I’ve wanted to do a post on SCM for some time, but information online was pretty sparse. Luckily a few things have popped up recently, so let’s take a look at this small regional bus manufacturer – one of many that were commonplace throughout the US during the 1920’s to the late 1950’s.
GM, Flxible-Twin Coach, Mack, White…these were the big national players in the urban transit bus market in the pre and post-war years. But there were also a significant number of smaller, regional bus manufacturers that primarily sold to transit companies in their section of the country. One, headquartered in Evergreen Alabama, was SCM.
SCM was established in 1941. During the war it provided overhauls and re-builds for the many war-weary, well-used trucks and buses moving people and materiel. After the war, it broadened into manufacturing and began production on a line of small urban transit coaches.
These early versions were 30 feet in length and could carry 32-passengers. While the front twin grilles gave the appearance of a front-engined bus, these coaches were powered by a mid-mounted underfloor 404 cu in Waukesha gas six cylinder putting out 125 hp, with a Spicer four speed manual transmission.
Customers were mostly from the South – one example being Columbus Georgia which had a mostly SCM fleet. Birmingham and Dallas also has some SCM models. Sales were never large but they were steady.
SCM gradually introduced 35, 41, 45 and even a large forty foot 50 seat model, which in addition to the Waukesha, could be had with Fageol Twin-Coach gas/propane engines or a Leyland or Cummins diesel.
Even with support from large government contracts, the dominance of the big national players, mostly GM, took their toll – sales started to dwindle after 1956. The company held on until 1964 when it sold out to Flxible. Over the course of eighteen years, it manufactured approximately 1400 coaches.
Flxible discontinued the SCM model and used the factory to build its small Flxette minibus, however in 1968, a fire accidently started that consumed the entire facility.
Fortunately, an off-shoot of the company still exists, Southern Coach Parts, now in Birmingham Alabama, which provides replacement parts and upgrades for most coaches in use today.