Old Look

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GMC - Old Look
GMC Old Look
GMC - Old Look
Years of manufacture 1940-1969
Length various, see below
Width various
Power/Fuel Gasoline/Diesel

The Old Look was a transit bus sold in Canada and the United States. It was introduced in 1940 by Yellow Coach, a bus manufacturer that was partially owned by General Motors Corporation (GM). It was purchased outright in 1943 and was combined with the GM Truck Division to form the GM Truck & Coach Division. Buses continued to be badged as Yellow Coach until 1944.

This line of buses produced by GM did not have an official name, however it was retroactively named "Old Look" after the introduction of their New Look bus. Most Old Look buses were discontinued after the introduction of the New Look in 1959. Some of the smaller model were produced until 1969, however.


Unlike most earlier buses, the GM 'Old Look' used a monocoque structure instead of a body-on-frame design. It was introduced in a number of lengths ranging from 25 to 40.5 feet. An initial width of 96 inches was offered, followed by a 102-inch width beginning in 1948.

Most 'Old Look' buses were powered by the inline six-cylinder Detroit Diesel 6-71 diesel engine. A smaller four-cylinder engine was offered for smaller models, in addition, gasoline engines could be specified instead of diesel engines. The bus could be equipped with either a manual or automatic transmissions were available. Early buses used a Spicer angle-drive 2-speed automatic transmission, while after 1947, an Allison VH automatic was used.

In 1946, a thermostatically controlled forced-air heating and ventilating system, known as "Thermo-Matic, became standard on all buses. Air conditioning would become an option in 1958. Another improvement to comfort was the introduction of air suspension in 1953.

Suburban modes were produced beginning in 1952. These buses had a single door, larger passenger windows, high-backed forward-facing seats, and optional luggage racks.

Model designations

Approximately 38,000 buses were built from 1940 to 1969. The model designations used for Old Look buses consisted of a series of two or three letters followed by a series of four numbers (for example, TDH-4512). The letters and numbers gave a basic description of the type of bus as follows:

First Letter

  • (T) denoting a transit bus

Second Letter

  • (D) denoting a diesel engine,
  • (G) denoting a gasoline engine.

Third Letter

  • (H) denoting a hydraulic (automatic) transmission
  • (M) denoting a manual transmission
  • (E) denoting electric propulsion

First two numbers

  • (##) first two numbers denoted the nominal seating capacity and length of the bus:
  • (27) for 25-foot buses
  • (31) or (32) for 28-foot buses
  • (35) or (36) for 30-foot buses
  • (40) for 33-foot buses
  • (45) for 35-foot buses
  • (48) for 37¾-foot buses
  • (51) for 40-foot buses
  • (54) or (55) for 41½-foot buses.

Last two numbers

  • (##) last two numbers denoting the model number.

Manufacturing history

Old Looks were also produced in Russia under license in the 1950's. Many of these were trolleybuses.