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1950-59 EQUIPMENT PHOTOS (Page 3)
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WE HOPE YOU'VE ENJOYED OUR 1950'S DSR EQUIPMENT PHOTO GALLERY
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1960'S
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© 2006 (PAGE LAST MODIFIED ON 10-02-11, 01-22-15)
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Detroit D.S.R. (Department of Street Railways)
GM "OLD-LOOK" COACHES – MODEL TDH-5105
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HISTORY FOOTNOTE:  The 8-story former Wayne County Savings Bank Boulevard Building in
the background—known today as the Lakeshore Building—opened as the Ford Motor Company Sales and
Service Building in 1913.  When Ford vacated the building in 1919, the bank moved in and renamed it.
After the bank moved out, the building went through an extensive reconstruction during the mid-'60s,
stripping the facade of all of its terra-cotta facing and replacing it with an aggregate facade.  The State
of Michigan moved into the building after the renovation, housing its Labor Department, and
remained there until 2000.  The building was bought by Lakeshore Engineering Services, Inc. in 2005.
[photo courtesy of the Carl D. Dutch transit photo collection]
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An additional fleet of these large-capacity diesels would be purchased to retire all the small-size
Fords, Transits and many of the small Checkers.  On Aug. 21, 1957, delivery began on the last 75
(#1481-1555), bringing to 355 the total number of 5105s purchased by the DSR — all assigned
to heavy local and express routes.  Basically identical to the previous fleet; one minor noticeable
change included RCA ribbed "gray" mottled
(spotted-color) rubber flooring instead of the
ribbed "green" mottled flooring.  Coach #1534
(delivered Aug 29) poses at Shoemaker Terminal.
[site-owner's photo collection, donated by the Schramm Collection]
(Click-on photo to view larger image)
Many of the GM TDH-5105s that began arriving in March 1956 (#1331-1450) were used by
the DSR to replace the 66 PCC streetcars used on the Woodward Ave line — the last DSR rail line
to be converted to diesel buses on April 8, 1956.  Coach #1421
(delivered Mar. 27, 1956) is seen
boarding passengers while southbound along Woodward Ave at W. Grand Blvd.
In this 1968 photo, DSR coach #1318 poses at the east-side Shoemaker Terminal while proudly
displaying its Vita-Boy Potato Chips ad-card.  Vita-Boy was owned by Famous Foods, Inc. of
Detroit, and proclaimed itself to be the only potato chip with vitamin B-1 added.  Vita-Boy often
purchased ad-space on DSR coaches during the 1960s, especially on the DSR Old-Looks.
This photo shows the interior of DSR old-look coach #1315. The #1300-series fleet would begin
a move toward pastel colors to create a warmer atmosphere.  The new color decor included pink
upper panels
(ad-card holders and ceiling); light grey-green around the windshield, passenger
and standee windows; glades green
(bluish-green) doors; and a medium gray front dash panel.  
Glossy turquoise vinyl lower trim panels (with broken white and yellow thread pattern) replaced
the green wall panels, while a ribbed mottled green flooring replaced the ribbed black flooring.
The seating on this fleet was now supplied by American Seating Co. of Grand Rapids, MI.
[site-owner's photo collection, donated by the Schramm Collection]
Beginning in 1969, a number of the #1200-series Old Looks were sold to other properties,
including Virginia Transit, Queens Transit, and a number of American Transit Corp. properties.  
Eight were sold to Queens Transit
(NY), repainted, and renumbered #872–879.  Former DSR
#1280 is seen in the right (1971) photo as Queens Transit #878, while ex-DSR #1348
(left) was
photographed in the Chicago & Calumet District Transit Company
(American Transit Corp) yard
in Hammond, IN in 1974.  In 1971-72, eleven of the later DSR 5105s were sold to Southeastern
Michigan Transportation Authority
(SEMTA) for use on its Lake Shore Division routes.
