Sunday, July 17, 2011

Photo: That Old Look Looks Familiar

Last Sunday, Columbia Street in downtown New Westminster was shut down for the Royal City Show and Shine, an outdoor car show that attracts exhibitors from across the Lower Mainland. Aside from the array of classic cars like the '57 Chevrolet Bel-Air with no seatbelts whatsoever, the Transit Museum Society - operators of Vancouver's Downtown Historic Railway - exhibited the Centennial Bus, a 1957 GMC Old Look bus which has been converted into something of a rolling transit museum.

When I first noticed it in the distance, I thought someone had invested a hell of a lot of effort in converting a PCC streetcar for road operation. But no, this is what they actually look like; these are the buses that replaced streetcar systems in city after city across North America. I'm not sure if the heavily PCC-inspired styling was meant to create a smooth link between the old streetcar-based systems and the new bus-based systems, or a cynical attempt to convince people that buses would be just as good as streetcars because, hell, they looked the same.

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