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GM New Look
New York Bus Service GMDD 1502.jpg
A restored GM "New Look" bus of the former New York Bus Service
Manufacturer GMC Truck and Bus (United States)
GM Diesel Division (Canada)
Production 1959-1977 (U.S.A.)
1962-1987 (Canada)[1]
Assembly Pontiac, Michigan
London, Ontario
Saint-Eustache, Quebec
Predecessor GM/Yellow Coach "old look"
Successor GM RTS II, GM Classic
Class Transit bus
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)[1]
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)
Height 121 in (3.07 m)
(height over roof hatches)[1]
The GM New Look bus, also commonly known by the nickname "Fishbowl" (for its six-piece rounded windshield), is a transit bus introduced in 1959 by General Motors and produced until 1987.[2] More than 44,000 New Look buses were built. Its high production figures and long service career made it an iconic North American transit bus. The design is listed as U.S. Patent D182,998 by Roland E. Gegoux and William P. Strong.

Production overviewEdit

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).[1] The total production of New Looks was 41,213 transit coaches and 3,271 suburban coaches.[1]

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."[citation needed]

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,[1] 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.[2] The completion of that order brought a final end to New Look production in April 1987.[2][3] 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.

DescriptionEdit

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

Edmonton BBC trolleybus 192

Brown Boveri trolleybus number 192.

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.[4] Series production took place in 1982–1983, and a total of only 53 were built.[4] 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.[5]

Model namingEdit

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
6 = Detroit Diesel 6V71
6 = Detroit Diesel 6V92TA1
8 = Detroit Diesel 8V712

H = hydraulic (automatic) transmission
M = manual transmission
33 = 29 feet (8.8 m)
45 = 35 feet (11 m)
53 = 40 feet (12 m)
  • Two digits.
A = Air conditioning
N = No air conditioning
  • "N" omitted for 1st & 2nd generation
NOTES:
  1. The Detroit Diesel 6V92TA was available on 40 foot buses as an alternative to the Detroit Diesel 6V71 and 8V71.
  2. Only 40-foot buses were available with an 8V71 engine.


First generation (1959–1962)
Description:
  • Tail lights were housed in streamlined nacelles modeled after afterburners.
  • Side roof signals were in geometric chrome strips.
  • "GM" logo was on a plaque with a black background.
  • In the first year of production, buses were built with pantograph wipers instead of single arm wipers.
Type Models Example
(TDH-5301 shown)
Transit
  • 4516: 35 ft (10.67 m) × 102 in (2.59 m)
  • 4517: 35 ft (10.67 m) × 96 in (2.44 m)
  • 5301: 40 ft (12.19 m) × 102 in (2.59 m)
  • 5302: 40 ft (12.19 m) × 96 in (2.44 m)
NYC Transit Authority GMC TDH-5301 1059
Suburban
  • 4501: 35 ft (10.67 m) × 96 in (2.44 m)
  • 5301: 40 ft (12.19 m) × 96 in (2.44 m)
Second generation (1963–1967)
Description:
  • Tail light nacelles were removed.
  • Side roof signals were placed in small bullet-pods.
Type Models Example
(TDH-5303A shown)
Transit
  • 4518: 35 ft (10.67 m) × 102 in (2.59 m)
  • 4519: 35 ft (10.67 m) × 96 in (2.44 m)
  • 5303: 40 ft (12.19 m) × 102 in (2.59 m)
  • 5304: 40 ft (12.19 m) × 96 in (2.44 m)
NYC Transit Authority GMC TDH-5303A 8466
Suburban
  • 4502: 35 ft (10.67 m) × 96 in (2.44 m)
  • 5302: 40 ft (12.19 m) × 96 in (2.44 m)
Third generation (1968–1971)
Description:
  • Tail lights were enlarged and given less flair. Because of new FMCSA regulations, three roof head and tail lights, commonly called "Michigan markers", were added as standard equipment (they had been optional on first- and second-generation New Looks). First-generation New Looks had these lights installed in a roof-mounted bracket, called "Manhattan style"; thereafter each light was mounted directly on roof.
  • Third clearance light added at top centre on either side, previously only at top corners. Bullet-pods of second-generation New Looks were eliminated.
  • Alternator-based electrical system introduced; previous generations used DC generators.
  • Slight update of driver's instrument panel: Voltmeter replaced previous generator warning light; separate left and right turn signal indicators replaced previous single DIR. SIGNAL light.
  • The logo was changed to "GMC" over a silver background.
  • The GM 8V71 engine became an option on 40-foot buses.
  • From this point on, only the 40 ft (12.19 m) transit model would be available in a 102 in (2.59 m) width.
Type Models Example
(S8M-5303A shown)
Transit
  • 3301: 29 ft (8.84 m) × 96 in (2.44 m)
  • 4521: 35 ft (10.67 m) × 96 in (2.44 m)
  • 5305: 40 ft (12.19 m) × 102 in (2.59 m)
  • 5306: 40 ft (12.19 m) × 96 in (2.44 m)
Suburban-type GM New Look bus - Pittsburgh, 1984
Suburban
  • 4503: 35 ft (10.67 m) × 96 in (2.44 m)
  • 5303: 40 ft (12.19 m) × 96 in (2.44 m)
Fourth generation (1972-1977 USA and Canada, 1972-1987 Canada)
Description:
  • Same front as the third generation.
  • For units built for American operators, the exhaust system was shifted from below the bus to the left of the rear window. Also used by Canadian operators; called Envoronmental Improvement Package.
  • A ventilation system on the right of the rear window became a popular option.
  • Roof ventilation/escape hatches introduced as an option from 1974, also very popular.
  • NEXT STOP lights introduced 1976-77; allows bell to ring only once for each stop.
  • Starting in 1981, the 6V92TA engine became an engine option for the 5307 transit and 5304 suburban model.
  • 5309 and 5310 were only sold to the New York MTA in 1972-73, as a variant of the 5307.
Type Models Example
(T6H-5307N shown)
Transit
  • 3302: 29 ft (8.84 m) × 96 in (2.44 m)1
  • 4523: 35 ft (10.67 m) × 96 in (2.44 m)
  • 5307: 40 ft (12.19 m) × 102 in (2.59 m)
  • 5308: 40 ft (12.19 m) × 96 in (2.44 m)
  • 5309: 40 ft (12.19 m) × 102 in (2.59 m)2
  • 5310: 40 ft (12.19 m) × 102 in (2.59 m)3
Bus with skyline
Suburban
  • 4504: 35 ft (10.67 m) × 96 in (2.44 m)
  • 5304: 40 ft (12.19 m) × 96 in (2.44 m)
NOTES:
  1. The 3302 ceased production in 1973.
  2. This model was sold only to the New York MTA and featured perimeter seating.
  3. This model was sold only to the New York MTA and featured forward-facing suburban seating.