[Krambles-Peterson Archive (left) – Doug Grotjahn photo, BusTalk U.S. Galleries (right)]
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HISTORY FOOTNOTE:  The 8-story former Wayne County Savings Bank Boulevard Building in the background
(at 7310 Woodward at E. Gd Blvd (NE corner))
— known today as the Lakeshore Building — opened as the
Ford Motor Company Sales and Service Building in 1910.  When Ford vacated the building in 1919, the bank
moved in and renamed it.  When the bank moved out, the building went through an extensive reconstruction
during the mid-1960s, stripping the facade of all of its terra-cotta facing and replacing it with an aggregate
facade.  The State of Michigan moved into the building after the renovation, housing its Labor Department, and
remained there until 2000.  The building was bought by Lakeshore Engineering Services, Inc. in 2005.
HISTORY FOOTNOTE: Vita-Boy was one of over twenty potato chip manufacturers located within the city of
Detroit during the 194's-1960'.  Of the local potato chip makers at that time, including Wolverine, Krun-Chee,
Everkrisp, Mello Crisp, Twin Pines, Vita-Boy and New Era, only Better Made Potato Chips still remains today
as a Detroit-based owned and operated potato chip company.
[slide-photo reproduction courtesy of Stan Sycko]
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HISTORY FOOTNOTE: Vita-Boy was one of over twenty potato chip manufacturers located within the city of
Detroit during the 1940s–1960s.  Of the local potato chip makers at that time, including Wolverine, Krun-Chee,
Everkrisp, Mello Crisp, Twin Pines, Vita-Boy and New Era, only Better Made Potato Chips still remains today
as a long-time Detroit-based owned and operated potato chip company.
THE 1920's
1  2  3  4
THE 1930's
1  2  3
THE 1940's
1  2  3  4  5
THE 1950's
1  2  3
THE 1960's
1  2  3
THE 1970's
1  2  3
THE 1980's
1  2  3
THE 1990's
1  2  3
THE 2010's
1   2
THE 2000's
1   2
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Between Oct. 20-28, 1953, a fleet of 25 GM diesel buses —Model TDH-5105 — were delivered to
the DSR — the first of a total 100-coach order
(#1201-1300) completed in January 1954.
Between 1953 and 1957, the DSR would purchase a total of 355 of these 40-foot, 51-passenger,
"large-capacity" coaches—many of which used to replace the PCC streetcar fleet.  Coach #1299
above
(deliv'd Jan. 25, 1954) poses behind the Veterans' Memorial Bldg in downtown Detroit.
[photo courtesy of the Samuel Braxton Jr. Bus Photo Collection]
The first 25 TDH-5105s (#1201-1225) were placed into service on the busy Grand Belt line.  The
#1200-series GMs were the DSR's first 40-foot bus, and the first to come equipped with an air
suspension system; which utilized eight accordion-type rubberized air bellows to rest the coach
on a cushion of air.  Grand Belt coach #1208 is westbound on W. Grand Blvd., having just passed
Third St and the Fisher Building
(distant background) en route to the Wyoming Terminal Loop.
[DSR Files photo – courtesy of 1954 D.S.R. Annual Report publication]
Beginning March 14, 1956, the first TDH-5105s from a 150-coach order (#1331-1480) began
arriving that would be used by the DSR to replace the last of its PCC cars on the Gratiot and
Woodward lines.  Because GM promised that it could deliver ten coaches per day beginning in
mid-March, 120 coaches (#1331-1450) were delivered by Apr. 2.  This bus fleet also introduced
the newly revised DSR paint scheme of ivory
(yellowish-white) with green trimming.
[photo courtesy of the Samuel Braxton Jr. Bus Photo Collection]
Delivery of the last remaining 30 buses of that 150-coach order (#1451-1480) would take place
between Oct. 11-15, 1956.  This GM factory photo of coach #1460
(delivered Oct. 11) was taken
in a residential suburban Detroit neighborhood.  Upon the completion of this order the Gilbert
Terminal became the DSR's first all-diesel terminal with all 120 of the older 40-45 passenger
GM diesels
(#1001-1120) and 141 of the newer 51-passenger TDH-5105s assigned there.
[photo courtesy of the Samuel Braxton Jr. Bus Photo Collection]
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Just prior to this 30-coach fleet being placed into service on the Michigan line, a big reception
was given by the DSR to celebrate the new fleet's arrival.  On Sept. 2, 1955, three of the coaches
took part in the Michigan State Fair parade; another was on permanent display during the Fair;
while coach #1315
(previous photo) was on public display at the City-County Bldg. to show off
the bus' colorful interior and new Fabrilite Corsican 'breathable' plastic upholstery seating.
