We’ve previously looked at buses from North America, Asia, and Europe – let’s broaden our aperture a little and review a coach from South America – specifically, one of the biggest and most popular buses on that continent – the Marcopolo Paradiso 1800 DD G7 – it’s one big bus…
Marcopolo SA is a Brazilian coach and bus manufacturer headquartered in the southern city of Caxius do Sul. It doesn’t manufacture complete coaches – it’s a “coachbuilder” – it makes bus bodies and interiors, then mates them to an existing OEM chassis; mostly Scania, MAN and Volvo. They have manufacturing operations in Brazil, Argentina, Columbia, Mexico, Australia, South Africa, and are in negotiations for joint ventures in China and India.
While they don’t market buses in the US or Canada, they did have one model that was sold here in the late 1990’s – the DINA Viaggio. DINA, a Mexican conglomerate, was the owner of Motor Coach Industries (MCI) during that decade, and purchased Viaggio bodies from Marcopolo and placed them on top of their DINA 45 foot bus chassis. The buses were sold by MCI and proved fairly popular with tour operators.
Marcopolo Torino Urban Transit Bus with Volvo Chassis
Marcopolo manufactures both urban transit and intercity bus bodies in a variety of sizes.
It’s largest and most luxurious coach is the Paradiso 1800 DD G7. It’s 15 meters (49 ft) long, 2.6 meters (8.5 ft) wide, and 4.2 meters (13.7 ft) tall.
Two chassis are offered – a single front axle and one with tandem front wheels. Usually tandem front wheels are required due to axle loading, but in the G7’s case, they also allow for additional steering traction on Brazil’s mountainous and sometimes unpaved roads.
Scania K420 Chassis
MAN 2676 6 cylinder
The chassis used for the four axle models are the Scania K-420, the MAN 8X2, and the Volvo B450R. The Scania engine is a K-Series 12.7 litre pushing out 490 hp, the MAN a Model 2676 12.4 litre with 493 hp, and the Volvo a D-11C 10.8 litre with 450 hp.
Many are used on overnight routes, and are outfitted with first-class airline style seats that fully recline. The lower floor rear seating area can also be configured as a lounge.
Looks like a nice bus – perhaps Marcopolo will enter the US and Canadian market again someday…
I learn something new every day. Well, truthfully I don’t, but that’s just a combination of age and slothfulness.
I presumed that the mention of Australia for Marcopolo was a mistake involving a local clothing company of that name and an internet snafu, but no. Seems the Brazilian outfit bought Volgren this year. Volgren was a (sort-of) jv between Volvo and Grenda buslines years ago, and I caught their smelly horror creations often as a kid. (Also, I caught nits, possibly not unrelated, certainly not a lot less pleasant). The Volgren name is on many a bus round these parts to this day.
Most interesting post, Jim Brophy, about a bus that, I must say, is climbing the Fugly scale enthusiastically. Frankstein-ish brow and lights that look as if squashed under the weight of that face don’t help it. And some clever type simply must come up with a better solution than those impotent bunny ears which now deface every coach built.
“The luxury Paradiso by Marcopolo. But inside, it’s really nice.” ?
Very impressive coaches, always interesting to hear about the automotive industry in unfamiliar places.
Wow, this is quite the bus. While vacationing in Europe a few years ago we took several bus trips and I was quite impressed with the size, luxury and newness of their intercity buses. Volvo, Van Hool, Mercedes and Scania were popular, but there were also others. Intercity bus travel in Eupore is far more popular than here in the U.S. and is an efficient and comfortable alternative to air and train. Competition is strong and operators tout their new, luxurious fleets. Greyhound this is not.
There is also a certain swagger and culture regarding the drivers of these rigs, who are quite proud of their rides and driving skills. I’ve ridden most of the tallest roller coasters in the U.S., but nothing matches the thrill I had when riding in one of these at 70 mph plus on the Italian Amalfi Coast Drive.
Are they not limited in Italy?
Police there seem to leave commercial drivers alone. Large, luxury buses are heavily involved in the lucrative tourism trade and seem to operate without too much interference.
Many thanks for doing this Jim. I love your bus posts and this one is special for me, after all I’m from Brazil and have been riding Marcopolo buses since I was a baby.
