By Fabrizio Panico
Here are three more models from the Italian Hachette partwork “Autobus dal mondo”, a collection of sixty 1:43 scale bus models, very similar to the French one “Autobus et autocars du monde”. The models are produced in Bangladesh by Ixo for Hachette.
After an Italian, a German and an English bus, it is now time to explore three more countries : USA, Switzerland and France.
No. 4 (no. 3 in the French collection) Greyhound Scenicruiser 1956 – A real North American icon : the symbol of a different way to travel the highways. Produced by General Motors after a special order from Greyhound, it was styled by Raymond Loewy. Since the nineteen-fifties it has been the iconic image associated with long distance bus journeys across America.
Development began in 1947 and a series of prototypes were made culminating in 1954 with the first mass produced Scenicruiser. It had a unitary body with aluminium panels, pneumatic suspension, and three axles.
At the rear there were two diesel engines with a torque converter and an electrically controlled hydraulic clutch. But what is really special is the presence of a panoramic upper floor and the luxurious appointments like air conditioning, reclining seats, and a washroom. After the first 1,001 units a high rate of mechanical problems forced a change to a single V8 diesel engine, a mechanical four-speed transmission and some structural reinforcements : the new coach was called the Super Scenicruiser.
Actually the model represents a Super Scenicruiser, not a Scenicruiser. The classic “silver” livery is beautifully reproduced, complete with all the Greyhound decorations. A nice feature is the presence of the licence plates of all the states crossed during the trip, as required by the law. The body is plastic, while the metal baseplate adds “substance” to the model. Drivers seat and dash board and the interiors are well reproduced. A really imposing model, like the Mercedes already seen. There are no apparent differences to the French edition.
No. 5 (no. 8 in the French collection) Saurer L4C 1949 – A real “PostAuto”, owned by the Swiss Post Office (see the P licence plate), used to transport passengers and mail between the towns and villages of the Swiss mountains. With a double side member frame and a longitudinal front engine, this bus is quite similar to a contemporary truck. The engine, a diesel straight six with 125 Horsepower, was particularly brilliant, resilient and inexpensive, thanks to a Saurer own system of direct injection with dual turbulence that improved the combustion and increasing performance.
The closed body, usually by Ramseier & Jenzer, sports a panoramic transparent roof, which must have made the bus very hot during summer. The steering wheel on the right side helps the driver along the Alps hairpins and to distribute the mail at the frequent stops.
Before World War Two Saurer purchased its Swiss competitor Berna, but continued to use the Berna brand. From 1951 Saurer distributed OM medium weight trucks and buses in Switzerland under licence from the Italian Company. In the early 1980s declining sales forced Saurer to join FBW, forming NAW. Later on Daimler Benz took full control dropping all the historic brands.
The model has the classic “yellow post” livery, with black front fenders and silver upper body. It has a plastic body and a metal baseplate. A nice touch is the presence of the spare wheel under the chassis. The interior is quite basic but an accurate representation of the real one. Near the radiator there is a “mail horn” logo which is the symbol of the Swiss Post Office. A fresh air intake is sited above the windscreen which must have been needed to cool the bus and undo some of the effects of the transparent roof. There are no apparent differences to the French edition.
No. 6 (no. 1 in the French collection) Citroen type T45 1934 – Another national icon : more than 70.000 were produced before and after World War Two travelling all over France. Based on a truck derived chassis it had an engine designed specifically for it instead of using one already fitted to car. It had a petrol powered straight six of 4,600 cc and 73 Horsepower coupled to a four speed transmission.
Not a brilliant vehicle, but a robust one which you could rely on. In 1934 a T45 bus starting from Warsaw covered the 2,456 km of the 13th Monte Carlo Rally in 59 hours and 30 minutes. After World War Two many old T45s were re-bodied with more up-to-date shapes and refitted with more comfortable seating. These bodies often located the cab over the engine. Many ran side by side with the newer T55 from 1953. The T45 lived through all the financial problems of Citroen, the takeover by Michelin, new laws controlling road transport, the impact of the nationalisation of the railways. It was even seen outside France in Africa and Asia.
The model sports a blue and cream livery, with black fenders. The model is quite heavy due to the metal body (like the AEC London bus), though it has a plastic baseplate. Two spare wheels are fitted at the rear of the body and a ladder to reach the luggage area on the roof. On the substantial luggage rack there are trunks and suitcases, some of which are also used on the Mercedes seen in Part One. There are no fleet markings or destination boards present.
The licence plate is from the Rhone region. The radiator is well done with the “double chevron” nicely modelled. An accurate interior is also fitted. Again there are no apparent differences to the French edition.
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