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Flatlander

Greyhound Escorter

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Anybody ever figure out what happened to Escorters that were in Atlantic City when a Bruce Dern movie was made there in 1972?

http://www.nywf64.com/ubb/Forum28/HTML/000126.html

Randy

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Randy. Yes, it is the same vehicle and the museum didn’t have any information.

Mike Kraus had a few questions that I told him I’d answer here as it might be of interest to all. The Greyhound Escorter is a 3 wheeled vehicle, powered by a 2-cylinder Onan gasoline engine and is propelled by a single speed Char-Lynn hydraulic drive system. It has front disk brakes with a Mico electric brake locking mechanism. There is no shock absorbing suspension, which probably means a somewhat rough ride (although I don’t imagine it will go very fast).

The body and top is of fiberglass over a welded steel frame and the struts that hold the top are made of wood. It uses a 12-volt automobile battery, the headlamps are functional and the non-functional tail lights are from a ’63 Plymouth Belvedere. I’ve learned that the upholstery is early ‘60’s gold GM material and the graphics were all made from 3M 580 reflective stock.

The rear wheel can be turned a full 90 degrees which allows for a zero turning radius.

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It uses a 12-volt automobile battery, the headlamps are functional and the non-functional tail lights are from a ’63 Plymouth Belvedere.

Does it have an alternator, or was some other method used to recharge the battery?

Randy

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Anyone know about a Greyhound Glide-A-Ride at the Dallas, Texas Greyhound Maintenance Center?

I came across a posting on the internet that said one had been restored and was in storage there.

Randy.

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It wasn't a Glide-A-Ride that was restored, it was an Escorter!

I enclose a response from Lindley Arthur, Public Relations at Greyhound, Inc.

The following is from the Greyhound newsletter, Greyhound Today, June 2001:

quote:

A Trip Back In Time

In 1964, Greyhound Escorters zipped by spectacular sights such as the Unisphere and the Solar Fountain at the World's Fair in New York, New York. Practically extinct 36 years later, the last remaining Escorter lay in battered pieces, covered by rubble in the Dallas, Texas, Refurb Facility. Here's the Escorter's amazing story of restoration.

Back in time

In 1964, Greyhound served as the official transportation company for the World's Fair in New York City. In addition to the hundreds of buses that brought visitors to New York, Greyhound developed 150 Escorters - futuristic, four-passenger, gasoline-powered vehicles. Extra-board Greyhound drivers trained as tour guides drove the Escorters, which were used primarily for private tours of the fairgrounds. The cost in 1964 for an hour aboard the modern machine - $9 per hour for two passengers, with a surcharge of $1 for each additional passenger.

Rebuilding history

In 2000, Greyhound employees from the Dallas maintenance facility discovered pieces of an Escorter piled up in the Dallas Refurb Facility. The pieces were transported to the Dallas maintenance facility, where Richard Spivey, a 10-year Greyhound veteran, began the refurbishment process.

"When they brought it to the garage, it was in bad shape," said Spivey. "It was in several pieces and many parts were missing. And, the parts we did have were beaten up."

For the next several months, Spivey dedicated his time to restoring the Escorter, using an old postcard donated by a New York museum for reference. He built missing parts out of fiberglass. He put the machine back together, piece by piece. He gave it a fresh coat of paint. And, he ordered copies of missing decals. To finish it, Frank Sabedra, another Dallas maintenance employee, reupholstered the driver's seat and the passenger bench.

"It was a lot of hard work," said Spivey. "Seeing the machine look more and more like the postcard kept me inspired. I'm proud that I was able to save such an important part of Greyhound history."

The Escorter today

Although the Escorter does not run, it is beautifully displayed at the Dallas Maintenance Facility, along with a display box of historic Escorter pictures, including the postcard Spivey used as a guide.

"The refurbished Escorter looks remarkably similar to the postcard from the museum," said Richard James, Dallas garage manager. "We're proud of Richard's dedication and effort. And, we're happy this piece of history calls our garage home."


Flatlander, the Greyhound gentlemen above may be able to help you out with your restoration! Wonder if Greyhound's still had the horn in it? wink.gif

Another NYWF Legacy preserved.

Randy.

------------------

AMF Monorail Research Project

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Randy (c318137). The Onan engine in the Escorter does have an alternator, along with an electric starting motor.