I took a picture of a Paradiso/Dina model just like this in Lake Tahoe when I lived a short period there in 1999-2000. I’ll try to find it and post here.
The double decker models with the bay window reminds me of a certain movie parody of the disaster films of the 70s.
Oh just so! I was trying to dredge up what (it turns out) 7 year old’s memory was being tickled. Excellent.
Sally Kellerman is yummy as always…
They showed it on TV/cable a few times, that’s where I saw it
It has been ages since I saw the buses with front tandem axle. RTD (public transportation service in Denver, Colorado) had one or two double-decked commuter buses serving Route T (between Denver Technical Centre and Boulder) for a few years in the early aughts. They stood out not because of front tandem axles or double deck but their gargantuan size, reminiscing of Cyclops from The Big Bus.
When I travelled through South America two years ago, those buses with front tandem axles were very common in rural Brazil. The YouTube video shows the buses with silver rods attaching to the axles. Those are mandatory fitments for buses and heavy lorries in Argentina and mostly Brazil. I queried about those rods and was told that they maintain the tyre pressure automatically as to reduce the chance of accidents from tyre blowouts.
Here’s the close-up of automated tyre pressure system on Buenos Aires public bus.
The above comment had a photo attachment but didn’t show it. Here’s the photo once again.
Here in Brazil this device is known as “Rodoar” and widely used in buses and trucks too. It’s the brand name of a manufacturer.
Thanks for the additional information!
I’ve made a few 10 hours overnight trips in those double decker Paradiso and are indeed extremely comfortable buses. The only problem to me was the leather seats, not the best choose to sleep, a good cloth upholstery is more comfortable. I still prefer to make these kinds of trips by bus than take airplane, it takes more time but the buses stations are better located in the cities, don’t have the airports bothering and you arrive rested.
The big buses I took was theses handsome big blue Cometa
Are there length differences between these 10 wheelers and the 8 wheelers? Also does it carry more people than the 8 wheeler?
Wow those are big. I can’t imagine thrashing one down an unimproved piece of road. There is a Dina Marcopolo still on the Valley Center casino run. Good looking coach.
These South American busses seem so notable to us in America because the inter-city bus market is completely different there.
Argentina has virtually no operable inter-city passenger rail service. The rail lines were neglected and are obsolete. For most routes it is either airplane or bus. A dramatic trip is from Buenos Aires to Santiago, Chile – over the pass across the Andes. The route has hundreds of switchbacks on the ascent and descent; the dual front steering must help with that.
More comments about the use of these vehicles in South America would be enjoyed by this reader.
“The rail lines were neglected and are obsolete”: in Brazil it’s more appropriate to say railroads are absent for passenger service. Airplane transport is too expensive here so most travelling is done by bus or car. Any medium city here has an intercity bus station at least the size of the ones I’ve seen in LA, Phoenix or Dallas back in 2000. Of course bus is not efficient or safe as trains, by any means.
I know only one active passenger railroad line here, operated by the mining company Vale do Rio Doce. Is from Belo Horizonte to Cariacica. I want to ride in it someday
Yes Vale do Rio Doce operates onde line um Minas Gerais. From Belo Horizonte it probably reach all the way to the ocean at Votoria / Espitito Santo. It has another line in the state of Pará. But aside from them we have virtually no medium to long distance passenger train services.
” – over the pass across the Andes. The route has hundreds of switchbacks on the ascent and descent”
I’m not the kind to get carsick, I’ve never done THAT, but for that trip, I bet I’d want a bunch of Dramamine!
I´ve worked at Marcopolo from 2001 to 2005 as a process engineer and an strategic buyer. At that time Marcopolo was the biggest bus manufacturer in the world. The procution line is very impressive since it was possible to produce 60 complete buses a day (mixing road buses and urban buses) plus 30 micro buses. That was a very nice place to work and I´ve learned a lot there. The road buses, just like this Paradiso 1800 DD are simply impressive and its size and features. They are very comfortable to ride and impressive in its external appearance.
