This fine picture taken somewhere along I-80 is a reminder that winter is upon us. I can see snow in the hills, at about 3000 feet. And I need to put my winter tires on the xB. Thankfully I haven’t had to deal with chains in a very long time, but we have lots of passes where the trucks are obligated to do so when there’s snow on the highways.
This is a Greyhound MC-7, the 40′ coach that replaced the Scenicruiser starting in 1968. As told in our Scenicruiser post, Greyhound was quite unhappy with them and GM, and bought Motor Coach Industries in Canada, and soon switched over to them exclusively. We’ve yet to do a proper post on the MC-7, although I did an On The Go Outtake of one some years back.
Jim Brophy did a Bus Stop Classic on the MC-6, which slightly preceded the MC-7, but only some 100 were built, as at 102″ wide, it was not permitted in most states. The MC-7 was a more conventional coach, 96″ wide, and powered by the ubiquitous DD 8-71V engine. Greyhound may have stopped buying GM buses, but not their diesel engines. More specifically, it was an anti-competitive injunction that forced GM to sell its diesels to other coach builders, opening the doors for MCI to become a serious competitor, eventually running GM out of the highway coach business, along with the Trailways Eagle.
And as a bonus, the car hauler in the background chaining up too is a big Ford. If anyone can pin down the year of its cargo, we’ll know in what year this shot was taken.
Ugh. Maybe they’ve advanced, but the last time I checked (’80s) chains are such a pain in the nuts even on a regular passenger car; I imagine how much bigger a hassle they must be on the likes of a motorcoach.
looks like a 67 to 69 F100 over the truck cab, Also most carhaul companies moved from the F series super duty tractors to Louisville cabs came out in early 70’s
To my eye, that’s the back of a 68-72 Chevy/GMC pickup at the front of the hauler, complete with an optional cargo light above the back window.
I remember always having tire chains around when I was growing up – in the basement on the shelves with the auto parts – and even carried in the car sometimes in winter, but can’t remember ever putting them on the car. Here in the D.C. suburbs, if it snowed, everyone just stayed home. (even today, the area is still infamous for how badly people drive in snow, since we don’t get very much of it… well except for today, just looked out the window). Also back then, I rarely saw snow tires on non-driving wheels, a practice now considered unsafe.
So wait, did Greyhound just start calling all their buses “Scenicruisers” after the real ones left the fleet?
One sturdy coach, those MC7’s are a beast. Only short comings were some old idea’s like oil bath air cleaners on earlier models and poor air intake location for the later paper filter models. MC8 fixed the issues. Also should have had turbochargers much sooner. We had a MC7 with a 350hp turbocharged 8V-71 with a 5 speed Allison. It was a favorite coach of the drivers that got to use it. A real hot rod . This was around 1976. The coach was used to evaluate this powertrain to replace the 12V-71 used in the MC6.
Rube Goldberg accessory drives, with long belts, right angle turns, gearboxes etc.
I suppose it was state of the art with what was available. Shrug
A strange 24/12-volt split electrical system too
Originally the MC7 was a 24 volt system. The headlight bulbs for 24 volt were expensive and hard to source so a resistor pack was later added to allow 12 volt bulbs to be used.
Riding on a chartered MCI bus in Bishop, CA on US395, driver had to chain up. He was struggling and a couple of us got off and helped. Hard to imagine one guy doing it alone.
Driving cross country in Colorado and Utah year round meant having traction on high mountain passes, as well as watching for avalanches. Instead of chains I carried long wire treads you shoved under the tires when you were caught in snow. I had tire chains, but never needed to use them. There were times when the passes closed down, but I don’t recall a time when the troopers required passenger cars to chain up to cross over passes.
One really never knew when a snowstorm was ready to blow over. I recall it drizzling in Salida at 6000′ elevation, but a howling snowstorm directly west of Salida at Monarch Pass. Worse, it was early summer and I was not dressed for a blizzard. I carried only a summer wardrobe and was wearing a tank top, shorts and flip-flops. I had to buy winter clothing in Gunnison to complete that week’s trip. I didn’t make that mistake twice.
I skied Colorado and Utah and was familiar with the need to be prepared for any weather at any elevation. Every weekend I was at a different ski resort to evaluate their resorts, lodgings and ski accommodations. Famous resorts are pretty nice, but it was the local ski areas without accommodations that I enjoyed more. I wrote up evaluations for every mountain in Aspen, Uinta, Telluride, Keystone and was quite the ski snob. I never owned a pair of skis – it was the host’s job to give me the newest and best. How I was able to ski around those trails without getting my egotistical big head snagged in trees is anyone’s guess.
Ah – life is wasted on the young, isn’t it?
California Highway Patrol chain roadblocks for two wheel drive vehicles at the first dusting of snow pretty much forces us with homes in the mountains to buy a 4×4 or AWD. The exception is the I-5 “Grapevine” North of Los Angeles that they just shut down altogether.