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“GO GREYHOUND AND leave the driving to us” has been the company slogan since 1956. And, in 1969, R&T wrote, “As any Jaguar, Porsche, or Ferrari owner knows, Greyhound buses are the big silver things that come thundering past you just as you have sneaked by a Pontiac GTO.”
And, yes, it was April, 1969.
The magazine selected an MC-7 Challenger coach for its test. By that time, Greyhound was building its own buses using components from GM’s Bus & Coach Division, its previous supplier of complete vehicles. The MC-7 was powered by a supercharged GM two-stroke diesel V-8.
R&T described this “most interesting piece of machinery…. In the GM unit, two conventional valves are located in the head, and both of them are exhaust valves. When the piston reaches the bottom of its stroke, it uncovers the intake ports and, at the same time, the exhaust valves are opened by a camshaft. The supercharger then blows plain air through the cylinder and out the exhaust ports.”
“In fact,” R&T continued describing the benefits of scavenging, “it blows 25 percent more air through than the cylinder can hold, which means that not only is the cylinder scavenged completely and recharged with air, but also cooled.”
“The exhaust valves close at the proper time, the remaining air is compressed, and when the piston reaches the top of its stroke, the fuel injector delivers the correct amount of fuel at the correct time and the power stroke begins.”
Resulting are 770 lb-ft of torque at 1200 rpm, 285 hp at 2150 rpm, and an average fuel consumption of 6.0 mpg. No problem with this last one, because the MC-7 carries 144 gallons of diesel fuel.
R&T calculated a Cruising Range of 862 miles, though I suspect no Greyhound driver would trust a two-mile margin of error.
Back in those days, driver skill was required in working through a manual four-speed nonsyncho gearbox. R&T Contributing Editor (in time Editor-in-Chief) Tony Hogg asked about this archaic transmission and was offered two reasons: “The first is that any automatic devices are impossible when fuel economy is a major concern, and the second is that Greyhound gets long clutch life with a four-speed because the driver must start in the 4:30:1 first gear and hence can’t abuse the clutch.”
What’s it like to drive? Hogg wrote, “Taking your place in the driver’s seat of the MC-7, … you never again want to go back to the sort of semi-lounging position offered by most cars today.”
“Instrumentation,” he wrote, “is quite simple, consisting of a speedometer, air pressure gauge for the brakes, and oil pressure and water temperature gauges… Unlike the Boeing 707, the Greyhound MC-7 does not confuse the driver with too many facts….”
“Because of the lack of acceleration, there is only one way to drive a Greyhound,” Hogg wrote, “and this is flat out all the time. This is not too difficult provided you plan your moves well in advance and do a lot of lane swapping. The high driving position combined with superb visibility make the job much easier….”
“Roadholding is remarkably good,” Hogg wrote. “I remember once while riding an Express from New York City to Buzzard’s Bay, Mass., we passed a Ferrari (Type 250 GT Lusso, I think) on the outside of a turn. I would have raised a cheer but didn’t want to wake up the other passengers.”
Tony Hogg, rest his soul, was a gentleman. ds
© Dennis Simanaitis, SimanaitisSays.com, 2019