(first posted 9/16/2015) Just about a year ago, I wrote a CC about my (and Austria’s) favorite childhood bus and truck . If I’d known then that we were headed for Austria this summer, I would have waited, in the hopes of finding one. On our trip, I was beginning to wonder…but then on our last day, I wanted to take a cogwheel steam train ride (more on that in another post), and there at the station sat this splendid restored Steyr 380 bus, being used to ferry tourists from their hotels to the train.
Which means we didn’t get to ride in it, but did get to listen and watch as its clattery big 5.3 L diesel four was started up and it drove off. The gear shifts come quickly on these, given the 85-90 hp these have. They were designed for a pre-autobahn Austria, as well as an Alpine one. So the gearing is low, as is the top speed.
These fairly compact buses were used extensively by the Postal service, which operated the national bus system, at least once daily to every remote alpine village. Down on the flats, larger Saurer Diesel growled away on the highways, sometimes even pulling a trailer. But on the alpine roads, the Steyr was king, and the Postal Service had to keep some in service on certain routes because their boxy replacements wouldn’t fit in some of the smaller tunnels.
if we can’t have a ride, we can at least take a look inside.
Exactly as I remembered it. We used to take long summer vacations in a little village up in the mountains, and since we had no car, the post buses were our only option, other than walking. The latter was the preferred one, but sometimes after a long outing, we’d catch the bus down in the valley to get us back up to Ladis. And I always made sure to try to sit right right about here, so That I could watch the driver work the long stick shift, and watch him sound the very distinctive two-note horn, Ta Ta! Ta Ta! which let folks know the bus was coming around the blind hairpin curves.
Now that’s how I like to see a door be trimmed: in nicely-grained plywood.
The roof center section is a giant cloth sun roof, which sadly was not open this day.
Here’s how I remember it being on sunny days, before folks worried about skin cancer and such.
Love that brass plate. And everything else, obviously. Thanks for indulging my Steyr love fest.
Ha! This is a CC in reverse, I went to a sort of “coffee and cars” in Korneuburg (Lower Austria) a couple of weeks ago and that was there… I came to Austria too late to experience those but we had an Israeli equivalent in the GMC buses in the 50s and 60s.
Driver seat (sofa?) looks very comfy.
Wunderschön, especially in that color combination. I can’t remember seeing a conventional bus here, all of them were and are forward control.
From the days that the word “Diesel” just had to be on the grille somewhere. I think that MAN was the last one. Now it’s just MAN, it used to be M.A.N Diesel for a long time.
“Thanks for indulging my Steyr love fest.”
Our great pleasure, Paul!
Whata wonderful find and a great example. Thanks
And in the 60 years the Mercedes Benz trucks leaving the Brazilian factory with the inscription “What is good already born diesel” written on their bumpers.
Wow…with the sunroof open, must have been similar to riding in a giant convertible. How very special!
This is BEAUTIFUL ! .
Thanx Paul , nice to see it’s still in service too .
Wasn’t a similar old Alpine Bus more or less destroyed in the Clint Eastwood WWI Epic ” Where Eagles Dare ” in the 1970’s ? .
A shame IMO , anything built to ‘ form follows function ‘ is almost always lovely to look at , even when stationary .
More please ! I can hardly wait for the Cog Railway article .
Pretty incredible! Would love to ride in one!
On an only semi-related note, can I ask you, without offending you, to also do a write up on another European bus, the one used in the movie The Talented Mr. Ripley? I believe it was a 1939 Fiat 626 RNL.
This bus looks awesome. Thanks for sharing and I am also looking forward to the cog railway article.
I’ve always been fascinated by old buses. Riding the bus was a rare luxury for me growing up; here it was a thirties AEC, but I remember seats like that with the chrome hand rails.
Many thanks for the article.
I think they used one of these buses in the movie, “Sound Of Music”. Julie Andrews who plays Maria, is singing “I have confidence” out of an open window to her job as a governess for 7 children. You get a good idea of how beautiful Austria is in that movie with all the mountains . The inside drivers area looks similar to those old yellow school buses I rode as a kid. Long stick shift with a truck like steering wheel. Only thing that’s missing is the center door handle with the rod that opens the passenger door.
I can see why you would never forget riding in one. That is cool with the big sunroof and curved upper windows. Great one Paul!
Cool old bus it sort of reminds me in layout of the education board bonneted Bedfords I rode in here as a kid but we never got full length sunroofs or that scenery, lookin forward to the cog railway it sounds like our Fell engine rail system.
Quick question: doesn’t the bus body get boomy with the big four?
When Paul runs out of CCs to chronicle, he can start a CC oriented travelogue. Great pictures and back story on a bus that can be called beautiful.
What a great bus! I love the jewel-like dash, so unlike most American trucks and buses. Also, that front overhang is very interesting.
What a treat to see this bus! Thanks for the expose and all of your comments from 2015, when I had not joined Paul’s group. The front axle is called a “set back” front axle. it is useful for load distribution on heavy duty trucks and in the case of this bus, it enables tighter turns or curves to be negotiated.