(first posted 8/20/2016) Several comments on previous bus articles expressed an interest in Dina, or to be correct, DIesel NAcional, S.A (now known as Consorcio G Grupo Dina, S.A. de C.V.). For those not familiar, Dina is a long-time maker of cars, trucks, and buses in Mexico founded in the city of Sahagun, in the state of Hidalgo. It has expanded to a large conglomerate today that markets its products in Mexico, throughout Central and South America, parts of Europe, and the Middle East. During a merger with Motor Coach Industries (MCI) in the ‘90s, the company also sold coaches in the US.
1950’s and early 1960’s Dina Fiat Buses
Dina was founded in 1951, majority owned by the government of Mexico with a minority interest by Fiat. The company assembled versions of Fiat’s bus and truck models, and also the 500, 1100 and 1400 automobiles throughout the 1950’s. That partnership ended in 1961 and in 1963, Dina joined with Renault to assemble versions of that company’s D-500 and D-700 buses.
Not satisfied with Renault’s coaches, and looking for a larger and more substantial bus, Dina found a willing partner in Flxible, the Loudonville Ohio-based manufacturer of both transit and intercity coaches. An agreement was reached and in 1964, Dina was licensed to assemble versions of the Flxible Flxliner 35 ft intercity coach.
Dina named this model the “Olympico” – it was essentially equivalent to the Flxliner with a “Torsilastic” suspension, GM 8V71 or Cummins NT/NH engines, and Spicer manual transmission. Dina subsequently purchased the tooling for this bus when Flxible exited the intercity market in 1969 – and continued to build this model through 1987 – quite a long production run. Fun fact: The bus was marketed as the Dina Flxible 311 until 1968 when its name was changed to Olympico in honor of the 1968 Olympic Games held in Mexico City.
To help with both their truck and bus operations, Dina reached an agreement with Cummins in 1968, and began producing Cummins diesel engines under license.
The company made several different versions of the Flx through the years…here is an “Avante” with a more squared-up front area and modern window treatment, mimicking the styling of Eagle buses from this period.
This is a late 80’s “Dorado”, a 40 ft version that came with the GM 6V92 TA. While it and the Avante could be fitted with an Allison automatic, Mexican operators preferred mostly manual transmissions.
Dina partnered again with another manufacturer in 1990 and reached agreement with Marcopolo SA of Brazil to import bodies of their large intercity coach to mate with a Dina chassis. This bus was named the Viaggio – and when Dina and Motor Coach Industries (MCI) entered into a merger in 1994, MCI marketed this model in the US as the Viaggio 1000. These were large buses, 102 in wide and 45 ft in length – they typically had GM 60 Series engines with Allison automatic transmissions. Depending upon whether they had a lavatory, they could seat 52-56 passengers.
The Viaggio sold well, to both intercity and tour operators, but in 2000 Dina’s then financial problems led to a rupture in their merger with MCI, and the collaboration ended.
F11 (35 ft)
F12 (40 ft)
F14 (45 ft)
Refocusing back to their non-US markets, the company’s next intercity coaches were the F-series; the F-11 through F-14 – the F14 being a lengthened three axle version. These were Dina’s first intercity coaches designed entirely in-house.
The company went through some tough financial difficulties in the early to mid-2000’s, but appears to be coming back with a variety of urban and intercity coaches.
Today, the company’s main intercity coach is the Buller – 40 foot long, seating 46 passengers. Dina has now partnered with Scania and the Buller uses a Scania L6 Turbodiesel, good for 360 hp and 1365 ft lbs of torque. Aerodynamics seems to be the primary factor in bus design these days – I can appreciate the reduced operating costs in fuel, but am not a fan of how they look.
Call me old school, but of all the models above, I think the Flxliner/Olympico is the most attractive…