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Open Discussion: Eagle history

This is a public forum that will facilitate **DOCUMENTATION** of Eagle Bus History. Posting of historical documents and photos is encouraged. Questions about individual bus history (VIN) should be posted in the General Eagle Chat forum.
Open Discussion: Eagle history
Sat Jan 24, 2015 12:17 pm

I am opening this thread so that folks can comment about or add to information related to the documents presented in this forum. I have locked the posts containing the historical data so that they remain "clean".

For openers, I would like to thank Joe Richards (aka Bus & Car) for his amazing compilation of the Eagle bus historical data!!! Also to Joe Laird for his work on historical documentation.

If others have Eagle historical information, please add to the growing base great data.

Jim Shepherd
Evergreen, CO
'85 Eagle 10 with Series 60 & Eaton AutoShift 10 speed transmission - not at all fancy, but fully functional
Bus Project pages:
Email: Note: Email sent to the this address requesting technical advice will not receive a response
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Location: Evergreen, CO

The more I think about the startup of Bus & Car, the more certain
events fall into place.

Continental's 1960 Annual Report said they ordered 125 Eagles for
delivery in 1961. Given that, where are they, who made them and what
about the date of November, 1961 as the opening date for Bus & Car?

OK, here's what I've pieced together.

Of the 85 NEW Silver Eagles built by La Brugeoise (LB), the figures of 60
in 1960 and 25 in 1961 now do seem correct when seen in light of the
agreement between LB and Continental for La Brugeoise to
build the first 100 Model 01's for Continental. The first 60 were
supposedly built late in 1960 with the last 25 in 1961.

What I don't know with 100% certainty is where they were built. La
Brugeoise had a huge factory near the rail station for building
railway equipment. They built the NEW Silver Eagles there and may have
built the first 100 Model 01's in the same place. LB designed and set
up the B&C factory and trained the future B&C employees at the same
time to make a seamless transition.

What I do know is that B&C was on it's own in November of 1961. No way
did they have time to build over 100 coaches in two months. I'm
thinking that one of three things happened:

1) LB started Model 01 production in it's own factory on the same
assembly line used for the 85 NEW Silver Eagles as they were basically
the same coach. When the 100th Model 01 coach was completed, they
moved the tooling into the B&C building and set it up. That would have
maybe taken a week or two at the most. The two factories were
about a mile apart.

2) The B&C factory was ready to use early in 1961 so LB moved all the
tooling into it when the last NEW Silver Eagle was finished. LB then
operated the factory for B&C for the first 100 Model 01 coaches
produced. That would have actually been in 1962 as only 87 were
built in 1961.

3) The figure of 125 could have included the 25 NEW Silver Eagles. LB/B & C
built 87 of the Model 01 in 1961. Those 87 plus the 25 NEW Silver Eagles
totaled 113, which is close to the 125 that Continental ordered. Another
possibility is the 1960/1961 changeover point was at frame numbers 58136/58137
rather than 58160/58161. That would give a total of 125 coaches for 1961.

However you split it out, it's all the same at the end of the day. I think it would
be interesting to know which route they took to arrive at the same destination.
I don't have the contacts that I once had so there aren't many people that I
can ask these days. That's partly because Continental went under
over 25 years ago and partly because most of the people that know
have passed on.

I do know that the very first NEW Silver Eagle was used as a
temporary display of sorts in the LB factory. Only the frame was
assembled and the various parts that Setra provided were laid out
around the frame. LB called in a number of local suppliers and asked
them to bid on furnishing various parts or assemblies and that's how
things got started for B&C later on. Of course there were certain
American made products that went into these coaches but they were
excluded from the display. By 'local suppliers', I'm talking about everything from
glass to gaskets, lavatory units, sheet metal, wiring harnesses, upholstery,
foam padding for the seats, plywood for the floors, batteries,
instrument cluster (I believe this was made by VDO in Germany), air,
fuel and coolant lines, marker lights (other rear lights came from the
USA) and a lot more. By the way, B&C had to import the headlights
because European lights had bulbs and sealed beam lamps were illegal
there. Sealed beams became mandatory in the USA starting in or just
after 1940. Without these local suppliers there would be no
production so this was a very important step. LB already had some
suppliers for their railway business and I'm sure they used as many of them
as possible. I'm pretty sure this was the first and only time that LB
(or BN or even Bombardier as it was later known) made buses or
even trolleybuses.

There were only two main differences between the NEW Silver Eagle and
the Model 01. The first was the 01 covered the entire red painted part
of the front end with a wraparound mesh grille. The other was that the
overhead racks on the NSE were built of long metal tubes with a little
space between them but were flat on the 01's and all later models.

Now here's something that hardly anyone knows about Belgian-made
Eagles. LB also produced a large number of PCC streetcars under
license from the Transit Research Corporation (TRC) starting in the
late 1940's and going into the 1980's or even into the 1990's. They
were built in the same factory the New Silver Eagles were built in.
Most were completely new build but some used power and control
components from scrapped PCC's in the USA.

Even stranger, a certain Mr. Emil Piron, employed by the TRC,
started out as their chief electrical engineer. He soon became the
assistant chief engineer and later the chief engineer of the PCC
project. He was personally responsible for almost two-thirds
of the patents that concerned the PCC. After WW2 he came
back to Belgium in the additional capacity of PCC salesman for the
TRC. He got LB to make the PCC's under license and found customers
in the Belgian interurban system (called the Vicinal/Buurtspoorweg)
and in the Dutch city of Den Haag (The Hague). Later on more were
built for the Belgian cities of Brussels, Antwerpen and Gent. Later
models had a different look to the originals but they were mostly
the same underneath. Piron spoke French as his first language so
had no trouble being a salesman in his native country. He lived from
1875 to 1950 so he missed out on seeing another American
transportation product made in the same LB factory that made his
PCC's..By the way, LB's first PCC's used the postwar PCC design with
the standee windows. Later models had much larger side windows that
were more to European tastes. Just for fun, here's a link to the PCC's
in Holland. It's in Dutch, but you'll have no trouble reading
the photos.

B & C
Stay Fine As A Porcupine!!!///Reste Trés Bien Comme Un Porc-Épic!!!
Bus & Car
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Re: Open Discussion: Eagle history
Mon Jan 26, 2015 7:49 am

Joe, you have any history on 80001 the reason I am asking is because Gary Hatt the owner of BCM has 80001 the seller told him he has a model 8 the 8 standing for the model and the 1 the only one built.I looked at the bus and ran the serial number all I can find is 80001 -80024 went to same outfit shown as a model 5.
The bus looks like a model 05 that has been widened and shorten with a 15 cap (not a good job either) the bogie has been removed and it has 05 brakes also

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