We were walking out the front door of Jerry’s Building Supplies when I saw it rolling down on Hw.99. I hadn’t seen an MC-7 in ages. “I wonder if I can catch it?”
We walked to our car a bit faster than usual, but due to some old-fart slow-pokes in the parking lot, it took a while to get out. I had pretty much given up any hope. As I tore down 99, one has a long view down the road, but it was nowhere in sight. He must have gotten on the Beltline. I barely nipped through the yellow light and tore up the on-ramp, in a driving rain. But I couldn’t see him anywhere. It had been a couple of minutes, and if he was driving at normal highway speed, he’d be a couple of mile down the highway.
I drove more aggressively than usual, passing the typical cautious drivers in the rain on the left and right. I managed to hit 80-85 on one longer open stretch. Finally, I caught a glimpse of him in the distance. Press on! CC is a mission; must share this MC-7 with my readers!
I didn’t want to put my wipers on fast, for fear that they would be in my shots. At one point, the big bus’ wake left me driving blind for a moment. Driving in the rain while catching a bus with camera in hand is a bit tricky. Don’t try this at home; I’m a professional – years of training and experience.
The MC-7 was a very significant bus historically, the first mass-produced forty footer highway bus. It soon became a staple fixture on Greyhound lines everywhere. Of course, that’s not surprising, since Greyhound owned MCI back then. Frustrated at GMC’s virtual stranglehold on the coach market, as well enduring teething problems with the Scenicruiser, Greyhound bought Canadian bus maker MCI in 1959, and soon gave GM the cold shoulder. The MC-7 arrived in 1968, just as the bus market was ready to embrace longer buses. The MC-7 sold so well, MCI had to open additional plants. And before long, GM got out of the coach business altogether. The MC-7 and its top-selling MC-8 and MC-9 successors spelled the end for the famous GMC Silversides.
MC-7s have become a fairly rare sight, as they were only built from 1968-1973. This one owned by Boy Scout Troop 175 is most likely an ex-Greyhound bus. GM still had a stranglehold on bus engines though, as no one made a suitable one compact and powerful enough to replace the two-stroke “Jimmy” Detroit Diesel; an 8V-71 in this case, with 318 hp. Transmission was a four-speed Spicer manual, although the Allison HT740 automatic was offered later. Sure wish my Boy Scout troop had owned one of these. I might stayed around longer.
Stephanie obliged my insanity by opening her window in the rain so that I could get a shot of its handsome front end.
I took a quick shot of it receding on the right as I rolled on by.
So that’s how I was able to shoot the MC-7. Almost as bad as being passed on the right. Some might say even worse. But one thing I’m not: a left lane bandit.
I wish my BSA Troop had something like this instead of the “restored” 15-20 yr old E-series “party bus” the Troop recently bought. I guess the grass is greener on the other side
Don’t know about the MC-7; but I drove for Denver RTD in 1995-96 (my other job) and we had a couple of MC-8s.
Quality to a fault…solid and obviously well-made. The unit assigned to my run was built in North Dakota in 1978. Almost twenty years in fleet service, and still used by an agency, is remarkable.
I can see why they were a favorite for private-coach converters; but still, for my money, the best “driver’s bus” is the GM New Look fishbowls.
Yeesh, Paul, you get passed on the right a lot! And by uncommon vehicles.
Please assure me you’re not a left lane hog. You know – doing 60 in a 65 zone hugging the left?
Cheers! And thanks for bringing us this wonderful bus.
Should we have a curbtervention?
Paul, please pull into a space.
We want you to understand that we’re all here because we care about you and want you to drive well. We feel the time has come to have a serious talk about your lane choices. They’re affecting the vehicles around you. We’ve reserved a chair for you at the Oregon Driver Training Institute’s Defensive Driving course… 🙂
I don’t understand why you don’t follow the rules of the road (i.e. Getting in the slower lane when someone’s behind you). It’s not like you couldn’t see a BUS coming behind you. Or am I missing something here?
Hint: Try reading this post Japanese-style.
It’s funny once.
maybe a subsite RollingHighwayClassics ??? lol
Get Out Of The Left Lane!
Made an inquiry as to joining the local Boy Scott bunch but my Cub Scout past rose up to haunt me.
No obvious denial but the tone of the interaction SHOUTED “Go Away!!!!.”
So I strode off and continued my ne’er-do-well ways that if performed nowadays would assuredly have me labeled as a special-needs kid and the demand I be drugged into submission.
A couple years passed and I commenced self-medicating with the groovy herb of that late 1960s/early 70s era when lids were the norm and the music was awesome and the living was easy… if at times somewhat sleazy.
Oh, yeah, the bus. Nice bus. I could live in it.
Have a wonderful week!!!!!!
I only ever made it to We Blows. Cub Scouts was a lot of fun at it’s less serious moments, but I hate merit… and badges! Our “bus” was a late 70’s 15-passenger Econoline that had all the rear seats ripped out and replaced with homemade wooden ones that circled around a poker table, it was a completely awesome ride although not quite as awesome as an MC-7.
Is that poor Scion so slow that you get passed by busses???
My parents have one. Theirs is stick, but it certainly can get out of its own way, better than my Mazda pickup, and even that I manage to maintain 75 mph on the highway with little effort. I do stick to the right until I’m up to speed though.
Paul: Although only 100 were built the MC6 preceded the 7 by a little bit. It was originally built with a Jimmy 12V-71 and 102 in. wide so it was illegal in many states. I remember seeing them here in Vancouver BC but I’m not sure if they were from the USA or Greyhound Canada. I’m tending to think they were on the Canadian runs at the time. Very rare coach with triple level decks…first highway bus with 102 inch wide body.
That’s a good looking bus.
A band that I co-toured with, in the late 90’s (The Pietasters) had this bus… not sure of the exact moniker (MC 6, MC 7, etc…), and the singer, Steve, did all the wrenching and driving, playing 300 shows a year! Talk about double duty! They never missed a show. Bunks, a kitchen and lounge, framed in 2 x 4 and plywood added, to mimic the Van Hools and Eagles and Prevosts that other bands rented or leased. (An aside… an Oregon drivers pet peeve… use the left lane to pass, and cruise in the right lane… take that, Washingtonians! who must never have had a high school drivers ed course offered… I used to cruise my ’65 VW van in the shoulder when I saw some quickly overtaking freeway cruiser, just to let them know that I was thinkin’ of ’em… 35 in 3rd gear, crawling up I-5 near Weed, CA, an MCI blowin’ right on by…)
My high school touring choir had one of these, up in canada; it had well over a million miles and was very, very tired. One very cold night in Quebec the mile long shift cable (rod?) broke, leaving us in neutral. Local mechanic cut a hole in the floor right behind driver, rigged a repair, placed a bit of plywood to cover hole. Snow blew in from the seams.
Another time on a steep entrance ramp something in the tranny broke, leaving us with 1st gear only. Keeping it below redline, the driver limped to the next exit at something like 10mph.
Shortly after we ditched the damn thing, and started leasing a contemporary bus. Someone at this boy scout troop is good with a wrench, for sure.
Wow, what a crap outfit my own scout troop was. We didn’t have a bus, we didn’t have an Econoline. We had the Scoutmaster’s Ford Cortina wagon (where the shift lever broke off and he shifted with ViceGrip pliers) and another Dad’s 67 Country Sedan wagon (with no hubcaps). Kids today!
My Scout troop didn’t own a bus, but didn’t have to. Being affiliated with a church, we just borrowed theirs. But it was one of those popular Blue Birds, the kind with no springs or shocks. We felt every pebble, especially as we travelled off the pavement on the dirt roads into our campsites.