Buses, Coachbuilders, Hearses, Ambulances FLXIBLE Ohio USA

flxible [1434]
flxible [1434] (Photo credit: brianjmatis)
Buses, Coachbuilders, Hearses, Ambulances FLXIBLE Ohio USA

Flxible

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A 1987 Flxible Metro-B, owned by WMATA Metrobus, parked in Washington, D.C.

The Flxible Co. (originally the Flexible Sidecar Company) was an American manufacturer of motorcycle sidecars, funeral cars, ambulancesintercity coachesand transit buses, based in the U.S. state of Ohio. It was founded in 1913 and closed in 1996.

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Flxible 1963 Buick hearse conversion

History

In 1913, Hugo H. Young and Carl F. Dudte founded the Flexible Sidecar Co. in Loudonville, Ohio, to manufacture motorcycle sidecars with a flexible mounting to the motorcycle. The flexible mounting allowed the sidecar to lean on corners along with the motorcycle, and was based on a design patented by Young.

In 1919, the company’s name was changed to The Flxible Co. (still pronounced “flexible”) so that the name could be registered as a trademark.

After low-priced automobiles became available in the 1920s, the motorcycle sidecar demand dropped and in 1924, Flxible turned to production of funeral cars (hearses), and ambulances, which were primarily manufactured on Buick chassis, but also occasionally on StudebakerCadillac and REO chassis, and intercity buses, initially (1930s and early ’40s) built on GMC truck chassis, and powered with Buick Straight 8 engines.

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1947 Flxible Clipper highway coach

In 1953, Flxible absorbed the bus-manufacturing portion of the Fageol Twin Coach Company, and accepted its first order for transit buses from the Chicago Transit Authority. In 1964, Flxible purchased Southern Coach Manufacturing Co. of Evergreen, Alabama, and built small transit buses at the former Southern Coach factory until 1976. Flxible was purchased by Rohr Industries in 1970, and a new factory and corporate headquarters were built in Delaware, Ohio, in 1974, with the original factory in Loudonville, Ohio, being used to manufacture parts and sub-assemblies. Flxible was sold to Grumman Corporation in 1978 and became known asGrumman Flxible. The name reverted to Flxible when Grumman sold the company in 1983 to General Automotive Corporation. In 1996, Flxible declared bankruptcy and its assets were auctioned. The last Flxible vehicles produced were eight 35 ft (11 m) CNG-fueled Metro buses that went to Monterey-Salinas Transitin MontereyCalifornia. The former Flxible factory in Loudonville, Ohio, is now a bus maintenance facility for Motor Coach Industries, while the former factory in Delaware, Ohio, is now a parts facility for North American Bus Industries.

Production outside the United States

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Mexican-made DINA Flxliner bus, in second-class service, berthed in the SilaoGuanajuato central terminal, 2006.

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A Changjiang CJ6800G1QH bus in Beijing,China, showing the similarity to the Flxible Metro.

Flxible’s intercity buses were popular in Mexico and in Latin American countries. However, high import duties into these countries limited sales. In the early 1960s, Flxible began licensing a producer in Mexico, DINA S.A. (Diesel Nacional), to manufacture Flxible designed intercity coaches, and this continued until the late 1980s. In 1965 and 1966, Flxible also licensed its “New Look” transit bus design to Canadair Ltd., an aircraft manufacturer in Ville St-Laurent, Quebec.

In 1994, Flxible’s parent company, General Automotive Corporation, and three other American companies, Roger Penske, Mark IV Industries, and Carrier, entered into a joint venture with Changzhou Changjiang Bus, a Chinese manufacturer located in ChangzhouJiangsu province, to produce buses based on the Flxible Metrodesign and with the Flxible name. The resulting company, China Flxible Auto Corporation,[citation needed] manufactured buses in a variety of lengths, from 8 m (26 ft 3 in) to 11 m (36 ft 1 in). These buses, which include both front- and rear-engine designs, and share only their general exterior appearance with the American-built Flxibles, were sold to many transit operators in major Chinese cities, including Beijing and Shanghai. A trolleybus version was manufactured for just one operator, the Hangzhou trolleybus system, which bought a total of 77 between the late 1990s and 2001. However, for these vehicles, Changzhou Changjiang supplied the chassis and Metro-style bodies to the Hangzhou Changjiang Bus Company (in Hangzhou), and that company equipped them as trolleybuses.

