The transit vehicles displayed in this 1970's Photo Gallery were purchased by the city-owned D.S.R.
and D-DOT agencies between 1970-1979.  Although fleets of GMC "New-Look" coaches were the
primary vehicles purchased during the first portion of the decade, the first redesigned GM transit
bus since 1959 would arrive on the Detroit transit scene by the decade's end.
GMC "NEW-LOOK" COACHES – MODEL T8H-5307A (Fourth Generation)
ATTENTION: The "DetroitTransitHistory.info" web-site is in need of additional photos,
particularly interior views, of the DSR "New-Look" model coach
T8H-5307A.  These would include
b-&-w and/or color photos of this series transit coach manufactured by General Motors Truck & Coach:
* The #2800-2900 series — delivered in 1972

Of course, photos of any additional DSR/DDOT "new-look" models
(a.k.a. "fishbowls" or "silver-sides")
are also welcome.  Any interior photos of DSR/DDOT new-looks are needed as well.  If you would like
to share your photos on this web-site please contact the site-administrator at:
(proper credit will be given to the photo donator, unless requested otherwise)
The 1970s for Detroit area transit was
definitely the decade of change.  Just two
years after celebrating 50 years of service
the DSR would be reorganized as D-DOT,
while the new regional transit authority
SEMTA would begin to play a major role in
this region's public transit arena.  In addition,
a new advanced designed bus, the RTS-II,
would make its appearance before the close
of the decade.
© 2009 (PAGE LAST MODIFIED ON 04-19-09 (additions 05-26-14))
Please click-on link to return to the "PHOTO GALLERY" Main Page.
THE 1920's
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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
All Jim Husing Collection photos are posted with the permission of Mr. James Husing. Any distribution of photos for sale purposes is prohibited.
PHOTO: DSR GMC T8H-5307A (DSR 1972 photo)
Aside from the blue and off-white interior colors and deluxe seating, the SEMTA T8H-5307A
suburban fleet was equipped with the same basic features found on the DSR fleet.  In this 1978
photo, former Great Lakes Transit coach #1272 is seen in downtown Detroit, now sporting the
standard SEMTA color scheme adopted during the mid-1970s.  
[Melvin Bernero photobucket.com collection, used by permission of Melvin Bernero]
Just in time to celebrate its 50th anniversary year, the Detroit DSR placed the first of 134 GMC
Model T8H-5307A "fourth generation" New-Look buses into service on January 11, 1972.  The
new coaches (#2801-2934) would be the first large Detroit bus order where the entire fleet came
equipped with air-conditioning, and the only fleet to sport the new DSR slogan
"Come Ride With
displayed above the standee windows.  At a cost of $41,393 apiece, these would be the
last new buses delivered under the DSR.  In the above photo, coach #2887 is southbound along
Woodward Avenue at Michigan, while at work on the Woodward line in May of 1978.   
[Melvin Bernero photobucket.com collection, used by permission of Melvin Bernero]
Actually, the T8H-5307As were purchased through the Southeastern Michigan Transportation
(SEMTA) as part of a $6.6 million, 154-coach cooperative order between the City of
Detroit, the DSR, the State of Michigan, Great Lakes Transit Corp. and Metropolitan Transit Inc.
Of the 134 coaches earmarked for use by the DSR, 99 (#2801-2899) were purchased by the DSR
and the City of Detroit, while the remaining 35 were owned by SEMTA and leased to the DSR.  
[Melvin Bernero photobucket.com collection, used by permission of Melvin Bernero]
After the arrival in June of 1975 of the first fleet of new buses under DDOT, the department
began repainting a number of former DSR coaches with the new DDOT livery introduced on the
new buses. Coach #2853 can be seen sporting a version of the original DDOT color scheme in
this May 1978 photo, while southbound on Woodward at Michigan working the Dexter line.
Interestingly, the repainted coaches also included a "green-bottom" paint scheme, never used
on the original DDOT design.  A different livery was introduced after the RTSs arrived in 1978.  
[Melvin Bernero photobucket.com collection, used by permission of Melvin Bernero]
One of the last coaches to arrive on the property under the DSR was a GMC "Diesel Cruiser"
demonstrator—probably a jazzed-up T8H-5305A—which arrived during the spring of 1973.
This demo, numbered as coach #3000, arrived on May 13, 1973, and was tested four months in
regular service.  The rear A/C unit cover also displayed the words "LOOK—I QUIT SMOKING!
