Twin Coach was an American vehicle manufacturing company from 1927 to 1955, based in Kent, Ohio, and a maker of marine engines and airplane parts until the 1960s. It was formed by brothers Frank and William Fageol when they left the Fageol Motor Company in 1927. They established the company in Kent to manufacture and sell buses with a new concept design. The body structure of this new bus was unique in that the body also became the frame and two engines – “twin” engines – were used to allow for larger passenger loads. This concept was patented by William B. Fageol.
Twin Coach “Pony Express” postal van, circa 1953
Over the years, Twin Coach made transit buses, trolley buses, small delivery vehicles, Fageol six-cylinder gasoline/propane bus and marine engines, Fageol four-cylinder marine engines, and aircraft and truck components. The company was sometimes referred to as “Fageol-Twin Coach”. The company was acquired by Flxible in 1955 and merged with it, but use of the “Twin Coach” name in marketing continued for a few years, and the name was briefly revived (as a brand name only) in the late 1960s by a related company called Highway Products, Inc.
Trolley bus production lasted from 1928 to 1951. Notably, the company’s very first order and its very last were also its only export orders ever for trolley buses: eight vehicles for Manila, Philippines, in 1928 and four for Belo Horizonte, Brazil, in 1951. All other orders went to U.S. cities., none to Canadian cities.
In the 1930s and 1940s, Twin Coach was one of the largest producers in the very limited field of trolley bus manufacturing in North America. Until the late 1940s, only three other U.S. companies built more trolley buses: the Brill companies (J.G. Brill and successors ACF-Brill and CCF-Brill), Pullman and St. Louis Car Company. Another builder, Marmon-Herrington, only entered the field in 1946, but eventually surpassed Twin’s total. All told, Twin Coach manufactured only 670 “trolley coaches” – as such vehicles were commonly called at the time – but sold them to 16 different cities (all in the U.S.), which equates to around one-third of all of the trolley bus systems ever to exist in the United States. Overall, the company’s best customer for trolley coaches was the Seattle Transit System, which bought a total of 177, all between 1940 and 1943.
In 1940, Twin Coach also pioneered the development of the articulated trolley bus in North America, although the first such vehicle in the world was built in Europe slightly earlier, in 1939 (by Isotta Fraschini/Stanga in Italy). The company built only two articulated trolley buses, and each was marketed as a “Super Twin” model. Both were originally built as demonstrators. The 1940 unit was eventually sold to the Cleveland transit system and entered service there. The second was built as a gas-powered bus in 1946, but was converted into a trolley bus in 1948, leased to the Chicago Transit Authority and was sold to CTA in 1954. With both vehicles, the articulation joint allowed only vertical, not horizontal, movement. These two prototypes never led to any series production, so each remained unique. The 1948 Chicago vehicle is preserved at the Illinois Railway Museum. Until 1985, these two vehicles remained the only articulated trolley buses ever built in North America by any manufacturer.Motor buses
A Twin Coach/Herkules 38-S-DT (1948) in Lucerne, Switzerland
Twin Coach also built motor buses (buses powered by internal combustion engines). Fuels included at least gasoline and propane. Between 1927 and 1934 alone, the company built more than 1,100 motor buses, including 21 with gas-electric drive. Bus production continued through to the time of the company’s acquisition by Flxible, in the 1950s.
Sale of bus division
In 1955, the bus manufacturing operations were sold to Flxible, which was also based in Ohio. For a time, Flxible used the Twin Coach name – along with its own – in its marketing and some buses carried front name plates that gave both names and combined the companies’ two logos into one. By 1963, use of the Twin Coach name on buses had been discontinued.
A portion of the company called Highway Products produced a number of products, such as small Post Office vehicles, mobile post offices used in rural areas, small boats for military and commercial uses, missile launchers and a variety of other products. This later became an Alco Standard company, and it produced a small bus which was sold under the “Twin Coach” name from 1969-1975.
