitzjohn duraliner

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1947 Fitzjohn model 510 selkirk-BBL2-luke

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1948 fitzjohn cityliner

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1949 fitzjohn sp dura

073

1949 fitzjohn super power duraline

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1950 fitzjohn duraliner

075

1950 fitzjohn sp duraline

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1951 fitzjohn duraliner

077

1951 fitzjohn duraliner

078

1951 fitzjohn duraliner

079

1951 fitzjohn duraliner

080

1951 fitzjohn ftg

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1954 fitzjohn duraliner

082

1954 fitzjohn duraliner

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1954 fitzjohn duraliner

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1954 fitzjohn roadrunner

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1955 Fitzjohn FID Roadrunner Southern Stages Macon GA C-119

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1955 fitzjohn roadrunner

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1955 fitzjohn roadrunner

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1956 Fitzjohn FID Roadrunner Queen City Trailways Q-2094

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1956 fitzjohn roadrunner

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1956 fitzjohn roadrunner

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1956 fitzjohn roadrunner

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Chevrolet Master Coach by FitzJohn

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Fitzjohn Cityliner ad

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FitzJohn FTG-33 © Joe Palangio

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Fitzjohn Road Runner

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fitzjohn

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Ford Fitzjohn

098

W fitzjohn 50 Airport Buses

winnipeg-1934busAtHobans2 mack fitzjohn

winnipeg-1934 bus At Hobans 2 mack fitzjohn

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Finish

Filed Under: BusbuilderBUSESChevroletCumminsDIAMOND TDITTMARFITZJOHN,FordInternational HarvesterLimosREOTAXIUSAWaukeshaWHITE

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Author: Jeroen

In Dutch, my homelanguage: Ik ben Jeroen, tot januari 2015 was ik al dik 26 jaar werkzaam in een psychiatrisch ziekenhuis in een stad vlakbij Werelds grootste havenstad Rotterdam. Eerst als verpleegkundige/begeleider op high care, later op afdeling dubbeldiagnose (verslavingen) en ook nog een tijdje als administratief medewerker. Ik heb een spierziekte "Poli Myositis" (alle spieren zijn ontstoken) daardoor weinig energie. Sinds augustus 2015 is daarbij de diagnose Kanker gesteld, en ben ik helemaal arbeidsongeschikt geworden en zit middenin de behandelfase. Gelukkig ben ik daarnaast getrouwd, vader, en opa, en heb de nodige hobby's. Een daarvan is transportmiddelen verzamelen en daarmee een blog schrijven. Dit blog begon met bussen, maar nu komen ook sleepboten, auto's trucks en dergelijke aan bod. Kijk en geniet met me mee, reageer, en vul gerust aan. Fouten zal ik ook graag verbeteren. In English: I'm Jeroen, till januari 2015 I was already 26 years working as a nurse in a psychiatric hospital, near Rotterdam, Worlds biggest harbour with more than 98 nationalities living within it's borders. First I worked on closed high care ward and the last years on a ward with mainly addicted people. I liked my work very much. In 2007 I got ill. I got the diagnose Poli Myositis, a musscle dissease. Al my mussles are inflamed. And last august I got another diagnose. Cancer. It's plaveicelcel carcinoma and treated with Chemo and radioation. So I've even less energy than the last years. Still I try to make something of my life and the blog is helping with surviving with some pleasure.

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