(AND THE ODOR IS GONE TOO)" with an arrow pointing to GM's EIP vertical exhaust system.
Coach #3000 was returned to GM on September 14, 1973.  Although not much more is known
on this coach, the paint scheme resembles the livery to be adopted by DDOT beginning in 1975.
[website owner's collection photo, courtesy of the Schramm photo collection]
THE 2000's
1   2
In addition to air-conditioning, the #2800-2900 series GMC New-Look coaches came equipped
with two-way radios, heated front door stairwells to melt ice, and push-type rear exit doors.  The
T8H-5307As were the first DSR coaches powered by an 8-cylinder Detroit Diesel 8V-71 engine,
and the new EIP
(Environmental Improvement Package) exhaust system, with the exhaust pipe
now located near the left roof at the rear to alleviate smoke and odor.  They were also the first to
come with the VS2
(3-speed) transmission controlled by a toggle switch on the instrument panel.
[Gerald Squier photo, courtesy of the Jim Husing Collection — see disclaimer below]
The DSR's T8H-5307As also came equipped with impact-absorbing water-filled front bumpers.  
These bumpers were comprised of seven rubber containers filled with water and antifreeze, and
resembled a row of rubber blocks attached to the bumper.  On impact, the top
(blow-out plugs)
would pop off and the water was forced out through a small opening.  In the right photo, a DSR
patron inspects the new bumpers while coach #2874 was being displayed in Campus Martius in
Downtown Detroit on January 10, 1972.  However, these impact-absorbing water-filled bumpers
didn't hang around long, and were all eventually removed and replaced by standard bumpers.
[Left photo: Detroit News photo — Right photo: Detroit Free Press photo]
Although not the best quality, this Detroit News photo shows an interior view of a typical DSR
T8H-5307A coach.  These #2800-2900 series coaches were the first Detroit new-looks to part
from the traditional green interior color decor—used since the first new-looks arrived in 1960.
These 50-passenger coaches sported light-yellow upper and side panels, with brown doors and
front dash.  They also came with pedestal-based vinyl upholstered seats, arrayed in a variety of
yellows, tans and browns.  The last two coaches in the fleet, #2933 and 2934, sported a blue and
off-white interior color decor, and came equipped with 41 deluxe forward-facing blue seats.
Those two coaches were reserved primarily for Gray Line and special Charter Service orders.
[Photo source: Monday, January 10, 1972, photo from The Detroit News]
Of that total 154-coach order, 55 were owned by the Southeastern Michigan Transportation
Authority.  While 35 were leased to the DSR, the remaining 20 were evenly split between Great
Lakes Transit Corp. and Metropolitan Transit Inc.  Ten coaches (#1266-1275) were leased to
Great Lakes while ten (#37-46) were leased to Metro Transit.  All were equipped with 41 deluxe
forward-facing seats and sealed center exit doors.  Former Great Lakes coach #1267 is seen here
sporting the first SEMTA colors: olive-green and cream
(representing Great Lakes colors) with
a navy blue stripe
(representing Metro Transit).  This joint Metro-GL livery was short-lived.  
[Photo source: MCA Magazine, GM photo]
Because the T8H-5307As were powered by a V-8 engine, the #2800-2900 coaches provided a
faster take-off and often found service during their early years on the more heavier routes such
as Woodward, Dexter, Grand River and Gratiot.  Coach #2919 is west on Jefferson Ave near
Washington Blvd, somewhat encrusted with salt while working the Hamilton line in March 1978.
[Melvin Bernero photobucket.com collection, used by permission of Melvin Bernero]
In this Feb. 14, 1984 photo, coach #2905 is west along W. Jefferson Ave, crossing Griswold St
while en route to the Cobo Hall Loop turnaround on the Hamilton line.  It appears that after 12
years of service, duct tape was used extensively to hold parts of this coach together.  The last of
the T8H-5307A #2800-2900s were retired during the early 1990s.
[photo courtesy of the Krambles-Peterson archive collection: George Krambles photo]
After the arrival of the GMC RTS-IIs in 1978, DDOT began repainting a significant number of its
buses—all patterned after the RTS horizontal yellow and green stripe design.  One of the first
DDOT fleets to begin sporting this new paint scheme were the #2800-2900-series New-Looks.
In this 1981 photo, coach #2845 sports the new livery at the Northland Mall loop.  Although a
large number of the T8H-5307As were repainted, only about a dozen were completely rehabbed.
[photo courtesy of the Clifford Kuhl collection, used by permission of Clifford Kuhl]