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Classic (transit bus)
[[File:MTA Bus MCI Classic 7901.jpg
An MCI Classic TC40-102A configured for commuter service.
Metro Transit 708.jpg
An MCI Classic TC60-102N articulated bus operating for Metro Transit of Halifax, Nova Scotia.
Manufacturer GM Diesel Division (1982-1987)
Motor Coach Industries (1987-1993)
Nova Bus (1993-1997)
Production 1982-1997
Assembly Saint-Eustache, Quebec
Niskayuna, New York
Predecessor GM New Look
Successor Nova Bus LFS
Class Transit bus
Engine(s) Detroit Diesel 6V71/8V71
Detroit Diesel 6V92/8V92
Cummins C8.3
Detroit Diesel Series 50
Transmission(s) Allison, ZF or Voith
Length 40 ft (12.19 m)
(16 60 ft (18.29 m) units produced)
Width 102 in (2.59 m)

A GM Classic operating in London, Ontario.

The Classic is a bus developed by GM from its previous-generation New Look design. The design was originally intended solely for the Canadian market as an alternative to the unpopular RTS but ultimately the Classic, produced from 1982 to 1997, met with widespread success in both Canada and the United States. It was available primarily as a 40 foot (12.2m) long, 102 inch (2.6m) wide coach, although 16 60 foot (18.3 m) long articulated Classics were manufactured. The design was fairly conservative, yet contemporary and less controversial than the RTS.


When GMC in the United States decided to replace the New Look with the RTS II series in 1977, they hoped that they would win over operators in both the US and Canada. But the design and the futuristic look turned off most Canadian transit operators. So in 1979 GM Canada's Transit division decided to continue producing New Looks until 1982, when it unveiled the Classic. Several orders for New Looks were still accepted, built and delivered until 1986 for U.S. properties, although the buses were made in Canada.

The Classic proved to be a hit among not only operators in Canada, but in the United States as well, where the Utah Transit Authority would be the first US transit agency to buy the buses in 1984.

In 1987 GM sold the transit bus division to MCI and TMC. By 1993 the bus division changed hands again, this time going to NovaBus. During the two transitions the Classics continued to be built until NovaBus ceased production on the coaches in 1997, as most agencies were favoring the new LFS low-floor model. The last ever Classics built were in Canada, in 1997, for STO in Gatineau, QC.

NovaBus also made Classics in the US in 1995 and 1996 from its now-defunct New York state plant. That version are the ones that are used in Buffalo, Connecticut, Rochester, the suburbs of Chicago (Pace), and Pittsburgh, who was the last transit agency in the U.S. to acquire Classics. These agencies are slowly retiring the American versions but some have been refurbished and rebuilt by third-party distributors.

Santa Monica Big Blue Big, still operates series 50 powered classics.


The model designations used for Classics consisted of two letters followed by a series of five numbers then another letter. The only versions built were the TC40-102A, TC40-102N and the TC60-102N. All were equipped with an automatic transmission. (Some TC40-102As without center doors have been erroneously identified as SC40-102As, but a true Suburban version would have had a lowered center aisle and underfloor baggage compartments.)

Series Type Length - Width Air conditioning
T = transit bus
  • When first introduced, a suburban (S) version was rumoured to be planned.
A = articulated
C = Classic
40 = 40 feet (12 m)
60 = 60 feet (18 m)
  • Design work was started on a 35-foot (11 m) version, but none were produced.
- 102 = 102 inches (2.6 m) A = air conditioned
N = non-air conditioned

The 60-foot version was not introduced until 1992, after MCI took over production of the Classic design, and only 16 of these articulated buses were ever built (14 for Metro Transit in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and two to Réseau de transport de la Capitale (RTC) in Quebec City, Quebec. NovaBus discontinued the 60-foot articulated version when it took over production from MCI in 1993. This bus is not to be confused with the New Look TA60-102N, a 60-foot articulated version of the New Look manufactured by GMC in 1982, which had the body of a New Look but the front end of a Classic, which allowed for a wider front entrance.

Seating ranged from 39 to 52 seats and included handicapped-equipped lifts, which was optional for Canadian operators but was a must for American operators, who had to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 when it came to purchasing the coaches.

There were a lot of unique feature in the Classics, among them was in its exit (rear) doors, with most of the orders featuring wide-door versions while some opted for the narrow-door ones. Other modifications during its tenure was in its front destination sign windows, which had been narrow in its GM Canada/MCI 1982-1990 versions. MCI and later NovaBus would later widen it after 1990 as more transit systems ordered larger electronic destination signs to be included in their bus orders. The main exception was Montreal, as MCI/NovaBus built an 'M-version' (M referring to the Montreal edition) of the Classic, which continued with the narrow destination sign windows, which was ordered mainly by properties in the Montreal area up until Classic production ceased in 1997.

In their 15 years of its existence, GM, MCI or NovaBus never made a 35-foot version or a 96-inch version of the Classic. However, they did build a suburban/commuter version (also known as SC40-102A/N), but without the rear/exit door features the TC40-102A/N version had.

Currently, a Quebec City-based company, Dupont Industries, is refurbishing and rebuilding retired Classics into trolley-like tour buses which in turn are sold to US and Canadian operators for use in their services. Dupont's refurbished Classic is called a Dupont Cartier.


Company Yeast built Models
GMDD 1982–1987 TC40-102A TC40-102N TA60-102N
MCI 1987–1993 TC40-102A TC40-102N TC60-102N
NovaBus 1993–1997 TC40-102A TC40-102N TC60-102N
(rebuilt GM, MCI and NovaBus Classics)

External links

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