When Woolloongabba was Wattle Scented

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Case of the Missing Ford Super Coach.......Solved!



This story was originally published on the blog Sando and Sando and we republish with thanks.


I always thought the Greyhound Coaches brand was imported from the U.S.A. But no, it was an early Australian brand that ended up in the US. After WWII the Streamliner coaches were a futuristic vision of road transport and were the pride of the Greyhound fleet, the streamliner styling influenced the architecture of motorcoach terminals across the US.

The photo above is a group of streamliners at an unidentified location in Brisbane, Australia ca.1946. The second from left bus has a Charles Hope body powered by a Ford flathead V8, the five buses from the right are GMH / Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation Bedford Transits.The gem in this picture is the bus on the far left, a 1938 Ford Super Coach. The coach was built on a Ford chassis in Brisbane; Australia by local company Watt Coaches and serviced the Brisbane to Tenterfield route from 1946.

The bus had an unusual centre door entry, and a distinctive four strip deco style lengthwise adornment on it's side. It sported luggage racks and has a rear boot/trunk that may have provided additional storage; oversized wheel arch panels on the front capped by swept back, bug eye headlights and the panels over the rear wheels gave the coach a sleek, low-rider look. It would have looked a treat in it's day, as it trundled the roads between Brisbane and Tenterfield. The Super Coach would have been well known and a real head turner for it's time and many folks would have fond memories of trips taken on that bus and the events surrounding them. Perhaps some even wonder what happened to the Ford Super Coach from the Greyhound Streamliner fleet?

I live in a mixed residential/light industrial area in an inner Brisbane suburb. We have a convenience store but also have panel beaters, fabricators, warehouses and overgrown vacant lots, one of the lots is a yard for retired buses. I often pass it as part of my daily routine and one day hopped the fence. The yard holds about 15-20 buses in various states of disrepair, many decayed. I walked the up and down the rows of buses and sitting up in the back corner of the lot, it's rear covered in weeds and shrubbery, was the Ford Super Coach. As soon as I saw it, I new it would have to be a bus of some note, so I did a bit of quick research and sure enough, I'd found an old Greyhound Streamliner, and a special one at that.



There's no doubt that this is the 1936 Ford Super Coach Greyhound Streamliner. The poor Greyhound is in a state of decay but I would not say that it is beyond saving, it has been pretty well stripped but the deco style embellishment down the side is still there. The special thing about this bus is its timber frame and use of VJ panelling.

In the interests of safety I didn't hop aboard but the side door is missing and you can have a look in. The lining of the roof has fallen away and exposed the timber frame and some of the electrical wiring is still there, intact. The floor of the bus is timber and the VJ planks are exposed in the step area of the entrance. The door is missing but must have opened outwards with the hinge positioned on the left side, latching on the right. The front wheel arch panel is also fabricated of VJ boards, you can see where the outer skin has separated from the timber. has a hand painted "The Greyhound" on it's side and the front roof panel; however the last paint livery that can be made out is branded Kangaroo Klipper and sports an early version of the QANTAS Airlines jumping kangaroo.


Interior, looking to rear.


VJ panelling of centre entry step.


Metal skin separating from VJ panels of front wheel arch.


Kangaroo insignia; door latch can be seen top right.


This Super Coach has some decay but is not so bad that it couldn't be saved and refurbished. For now it has a nice spot, rear end up against a high wall and is relatively sheltered from the elements and the western sun. If anyone has any memories of a trip taken on this Super Coach or perhaps your Great Uncle used to drive it between Brisbane and Tenterfield, please let me know; it would be good to share the stories with others.

Original Images Copyright http://www.sandoandsando.blogspot.com/
Additional Images sourced from http://www.nla.gov.au/pict/


  1. I can remember riding on an articulated Greyhound coach in the early 1970s - it had been chartered for a boys' camp that I attended at Currumbin on about 1971 or 1972.

    But having said that, the Australian 'Greyhound' company was not exported to the US ... The US Greyhound predates Australia's by about 12 years.

    1. Greyhound started out of Hibbing Minnesota in the late 1920’s there are countless photos and historical articles that are available online , Raymond Loewy designed the classic silversides of the 1940’s and the Scenicruiser of the 1950’s the original Greyhounds were built by several companies like Yellow Coach , White and then GMC built the modern coaches through 1970 then MCI , TMC , Today PREVOST a Canadian Coach is the supplier of most of the Greyhound Fleet .

    2. The company traces back to 1925–26, when intercity bus operators Eric Wickman and Orville S. Caesar joined forces, acquired financing, and merged several bus companies into the Motor Transit Management. Some of the early backers were the railroads, first the Great Northern Railroad and then the Southern Pacific, Pennsylvania, and New York Central railroads. A network of lines quickly spread across the country, through purchase of existing companies and inauguration of new lines. In 1930 Motor Transit officially became Greyhound Corporation, with the “running dog” as its trademark. By 1933 Greyhound had 40,000 route miles (65,000 km). In 1961, however, a policy decision was made to diversify, and in the succeeding decades the company became a conglomerate, expanding into several new products and services, such as toiletries and household-products manufacturing, catering, airport terminal services, and financial services; from 1970 to 1983 it also owned the meatpacking Armour & Company. Greyhound’s business operations became international.

  2. Please share with us if you have more photos of any Ford Super Coach Greyhound Streamliner. Thank you!

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