Flxible Historical Synopsis. Page TWO



The story of funeral car manufacturing at Flxible followed much the same growth and changes that came about in the whole motor coach industry in the early years. The company first began funeral cars (hearses in those days) in 1925. The early bodys had all wood frames and were built with a great deal of painstaking labor. Production quantities were limited, but the finished product reflected Flxible's attention to details. The company experienced a steady healthy growth, helped by contracts from the US Navy, who became a regular customer.

The Flxible Company always maintained that quality should be the main objective in manufacturing. This objective often produced higher costs, but in the long run paid higher dividends. In the early days the funeral directors would buy their own chassis and then have Flxible build and mount the body. These early customers were very pleased and proud of their cars. Flxible continued a steady growth, starting with 21 cars in 1926 to more than ten times that number in 1941. Funeral car and ambulance production was finally halted in 1964.

The body of Flxible's 15 passenger 1928 coach was all wood and had metal veneer paneling. The chassis was usually Buick built. During the early years Flxible was called on to build many units of special design to meet the individual requirements of various customers. These included: A Flxible bus to carry a Goodyear balloon tire, 4' x 12' weighing 3,900 pounds; A Flxible with a portable mooring mast for Goodyear blimps; and buses that carried screens and equipment advertising movies. In 1936, it was decided that Flxible would concentrate on inter city coaches, and all its resources were devoted to developing a coach that would be outstanding in this field.


In 1936, the Flxible Airway Coach made its appearance on many bus routes throughout the country. The bus was built on a Chevrolet truck chassis using special springs and had many features which made it attractive to both the public and the drivers. Its economical operation and low maintenance costs made it much desired by many operators.

In 1938, a new Flxible model was put on the market. This coach, the 25 passenger Flxible Clipper had an integral body/chassis design and was the forerunner of the companys line of streamlined inter city buses. Featuring a Chevrolet engine, this sleek model was soon in use on all the important highways in the country.

In 1939, Flxible introduced its famous 29 passenger Clipper powered by a modified straight-eight Buick engine. Nearly 5,000 of these coaches were in operation at one time serving over 1,000 bus owners. Flxible Airporters were used successfully in limousine fleets in New York & Chicago as well as many other air terminals. Glass-roofed sightseeing Flxible coaches operated in many National Parks including Yosemite, Rocky Mountain and others. Famous resorts such as Sun Valley and Catalina Island used Flxible buses exclusively and many manufacturing and sales concerns used Flxibles as display coaches. Movie studios also maintained a fleet of Flxibles.


Early in 1942, Flxible realized that the increasing curtailment of materials for civilian production would soon impact the manufacturing of buses. In support of the war effort the company ceased production of its standard products and devoted all resources to the production of war materials. The first wartime subcontract was in July 1942, for the manufacture of gear guards for the steam winches on Liberty ships. Then in rapid order came contracts for parts for the M-4 tank along with parts and assemblies for the Navys Corsair fighter planes.

The WAR shortly reached the stage where enemy subs were becoming a major menace to the coastal areas of the United States. Top priority was given to the manufacturing of every known weapon to help overcome this threat to national security. One of the most effective weapons available for combating submarine warfare at the time was the Blimp. The Goodyear Aircraft Company was given quantity orders for the construction of several types. In order to expedite the manufacture of ten of their "L" type blimps, Flxible was given a subcontract by Goodyear to construct the control cars, fins, rudders and nose cones.

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