A restored GM "New Look" bus of the former New York Bus Service
GMC Truck and Bus (United States)|
GM Diesel Division (Canada)
|Predecessor||GM/Yellow Coach "old look"|
|Successor||GM RTS II, GM Classic|
|Body style(s)||Monocoque stressed-skin|
|Engine(s)||Detroit Diesel 6V71/8V71, Detroit Diesel 6V92TA|
|Transmission(s)||4 speed non-synchromesh manual, Allison VH, VS-2, V730|
|Wheelbase||162 in (4.11 m), 235 in (5.97 m), or 285 in (7.24 m)|
|Length||29 ft (8.84 m), 35 ft (10.67 m), or 40 ft (12.19 m)|
|Width||96 in (2.44 m) or 102 in (2.59 m)|
121 in (3.07 m)|
(height over roof hatches)
44,484 New Look buses were built over the production lifespan, of which 33,413 were built in the U.S. and 11,071 were built in Canada (GM Diesel Division). Separated by general type, the production figures comprised 510 29-foot city buses (all U.S.-built); 9,355 35-foot city buses (7,804 U.S.-built, 1,551 Canadian); 31,348 40-foot city buses (22,034 U.S., 9,314 Canadian) and 3,271 suburban coaches (of which only 206 were built in Canada). The total production of New Looks was 41,213 transit coaches and 3,271 suburban coaches.
Other than demonstrators, the very first fishbowls delivered were TDH-5301s built in 1959 for O. Roy Chalk's D.C. Transit System, which operated in Washington, D.C., and the suburbs of Maryland and Virginia. These were a unique variation, equipped with custom, chrome hub caps, as "Arcticoolers."
Several different models were introduced over the following years, and modifications made to the design. See the section below, headed "Description".
Production of the New Look in the U.S. ceased in 1977, when it was replaced by the RTS transit bus. Production continued after this, however, at General Motors Diesel Division in Canada, due to the RTS design being rejected by Canadian transit agencies, with the name plate changing from "GM" to "GMC". Few were produced after 1983 due to the GMDD's introduction of the Classic in that year. The last New Looks were ordered by Santa Monica Municipal Bus Lines (now Big Blue Bus) of Santa Monica, California in 1986. The completion of that order brought a final end to New Look production in April 1987. A few cities still have them running to this day (including the Toronto Transit Commission and Cyride), over 50 years after introduction and over 25 years after mass production ended.
The GM Buffalo bus, a group of intercity bus models built between 1966 and 1980, shared many mechanical and body parts with the fishbowl models, and were discontinued by the Pontiac, Michigan plant shortly after the RTS replaced fishbowl model production there.
GM later sold the rights to produce both Classic and RTS models to other manufacturers, and exited the heavy-duty transit and intercity markets for full-sized buses, although production of some medium-duty and light-duty chassis products sold in these markets continued.
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Like GM's over-the-road buses, including the Greyhound Scenicruiser, the air-sprung New Look did not have a traditional ladder frame. Instead it used an airplane-like stressed-skin construction in which an aluminum riveted skin supported the weight of the bus. The wooden floor kept the bus' shape. The engine cradle was hung off the back of the roof. As a result, the GM New Look weighed significantly less than competitors' city buses.
Virtually all New Look buses were powered by Detroit Diesel 71-series two-cycle Diesel engines. The original engine was the 6V71 (V6). GM buses used a unique "Angle-drive" configuration with a transverse mounted engine. The transmission angled off at a 45-or-so degree angle to connect to the rear axle. The engines were canted backwards for maintenance access; in fact, the only parts not accessible from outside the bus were the right-hand exhaust manifold and the starter. The entire engine-transmission-radiator assembly was mounted on a cradle that could be quickly removed and replaced, allowing the bus to return to service with minimal delay when the powertrain required major maintenance. Originally, all New Looks were powered by the 6V-71. GM resisted V8 power but eventually gave in to pressure from customers.
Original transmission choices were a four-speed non-synchronized manual transmission with solenoid reverse and the Allison Automatic VH hydraulic transmission. The latter was essentially a one-speed automatic transmission which drove the wheels through a torque converter. At sufficient speed a clutch bypassed the torque converter and the engine drove the rear wheels directly. A later option was the VS-2, similar to the VH but with a two-speed planetary gearset with three modes: Hydraulic, direct (1:1), and direct-overdrive. The very last batch of American-built New Looks and most Canadian-built New Looks from 1977 through 1987 use the Allison V730 transmission, a traditional three-speed automatic with a lockup torque converter. These four transmissions were the only V-drive transmissions made.
