The 1940’s Bus Page


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The Pacific Bus Museum's GM PDA 3302 was built in 1945, actually built by the Pontiac Motor Car Division of GM as GM Truck and Coach Div. was busy building other models.  It was originally delivered new to Missouri Pacific Stages (owned by the Missouri Pacific Railroad) as #821.  It was serial PDA3302-016, one of only 100 of that model built.  Most small GM highway buses were PD and PDA 3701-2 and 3's that looked identical to a PDA 3302 but were one window longer.  All PD 33 and 37 series models with the letter "A" were air-conditioned.  All models were identical mechanically with 4 cylinder 4-71 GM diesel engines and 4 speed mechanical transmissions mounted straight in and not the traditional transverse engine and transmission with angle drive arrangement. 

Missouri Pacific sold the bus to an individual who attempted to make a motor home out of it.  Bob Martinique bought the #821 from that individual and restored it back to a bus in the late 1980's.  He repainted it as a Pacific
Greyhound Lines bus and numbered it #1945, the year it was built.  Pacific
Greyhound never had any PDA3302's but did have some PDA 3702's numbered in the 1700 series.  They were all sold off before 1950. 

The Pacific Bus Museum obtained the bus as part of a collection of six (6)
buses that was donated to us in 1996.  We maintain the bus and have displayed it at several events. It is the oldest operable bus in our 22 museum bus fleet.

The small GM PD and PDA's were nicknamed "ODT's" (for Office of Defense Transportation, which authorized bus production during WWII).  They were used by many major carriers, mostly on small feeder routes with light patronage.  Most were built during WWII to supplement fleets of many carriers who were in dire need of buses of any kind. They were very economical buses with 10+ MPG common with the 4 cylinder diesel engines.  Top speed was almost 60 MPH at 2150 RPMs, but with the "4 banger" engine they died on any hills they climbed.

Greyhound would receive 2000 GM PD 3751 and 4151 "silversides" models in 1947 and 48 and begin replacing older and smaller buses in their fleets.  They were equipped with a 6-71 diesel engine, a 4 speed transmission and angle drive that would become GM's standard setup for many years.

Many thanks to the Pacific Bus Museum for the picture and history.

Click on their name to to visit their web-site.



GMC PD4151

Norm Spaulding’s movie bus, 1948 “Silversides”

Greyhound ran these coaches coast to coast and over the Alcan Highway to Alaska in the 1940’s and into the early 1950’s.   They had air conditioning, a 4 speed transmission with the shift lever on the steering column, and were powered by 6-71N Detroit Diesels.



Flxible Clipper


Some sources claim it was used by Greyhound and Trailways in the 1940’s.   I do know that it was a common sight in rural areas in the 1950’s and 1960’s

On one trip I rode Lake Shore System from Columbus to Jackson OH and return. 

My most memorable trip was on Reynolds Transportation from Wheeling WV to Bluefield VA and return.  In the pre-Interstate highway days the route was via Moundsville, Fairmont, Clarksburg and Elkins. The Flxible was powered by a straight-8 Buick gas engine.

There was a model that had a raised roof about half way back with windows facing forward.

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