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D-DOT EQUIPMENT PHOTOS — 1970's
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GM "NEW-LOOK" COACHES – MODEL T6H-5307A (Fourth Generation)
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FOR MORE 1970'S D-DOT EQUIPMENT PHOTOS (PAGE 3) CLICK-ON "NEXT" (Below)
© 2009 (PAGE LAST MODIFIED ON 06-20-09 (additions 10-28-12, 05-22-14))
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All Jim Husing Collection photos are posted with the permission of Mr. James Husing. Any distribution of photos for sale purposes is prohibited.
Please click-on link to return to the "PHOTO GALLERY" Main Page.
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AM GENERAL "METROPOLITAN SERIES" COACHES – MODEL 10240A-6
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The transit vehicles displayed on the next two pages were purchased for the city's newly founded
transportation department (D-DOT) during the 1970s.  Although GMC "New-Look" coaches were the
first buses purchased under this new agency, a new bus manufacturer and a redesigned transit bus
would both arrive on the scene and forever change Detroit transit.
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The 1970s for Detroit area transit would
continue on as the decade of change.  In
November of 1973, the voters of Detroit
approved a new City Charter, resulting in the
formation of the Detroit Department of
Transportation (D-DOT), which would begin
opeations on July 1, 1974.  DDOT, along with
the regional transit authority SEMTA, would
now be the major players in this region's
public transit arena.
PHOTO: D-DOT GMC RTS-II (Melvin Bernero photo)
GMC "BABY" NEW-LOOK COACHES – MODEL TDH-3301A (Third Generation)
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HISTORY FOOTNOTE: Two former Detroit landmark department stores can be seen in this photo.
The 33-level J.L. Hudson Department Store
(left) — still open in 1978 (imploded on October 24, 1988),
and the former Crowley's Department Store
(right) seen in this photo facing the wrecking ball.  
[Melvin Bernero photobucket.com collection, used by permission of Melvin Bernero]
The first new buses to arrive under the DDOT era were a fleet of 148 GMC "New-Look" coaches
(#1001-1148), which began arriving in June of 1975.  Purchased through the Southeastern
Michigan Transportation Authority
(SEMTA) at a cost of $62,000 apiece and leased to the City
of Detroit for $1.00 per year each, these new GMC coaches (Model T6H-5307A) were the first
coaches to arrive sporting the new DDOT livery of white with black trimmed windows and green
and yellow stripping.  
(For more on these $1.00 buses see D-DDOT #1000-1100 Series Buses)
[Melvin Bernero photobucket.com collection, used by permission of Melvin Bernero]
The new buses also launched the 4-digit fleet numbering sequence used by DDOT thru the year
2010, and were the first Detroit coaches to display the route number/route name designations
still currently being followed by DDOT.  In this May 1978 photo, coach #1071 is southbound on
Woodward Avenue at Michigan, displaying the "#23 HAMILTON - W. 7 MILE" route sign.  
[Melvin Bernero photobucket.com collection, used by permission of Melvin Bernero]
After the completion of the DDOT coach order, production would continue at the GMC Truck &
Coach facility on an additional 48 coaches (#1521-1568) slated for the Southeastern  Michigan
Transportation Authority
(SEMTA).  These T6H-5307As would become the first new buses to
be both owned and operated by SEMTA, which by 1975 had acquired most of the surrounding
suburban bus operations.  SEMTA coaches
(such as coach #1546) differed from the DDOT fleet
in that they came with 45 mostly forward facing suburban style seats and no center exit doors.
[Jim Husing Collection photo, courtesy of James Husing — see disclaimer below]
For only the second time since 1953, a non-GM manufactured large-size transit bus would arrive
on the streets of Detroit, but this time this fleet would be here to stay.  In 1974, the American
Motors Corp's truck division, AM General, entered the transit bus manufacturing business with
the launching of its "Metropolitan Series" transit coach — a redesigned version of a bus designed
by Flyer Industries of Canada.  The first AM Generals arrived in Detroit on December 31, 1975.  
