San Francisco's Vintage Buses

No.2230

Mack Diesel Coach

Built 1956 • Operational

This type of bus is iconic to San Franciscans of a certain age, for it carried them to school, to work, to shop, and to play for well over a decade.

Mack Diesel CoachFounded as Mack Brothers in Pennsylvania in 1900, and currently owned by Volvo, the company because famous for its tough-as-a-bulldog trucks. In fact, the bulldog became Mack’s symbol. Back in the day, if someone appeared looking beat up, they might be told “You look like you were hit by a Mack truck!”

But for a time after World War II, Mack also built buses. When Muni needed to replace its aging fleet of White Motor Co. gasoline coaches in the mid-1950s, and money was very tight, Mack was the only bus builder willing to lease a large fleet of buses to Muni, rather than requiring Muni to buy them.

The Macks were the first diesel-powered buses acquired by Muni. The first group of what would ultimately become 450 Muni Macks arrived in November 1955. This bus was part of the second group, arriving in 1956. More new Macks continued to arrive until 1960. The lease agreement called for the buses to be replaced with new models after just six years of service, but Mack exited the bus business before that, and most of the Macks ran a dozen or more years before Muni began replacing them in 1969 with GMC “New Look” buses.

Mack Diesel Coach
Macks (and a couple of old Whites) provide express service for a Giants game at Candlestick Park, 1960. SFMTA Archive

While the buses in the Mack fleet looked identical (except for a single rear window on later deliveries), some were geared lower than normal for use on steep grades, while others were geared higher for use in “Freeway Express” service. 

Mack Diesel Coach
First-in-the-class Mack Coach 2100 on Clarendon Avenue, serving the disappeared 34-Woodside line. Don Jewell photo
Mack Diesel Coach
Mack Coach 2230 on display at Ferry Plaza during its rehabilitation. Rick Laubscher photo
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Originally built for
San Francisco Municipal Railway, 1956

Builder
Mack Truck Co., Allentown, Pennsylvania

Length
38'

Width
8'6"

Seats
48

Motors
Mack ENDT 673 (diesel)