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Mack International – Global Bus Chassis Sales


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When Mack Trucks comes up in discussion, we seldom hear references to bus chassis. Indeed in America, the bus chassis market has always been unique. The “big 3” for many years controlled the school bus chassis segment, while inter-city coach manufacturers largely produced their own chassis in house.

The overseas bus chassis market has always been more vibrant, particularly in the inter-city and coach segments. The number of body builders is staggering, and their products impressive. Throughout Europe and the UK to South America and the world over, Scania in particular has been a long time leader in the global bus chassis segment (http://www.scania.com/products-services/buses-coaches/intercity-coach/chassis/), joined by MAN, VDL and Mercedes-Benz.

From the 1930s thru 1978, Mack Trucks did indeed produce a variety of bus chassis for both the U.S. domestic and global markets (Mack’s versatile AB bus chassis served as the platform for moving vans and other truck types).

In addition to producing the legendary BK inter-city coach for Greyhound and other operators in the 1930s, Mack also sold bus chassis to both U.S. bus body builders from coast to coast including C.D. Beck* of Sidney, Ohio and C.N. Johnston Company of Bakersfield, California. Global in stature, Mack also supplied bus chassis to overseas bus body builders (e.g. Argentina – see below).

* Mack Trucks purchased C.D. Beck of Sydney, Ohio in September 1956 with the intention of re-entering the inter-city bus business. Mack had dropped out of the inter-city bus market during the 1930’s to focus on the transit bus market.

Beck was a manufacturer of inter-city buses as well as Ahrens-Fox fire engines. Beck had begun producing Ahrens-Fox under contract from 1953, and acquired exclusive production rights in 1955. Mack’s legendary C-85, C-95 and C-125 were directly based on a new Ahrens-Fox model in Beck’s new product pipeline that Mack Trucks subsequently re-engineered with a Mack drivetrain.

From 1956 through 1958, Mack produced model 92-G “Sky Liners” and 97-D inter-city motorcoaches at Beck.

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Beck Airstream body on Mack bus chassis (1935).jpg

1928 Mack AL bus chassis with Johnston body.jpg

Better Buses in Buenos Aires.jpg

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The Mack CB forward control bus chassis range was produced between 1941 and 1950. Of the 1,685 CB bus chassis were produced, most were gasoline powered but 326 units were ordered with diesel powertrains (between 1947 and 1950).

Carrying model designations CBA through CBL, the CBs were designed for export to emerging countries in Latin America and Europe. Some were operated in the United States with school bus bodies.

To meet the needs of Australia and New Zealand, right-hand drive models were also produced.

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Mack CBL forward-control bus chassis (1949).jpg

Mack CBL forward-control bus.jpg

Mack CBL forward-control bus chassis (1949)..jpg

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After Mack phased out C-Series municipal bus production in 1960, the company began limited production of custom bus chassis. Later during the 1970s under Jack Curcio (vice president - international operations), Mack Trucks more aggressively promoted bus chassis sales in the global market.

Based on the R-model with both front- and rear-mounted engine configurations, Mack FC (forward control) bus chassis were sold on both sides of the Atlantic, in Europe and Latin America.

Pictured below is an example produced by bus body builder Utic in Portugal.

Also pictured are some hard run veterans in South America, Mack bus chassis produced in Venezuela and fitted with bus bodies by Ciferal in Brazil.

Model Production Years Units

CB-Series 1941-1950 1,685

FC13 1964-1965 108

FC23 1964-1965 102

FC33 1963-1966 16

FC607B 1968-1971 118

FCR607B 1974-1974 40

FC605RB 1976-1976 1

FCR685B 1970-1976 209

FCR685RB 1976-1978 57

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Mack FCR685B bus chassis with Portuguese Utic body.jpg

Mack FCR685RB bus chassis with Brazilian Ciferal body (1).jpg

Mack FCR685RB bus chassis with Brazilian Ciferal body (2).jpg

Mack FCR685RB bus chassis with Brazilian Ciferal body (3).jpg

Mack FCR685RB bus chassis with Brazilian Ciferal body (4).jpg

Mack FCR685RB bus chassis with Brazilian Ciferal body (5).jpg

Mack FCR685RB bus chassis with Brazilian Ciferal body (6).jpg

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