- Written by webmin
Inspired by our recent post on the Kaiser articulated aluminum/magnesium bus, frequent blog contributor Gene Herman sent us a couple photos of another Santa Fe Trailways bus made out of an unusual material: plywood. Gene writes:
Built out of plywood during WW II in Santa Fe’s Wichita, KS., shops to conserve valuable war materiel, the Victory Liner was used to transport civilian employees to military arms factories during the war. It had a passenger capacity of 117. Don’t know anything about the mechanicals, unfortunately.
This shot only adds to the confusion about the mechanicals of the bus. Did the driver sit in the center and swing with the tractor unit, or did the Santa Fe folks figure out some sort of hydraulic steering setup that allowed the driver to sit atop the cab? The normally knowledgeable denizens of the Hank’s Truck Pictures forum and the BusTalk forum weren’t able to provide answers. Nor were they able to tell us about its ultimate fate, though we can guess that a plywood-bodied vehicle has a very limited lifespan.
We weren’t able to dig up much more. According to one contemporary newspaper account, the Victory Liner was the largest bus in the world and could be directly attributed to Gene Allen, the general manager of Santa Fe Trailways at the time. Allen also had a hand in converting a couple two-story sleeper buses into transport buses for the war effort, expanding their capacities from 40 to 54. Where exactly they traveled was left rather vague in both that article and in a series of ads that ran in newspapers across the Midwest such as the one above, taken from the December 31, 1942, issue of the Chillicothe (Missouri) Constitution-Tribune.