Charles Kettering and General Motors

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Charles F. Kettering

Charles Kettering, a Loudonville, Ohio native and vice president of General Motors, was closely associated with Flxible for almost the entire first half of the company’s existence. In 1914, Flxible was incorporated with the help of Kettering, who then became president of the company and joined the board of directors. Kettering provided significant funding for the company in its early years, particularly after 1916, when Kettering sold his firm, the Dayton Engineering Laboratories Company (Delco), to GM for $2.5 million. Kettering continued to serve as president of Flxible, until he became chairman of the board in 1940, a position he held until his death in 1958. After selling Delco to GM in 1916, Kettering organized and ran a research laboratory at GM, and by the 1950s, held the position of vice president at GM. As a result of Kettering’s close relationship with both GM and Flxible, many GM parts were used in the production of Flxible vehicles, particularly prior to GM’s 1943 purchase of Yellow Coach (a competing bus manufacturer, of which GM had been a majority owner since 1925). For example, most Flxible ambulanceshearses, and buses from the mid-1920s to the early-1940s were built on Buick chassis, and Flxible’s “Airway” model buses of the mid-1930s were built on a Chevrolet chassis.

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1955 Flxible VistaLiner (VL100)

In 1958, and as a result of the consent decree from the 1956 anti-trust case, United States v. General Motors Corp., GM was mandated to sell their bus components, engines, and transmissions to other manufacturers, free of royalties. However, in the early 1950s and prior to the consent decree, Flxible built a small number of buses with GM diesel engines while Kettering still served on the board. It has been postulated that GM may have made its diesel engines available to Flxible to reduce the criticisms of GM’s business practices that some felt were monopolistic. The same has been said about GM’s decision in the 1960s and 1970s not to produce a 35 ft (11 m) “New Look” transit bus with an 8-cylinder engine. However, it is also possible that GM chose not to enter this market because the potential sales did not warrant the added costs of engineering and production. Another result of the consent decree (which was not settled in its entirety until 1965) was that GM was barred from having any of its officers or directors serve as an officer or director for any other bus manufacturing company. This provision would have applied to Kettering, had he not died in 1958.

870 frame problems

Main article: Flxible Metro#Litigation resulting

In the mid-1980s, several Grumman 870 buses operated by the New York City Transit Authority (NYCTA) developed cracks in their underframes. This prompted NYCTA President David Gunn to remove the entire fleet from service. Soon, several other companies reported cracked 870 frames. However, the frame issues primarily affected NYCTA 870s and not the 870s owned by the franchisees of the New York City Department of Transportation. NYCTA attempted to get the remainder of its pending order for new buses transferred to GM, but was barred from doing so unless they could prove that the 870s were flawed and unsafe. The buses were eventually returned to Flxible and resold to Queen City Metro and New Jersey Transit. Grumman blamed the problems with the NYCTA 870s on NYCTA’s maintenance practices, despite the fact that transit operations in ChicagoWashington, D.C.Houston, and Los Angeles had also reported problems with their 870s. Ironically, NYCTA ordered fifty Metros in 1995, but Flxible closed its doors while the order was being produced, and NYCTA obtained the remaining new buses from Orion.

Flxible Owners International

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Clipper-era Flxible nose emblem

Flxible Owners International (see external link) was founded in the mid-1980s as an offshoot of the Family Motor Coach Association, and is dedicated to the preservation of buses and coaches produced by Flxible. The organization holds a rally in Loudonville biannually, in even-numbered years and normally in mid-July, where many preserved Flxible coaches and buses may be seen.