1925 GMC van Maarse en Kroon bij Het Wapen van Alkemade
1925 Ford Maarse & Kroon
1928 Maarse & Kroon Aalsmeer Wilnis
Op 1 februari1923 werd de firma opgericht te Leimuiden onder de naam Fa. Wegman, Kroon en Co. Er werd gereden op de route Rijnsaterwoude – Leimuiden – Leiden. Het busbedrijf begon met één bus, spoedig kwam een tweede wagen in dienst. Nadat de firmant Wegman zich had teruggetrokken ging het bedrijf verder als Jac. Maarse en C. Kroon. In 1927 werd de N.V. “Autobusonderneming” van J.J. Poort en J.P. Sloothaak te Amstelveen opgekocht. In de jaren twintig en dertig breidde het bedrijf zich uit met nieuwe lijnen, waaronder Leimuiden – Alphen aan den Rijn in 1931 en Haarlemmermeer – Leiden in 1934. Vanaf 1933 was het bedrijf gevestigd te Aalsmeer onder de naam N.V. “Autobusonderneming” (dir. Maarse en Kroon).
Uiteindelijk werden busdiensten uitgevoerd in het gebied tussen Amsterdam, Vinkeveen, Utrecht, Woerden, Nieuwkoop, Leimuiden, Leiden, de Haarlemmermeer en Haarlem. Ten westen en noorden van het vervoergebied reed de NZH, ten oosten de NBM en ten zuiden de NAL en Citosa (later Westnederland).
1960 Leyland Verheul heeft plek voor 70 p Maarse-Kroon 73
Bus 251 uit 1963, een Leyland Royal Tiger Cub, een uniek exemplaar met de naam Jules Verne, ingericht als zeer luxe VIP-bus met een carrosserie van Roset te Bergen op Zoom naar een ontwerp van Akkermans te Oud-Gastel;
Bus 1605 uit 1971, een Leyland LVB568-Verheul lijndienstbus met zelfdragende carrosserie uit een serie van 12 stuks, die is afgebouwd door de busbouwer Domburg te Montfoort nadat de Verheul-fabriek door brand was verwoest.
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 Studebaker, Cadillac and REO chassis, and intercity buses, initially (1930s and early ’40s) built on GMC truck chassis, and powered with Buick Straight 8 engines.
Mexican-made DINA Flxliner bus, in second-class service, berthed in the Silao, Guanajuato central terminal, 2006.
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 Changzhou, Jiangsu province, to produce buses based on the Flxible Metrodesign and with the Flxible name. The resulting company, China Flxible Auto Corporation, 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
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 ambulances, hearses, 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.
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.
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 Chicago, Washington, 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
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.
Cars, Buses + Trucks FAGEOL – TWIN COACH Kent Ohio USA
1941 Fageol Blue Line Limousine Sightseeing Bus, New York City
was een Amerikaans autobedrijf. Het was het eerste bedrijf dat een autobus bouwde en daar een speciale motor voor ontwikkelde.
Fageol werd in 1916 opgericht door de gebroeders Fageol. In 1927 hernoemden ze het bedrijf naar Twin Coach en vestigden zich in Kent, Ohio. Het doel van de gebroeders Fageol was het maken van een bus die niet zou omvallen tijdens het maken van een bocht. Hun bus had een brede wielbasis en lag laag bij de grond, wat ook makkelijker was voor de passagiers. Omdat de bussen zo veilig waren werden ze al snel “Safety Coach” (in het Nederlands: “veilige bus”) genoemd. Toen het bedrijf werd omgedoopt tot Twin Coach werd ook de uitvoering van de bussen enigszins aangepast. Er werd een extra motor in de bus gezet waardoor hij veel meer passagiers kon vervoeren en hogere snelheden kon behalen.
Twin Coach was een productiebedrijf voor autobussen en trolleybussen, dat tussen 1927 en 1950 bekend werd vanwege de technisch vernieuwende modellen die er werden ontwikkeld. Het bedrijf was eigendom van de broers Fageol, die het in 1916 onder de naam Fageol hadden opgericht. Het werd in 1927 hernoemd tot Twin Coach. Het hoofdkantoor van Twin Coach was gevestigd in Kent, Ohio. Het bedrijf werd in 1950 verkocht aan Flxible. In de jaren ’60 hebben de broers nog een keer een bedrijf gehad onder de naam Highway Products.
De bussen die door de Twin Coach gemaakt werden stonden bekend als vernieuwend. Het geraamte van de bus was uniek omdat er twee motoren in lagen, waardoor er een hogere snelheid behaald kon worden en er meer mensen in konden worden vervoerd. Door de jaren heen ontwikkelde het bedrijf ook een 6 cilinder lpg bus.