Flxible Buses: A Business/Economic History of The Company

 

The Flxible Company was founded in 1913 as a manufacturer of motorcycle side cars. But, in 1924 it made its first bus and for the next 72 years Flxible was a builder of intercity and urban transit buses. When Flxible filed for bankruptcy in 1996 it was the largest builder of transit buses in the U.S.

Dr. Ebert's study of Flxible is a major research project that examines the reasons for the failure of Flxible. Included in the analysis is a discussion of the funding of the transit bus purchases through subsidies from the Urban Mass Transit Administration (UMTA) and, later, the Federal Transit Administration (FTA). The question being raised is whether federal subsidies to transit authorities helped or hurt the bus industry and Flxible and whether Flxible management judged the market and corporate operations accurately.

Dr. Ebert's book: Flxible: A History of the Bus and the Company was published in 2001 by Antique Power, Inc.



 

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A CHRONOLOGICAL HISTORY OF FLXIBLE


 

What does a Flxible bus look like? See pictures below.
 
 

Airporter

 
 
 
 

        This bus is believed to be one of the
        first  Flxibles built on a Buick chassis in
        early 1925.  (Used with the permission
        of the Thomas A. McPherson;
        photo courtesy of the Mohican
        Historical Society.)
 
 
 
 

 

 
 


 
 
 
 
 

        By 1941 the Clipper styling was refined and
        sleek with slanted  windows. (Used with
        the permission of the Thomas A.
        McPherson; photo courtesy
        of the Motor Bus Society Library.)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 


 
 
 

    Flxible entered its "Godlen Age" with introduction
    of the 1946 Clippers with Panoramic windshields
    and the dual headlight/fog light front end styling.
    (Used with the permission of Thomas A.
    McPherson; photo courtesy of the Motor
    Bus Society Library.)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Flxiliner
 
 
 
 
 

            By 1941 the Clipper styling was refined
            and sleek with slanted windows.
           (Used with the permission of Thomas
            A. McPherson; photo courtesy
            of the Motor Bus Society Library.)
 

 

 
 
 
 
 

 

    The first Flxibles purchases by the
    Cleveland Transit System were
    Flxible-Twin Coach New Looks.
    Note  the early New Look
    coaches had the Flxible-Twin
    Coach name plate on the front.
    (Used with the permission
    of Thomas A. McPherson;
    photo courtesy of the Motor Bus
    Soceity Library.)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Metro
 
 
 

Flxible also built transit buses from 1953 to 1995. The last transit bus it built was called the Metro. Shown here is a Metro in use by the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority. (Picture courtesy of the Motor Bus Society.)

 
 
 
 



Visit the Flxible Owners International website at http://www.flxible.net
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