Bus Stop Classics:  Ciferal Dinosaur/Cometa Arrow – Brazil’s “Buffalo” 

In the decade of the 1950’s, Brazil was a prime market for GM’s intercity coaches. The country’s own bus manufacturing was still in its infancy, and large numbers of GM’s PD 4104 were imported.  Well-built, economical to operate, air-conditioned, and with an air suspension, it held a special place with the country’s operators and travelers.  But Brazil’s government wanted to incentivize local manufacturing and in the late 1950’s placed quotas and tariffs on imported models.  In turn, local manufacturers had to “up their game” – it’s not surprising that they hewed closely to the GM template.

The GM 4104 was the King of Brazil’s highways in the 50’s and 60’s – one of the country’s largest intercity bus operators, Viação Cometa, had a majority 4104 fleet and extensively featured them in its marketing campaign.

Papo Amarelo


Turbo Jumbo Liner


However, with quotas being imposed, it looked to a local source – and found one in an existing partner, Ciferal (Comércio de Alumínio e Ferro Ltd).  Ciferal, a coachbuilder, had provided Cometa with several models such as the “Papo Amarelo“ and “Turbo Jumbo Liner” using a Mercedes or Scania chassis.  

But Cometa wanted something much more modern, so Ciferal partnered with Scania which already had a large presence in-country, mainly in trucks.  Analyzing the 4104/06 “bolt by bolt”, in 1972 they built a 4104/06 near-clone with some changes – the largest being use of a Scania BR 115 chassis and a “lifted” body for more underfloor storage similar to GM’s 4107 (Buffalo).  They named this new bus the “Dinosaur”, as it was “large and powerful” and expected to “evolve” into many more models.  Interesting choice of a name as I imagine most people in North America would associate Dinosaur with “old and extinct”, as my spouse does when referring to me.  

But the Dinosaur was just what Cometa was looking for and they proved extremely popular, with not only Cometa but other operators as well, and were soon a fixture on Brazil’s highways.

Evolutions did appear with a longer 13.2 meter (length) model and introduction of an automatic transmission.

Final Model – Arrow VII


The biggest evolution however occurred in 1983 when Ciferal went into receivership due to poor management.  Cometa purchased the rights to the model and established its own subsidiary to continue production – they named this updated version the “Flecha Azul” (Blue Arrow).  The Arrow was produced from 1983 to 1999, and was routinely updated.  Its popularity was highlighted by the fact that Scania’s largest worldwide use of its bus chassis was not in Sweden but in Brazil.  

While being superseded by more modern and larger models such as the Marcopolo Paradiso, Arrows and even Dinosaurs can still be seen on some secondary routes.