Vintage Instamatic Snapshot Classic: 1955 Flxible Visicoach – Starting Young

I’m not ashamed to admit that I was a big fan of NASCAR. It was an important bonding activity with my parents and me – it was one thing we all did together. My earliest recollection of a NASCAR race was at the spring race in the Poconos in 1987 or 1988. Between that race and the Daytona 500 in 2001 (yes, THAT Daytona 500) I went to probably 5 or 6 races, quite a big feat considering the majority of races were far away from Upstate NY (curiously, I have never been to The Glen for a NASCAR race, even though it’s only 15 minutes away from my parents’ back door).

Somewhere between 1988 race and 1984, we went to a race that I have absolutely no recollection of attending. The existing photos of this race depict us camping in the infield of the track with our ’78 F250 truck, but give no further indication of time or place. My parents bought me a Kodak 126 Instamatic X-15F prior to a road trip to California in 1984, so I wandered around the infield. One RV in particular caught my eye for the attractive color scheme and fluid design.

It’s hard to make out, but this RV has red/body-colored wheels with small polished silver hubcaps. These, combined with the stainless fluted trim on the sides and the red/white/red/orange color scheme really spoke to me as a kid. I didn’t know anything else about this RV and since it was long before the advent of the internet, I really had no way of finding out any more information.

Many years later (twenty-five to be exact) I was looking through old photographs for CC and I stumbled across these. I included them in the batch of photos of my family’s old cars and didn’t really think too much about it until a little later. This photo started me thinking – the “3536” appeared to be some sort of club number. In the intervening 25 years, I had also learned quite a bit more about automobilia so I recognized the bus as a Flxible. That was enough to go on to do a search on the internet, and lo and behold I found out more than I could have hoped for about this RV!

As it turns out, 3536 is a 1955 Flxible Visicoach, originally a “Fireman’s Support Coach” from New York City. Flxible had a long history of making commercial vehicles, beginning in Loudonville OH producing sidecars at the turn of the century. Eventually, the company moved into producing hearses and other professional cars and branched out into making inter-city buses. Flxible no longer exists today, having been sold to several companies before ceasing production altogether in 1995. You can read CC’s history of Flxible Clipper series of buses here.

According to Flxible Owners International, this vehicle has been owned by the same people since 1984. The couple, originally from MA but residing in Florida and have been active for many years in the Flxible community. They bought the Flxible in 1983 and spent a year converting it into their home-on-wheels.

3536 in 2004 during the 2004 Loudonville Rally. Image courtesy of Flxible Owners International.


3536 attended a rally in 2010 Loudonville, OH with the same owners, and it appears to have Florida license plates in 2013.

Images courtesy of Flxible Clipper Club Australia.

Sometime between ’13 and 2017, 3536 was shipped overseas to Australia and it has participated in many Flxible rally’s Down Under. 3536 also lost its body-colored wheels, replaced by painted silver ones. Somehow it just doesn’t quite look the same as it did, but I am glad it is still on the road being enjoyed by Flxible enthusiasts.

From the Flxible Clipper Club Australia’s 2017 “Haulin’ The Hume” rally. Image courtesy of Flxible Clipper Club Australia.

Little did I know that my photographic urge as a 7-year-old would lead me to actually writing about something I spotted 25 years ago for Curbside Classic. I’m glad to be able to not only find photographs of it as it exists currently but also some of the history of this particular Flxible. Sometimes the internet can be a wonderfully amazing place.


More:  Jim Brophy’s in-depth post on the Flxible Clipper