JUMP TO PAGE   100  >  200  >  300  >  400  >  500  >  600

Chi-Town Bus: 1938

Chi-Town Bus: 1938

Washington, D.C., circa 1938. "Greyhound bus." This coach looks like it knows its way around. Harris & Ewing Collection glass negative. View full size.


On Shorpy:
Today’s Top 5


The front shock absorbers are actually air shocks, with the Sharader Schrader valve on the top. The oil port is for lubrication of the sliding piston inside the housing.

1938 Greyhound depot

Does anyone know where this might have been taken? The background doesn't look like the old depot location on New York Avenue (now incorporated into an office building).

License plate

It reads "Maryland EX 3-31-39". Was that the expiration date of the plate? (valid until that date...) Or was it the licensing date? If it's the latter case, the photo had to be taken after March 1939.

[EX is an abbreviation for "expires." - Dave]

Industrial strength mass transportation

Looks like something one would have seen in the old Soviet Union. Signs on top should read Moscow-Leningrad-Stalingrad. Da, tovarich?

Yellow Coach or Fageol?

There are a number of pictures of Fageol Safety Coaches on this page:

All of the Fageol trucks and coaches have a distinctive logo that extends across the top of the radiator and is quite dissimilar to the GM logo.

However, a bit more research shows that there are a number of diecast models of "Fageol Safety Coach - Yellow Cab" buses around in the antique toy market, and demonstrate the confusion in names which exists about the buses built in the 1920's and 1930's

This PDF file from

describes what maybe be a more definitive history of the Greyhound buses and may answer our question:

Fageol buses were indeed a great part of the Greyhound Fleet in the 1920's, but Greyhound developed an interest in Yellow Coach which expanded into bus manufacture and a custom model for Greyhound in the 1930's. Yellow Coach was eventually bought by General Motors.

The bus in our picture appears to be one of the custom Yellow Coach buses manufactured for Greyhound after the General Motors purchase of Yellow Coach.


My sister recently told me that cars have faces or expressions. If it was ever true, it would be for this bus, which appears to have a permanent scowl.

[And bugs in his teeth. - Dave]


Is that a hole for a starter crank?

Definitely intimidating

When I first looked at this picture I immediately assumed that it was a military vehicle, maybe an armored personnel carrier. Would hate to look in my rearview mirror and see this crowding me.


Seems like it could get through traffic through sheer intimidation.

No Loy

That's Claudette Colbert, not Myrna Loy, on the bus.


The jug things are oil-chamber shock absorbers.

Wrong Way Bus

Whoops! General Motors Yellow Bus? Couldn't read the logo in the resolution available on my laptop. When I Google-Images-searched using the string "'It Happened One Night' bus" this image came up, identified on its host website (the Internet Movie Cars Database) as a Fageol Safety Coach. Guess they couldn't read the GM plaque on the radiator in their photo either. Here is an exterior shot of the Gable-Loy Atlantic Greyhound bus with its many 1933 state license plates. Since it looks quite like the Shorpy bus, it must not be a Fageol.

Have the mechanics look her over.

Tires? Love the blinker system. What are those two jugs on the front? Some kind of oil filled shock absorbers?

Fageol Safety Coach

Built by the Fageol Truck and Coach Company of Oakland, CA, the Fageol Safety Coach was introduced in 1922 and was so named because of its low center of gravity and equal-length front and rear axles. Fageol was the first firm to build a bus from the ground up. By the 1930s, most Greyhound buses were Fageol Safety Coaches. The night bus taken by Clark Gable and Myrna Loy Claudette Colbert in "It Happened One Night" (1934) was an Atlantic Greyhound Safety Coach, its crowded interior seen here in the dimly-lit singalong scene. Fageol was bought out by Peterbilt in 1939.

[The bus in our photo has a General Motors Truck Corporation radiator badge with the Yellow Coach emblem. - Dave]

Deja View

Isn't this the bus from "It Happened One Night"?


Two front tires are ready to be changed!

Where's Clark Gable?

This looks like the bus in "It Happened One Night." Anyone for a rousing chorus of "The Man on the Flying Trapeze?"

Syndicate content is a vintage photography site featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1950s. The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago. Contact us | Privacy policy | Site © 2023 Shorpy Inc.