New Looks were available in both Transit and Suburban versions. Transits were traditional city buses with two doors; Suburbans had forward-facing seats (four-abreast), underfloor luggage bays, and had only one door. The center aisle of the Suburbans was lower than the floor beneath the seats, to accommodate the luggage bays. There were also "Suburban-style" transits which had forward-facing seats on slightly raised platforms that gave the appearance of a dropped center aisle. GM refused to install lavatories on its buses; at least one transit authority (AC Transit in Oakland) added its own.
The New Look was built in 29', 35', and 40' lengths and 96" and 102" widths. 35' and 40' buses had different-length side windows, so the profiles of both buses looked very similar.
Variants based on the New LookEdit
In 1981–82, Brown Boveri & Company (BBC) constructed 100 model HR150G trolley buses from 40-foot New Look bus shells for the Edmonton Transit System. Some of these coaches remained in use for 27 years, until the trolley bus system was shut down in 2009.
A 60-foot (18 m) articulated version was designed and built in 1982 for a Government of Ontario demonstration project, but used a Classic front end on the New Look body, and for that reason this model is sometimes not described as being a New Look and is not included in New Look production figures. Series production took place in 1982–1983, and a total of only 53 were built. With a newer front (to allow a wider entrance) and older body, these buses, which were model TA60-102 (for Transit Articulated 102 inches wide No air conditioning), were a transitional model. Unlike most other articulated buses with an engine in the front section and a powered middle axle, the TA60-102N utilised a "pusher" design that used a conventional New Look drive train and a specially-designed articulated joint that limited the angle between the two section to 7° at normal speeds (while traveling straight forward) and to less than 2° at highway speeds.
The model naming for the GM New Look bus is shown below. Examples of model names are TDH-5301, T8H-5305N, T6H-5307N, S6H-4504A, and T6H-4521N. (Note that not all possible combinations were constructed.) The front end of the bus remained essentially the same through the production of the New Look.
|Type||Engine||Transmission||Nominal seating capacity||Series||Air conditioning|
|T = transit bus|
S = suburban bus
|1st & 2nd generation|
D = diesel
G = gasoline
3rd & 4th generation
|H = hydraulic (automatic) transmission|
M = manual transmission
|33 = 29 feet (8.8 m)|
45 = 35 feet (11 m)
53 = 40 feet (12 m)
||A = Air conditioning|
N = No air conditioning
|First generation (1959–1962)|
|Second generation (1963–1967)|
|Third generation (1968–1971)|
|Fourth generation (1972-1977 USA and Canada, 1972-1987 Canada)|
Manufacturing location was indicated by the serial number. No prefix was used for Pontiac, Michigan, C (Canada) indicated London, Ontario, and M (Montreal) Saint-Eustache, Quebec. All buses with 17-digit VINs were built in Saint-Eustache.
Production figures by modelEdit
- Flxible New Look bus - its main competitor
- Rapid Transit Series - one of two successor models
- Classic (transit bus) - the other successor model
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 Stauss, Ed (1988). The Bus World Encyclopedia of Buses, pp. 29-30 and 94-101. Woodland Hills, CA (USA): Stauss Publications. ISBN 0-9619830-0-0.
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 Stauss (1988), p. 30.
- ↑ Motor Coach Today, Vol. 5, No. 1 (January-March 1998), p. 9. Motor Bus Society.
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 Stauss (1988), p. 33.
- ↑ "Yellow Coach & GM Old Look U.S. Production Lists". Coach Manufacturer Production Lists. The Ohio Museum of Transportation (August 13, 2004). Retrieved on 9 December 2010.
- ↑ Alan Gryfe (August 2, 2000). "GMDD Bus Deliveries". Archived from the original on 5 March 2003. Retrieved on 18 December 2010.
- Burness, Tad (1985). American Truck & Bus Spotter's Guide, 1920-1985. Osceola, WI (USA): Motorbooks International. ISBN 978-0879381981.
- Luke, William A. & Metler, Linda L. (2005). City Transit Buses of the 20th Century. Hudson, WI: Iconografix. ISBN 1-58388-146-8.
- McKane, John H. & Squier, Gerald L. (2006). Welcome Aboard the GM New Look Bus. Hudson, WI (USA): Iconografix. ISBN 1-58388-167-0.
- McKane, John H. (1999). The General Motors New Look Bus Photo Archive. Hudson, WI: Iconografix. ISBN 1-58388-007-0.
- Stauss, Ed (1988). The Bus World Encyclopedia of Buses. Woodland Hills, CA (USA): Stauss Publications. ISBN 0-9619830-0-0.
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- Information and specifications for GMC buses, Coach Information Network.
- Yahoo GMC New-Look Bus Group
- GM production lists of New Look buses, with serial numbers and original purchasers
- DieselBusParts.com a great resource for bus repair, restoration and free manuals.