Thanks for the offer to help with photos and any other information available.

There appears to be 4 components missing. The horn, the speedometer, the fire extinguisher and the radio, including the antenna. I think I know where all of these components were located, but any photos which depict the dash or drivers compartment would be a great help confirming and in finding replacements.

Of particular interest is the radio and antenna. The bracket for the antenna is intact, but I do not have a good, clear picture of it. Also, it appears that the radio was mounted face up, adjacent to the right canopy strut. I would like to hear from anyone with any knowledge of the radio.

By the way, ALL of the graphics were reflective, but were in bad shape (chipped, cracked and discolored with age) or over areas where the fiberglass needs repair and all, except for the World's Fair logos which will be retained, are being professionally reproduced and will be compared to the originals prior to having the fiberglass professionally reworked.

The seats are currently being reupholstered using one of the 3 sets of originals that were retrieved with the Escorter.

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Is that 'handle thing' the taxi meter?

There also looks like some kind of panel that could be opened, down to the right of the driver...

Escorter2.jpg

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Randy (AMFMonorail). In trying to research information about the Escorter, I contacted Greyhound directly some 6 weeks ago and spoke with Richard Spivey personally. Richard did a truly remarkable job in reproducing an Escorter shell from a bunch of miscellaneous parts, particularly when considering he only had a few old photos to work from. Richard was kind enough to send me some pictures of the finished product.

05.jpg

09.jpg

Unfortunately, the Escorter at the Greyhound Dallas Maintenance Center does not have an engine, a hydraulic drive system, any electrical components or bumpers. The canopy support struts had to be recreated and are missing the Kalamazoo Manufacturing symbols. Several substitutions had to be in lieu of missing original parts including the drivers seat, steering wheel, gages and headlights. There were no original seats to use as a pattern for reproducing the original rolled upholstery design, nor any precise measurements for the correct placement of the decals. Richard also indicated that the Dallas reproduction too is missing the horn, the fire extinguisher, the radio and the radio antenna, among other things. I am assuming that the frame is original, but did not think to ask about it in our conversation.

What I did learn from the article you posted is the alleged size of the Escorter fleet. One would surely think that out of 150 units, there would be more that survived and someone at PTU would know about them.

The early demise of the Escorters may have resulted from a couple of flaws in its design. The rear body of the Escorter rode freely on the frame. As the vehicle moved, the body would apparently bounce and strike on the steel frame beneath the rear deck, causing cracks in and breakage of the surface of the fiberglass. In addition, the contour of the body did not quite clear the upper rear corner of the gas tank (which was mounted to the right of the driver's compartment) resulting in development of a severe fracture to the fiberglass at the point of contact. Also, there is evidence of heat damage to the fiberglass in the area of the engine compartment (to the left of the driver).

While probably never intended to stand the test of time, damaged Escorter bodies may have resulted in many of them ending up in the junk yard, their owners unwilling to spend the money to fix them.

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<blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Flatlander:

In addition, the contour of the body did not quite clear the upper rear corner of the gas tank (which was mounted to the right of the driver's compartment) resulting in development of a severe fracture to the fiberglass at the point of contact.<HR></blockquote>

So I guess the access panel that I observed to the right of the driver is probably the "refueling hatch" ?

<blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Flatlander:

The early demise of the Escorters may have resulted from a couple of flaws in its design.<HR></blockquote>

The examples you cited appear to be locations of interface between the body and the mechanical & functional components.

Might this be a reflection that Kalamazoo, while respected as a manufacturer and part fabricator, was a bit out of its league in designing a transportation vehicle? I think today I would go with somebody like one of the big snowmobile / "jet-ski" manufacturers (like Bombardier in Canada, who now designs & builds respected aircraft too!) as the lead project integrator, and they could then subcontract much of the manufacturing to companies like Kalamazoo.

Still, we've grown to love the appearance of the Escorters as built, warts and all, and wouldn't want them to be much different given the fond memories...

Randy

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Escorter3.jpg

I count at least 14 Escorters (and 2 Glide-a-Ride tugs in the foreground) in this Mike Kraus photo of the Greyhound service area. That's nearly a tenth of the Escorter "fleet"!

