Curbside Outtake:  American Quality Coach (AQC) Jetway 707 – One Large Lengthy Limo


Though I am loath to admit it, I’m ancient enough to remember airport travel before the now ubiquitous “cutaway” mini-bus.  A time when factory vans, limousines, and full-sized buses whisked you away from the airport to your hotel or rental car.  Here’s one I wish I could have experienced in my younger days.  This is an American Quality Coach (AQC) Jetway 707 – obviously based off of a Gen 1 Olds Toronado.  Catchy name – Jetway; the same as the passenger boarding bridge, and 707; the iconic airliner.  One wonders if the boarding bridge company and Boeing had any trademark concerns. 

Cotner-Bevington Corporation was a division of Divco-Wayne Industries that built professional cars based on an Oldsmobile chassis.  Miller-Meteor, another long-term maker of similar cars, was also a subsidiary of Divco-Wayne, using mostly Cadillacs.  Based off the new 1966 Toronado, Cotner-Bevington built a prototype 12-15 passenger limousine.  When Miller-Meteor executives saw this striking new model, they panicked and urged the parent company to refuse funding – which they did.  Mr Cotner and Mr Bevington were so incensed that they left Divco-Wayne, cashed in their company stock, and in 1968 formed American Quality Coach.

AQC’s first model was the Jetway 707.  It was 28 feet long with a wheelbase of 185 inches, had eight doors, and in a limousine first, featured tandem rear wheels.  From the firewall forward it was a factory 1968 Toronado with the new 455 cu in engine putting out 375 hp and a stout 510 ft lbs of torque.  AQC then fabricated a vista-cruiser-style raised roof passenger area, with integral sky-lights and an enclosed cargo area with a hinged rear door.  I was curious about the rear suspension but found little info online, though I did see one comment from a former fleet manager that had six of these who related they used rear airbags.  


The front-wheel drive power-pack allowed for a flat floor all the way back, which made for more room and comfort, similar to the later GM Motorhome.

AQC had high hopes that the limousine version would be a hit, enabling it to expand and offer ambulance and hearse models…but unfortunately that didn’t occur.  Operators reported premature transmission and front axle wear, likely due to the constant demands of hard fleet use.  Over a two year period, between 52 and 150 Jetways were sent to customers (total production records were lost).  Unable to continue, AQC shut operations in 1970.  

Speaking of the GM Motorhome, since the Jetway used the Toronado’s Unitized Power Package and had a tandem-wheel rear suspension, there is a fairly lively internet debate on whether GM bought the chassis rights during AQC’s bankruptcy and modified it as the basis for that model – but I didn’t see any credible source that could confirm that one way or the other.