[website owner's collection photo, courtesy of the Schramm photo collection]
The AMG fleet came equipped with many of the same features found on the #1000-1100 series
GMCs, including air-conditioning, power steering, tinted plastic passenger windows, an air-
operated parking brake and wheel-lock control system, and a computerized anti-lock braking
system.  Coach #1245 can be seen in this photo parked at the DDOT Shoemaker Terminal.  Also
note the SEMTA ownership logo decal displayed on the transmission compartment door.
[website owner's collection photo, courtesy of the Schramm photo collection]
In this May 1978 photo, coach #1202 is west on Monroe at Woodward while on an inbound trip
on the E. Vernor line.  Although many of the AM Generals were repainted during the early 1980s
into the new DDOT paint scheme, none were ever rehabbed.  The entire fleet was retired in 1986.
Fifty-one AM General coaches (Model 10240A-6) costing $63,000 apiece, and also sporting the
new DDOT livery of white with black trimmed windows and green and yellow stripping, were all
assigned to the east-side Shoemaker Terminal.  Like the GMC new-looks which preceded them
six months earlier, these AM Generals (#1201-1251) were also purchased through SEMTA and
leased to the City of Detroit for $1.00 per year per bus.  In this 1978 photo, coach #1202 is east
along Michigan Ave while crossing Woodward on an outbound trip on route #49 East Vernor.
[Melvin Bernero photobucket.com collection, used by permission of Melvin Bernero]
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HISTORY FOOTNOTE: Two former Detroit landmark department stores can be seen in this photo. The 33-level
J.L. Hudson Dept. Store
(left) was still open when photo was taken in 1978 (imploded on October 24, 1998),
while the former Crowley's Dept. Store (right) can be seen in this photo facing the wrecking ball.
In addition to being the first new buses to arrive in Detroit equipped with power-steering, these
coaches also came with a number of safety features new to the city, including tinted plastic
passenger windows, a computerized wheel-lock control braking system to prevent skidding, an
improved air-operated "DD-3" parking and emergency brake system
(activated from a tower to
the right of the driver's seat)
, foot-operated directional signal switches and improved interior
lighting—moved from the center ceiling to back-lit advertising signs above the standee windows.
[photo courtesy of the Jack and Ken Schramm photo collection]
The two interior photos of coach #1131 show how the color decor of these new buses differed
from the shades of green primarily used on earlier Detroit new-looks.  The seating was improved
as well, arriving with forty-eight (48) individual plush brightly-colored cushioned seats, a major
departure from the seating normally found on Detroit city buses.  Unfortunately, the seats were
the target of vandalism and were replaced with more conventional seats during the mid-1980s.
[photo courtesy of the Jack and Ken Schramm photo collection]
THE 1920's
1  2  3  4
THE 1930's
1  2  3
THE 1940's
1  2  3  4  5
THE 1950's
1  2  3
THE 1960's
1  2  3
THE 1970's
1  2  3
THE 1980's
1  2  3
THE 1990's
1  2  3
THE 2010's
1   2
THE 2000's
1   2
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For some reason, the AM Generals were the only "newly-bought" DDOT coaches not to have
route numbers displayed on their roll-sign curtains—note the "GRATIOT" only route sign in the
photo above.  Coach #1246 is seen here heading west on Jefferson Ave., just west of Woodward,
while working the Downtown loop turn-around on route #34 Michigan-Gratiot
(circa 1976-78).
[website owner's collection photo, courtesy of the Schramm photo collection]
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40-FOOT BUS (MODEL TDH-5301) CUT DOWN TO MINI-BUS SIZE
In 1975, DDOT acquired five 29-foot GMC Light Transit Model buses from SEMTA for use on
its two downtown Mini-Loop routes.  Initially owned by the City of Pontiac, these 33-pass
medium capacity coaches (Model TDH-3301A) were the city's first buses acquired under DDOT.
They were powered by a GMC 478 Toro-Flow II (V-6) diesel engine with an Allison "Torqmatic"
transmission, and renumbered as #3002-3006.
 (For more info see D-DOT's First MiniBuses)
[Photo courtesy of the H.B.Craig,II Photo Collection – DetroitTransitHistory.info]
First delivered in 1971, the fleet came equipped with air-conditioning and push-type exit doors.
