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New Sweden Transport :: Cyclops

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This was driving on the Sweden (thanks to PeCar via Reddit).

I immediately thought of the cult movie, “The Big Bus“.

The Big Bus is a 1976 American comedy film starring Stockard Channing and Joseph Bologna, and directed byJames Frawley. A spoof of the disaster movie genre (which was popular at the time), it follows the maiden cross-country trip of an enormous nuclear powered bus named Cyclops.

The central set piece of the film is the bus itself—credited for the design is the film’s art director Joel Schiller. The bus is a nuclear powered, double-decker, articulated bus with 32 wheels. It is named Cyclops due to the single large headlight prominent at the front. The front also features large wraparound windows on both upper and lower decks—with the lower deck containing the cockpit and the upper, front portion containing the lounge/bar. Cyclops requires the operation of a driver and co-driver. In the film, Cyclops has a passenger capacity of 110, is equipped with a bowling alley, Oriental-style cocktail lounge with a piano bar, swimming pool, Captain’s dining room, private marble & gold bathroom with sunken tub, and chef’s kitchen. Exterior features shown are an automatic washing mechanism for the Cyclops’ exterior; an automatic en route tire-changing system; and a display of “Flags of all Nations,” which retracts from the vehicle’s roof. Cyclops can be compared to the Neoplan Jumbocruiser, an actual double decker articulated super bus with a capacity of 170, originally built in 1975. The Jumbocruiser was built in Germany and did not have a nuclear reactor.

According to articles in 1976 issues of both Motor Trend Magazine and the now defunct Bus World magazine, the real bus used in the film was a large road-worthy vehicle created by production designer Joel Schiller. Though the most visible front portions of the bus (bar & cockpit) appeared to be functional, the remainder of the body of the vehicle was mostly empty—containing only the engine, suspension and essential mechanisms used for exterior trick shots. While the bus was an awe-inspiring sight, few behind-the-scenes and construction photos or plans have surfaced. According to Joel Schiller’s web site, the actual bus built for the film was part of the Los Angeles Bicentennial parade in 1976.

Further, an article in the now-defunct bus enthusiast magazine Bus World stated that the vehicle made a trip from Los Angeles to San Diego, California, as a film promotion in 1976. The Bus World article also contained extensive photos and details about the building of the bus. The article states that the rear half of the bus was a separate vehicle with a driver. The two halves of the bus would arrive separately at the filming location where they were joined together for shooting. The rear driver was unable to see and was directed by radio. In the scene in which the bus departs the terminal on its voyage, the front wheels on the rear portion of the bus are seen turning independently as the bus makes a very tight turn out of the terminal. According to car enthusiast web site Jalopnik.com, the bus was scrapped after filming.

In the closing credits, Trailways Bus Lines is thanked for their help in creating the bus used in the film. It is not stated what role Trailways took in creatingCyclops. The fictional bus line in the film that operates Cyclops is Coyote Bus Lines, an obvious riff on Greyhound Lines.

(via wikipedia)


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