Bus Stop Classics: Sultana TM 40 SP – Southern Scenicruiser

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A majority of our Bus Stop Classic posts to date have focused on motor coaches used in the US and Canada – we’ve yet to look at a bus from our other North American neighbor – Mexico, and as I started reviewing possible candidates, one clearly stood out – the Sultana TM 40 – a 4 axle intercity bus with steerable front tandem wheels.

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Coaches with tandem front wheels, which allow for heavier loads on weight-restricted jurisdictions, were once a bit more common in Europe, Asia and other parts of the world, but increasing weight limits and lighter construction techniques have made them mostly irrelevant.

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A little history first – Sultana coaches were built by a Mexican transportation conglomerate – Trailers de Monterrey, established in 1952 that built trailers, trucks and buses.  It is now called Groupo Industrial Ramirez.  The company’s founder, Mr Ramirez, is in the middle of the above photo.

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Sultana Super Integral

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Brill ACF IC 41

The TM 40 was preceded by several other Sultana models; here is a “Super Integral” which bears a close similarity to the ACF Brill IC 41 coach.

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Sultana Integral

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GM PD 4103

This is a later “Integral” which closely resembles a GM PD 4103.

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Sultana TM 40

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GM 4501                                                                      Flxible VL-100

The TM 40’s inspiration seems to emanate from two mid-’50s buses; the GM 4501 Scenicruiser and Flxible VL-100 Vistaliner.

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Interesting in that the company’s main competitor, Dina, license built versions of Flxible’s coaches in the 1960’s.  This is a Dina “Olympico.”
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The TM 40 first rolled off the assembly line in 1963 and was built up to the late ‘70s.  It used mostly GM engines shipped from the US – typically the 8V71, with a Fuller “Road-Ranger” transmission.

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Like its US counterpart, it was air-conditioned and had a restroom.  Some also had small galleys that could prepare buffet meals for long trips.  The SP stood for “Super Panoramico”

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The coach was routinely used on the Mexico City to Acapulco route – in the ’60s and ‘70s about a 10 hour run.

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Sultana supplied buses for much of Central and South America and my understanding is several are still in use in smaller Central American countries.

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Though drawing inspiration from other models, it’s a truly interesting design…