Let’s take a look at a couple of more Stageway (by Armbruster) long-boys. Here’s a ’72 Pontiac “clamshell” wagon converted into a 12-passenger coach. I assume that means there’s no far-back forward-facing seat, as the 9-passenger stock wagons would have had. Why not? It would have made a fine 15 passenger job. I assume it was needed for luggage, but then there’s that huge rack on the roof. Hmm.
The Executive Limo is a bit odd too, as it appears that the original rear doors were just welded shut. Hmm.
Pontiac seems to be an odd choice on which to base an “Executive” limo, even if it did have a TV and stereo. Limos at the time were almost exclusively Cadillac Fleetwoods, with the occasional Lincoln now and then.
Worse, it is not even the high-zoot Grand Ville or Bonneville model: It appears to be a base model Catalina with bias-ply tires.
Did you miss the line in the ad that says “at about half the price of other seven passenger limousines”? This is obviously intended as a lower cost alternative and for a different clientele.
I’ve long thought that three row vehicles (with six doors) might be a good alternative to big vans or large SUVs. Of course those doors aren’t free nor are they weightless. It would easier to load and unload passengers.
And imagine the lumber a stationwagon version could carry with the seats laid flat! Not that I want to wreck my interior carrying lumber when a trailer is made for that kind of abuse.
Still here is a vehicle that is more aerodynamic than an SUV or van capable of carrying six in comfort and nine in a pinch. I’ve long thought our firs gen CRV would have been a great six door vehicle if it had another 50 horsepower and bigger brakes.
There are short comings. Parking would require two spots in a parking lot and while the steering for parallel parking would not be difficult, finding a place to park might be a huge hassle in a street parking neighborhood. I won’t won’t mention weight b/c I expect some of the current SUVs and pickups weigh more.
For the rest of the country that doesn’t live in crowded cities though parking this would not be a problem.
There are short comings. Parking would require two spots in a parking lot and while the steering for parallel parking would not be difficult, finding a place to park might be a huge hassle in a street parking neighborhood.
That didn’t seem to dissuade a certain German in Munich who owns an extra-long Lincoln Town Car limousine. I’ve seen that car often in the hip Haidhausen-Au neighbourhood…and marvelled at how he was able to secure three parking spaces on the residential street every time.
The photo wasn’t attached to my comment above. Please fix it.
When a photo doesn’t attach to a posted comment, it’s often because the photo was too large. Try reposting the photo at a smaller size — I usually resize my pictures to a max. of 1,200 pixels in the biggest dimension, and they typically get attached to the comment that way.
I certainly wish that there is more information than just “(JPEG only)” next to “Attach an image”. Now, I learn it has to be up to 1200 pixel in width and 5 MB in size. I am sure not everyone is aware of that or can always remember this important information.
Not sure if these were based on cut partially completed cars or rolling chasis. Like Cadillac, Pontiac produced rolling chasis through the early 70s which were basically cars that omitted the Fisher body, just a driving frame with a front clip. (similar to today’s cutaway vans) For non-luxury needs Pontiacs were usually used instead of Chevys for limos for several reasons in the 50s and the 60s that carried through to the early 70s. Pontiac had larger higher quality understrained engines and transmissions and their engines had the largest cooling capacity in the industry, a necessity for heavy loads and the heavy AC loads. Pontiac was not as high a volume operation and had extra capacity in both their factories and their engineering offices and therefore, like Cadillac, could afford to produce low volume models like the rolling chases or partially finished cars that coach builders would use for limos while the effort for a thousand or so special cars a year would not be worth the effort for Chevy. Since the offices for Cadillac and Pontiac were located only a few miles apart, they teamed their efforts in working with coach builders and developing a standard for partially completed vehicles that the coach builders wanted.
Pontiac was GM’s ambulance specialist in the ’50s and ’60s. They had relationships with coachbuilders.
Looks like the long one has some kind of special taillight treatment? Chrome instead of body-color on the fender extensions?
These many row, many door “airport limos” look cool and would be great fun for the get out and run around the car at a stoplight game. On the other hand the turning circles on these things must be epic and it’s understandable why passenger vans killed of this market niche pretty quickly.
I still think there’s a place for something like the Mercedes W123 “limo” with the extra wheelbase and seats although most minivans do that more practically if less elegantly.
The Armbruster-Stageway Company is pretty fascinating – I’d never heard about the company before some of the posts of their products here. Afterwards, I looked into their history and it turns out that both Armbruster and Stageway had origins in the 19th carriage and stage coach business, and both were able to survive the transition to cars and buses. The companies merged in the 1960s. And despite being in a very up-and-down business, they’ve been able to stay afloat through recessions, changes in product lines, etc. And most interesting is that they’re located in Arkansas, far away from the center of the auto industry.
Someday maybe I’ll do a full write-up on Armbruster-Stageway, but for now I just enjoy looking at these images.
Those tires appear standard issue but then again I don’t know anything about tires. Loaded with people and luggage it would likely at least double it’s weight. Those stock tires didn’t stand a chance and a blowout would have been very serious. I was thinking they must have put truck tires on but they’re white walls and I thought those were only for cars.
They made heavy duty versions of car size tires back then, just for this kind of thing. Passenger car-based commercial vehicles were quite common.
Here is mine: A 15 passenger 71, slowly dying in the Netherlands
Wow! And at least one row of seats face backwards. I had assumed they all face forwards. Got more pictures of the inside?
Will it run?
I took a ’74 440 Stageway down the 1/4 mile. Lol
It turned something like a 17 or 19, windows up, both ACs off, rubber mat mashed flat!
Arguably nicest front of all years
Just a lazy edit to see if these first and last doors are from the original.
Even all the room in a clamshell’s cargo compartment wouldn’t be enough to hold a dozen passengers’ worth of luggage. Hence the huge roof rack. Great, until it rains. Once van-type shuttles were built with space for luggage inside, that was the end of the road for this type of vehicle.
You can find some extra pictures at http://www.corgi-world.nl/71airporter.htm
“Limousine operators, schools, hotels and airports are switching to Stageway”
I wonder how many schools bought these cars – were they used to transport sporting teams?