Mike do you have a higher resolution copy of this photo that might be able to zoom in on that guy in the blue work uniform, servicing the Escorter at what Flatlander describes as its engine compartment (left of the driver seat)?

Also, Flatlander I observe that the Escorter on the right side of Mike's picture has the passenger bench seat removed (lying on the floorboard). What was under the seat that would need servicing? The battery perhaps?

The nearest Escorter on the left (right behind the GaR tugs) looks like it has its passenger bench seat removed too.

Randy

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http://www.nywf64photos.com/PicPages/GREYHUND.htm

Added a close-up, but not much revealed.

Notice however the truck in the background:

(Obscured) Equipment Co.

I'm positive that's a Clark truck. Looks like the local Clark shop paid visits to Greyhound for parts/service....

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Mike. Hummm. I’m not seeing any antennae in your photo either. But other photos do show some something resembling an antenna on the canopy of the Escorters. Maybe equipping the Escorters with radio’s was done later in an effort to resolve dispatch problems.

I have been assuming that the opening to the left of the left canopy strut was where some kind of 2-way dispatch radio was located. The Escorter that I am working on has the plexiglass cover with the two rubber grommets intact, as shown in the photo that Randy “c318137” posted, but after seeing that strange handle sticking out of it, I’m beginning to wonder exactually what was under there. I know that something unrelated to the functioning of the Escorter was housed there, as beneath the cover is a secondary indentation in the fiberglass and a couple of holes that were there to hold something. Also, there does not appear to be any wiring in that area that is not accounted for.

Who knows ! Since the Greyhound article mentioned an hourly rate, maybe it actually was some kind of “taxi meter”.

I sure wish former Escorter driver Larry Leif would chime in here and set us straight. Does anyone know how to contact him and coax him into this discussion ?

By the way, I really appreciate seeing all the pictures.

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Randy (c318137). In answer to your question, the removable cover to the right of the driver covers the gas and hydraulic tanks. On the left side is another removable cover, which covers the engine.

In all the photos that I’ve seen, the engine cover is shown as a solid piece of fiberglass. However, there is another type of engine cover that features an open metal grate. I’m guessing that either the latter type was developed after it was discovered that the engine needed more ventilation (as not to cause damage to the surrounding fiberglass), or it was substituted in cool weather as “heater” for the driver.

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<blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Flatlander:

I sure wish former Escorter driver Larry Leif would chime in here and set us straight. Does anyone know how to contact him and coax him into this discussion ?<HR></blockquote>

I think Larry said he drove Glide-a-Rides the first year, and buses the second year. But not Escorters.

Randy

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As long as we're talking Escorters- this question went unanswered a few months ago....

http://www.nywf64.com/ubb/Forum18/HTML/000310.html

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<font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Mike Kraus:

Also, I'm not seeing any radio antennae.
<HR>

I drew arrows to what I think are antennae.

Escorter4.jpg

In this picture you can clearly see the radio antennae on three or four Escorters, on top of the right side of the gull wing roof.

You can also see a decent view of the dashboard on the Escorter on the right.

By the way, it looks like the tail lights were operative on these Escorters.

Escorters_at_night.jpg

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The location of the small, flat metal bracket on the top of the canopy that could have been the base of an antenna (and it's the only one up there) is just about where what appears to be a pink balloon is on that last photo of the Greyhound yard that you put up.

The glow from the taillights in the night photo is the red taillight reflector.

My mistake about Larry. Where I saw the message from the Escorter driver was in the guestbook over on Bill Young's nwyf64.com site.

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<blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Flatlander:

The location of the small, flat metal bracket on the top of the canopy that could have been the base of an antenna (and it's the only one up there) is just about where what appears to be a pink balloon is on that last photo of the Greyhound yard that you put up.

<HR></blockquote>

You're right! The rear picture of the Escorter in front of the Hong Kong Pavilion earlier in this thread shows the location pretty clearly- right where the pink balloon is in the service yard photo.

(I wonder if a pink balloon attached meant the radio needed servicing?)

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When the bottom passenger seat cushion is removed, it exposes two 8x15" openings in the fiberglass seat base. These openings are directly above the front wheel axle and allow access to the disc brakes, the hydralic wheel drives and the hydralic system filter. Not much else under there.

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