The majority of vehicles owned by members are of the Clipper series (Clipper, Visicoach, Starliner) that were produced from the 1930s until 1967. However, there are also quite a few “non-clipper” Flxible coaches that are owned, maintained, and operated by proud Flxible owners. This includes the Starliner, VL100 (VistaLiner), Hi Level, and Flxliner as well as some of the more modern transit buses. Most of these vehicles have been converted to motor homes; however, there are still a few examples of seated coaches belonging to members.

Products

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Unitrans Flxible New Look.

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1925 Flxible Buick-Bus

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1927 Flxible Bus

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1930 Flxible in Hillsboro Road Garage Durham North Carolina

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1932 FLXIBLE BUICK CHASSIS

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1932 FLXible BUICK Flxible Parlor Coach body mounted on a 1932 Buick commercial chassis

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1934 Flxible WoodFrame

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1934 Flxible-Airway Ader Coach Lines 23

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1937 Flxible 20-CL-78 MacKenzie Trailways 103 at Park Square Boston

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1937 Flxible Chevrolet Clipper-Demo

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1937 Flxible first Clipper Airway

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1938 First al steel 1st clipper

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1938 Flxible 29BR-38 Bowen Motor Coaches 401

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1938 Flxible-Bus

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1939 Flxible 29CR Clipper Tri-State Trailways 261

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1941 Flxible 25-CR-41 1941

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1941 Flxible All Steel Clipper

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1941 Flxible-Clipper

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1944 Flxible 29BR-44 Continental Bus System 580

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1946 Flxible 29BR-46

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1946 Flxible bus ©Tommy Beech

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1946 Flxible-Bus

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1946 flxible-bus ©Tommy Beech

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1947 Flxible 29BR BZ-ShortLine RI-372

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1947 Flxible 29BR-47 Capitol Bus Company 64

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1947 Flxible 29BR-Airporter Demo

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1947 Flxible 67360015

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1947 Flxible Aerocoach Early bumper Trailways

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1947 Flxible Airporter

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1947 FLXible CARETATNYIAP

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1947 Flxible Clipper (a-k-a an ‘Airporter’) CAREYAIRPORTER

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1947 FlxIble special-maine-bus

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1947 Flxible-Bus

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1948 Flxible 288148

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1948 FLXIBLE CLIPPER EARLY2

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1948 Flxible-Bus

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1949 Flxible 29 passenger coach© Joe Palangio Collection

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1949 flxible back-770234

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1949 Flxible camper

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1949 Flxible Bus

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1949 Flxible coach. ©Joe Palangio Collection

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1953 Flxible Ad

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1953 Flxible ©Joe Palangio Collection

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1953 Flxible-Bus

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1954 Flxible – Harran Transit of West Babylon, NY

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1954 Flxible 218GM1-54-37SU Reading Transportation Co. 3706

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1954-flxible-bus-10386

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1955 Flxible 228JT1-55 Vistaliner P36

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1955 Flxible VistaLiner (VL100)

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1956 Flxible 228JT1 Flxible Factory Indianapolis

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1956 Flxible 228JT1-56+PR

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1956 Flxible 228JT1-56-37IC-AC Trailways of New England 904

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1956 Flxible 228JT1-56-37IC-AC Trailways Travel Bureau Corp.906 Boston

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1956 Flxible 228JT1-56-37IC-AC

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1958 Flxible Clipper (ser# B58-1604-A) FLXAIRPORTER58

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1958-Flxible-VL-100-“Diplomata”

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1958 Flxible VL-100 Diplomata

068

1958 Flxible VL-100 Diplomata

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1959 Flxible Twin Coach Model FT2P-40 FLXFT40CTA

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1960 FLXible Clipper-RAY-1 ‘High Level Cruiser’

071

1961 Flxible 236DD1-Demo

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1961 Flxible Flxliner Mountlassen

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1961 FLXIBLE PLANT a Clipper, a transit and a ‘High Level Cruiser’

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1962 Flxible Charter 1

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1962 FLXIBLE CHICAGO SURFLINES Twin Coach Fageol

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1962 Flxible coach ©Hank Suderman Collection

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1962 Flxible Model F2D6V-401-1