In this 1975 photo, taken shortly after being placed into service by DDOT, coach #3003 is east
along Rose Street at 16th
(near the Michigan (Penn) Central Station) while working a special
DDOT Shuttle Bus service during the American Freedom Train's visit to Detroit — June 21 thru
July 6, 1975.  All five of these GMC "baby" New-Look coaches were retired by 1986.
[Photo courtesy of the H.B.Craig,II Photo Collection – DetroitTransitHistory.info]
In early 1975, the DDOT Heavy Repair Shop would cut down a 40-foot bus and convert it into a
mini-bus.  After cutting the bus in half, removing its middle section, and then rejoining it back
together, former DSR (DDOT) coach #1757
(a 40-foot GM model TDH-5301 delivered in 1960)
was rebuilt into a 30-foot 33-pass mini-bus and renumbered #3001.  Although initially used for
mini-bus service, #3001 would spend its later years as a downtown DDOT Information Center.
(For more see D-DOT's First MiniBuses)   [photo courtesy of the Schramm collection]
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After six years of service, coach #1060 is seen in this 1981 photo northbound along Woodward
Avenue at E. Congress St downtown
(passing the Vinton Bldg) while working route #18 Fenkell.  
Beginning in four years, most of these buses would undergo a complete overhaul and rehab.
[photo courtesy of the Clifford Kuhl collection, used by permission of Clifford Kuhl]
The arrival of the T6H-5307As enabled DDOT to begin retiring a large number of the first GM
"New-Looks" purchased by the DSR between 1960 and 1961.  These #1000-1100 series coaches
were the last GMC "New-Look" style coaches to be purchased for the city.  In this 1978 photo,
coach #1143 is eastbound on Jefferson, just east of Woodward, working route #25 E. Jefferson.  
[Melvin Bernero photobucket.com collection, used by permission of Melvin Bernero]
During the mid-1980s, contracts were awarded to four bus repair companies to completely
overhaul many older DDOT coaches, primarily the #1000-1100 series fleet.  In the summer of
1985, 89 buses were sent off to be rehabbed, most by the Blitz Body Co. of Chicago
(now Bus &
Truck of Chicago, Inc.)
.  Part of the rehab work resulted in a new paint job for the 5307As.  This
October 1986 photo shows coach #1087, one of the first group of T6H-5307As to be rehabbed.   
[Bernard Drouillard photo, courtesy of the James Husing Collection — see disclaimer below]
This rear view of coach #1131, parked at the Shoemaker Terminal next to an early-1960s New-
Look, shows how the rear of the coach had evolved over 15 years of production, including the
addition of Federal required safety lights.  Like the #2800-2900 series new-looks that preceded
them, these 5307As also came equipped with air-conditioning, along with GM's Environmental
Improvement Package (EIP) vertical exhaust system, designed to cut exhaust emissions, odor
and smoke.  But unlike the V-8s of the previous fleet, these 5307As came with V6-71 engines.  
[website owner's collection photo, courtesy of the Schramm photo collection]
Rebab work would continue on the fleet over the next few years.  It was during this period when
DDOT modified its paint scheme with the new "black-bottom" look, first introduced on the GM
of Canada #1900-series "Classic" coaches delivered in 1986.  In addition to a new exterior paint
job, the interior was repainted black and off-white, with black conventional seats replacing the
original cushioned seats.  The rehabs also came with new engines, new exhaust systems and
brakes.  Rehabbed coach #1053 is parked at the Fairlane Center on April 1, 1989, while working
route #22 Greenfield.  The last of the remaining T6H-5307As were retired by the mid-1990s.
[Bernard Drouillard photo, courtesy of the James Husing Collection — see disclaimer below]
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The interior color decor of the AM Generals was basically identical to the GMC fleet (see photos
above)
.  Just like the GMCs, the interior lighting was housed behind the advertising sign panels  
above the passenger windows along both sides of the coach, as seen here inside of coach #1245.
[website owner's collection photo, courtesy of the Schramm photo collection]
The plush cushioned multicolored brown, yellow, tan and orange seating were also found on the
AMGs, although later replaced by identical style all-black seats.  As evident from this interior
view of coach #1245, the large passenger windows provided excellent visibility for passengers.
[website owner's collection photo, courtesy of the Schramm photo collection]