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

Production totals are through August 1980, when serial numbers changed to 17-digit Vehicle Identification Numbers.[6][7]

TransitEdit

Model U.S.A. Canada
Quantity Built Quantity Built
TGH-3301 13 1969-1971 0 -
TDH-3301 113 1969-1971 0 -
TDH-3301A 161 1969-1971 0 -
TDH-3302A/TDH-3302N 223 1972-1973 0 -
TDH-4516 149 1960-1962 0 -
TDH-4517 1,799 1959-1963 66 1962-1963
TDM-4517 6 1960-1962 0 -
TDH-4518 124 1963-1965 0 -
TDH-4519 1,959 1963-1967 401 1963-1968
TDM-4519 08 1963-1967 0 -
T6H-4521 369 1968-1971 329 1968-1972
T6H-4521A 849 1968-1971 0 -
T6H-4523A/T6H-4523N1 2,562 1971-1977 537 + 95M 1972-1980
TDH-5301 3,794 1959-1963 186 1961-1963
TDM-5301 30 1961 0 -
TDH-5302 774 1960-1962 10 1963
TDM-5302 20 1961 0 -
TDH-5303 6,205 1963-1967 1,069 1963-1968
TDM-5303 65 1964-1967 0 -
TDH-5304 2,062 1963-1967 145 1963-1968
TDM-5304 57 1963-1965 0 -
T6H-5305 298 1967-1971 783 1968-1972
T6H-5305A 723 1968-1971 0 -
T6M-5305A 41 1968 0 -
T8H-5305 454 1968-1971 0 -
T8H-5305A 212 1968-1971 20 1970
T6H-5306 381 1968-1971 72 1968-1972
T6H-5306A 889 1968-1971 0 -
T6M-5306 50 1968 0 -
T8H-5306 5 1969-1970 0 -
T8H-5306A 344 1969-1971 0 -
T6M-5306A 46 1969 0 -
T6H-5307A/T6H-5307N2 446 1972-1976 2,444 + 2,006M 1972-1980
T8H-5307A 3,131 1971-1977' 62 + 77M 1973-1980
T6H-5308A/T6H-5308N 3003 1971-1976 2094 1972-1976
T8H-5308A/T8H-5308N4 447 1972-1976 0 -
T6H-5309A 434 1972-1973 0 -
T6H-5310A 106 1972-1973 0 -
All Canadian figures are for London, Ontario, except for totals marked "M".
  1. No T6H-4523As were built in Canada.
  2. No T6H-5307As were built in Canada.
  3. Only one T6H-5308N was built in the USA.
  4. No T6H-5308As were built in Canada.
  5. No T8H-5308Ns were built.
 

SuburbanEdit

Model U.S.A. Canada
Quantity Built Quantity Built
SDH-4501 90 1960-1961 0 -
SDM-4501 116 1960-1962 19 1962
SDH-4502 53 1963-1967 33 1965-1968
SDM-4502 162 1963-1967 41 1963-1966
S6H-4503 3 1968-1971 8 1969
S6H-4503A 31 1968-1971 0 -
S6M-4503 16 1968-1969 2 1968
S6M-4503A 29 1968-1971 0 -
S6H-4504A 13 1972-1973 0 -
S6M-4504A 2 1972-1973 0 -
SDH-5301 3 1960-1961 0 -
SDM-5301 589 1960-1962 2 1963
SDH-5302 96 1963-1967 15 1965
SDM-5302 1,079 1963-1967 104 1964-1968
S8H-5303A 48 1969-1971 6 1970
S8M-5303A 298 1968-1971 3 1968
S8H-5304A 236 1972-1976 0 -
S8M-5304A 171 1972-1976 0 -

See alsoEdit

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ReferencesEdit

  1. 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. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Stauss (1988), p. 30.
  3. Motor Coach Today, Vol. 5, No. 1 (January-March 1998), p. 9. Motor Bus Society.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Stauss (1988), p. 33.
  5. "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.
  6. Alan Gryfe (August 2, 2000). "GMDD Bus Deliveries". Archived from the original on 5 March 2003. Retrieved on 18 December 2010.

BibliographyEdit

  • 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.

External linksEdit

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