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1965 Flxible Starliner

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1965 Flxible Starliner

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1967 Flxible-Flxette

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1972 Flxible Ansett Airport Melbourne Australië ©Colin Davison

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1972 flxible -mod ©Joe Palangio Collection

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1972 Flxible Visicoach

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1978-Flxible-45096-City-Transit-Bus-Rockford-Illinois-Transit-System

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2007-Flxible-Vista-Liner-Beautifully-restored-GM-PD4501-Scenicruiser-Blytheville-from-1956

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2010-Flxible-Rally-241

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100 years Flxible

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FlxIble-A-Coach

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Flxible-Bus-conversion

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Flxible-Badge-Comparison

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Flxible-BusVDDW-Ned

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Flxible-BusVDDW-Ned

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1933-Holland-Coachcraft-Van

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Fowler-Landliner-RV

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1937-Hunt-House-Car

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1962-Buick-prototype-RV

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Flxible-Caravan

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Flxible-Caravan

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Flxible-Co.-Astraliner-Concept-Bus-For-Continental-Trailways-Dallas-Texas

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Flxible-Comparison

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1984 Flxible-CTA-bus-3528-on-route-62-at-the-Loop ©Bob Hussey

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flxible-custom-bus

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Flxible-Grn-Custom-Coach

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Flxible-inside

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Flxible-Metro-Grumman-870

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Flxible-RearVents

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Flxible-New-Look

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Flxible-Red-Bus

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Flxible-Red-Custom-Coach

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Flxible-Steering-Wheels

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Flxible-Super

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Flxible-Television-Mobile-Unit

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flxible-new-look

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Flxibles

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ansair-flxible-clipper

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1925-Flxible-Buick-Bus

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1927-Flxible-Buick-Amb

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1929-Flxible-Buick-Amb

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1929-Flxible-Buick-Amb

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1929-Flxible-Buick-Amb-int

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1930-Flxible- Buick -Amb

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1932-Flxible Buick-Amb

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1933-Flxible Buick -Amb

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1933-Flxible Buick-Pad Ziekenvervoer gevangenen

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1935 Buick series 90 Flxible amb

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1936-Flxible Buick-Amb-Hearse Com

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1937-Ambulance-01-400Flxible Company, Flxible Coach, Buick

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1938 Flxible Buick Sterling Ambulance CSV 14

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1938 Flxible Buick Sterling Ambulance CSV15

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1938-Flx-Amb-01-400 Buick

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1938-Flxible Buick-Amb-CL-400

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1938-Flxible Buick-Amb-CL-400

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1939 Buick Flxible ambulance

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1939 Buick Flxible Worlds Fair Ambulance

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1940-Flxible-Buick-Amb

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1947-Ambulance-Flxible-Buick

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1947-Buick-Flxible-Premier-Ambulance

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1947 Buick Roadmaster Ambulance

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1947 Buick Special Flxible ambulance

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1949-Ambulance-Buick-Dynaflow-Flxible

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1949-Ambulance-Flxible-Buick-Combination

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1950-Ambulance-Buick-Roadmaster-Combination-Flxible

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1951 Ambulance Flxible Buick

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1957 Buick Flxible Ambulance

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1960 Ambulance Buick Premier by Flxible

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1960-Flxette-limousine-Buick

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1961-Flxette-landau-Buick

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ansair-flxible-clipper-logo

finish

Filed Under: AMBULANCESBuickBUSESCadillacChangijiangChevroletClassic Cars,ClipperCoachbuildersDINAFAGEOLFlxibleGMCGrummanLandauMCIMETRO,MexicoNABIREORohrStudebakerTrolleybusesTWIN COACHUSA

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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.

3 thoughts on “Buses, Coachbuilders, Hearses, Ambulances FLXIBLE Ohio USA”

  1. Pingback: Homepage
  2. Hi there! Quick question that’s completely off topic. Do you know how to make your site mobile friendly? My site looks weird when viewing from my apple iphone. I’m trying to find a template or plugin that might be able to fix this problem. If you have any suggestions, please share. With thanks!

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