Caxias do Sul is the main city in the “Serra GAúgha”, in the State of Rio Grande do Sul Brazil. This region was colonized by Italians and Germans mainly. There are many small cities that look like you were visiting the Europe countryside. The Italian and German traditions are very strong even today, and the elderly people still speak in Italian and German. That was a wonderful period in my life and it was a pleasure to live in Caxias do Sul.
Sergio, nice to know about you experience at Marcopolo. The Serra Gaúcha is a lovely place indeed.
The front overhang is crazy! I guess they must avoid steep ramps?
Not to mention those mirrors. They look functional, but I imagine it would be easy to peel one off on something if you weren’t careful. I’m always impressed at the skill it must take to drive something like this for a living.
Those are normal bus and coach front overhangs. Imagine the turning circle of such a coach, with that overall length, when you move the steering axle(s) further to the front.
Not to mention that you have to beef up the frame (make it heavier) when the wheelbase gets substantially longer. The Scania rolling chassis as shown -designed for buses and coaches only- has the perfect mix of good weight distribution and maneuverability for the end product.
Nice article Jim! The hardware looks familiar, unlike the bodies and their manufacturer. Keep ‘m rolling and coming.
3 metres from the axis point is the normal rule for overhangs on heavy vehicles only buses exploit it at the front but they carry little weight up front or anywhere for that matter.
The bread-and-butter coach here looks like this VDL. The maximum axle loads are the same as on a 4×2 truck or tractor chassis: 7,100 kg for the steering axle – 11,500 kg for the drive axle. That’s a GVM of 18,600 kg.
Now it may not carry much “cargo” (passengers + their luggage down below), but note that the curb weight is already a quite massive 13,325 kg.
Longer and taller top-segment coaches keep the single front axle but have a steering single-tire tag axle.
Yep chinese six configuration with the single rear tag it will skid sideways on full lock, lets buses maneuver in tight situations, it takes quite a few people and bags to make 5 tonnes.
Bryce, a “Chinese six” has two steering axles at the front and one axle at the rear, right?
What I mean is a steering tax agle right behind the drive axle, so at the rear.
A standard touringcar seats at least 50 passengers. 50 x 75 kg (quite low, I guess) = already 3,750 kg.
All I’m saying is that the bigger part of the (permanent) cargo of a coach is its own body and the interior, all the gear included. Climate control and ventilation, a small kitchen block, and -of course- a decent shitbox with privacy…etc.etc.
Eight wheel buses arent common here though that size seems quite normal for intercity services, twin steer anything lacks the maneuverability of a single steer unit and axle load limits can rarely be exceeded with just loading people and luggage though they do offer better traction on slippery surfaces especially if difflock is engaged on the drive, cool bus though, I wouldnt mind a turn in one of those but human freight you can keep.
Chinese six is one single tyred steer axle a twin tyred drive axle and a single tyred lazy or tag at the back many buses are equipped thus here.
Apparently language has evolved. In the UK at least into the late 80s (my last copy of “Truck & Driver”) the term “Chinese Six” meant a single drive axle and two steering axles. Apparently it was also very popular in Spain for driving in the mountains.
Late 80s UK practice also included “twin steer” tractors which had a steerable pusher axle in front of the single drive axle instead of the closely coupled steering axles of a chinese six or eight wheeler.
Marcopolo once has bought a coach manufacturer in Portugal, and gave it its own name. From the mid 90’s to around 2009/10, they manufactured buses designed in Portugal under the names Viale and Viaggio.
Jim, you seem to know about buses from everywhere, and every type! If you’re ever covering Irizar or Caetano, I might take some pics here, they’re plentiful.
These coaches are lovely! The majority of our local bus fleet are Marco Polos with Mercedes engines and in some cases, an Allison automatic transmission. Some have been in service for about 20 years.
Can someone please tell me the various dimensions of all the various buses. Single drive axle and single steer axle (6 wheeler), single drive axle, single steer axle and a drag wheel behind the drive axle (8wheeler. Both single and double decks) and the double steer axles, simple drive axle and a drag wheel (10 wheeler for both single and double decks). Also why would you have a single deck bus with double steer axles? And do they carry more than the single steer single deck buses? Also, why do some have uplifted decks but are single decks and thus they are as high as a double deck? Sorry for all my questions but google isn’t giving me direct answers and I love these buses.