The GM Futurliner
GM Futurliner Restoration Project

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Vic Hyde
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The following article was taken from "Special-Interest Autos", Mar-Apr. 1977. It was written by Bill Williams, Associate Editor. Please note that references to people and time-frames are only relative to 1977.

ANATOMY OF A FUTURLINER

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 flat terrain.

"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."

Entertainer Vic Hyde of Niles, Michigan owns one of seven Parade Futurliners know to survive (shown). Stairway leads to glassed-in cockpit, which seats driver in front center and two more on bench behind. Lighting pd can be raised from rear roof section.

 

 

 

Contacts:

Don M. Mayton, Project Director
4521 Majestic Vue, Zeeland, MI 49464
616 875-3058

Dean G. Tryon, Newsletter Editor
2516 Laurelford Ln., Wake Forest, NC 27587
919 562-4660

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