Whenyou setout to restorea pieceof history
like a 1964GMCNew Lookdieselbus,glitches
areboundto happen,Thingslike puttingthe
front bumperon backwards.Ot ttying to
duplicatethe original greystonewhite for the
bus'sexteriorpaint job and endingup with a
greenishwhite.Or installinga new learwindow
and endingup with crackedglass.
"Why did you guysput in a brokenwindow?"
welderJohn CiagliaaskedBurnabyOverhaulcoworkerswhen they first showedhim the damage.
He didn't know it, but the glasswasn'tbrokenat
all - it justlookedlikeit was.
"lt's an old trick," he explainsnow pointing
to a bent pieceof wire, which looks convincingly
like a long crack,appliedbehindthe glass."lt's a
It's clearthat apprenticebodlpersonsNeil
humour after spendingabout two-and-a-half
the historicalbusto its
original condition. A scrawledsign on one of the
Humour aside,the two apprenticeshave
honed their skillswhile revitalizingthis former
BC Hydro vehicle,the 12th bus purchasedon the
LowerMainland by BC Transit'spredecessor.
to GMC vehicles- they
men areno strangers
eachdid six months of training in Surreygarage,
which usesmany early-1970s
took it asa challenge,"saysNeil. "lt's a chanceto
proveto ourselvesthat we can do it."
The duo receivedguidancefrom Burnaby
- "they're never
afraidto offer advice,"saysNeil - and fiom their
mentor Tom Westcott,fleet maintenance
Their biggestchallengewasfinding partssuch
aswindow latchesfor the 3S-year-old
Craigsays:"We scroungedthem from the buses
I ' l r rl t ; r r t u i '
going to the scrapyardand from the old smoker's
DavePickett,a memberof the Transit
which is fundingthe
bus'sbodl'workand paint job, saysthe busis
now "betterthan new." The Suneytlansit
callsthe GMC a classic
beauty,and a fine exampleof the period's
"fishbowl" design,which refersto the shapeof
the roundedwindshield."lt's the only GMC
we'vegot left of that era.It's in a classby itself."
He adds:"lt's not very oftenthat you get a
busin mint condition,especially
the seatsand chromework areoriginal."He
pointsout that the bus'ssquaremetalseatsand
handrails,indicativeof the 1960s,changedto
roundmetalin the 1970s.
from a not-inThebus'stransformation
servicevehicleto "a realhighwaybus" readyfor
paintingthe bus'sinteriorand exterior."lt's
harderthan paintinga Flyer,"saysGino.
"There'smorebus,more curves,and different
colours."Sincenone of the bus'soriginalpaint
existed,painterEmil Marzhad to createhis own
computer,he recordedthe exteriorwhite on the
Brill trolley#2416and tried to
duplicatethe colourfor the GMC diesel.
To ensurean authenticlook for this classic
BC Hydro decalsfor the bus,
alongwith the vehicle'soriginalnumbers4612,
harkeningbackto its first daysof operationin
The GMC's newly painted and restored interior. For visual reference, the rcstoration crew drew
on original photographs taken at the factory of BC Hydro's first order of GMC buses. These werc
provided by TRAMS membet Petet Cox of Edmonton.
Bob Crangot the bus'srunning lights going
againand madesurethat all electrical
componentswereoriginal.After working on
GMC busesat Oakridgefor eight years,he finds
the old bus technologysimplecomparedto that
of today'svehicles.But he admits:"Finding
original sockets,wiring and connectionswasa
challenge.I've kept piecesover the yearsand
scroungedthem when I can find them."
The GMC bus wound up in Burnaby
Overhaulafter mechanicAl Menziessavedit
from the scrapheap.After it wastaken out of
servicein 1988,the bus stayedparkedin
Richmondasa spare/alongwith about 40 others.
About four yearsago,Al fired up eachof these
vehiclestwo to three times a weekduring the
winter in casethey wereneededfor service.This
particularGMC alwaysfired up easily.At the
tirne,Al neededa servicetruck, so voilal The
New Look dieselbecamehis servicevehicle.He
droveit backand forth betweenBurnaby
Overhauland the Richmondyardson Savage
Road."l usedto havea lot of fun driving that
bus," he admits."l kinda like the old stuff."
Al realizedthe bus'shistoricalvalueone day
when he openedthe vehicle'sbackend and saw
that it had three small air cleanersinsteadof
that they striveto save
this memberof Hydro'soriginal GMC fleet.The
Societyagreed,and with the supportof BC
Transit(now CoastMountain Buslink), the
The bus'sold enginehad seizedwith excess
water,so Al replacedit with a Detroit Diesel
6Y7l and he put in an overdrivetransmission.
Today,he sayswith a,laugh:"They call me the
executioner.I'm the one who doesthe last
things on the busesbeforethey go to the
wreckers.I get to saveone and scrapanother."
Transitenthusiastsfor yearsto comewill be glad
that A1heloedsavethis one.
III AND THE NEW
900 IB FTTorque
bus in town
There'sa new bus in town. The Nova LFS,
recentlypurchasedby Buslink, is a sleek
newcomer.Built by Nova BUSCorporationof StEustache,Que.,the 4O-footbus will be tested
overthe next few monthsby operators
Burnabyand Surreytransit centres.As Robin
explains,"We'relooking at the Nova LFSbecause
Flyeris bookedup until the year 2002.In the
meantime,Buslink needs35 new busesnow But
if we'regoing to purchaseelsewhere,
we want to
be sureof the productfirst."
You can't missthe Nova LFS.Overall,the
styling is more European,notesRobin.The bus
hasa distinctiveone-piecewindshield,which the
companysaysimprovesvisibility and safety,
givesa betterwiping pattern.The one-piece
.270" thick, and lacedinto a reinforcedfibreglass
aperture.The windshieldis tinted at 80 per cent
of transmittancyexceptfor the upper 5" which is
blue tinted at 30 per cent.
Hereare someof the NovaLFS's
- with double-widedoors;full
low-floor from front to rear;and a l4-inch
floor height at the fiont and reardoors.
Seatingcapacity- up to 41 passengers.
design- the integralweldedsteel-tubebody structurefeaturessturdy
front and rearbumpersaswell asrub rails
on both sidesto absorbshock,and a solidbeamdrop front axle.
electronicallycontrolledheatingand airconditioning system.
- providedby cantilever
seatsand floor covering.
panel- modular designprovides
Similarly,largefront and side
Bruce Btown, BTC mechanic, and Tom Jarvie,
BTC electrician, with NOVAcontrcl panel.