1968 Experimental Muni Bus

Happy New Year from Muni Time Capsule! Now, on to the relic at hand …

1968: The photo above comes to the time capsule courtesy of Martin at the Make-Out Room. On the back of the photograph is written:

Muni Experimental Bus
Sept 68 Photo by Jack White

From what I can tell, the manufacturer here is Flxible (not a typo). It looks very similar to this 1967 bus by Flxible. Here’s another photo. Flxible called this model “New Look,” and built nearly 13,000 units between 1961 and 1978. They ran in Chicago, San Francisco, and Akron, Ohio, among other cities.

The buses were retired from the Muni fleet in 1991, though it remains unclear when Muni first acquired the New Looks.

Here are a couple of shots of Muni’s Flxible New Looks when they were still in service:

MUNI BUSES--Baby White 062, Flxible 4009 @ Veterans Bldg
Second bus back. Photo by milantram2

MUNI BUSES--Flxible 4009 @ Ocean Beach
Photo by milantram2

A 2006 photo by Ian Fuller shows at least one of Muni’s remaining Flxible New Looks still hanging out at Woods yard:

DSC03584a
The Flxible is the bus on the right.

Whole Wheat Toast says the bus is no longer in the yard. A wikipedia page has them currently being stored at Piers 15/17.

In other 1968 Bay Area transit news, plans were  released for a rapid-transit bus subway on Geary that connected downtown with a proposed Third Street subway taking passengers to SFO. There was also a proposed monorail serving the airport. Guess that never got off the ground. Heh.

*** Bonus points to anyone who can correctly identify where the top photograph was taken.

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Comments (8)

Eric FischerJanuary 14th, 2011 at 4:07 pm

P.S. The 1968 Geary Rapid Transit would have been a train, not a bus.

Guessing: is the Flxible bus at the Muni Elkton Shops?

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jeff Reply:

Thanks for the correction! As to the location of the photo, your guess is as good as mine! Let’s see whether anyone else can weigh in.

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Dexter WongJanuary 23rd, 2011 at 1:46 am

Flxible was one of the largest bus makers decades ago, a rival for GM at one time. The name comes from the original product made by the company, a motorcycle sidecar with flexible arms. (The “i” was removed for trademark reasons.) There were ten buses (#4000-4009) that were purchased by Muni in 1969 as an alternative to GM’s new look. About a decade later, Muni purchased 35 of their boxy model 870, but they weren’t around for long.

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jeff Reply:

Thanks, Dexter. Are GM New Looks and Flxible New Looks virtually identical?

[Reply]

Evan Reply:

As identical as a Chevy Cruze and Ford Focus are. Which is to say they’re not.

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3277February 24th, 2011 at 2:53 pm

The photo of the 1939 White & the 1969 Flxible looks like it was taken long after the retirement of both coaches – notice the cars & a shuttle vehicle in the photo & the lack of ad billboards on the Flxible. My own interest here is in two generations of Muni diesel coaches – the Mack C49s & especially the 1969 GMC T8H5305 coaches with their DD8V71 engines & Jake Brakes – the COOLEST GMC fishbowls ever built! I grew up in San Francisco in the 1970s & frequently rode the GMC coaches – their loudness & the staccato sound of the Jake Brakes was music to my ears! Also very cool were the GMC coaches that were retrofitted with E.I.P. systems. Interior engine idle sound on the E.I.P. coaches was significantly quieter.

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Whole Wheat ToastMarch 26th, 2011 at 1:16 am

All the Historic Fleet Buses are being stored at the yard on Cesar Chavez.

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Joe DunhamJune 14th, 2011 at 3:38 pm

OOh wow, santa has one? Now I gotta get one! lol. I like it!

[Reply]

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