A Brief History of the Eagle Motorcoach
The information used to write this article was taken from a book titled, Modern Intercity Coaches by Larry Plachno.
The Eagle Motorcoach has a unique and unpredictable history spanning more than three decades. The manufacturing of the Eagle Coach has spanned continents, starting in Europe and then ending in the United States. There were times of great success and times of hardship. Several ownership changes made sure to keep things diverse and interesting. One thing was certain, the Eagle Motorcoach never stopped improving during its almost forty-year ride.
The first Eagles were made by Kassbohrer in Germany. Continental Trailways had been looking for a manufacturer to make coaches. In 1956 a prototype was sent to Continental Trailways for inspection. Trailways was pleased with the coach and placed an order. These first models were called the Golden Eagle because of its gold-colored aluminum siding. In 1959, because of an increase in other areas of business, Kassbohrer was unable to produce any more Golden Eagles. Trailways now had to look for another manufacturer.
Ultimately, Trailways decided to create their own factory in Brugge, Belgium known as the Bus & Car Factory. The plant was opened in 1961with Eagle production beginning the same year. In 1968 production switched to a new model called the Model 05 Eagle. This model had improvements with axle location and luggage space. It was around this time that Trailways sold Bus & Car company to finance expansion in the United States. The Golden Eagle saw the end of its production cycle in 1971.
Migration to America
During the 70’s Bus & Car made plans to build a production facility in Brownsville, Texas. This allowed them to better support Trailways who was their largest customer. The company was named Eagle International, Inc. The first bus was made in 1974. A new sales organization called Eagle Bus Sales was created to accommodate the growing sales network for Eagle Coaches. The late 70’s saw lower bus orders and stressful financial times for Eagle International, Inc.
The Model 10
In 1979 the Model 10 Eagle was introduced while the industry saw an increase in production. Around this time a new holding company was created called New Trails, Inc which controlled the production of the Eagle coaches. Some new prototypes were also designed: The Model 10 Suburban and the Model 10LT. A new plant was opened in Harlington, Texas to help with production but unfortunately, sales diminished again in 1983. Two years later the Harlington plant was sold.
The Model 15
The Golden Eagle II (Model 15) was announced on October 2, 1985. It had more of a European look to it and was very popular. In 1987, another major business shift took place. Greyhound Corporation took over Trailways, Inc which included Eagle International. The change resulted in another name change; Eagle International became Eagle Bus Manufacturing. A new Model 20 was also announced at this time. Eagle Coaches were delivered to Greyhound Lines in 1987. In 1988, production was expanded to include 35 feet and 45 feet versions of the current Eagle models. Unfortunately, the good times did not stay long. In the 1990’s Greyhound went bankrupt and even though Eagle Manufacturing was doing very well, production was shut down a few months later. The Eagle Coach saw no significant developments or production after Greyhound’s bankruptcy.
A loyal following of Eagle lovers and owners continues to cherish the Eagle legacy to this day. The coaches are still out there, many of them running in pristine condition because of the quality manufacturing and the ongoing maintenance their owners are willing to maintain.
Phoenix Coach Global has revived the Eagle. Building off years of expertise and experience our dedicated team will bring the Eagle’s back, rebranded and modernized, to reflect the advances in technology and manufacturing of the twenty-first century. The foundations are there, and they are strong, the time has come to build on them once more. Learn more about Phoenix Coach Global.
Plachno, Larry. Modern Intercity Coaches: a review of over-the-road coaches and manufacturers active in the United States and Canada from 1953 to 1993. Polo, Illinois, Transportation Trails, 1997, pp. 94-103.