A specialist body builder, which develops off-road and all-wheel buses based on an all-wheel drive truck chassis, has adopted Allison Automatics across its product range to facilitate better off-road traction and drivability.
PERTH, Australia, July 2021 - For the past 25 years Able Bus and Coach has built specialist off-road buses and personnel carriers for a range of operations in Perth, Western Australia. While built initially with manual transmissions,
it has since moved to fully automatic specifications using Isuzu chassis and Allison Automatics in its large FRD 110-260 30-seater and the FTS 139-260 4x4 with seating for 30 to 38 passengers as well as the big two-wheel drive 46 to 50 seat Isuzu
Able Bus and Coach founder, Kevin DeBruin said that while they used to specify manuals in its off road buses they only specify automatics today. With many operating with passengers on board and remote locations, he cannot afford to sell unreliable vehicles
or components that might fail.
“It’s only automatics for us these days, because the trucks go everywhere and in all conditions from beach driving to corrugated tracks and up the Cape and with the torque multiplication factor of an automatic like the Allison, it means they
can traverse country that often stops a manual,” said DeBruin.
“The Allisons, which have a reputation second to none, are also very easy to use in tough conditions, there is no possibility of driver error in areas of low traction and that is important in ensuring the buses not only go into remote territory
but come out the other side,” said DeBruin.
Able Bus and Coach supplies buses to some of Australia’s biggest and most prominent mining, construction and tour companies including BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto, Leighton Contractors, MACA, Major Motors, All States Rentals, BGC Contracting, BMA and
Australia’s outback tour company, Australian Pacific Touring (APT).
Able was born out of DeBruin’s original adventure tour bus company, which specifically catered for people with disabilities using a 4WD bus.
With a need for a more reliable and durable vehicle than that original 4x4 bus DeBruin decided to build his own durable bus body on an Isuzu FSS 500 4x4 chassis that would be better suited to cope with the tough conditions.
“It was a huge learning curve for me in building the body to fit the truck’s intended purpose and the process taught me the best way to mount the body for the second truck, and it has continued from there,” said DeBruin.
The success of the Isuzu truck mounted bus didn’t go unnoticed and earned the attention of other tour companies which provided extra regular charter work on top of the original tours for people with disabilities.
Other tour companies became interested and asked DeBruin to build three similar Isuzu off-road buses for them. Today there are more than 400 Able buses operating in the mining, tourism and community sectors in Australia’s outback.