Crown Coach Corporation (1932-1991)

March 26, 2010 by
Filed under: 3. Newsclips 

Crown Coach Corporation (1932-1991)

Posted by crownsupercoachman Thursday, January 11, 2007 – 09:33, Tehachapi News

Crown Coach Corporation was California’s specialty builder of school buses and other specialty coaches. Crown called their masterpiece the Crown Supercoach.

Crown completed their first bus in 1932. An all metal body with safety glass windows. It was rectangular in appearance. The cost of such units was very high during the Depression time, so in 1935 Crown brought out some school bus bodies on a commercial truck chassis These were called Metropolitans or Metros for short. It had simple bodies on a commercial truck chassis.

The same year Crown put out a larger and stronger model it was manufactured more than the 1932 model, now known as the Crown Supercoach, it had air brakes and carried 76 elementary students and 67 high school students.

Crown made the first underfloor engine school bus in 1937. The seating capacity increased to 79 students it was the largest school bus of that time. The engine was moved to the rear in 1940, with altered body work allowing two emergency exits and more headroom. In 1947, the school buses changed back to underfloor engines. In 1950 Crown changed some body features to a more rounded shape which adds extra strength, the resulting appearance was almost unchanged except for window sizes for the next forty years.

All Crown vehicles had gasoline engines until 1954 when the engines changed to diesel engines.

After the 1950 structural changes, Crown put out a line of sightseeing coaches using horizontal sliding side windows, some had a raised floor which allowed more room for baggage underneath. They were availible in 32′, 35′ and 40′ lengths. Some of them had dual rear axles and carried 33 to 57 passengers. The majority of them had underfloor engines but the rear engine was availible in the longest units. Crown’s last intercity coach was filed in 1980.

Crown then started making fire engines. Crown called these fire engines Firecoaches. Crown’s first Firecoach was a pumper built in 1949 which was used as a demonstrator until production was begun by a newly formed division in 1951. Thanks to their durability and huge brakes, these Firecoaches were popular in the mountain areas. Custom equipment was availible later, including ladder trucks, telescoping arials, and combination ladder- water towers. Crown Firecoach production ended in 1981, except for cab and chassis units for another buyer. It appears that about 880 Crown Firecoaches were built.

In the early 50’s Crown put out a line of Security Jail Coaches. These coaches had bars on the windows. These bars were made of 90,000 pounds per square inch (psi) ultra high tensile steel. These prison coaches came in 35′ or 40′ lengths. Approximately fifty of these were made.many are still in use, even at 25 to 30 years of age!

The understructure of a Crown Supercoach is an all metal body formed of 90,000 psi ultra high tensile steel, which creates a superstructure of pure muscle from one end to the other. There is an extra strong roof structure consisting twenty two roll bars on a 36 foot bus and twenty six roll bars on a 40 foot bus. Each roll bar is made of twelve gauge steel. A roll bar is placed every seventeen and a half inches.

The steel used by Crown is twice as durable as the 45,000 psi steel used by manufacturerstoday.

The outer shell of a Crown Supercoach is made out of the highest quality heat treated aluminum, every where you look in a Crown Supercoach you will see heavy duty button rivets holding the shell on to the understructure

Crown’s vehicles were guaranteed to last at least twenty years or reach at least 100,000 miles

Crown’s vehicles had the largest (10 inch) brakes in the coach industry. They probably still do!

In 1990 districts would rather buy the less durable, smaller, lighter, and cheaply made units produced elsewhere. General Electric thought the operation was unprofitable, after unsuccessfully seeking a buyer during 1990 Crown had to close their doors on March 31st 1991, on May 21st, 1991, all of their machinery was sold at auction.

The Tehachapi Unified School District’s Transportation Department currently has seven Crown Supercoaches. (five that are running) Bus #15 is a retired bus from 1973 which has over 400,000 miles on it. It has quadrupled Crown’s guarantee of 100,000 miles. Bus #18 is a bus from1985 and is going to be retired, it has over 220,000 miles on it it has doubled Crown’s guarantee. and five are still in daily use (6, 7, 8, 9, and 22) TUSD has had many Crown Supercoaches in the past (10 speeds, 5 speeds and automatics)

Crown Supercoaches are the the Safest Coaches Ever Built!!!

Comments

4 Comments on Crown Coach Corporation (1932-1991)

  1. Bill on Mon, 29th Mar 2010 5:31 PM
    Profile photo of Bill
  2. While the first diesel Crown was a 1954 (serial # 33212, AD-743-11), Crown buses and Firecoaches were sold with gasoline engines up through at least 1970. It probably wasn’t until around 1966 that more buses were sold with diesels than gas engines.

  3. Pete on Wed, 25th Aug 2010 8:39 PM
    Profile photo of Pete Cowper
  4. I drove Crown Supercoaches for McKinleyville Elementary School District from 1968 to 1971 while a student at Humboldt State College. My first was a 1953 Crown with a 504 Hall Scott and Fuller non-syncro 5 speed, then I moved up to a 1956 Crown with a 590 Hall Scott and Fuller non-synchro 5 speed, and my last was a 1967 Crown with a Cummins 220 diesel and Spicer 5-speed. I loved that diesel rig. I still have a framed color photograph of the driver’s position hanging on my wall. Sure was more fun going to work driving a Crown than heading into court in the morning as a lawyer . . .
    Pete
    (School Bus Driver – Ret)

  5. Sandi Brockway on Wed, 25th Aug 2010 9:08 PM
  6. Hi, Peter. I am so glad to meet you. I used to live in Eureka, 72-76. I was a student at Humboldt state too! We must have just missed each other!

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    I cannot imagine it being very much fun being a lawyer, particularly litigation attorneys, given all the pain I have seen them needlessly cause for trust and probate cases.

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    Crown Coach Corporation (1932-1991) : Crown Coach Historical Society

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