Vic Hyde of Niles, Michigan owns GM Futurliner #10, built
in 1940 as one of 12. Six others are known to survive, but Vicís
seems to be in the best condition. We asked Vic to tell us
about his Futurliner. Hereís his report.
"Iíve heard that GM laid out $1.25 million for the
lot, making each one about a $100,000 investment. I think one
of the reasons they called them Futurliners was because they
had very advanced gadgets in them Ė like the corrugated
stainless steel sliding, Autronic Eye headlight control,
air-conditioned bubble cabs, dual-range Hydra-Matic, dual
front wheels, power steering, etc.
"The first time I drove it, it was very, very scary up
there in the air. You look way down. But finally I learned
that everyone gets out of the way. Turning radius is very
limited, and the 35,000-pound bus is terribly under powered,
having only a 145-bhp GMC ohv 6 Ė a truck engine and not a
very big one at that.
"Among its stranger gadgets is a 2-speed gearbox just
ahead of the differential. You have to shift this by climbing
underneath the rig and moving a lever by hand. I guess they
did this depending on whether they were going into hilly or
"The roof cap toward the rear rises about five feet
and a pod with 18 fluorescent lights plus four spots goes up
on a worm-gear rod. They body sides open with another motor
(220-volt) to make a platform. The driverís bubble has a
hatch behind it, so you get out on the roof from the cab. By
the way, to get into the driverís area, you open the
right-side door, a step slides out pneumatically (60 psi for
brakes, horn, and step), you go up six aluminum stairs, and
there you are. Thereís an adjustable central seat for the
driver and a 2-passenger bench behind it.
"I found a pad of paper in the driverís compartment
thatís a log given each dayís mileage. The report ended at
25,000 miles, which is what the odometer showed when I bought
this outfit. Iím a musician and entertainer and had
originally hoped to use the bus for touring, but I found I
couldnít get proper insurance.
"There are two 40-gallon gas tanks in the belly, both
with electric fuel pumps, and thereís a separate dash button
to activate either pump. The rest of the belly is for storage
plus two 6-volt batteries hooked in series. As an aside, my
rig came with the original 10x20 tires, and these are embossed
with ĎParade of Progressí in the wide whitewalls."