The first prototype Scenicruiser, the double-decker GX-1, touted as “the bus of tomorrow,” was built by General Motors shortly after the end of World War II. Problems developed almost immediately, and engineers redesigned the bus and rolled out the second experimental model, the GX-2 in 1949. After some further modifications, Greyhound put in a $25 million order for 500 Scenicruisers (each unit cost $50,000) to be delivered in 1954 and 1955.
Five hundred Scenicruisers, henceforth named the PD-4501 Super Scenicruisers, were delivered in 1954. An additional 500 units were ordered for delivery in 1956 for a combined fleet of 1,000. One final unit, #1001, a prototype with a rear emergency door, was delivered to Greyhound in June 1956.
The Scenicruisers ruled the highways for over two decades and then they were retired by Greyhound in 1977-78 and sold off, auctioned or scrapped. Charter bus lines acquired a number of them, and a few were snapped up by private individuals who turned them into giant motorhomes.
Converted Scenicruisers have been extremely popular with traveling bands and entertainers because of their ample storage space and durability. There are an amazing number of Scenicruisers still on the road despite the fact that they haven’t been produced since the mid-1950s.
This Scenicruiser #645 rolled off the assembly line in 1956. It has been retrofitted as a fully self-contained motorhome. The power plant is an 8v92 diesel pusher with 90 injectors that transmit power to the wheels via an HT 750 Allison transmission. An 8-kilowatt generator supplies ample AC power for three air conditioners and an electric water heater. Additional power is generated by roof-mounted solar panels that charge the 12-volt batteries. There are two water tanks, a 100-gallon fresh water reservoir and a 100-gallon black water tank. The Scenicruiser is owned by Marty and Elaine Gross. It was photographed at the Flywheelers Park, Avon Park, Florida.
Douglas Keister’s new book, Mobile Mansions: Taking “Home Sweet Home” on the Road, was published by Gibbs Smith Publishers in May. Doug is also the author of Ready to Roll: A Celebration of the Classic American Travel Trailer and Silver Palaces: America’s Streamline Trailers. Personalized autographed copies are available from Doug. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org
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