|Founder(s)||Stanley James Hillsdon|
|Headquarters||Guildford, New South Wales, Australia|
Custom Coaches Manufacturing Company is an Australian bus manufacturing company started in 1935 in Guildford, New South Wales, Australia as the Cycle Components Manufacturing Company by Stanley James Hillsdon.
The origin of Custom Coaches can be traced to 1911 when Stanley James Hillsdon joined his brother Walter Hillsdon in Hillsdon Bros, builders of racing bicycles. At this time Stanley Hillsdon competed in bicycle racing, finishing third in the 1921 Goulburn to Sydney race. Hillsdon Bros became a leader in manufacturing high-speed bicycles and they were a strong favourite amongst professional cyclists, including Ken Ross who took first place in the 1926 Professional Goulburn to Sydney race. By 1927, Walter had left in order to concentrate on a car sales business, leaving Stanley working with bicycles.
The great depression of 1929 increased demand for economical transport, which included bicycles. The business flourished.
Cycle Components Manufacturing CompanyEdit
In 1935, Stanley and his wife opened a shop in a garage adjacent to their home in Marion Street, Guildford and began Cycle Components Manufacturing Company ((CCMC). This specialised in the new technology of tube bending and manufactured bicycles, children’s toys, and desks, as well as tubular seats and furniture. In 1946 the company won the contract to manufacture reversible seats for Sydney's tram system. As modes of transport and technologies changed, CCMC become a major provider of the specialist plating of metals using chrome molybdenum.
CCMC won numerous contracts for tubular seat frames, such as for Commonwealth Engineering government buses.
In 1955, CCMC successfully tendered to provide the NSW Department of Government Transport with 125 single decker buses. The single deckers were known as “standees” and for the first time in Sydney, standing passengers could look out of small fixed windows above the opening windows for seated passengers. To ensure that he could fulfil the order he subcontracted work on it to Commonwealth Engineering. In May 1956, Jack Violet, Hilldon's nephew by marriage, was employed as Bus Divisional Manager to oversee operations.
Custom Coaches Manufacturing CompanyEdit
In 1962 Hillsdon passed control of CCMC to Violet, a nephew by marriage. As a result of successful contracts in the 1970s, including one to build the bodies for an order of NSW DGT Leyland Royal Tiger Worldmaster buses, the factory expanded to Smithfield. Under Violet's leadership, the business moved into the national market and opened manufacturing plants in Victoria, Queensland and South Australia. By the 1980s the company was producing over 100 bus bodies annually.
In 1988 a Melbourne coachbuilder, WA Newnham & Sons, was taken over.
In 1995, a purpose built bus manufacturing plant was established on Queensland's Gold Coast at Arundel. In 2000 the acquisition of the Australian Bus Manufacturing Company in Adelaide took place. The Adelaide plant is the largest bus manufacturing plant in Australia.
In late 2001, a new division of Custom was set up, Custom Care, specializing in parts, repairs, refurbishments and technical support to the entire industry, not just Custom clients.
In 2002, Mark Burgess, a great nephew of Hillsdon by marriage, became the CEO of Custom Coaches. Shortly after, in 2005, Burgess, along with his brother Paul and long time business partner Chris Absalom, completed the purchase of Custom Coaches from the Violet family.
Custom Coaches has fulfilled an order from Sydney Buses for 1,000 vehicles. The last of these received special stickers and a slightly different interior.
Numerous bus operators around Australia use Custom bodywork, including Adelaide Metro, Sydney Buses, Busway, and Westbus. Custom Coaches bus bodies can be installed on a large number of chassis, including Dennis, Hino, Iveco, Scania, Mercedes, Volvo, Denning, and MAN. In 2008, production exceeded 400 buses per year, and by 2009 the total number of buses produced had exceeded 15,000.
The company was rebranded in 2010 and relocated to Villawood, Western Sydney.
Custom Coaches' current product line includes the New Generation models CB80 and SB50, the CB30 and special government buses. The CB range designates "City Buses", while the SB range are "School Buses".
On 7 October 2009, their new low floor model, the CB80, was demonstrated for the first time at the Bus NSW 2009 Bus and Coach Show. Since February 2010 the CB80 demonstrator bus has been at two of Sydney's bus operators, Busways and Shorelink, and is expected to be shown further afield. The SB50 was launched in 2010, and is built on a Hino chassis.
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