[site-owner's photo collection, donated by the Schramm Collection]
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In this August 1961 photo, coach #1478 is eastbound along Michigan Ave at Woodward while
working the Gratiot line en route to Eight Mile Road.  Although this photo was taken some five
years afterward, the Gratiot line had been the first DSR bus route to
use the ivory with green
trim TDH-5105s when they replaced the PCC streetcars along Gratiot Ave on March 25, 1956.
[photo courtesy of the Scott Richards photo collection – used with permission]
Although this photo is of a Twin City Lines (Minneapolis-St. Paul) TDH-5105, the appearance is
similar to the interiors found on the DSR's early 1950 'Old-Look' fleet.  The DSR #1200-series
fleet followed an interior color scheme of shell-pink upper panels and ceiling; light grey-green
around the window posts and front windshield; while the doors, lower wall panels and front dash
panel were dark green.  The seating was supplied by Ionia Manufacturing Co. of Ionia, MI, while
the 26" wide aisle floors were covered with a black 3/16" ribbed flooring.  Unlike in photo, the
DSR #1200-series used two-piece split-sash
(lower stationary, upper raise) passenger windows.
[photo source: online – unknown (unidentified) photo collection]
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In this circa 1960 photo, coach #1500 is northbound along the Lodge X-way near Cobo Hall.  
When coach #1500 was delivered on Aug 23, 1957, it was on of 33 coaches (#1481-1513)
assigned to Coolidge Terminal
(the last DSR terminal assigned diesels), while the remaining 42
(#1514-1555) went to Shoemaker Terminal, where many were assigned to the Van Dyke line.  
[photo courtesy of the Samuel Braxton Jr. Bus Photo Collection]
(Click-on photo to view larger image)
(Click-on photo to view larger image)
(Click-on photo to view larger image)
(Click-on photo to view larger image)
(Click-on photo to view larger image)
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Although the rear stop lamps and directional signals on most GM Old Looks were located on the
engine compartment doors, all of the DSR TDH-5105 fleets were ordered with their directional
signals/rear lamps mounted above the engine compartment doors to provide space for
advertising.  In this circa 1961 photo, coach #1409 can be seen with advertising signs located on
the two engine compartment doors while southbound along Woodward Ave at Grand River.
[photo courtesy of the Samuel Braxton Jr. Bus Photo Collection]
(Click-on photo to view larger image)
During the DSR era, the renting of advertising space on buses — both exterior and interior —
was a means of producing extra revenue for the DSR, which, by city charter mandate, operated
as a self-supporting independent entity of the city.  The DSR would often rent space on the back
of its TDH-5105s
(below the rear windows) as a moving billboard.  In this 1961 photo, coach
#1413 is sporting a large hand-painted Sunoco ad while parked along the north side of Cadillac
Square.  The advertisements were contracted through the Transportation Advertising Company.
[photo courtesy of the Scott Richards photo collection – used with permission]
(Click-on photo to view larger image)
After the PCC streetcars were eliminated off Woodward Ave, the GM 'Old-Looks' would begin
providing 100% service along Woodward, as seen in the above photo.  This photo, taken during
the late 1950s at the intersection of Woodward and Owens
(Clairmount), shows coach #1411
(deliv'd Mar. 23, 1956)
headed north to the McNichols (Longwood) short-turn at Palmer Park.
[photo courtesy of the S. Sycko photo collection]
(Click-on photo to view larger image)
Although these 40-foot large-capacity "ride-on-air" diesels can be credited with changing the
look of the Detroit transit scene, the days of the GM Old-Looks dominating the Detroit transit
arena would be short-lived, as the GM "New-Looks" would soon take-over the fleet.  In this 1961
photo, a GM New-Look has pulled-up behind coach #1488 at the Cadillac Sq loading station.
[photo courtesy of the Scott Richards photo collection – used with permission]
(Click-on photo to view larger image)
After the arrival of the 1956 deliveries (#1331–f.), the first 130 cream with red trim Old Looks
(1201-1330) were repainted with the revised ivory (yellowish-white) with green trim livery.
The above photo
(taken in October of 1968) shows DSR #1200-series 5105s still sporting their
ivory and green colors
(and their split-sash windows) while parked at the Shoemaker Terminal.
Ninety-six of the 1200s were either sold to other properties or scrapped between 1968-69.
[photo courtesy of Tom's Trolleybus Pix-Detroit stuff, photo taken by Roberta Hill]
Coach #1337, delivered back on March 24, 1956, is seen here some 12-½ years later parked
along the south-end of the DSR Shoemaker Terminal property in October 1968, still sporting its
original ivory and green paint scheme design.  After the delivery of 146 GMC T6H-5305
"New-Looks" in 1968, many of the remaining 5105s were assigned to light service routes.  By the
end of FY1971, there were 145 TDH-5105s left on the roster.  The last five were retired in 1973.
[photo courtesy of Tom's Trolley Bus Pix-Detroit stuff, photo taken by Roberta Hill ]
This photo zooms in on the front and driver's compartment area of a DSR TDH-5105 old-look
coach.  Clearly visible is the large Thermo-Matic heating and ventilation system blower unit that
was located directly above the driver's compartment.  The soft pastel color decor of pink, light
grey-green, glades green and medium gray would continue on subsequent fleets, however,
National Seating Co. seats would now be used beginning with the 1956 deliveries
(#1331–f.).
[site-owner's photo collection, donated by the Schramm Collection]
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How about this!! ...a DSR Old Look dressed up as a DSR "Mini-Bus."  Two of the remaining
TDH-5105s left on the property
(coaches #1225 and #1526) were repainted in 1969 and used as
stand-by coaches for the two downtown Mini-Bus routes.  Although six 19-pass Minibuses were
already used by the DSR for mini-loop service, the two
(51-pass) 5105s were painted gray with
green and red peppermint strips to resemble the mini bus fleet.
(see Photos 1960's - Pg. 2)  
[photo courtesy of the Scott Richards photo collection – used with permission]
(Click-on photo to view larger image)
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In both of these circa 1971 photos, coach #1225 is east on Grand River preparing to turn south
onto Griswold in downtown Detroit while working the Mini-Loop #2 route — a one-way loop
route that circled around the downtown area.  The two DSR Old Looks that were utilized for
Minibus service were among the last TDH-5105s to be retired by the DSR in 1973.  
[photo courtesy of the Scott Richards photo collection – used with permission]
(Click-on photo to view larger image)
Between 1968-69, 120 DSR TDH-5105s (mostly #1200-series) were either scrapped or sold,
followed by ten more in 1970.  However, the delivery of 134 GMC T8H-5307As
(#2801-2934)
in 1972 would spell the end for these diesel workhorses, with another large group of 220 retired
in 1971-72.  The last five
(3–#1200s/2–#1500s) were retired in 1973.  In this circa 1972 photo,
a number of retired 5105s can be seen behind the Coolidge Terminal awaiting the scrap yard.
[photo courtesy of the Scott Richards photo collection – used with permission]
Between Aug. 30–Sept. 3, 1955, an additional 30 of the big "ride-on-air" diesels (#1301-1330)
would arrive to be used by the DSR to eliminate the 24 PCC streetcars along the Michigan Ave
portion of the Michigan-Gratiot line, beginning Sept. 7, 1955.  Although similar in appearance to
the #1200-series
(minus the split-sash pass windows), these coaches also sported new interior
colors.  These were the last TDH-5105s to arrive sporting the cream with red trim paint scheme.
[photo courtesy of the Samuel Braxton Jr. Bus Photo Collection]
(Click-on photo to view larger image)
(Click-on photo to view larger image)
The remaining 75 TDH-5105s (#1226-1300) began arriving Jan. 12, 1954, in time to begin the  
conversion of the 35 PCCs on the Jefferson line to buses on Feb. 7, 1954.  The 5105 was the
DSR's first 102" wide bus, and came equipped with a six-cylinder 6-71 Detroit Diesel engine and
a 2-speed GM/Allison V-drive hydraulic
(automatic) transmission.  Like the GM TDH-4008s
delivered in 1947, the first 100 TDH-5105s came equipped with split-sash passenger windows—
a feature that protected the arms and elbows of passengers.  Coach #1249 above poses at the
Gilbert Terminal bus garage while still displaying its "JEFFERSON/ALTER" route-sign.