History of Prevost Buses
Prevost is the second largest builder of seated passenger coaches and largest builder of conversion shells in the North American markets with more than 10,000 Prevost coaches on North American roads.
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Eugene Prevost built his first wooden coach body on a new REO truck chassis. Prior to this he was a cabinet maker from Quebec Canada specializing in the production of church pews and school furniture.
The company built its first bus manufacturing facility.
Prevost bus design changed from an all-wood body and frame to a metal body over a wooden frame. Then, in 1945, Prevost introduced the first metal paneled body over an all metal skeleton. During this time bus building slowly became more of the company’s total products.
The company resumed operations under the name Les Ateliers Prevost, and the plant had grown to 22,000 square feet. To handle customized work, the company’s manufacturing facilities needed to be almost self-contained, with metal and woodworking shops, die-casting and plating facilities, and a foundry. Into the mid 1950s the company gradually phased out cabinet work to concentrate more on building highway motor coaches.
Paul Normand acquired the company and renamed it Prevost Car Inc. He wanted to concentrate on building coaches that offered optimal comfort and reliability. The Le Normand was the first model introduced under the new ownership. It was a silver sided coach that had a diesel engine and air suspension.
The Prevost Travelair went into production. It was a small 25 foot passenger coach used on airport shuttle runs and short intercity routes. It was built with both gas and diesel engines.
The Super Panoramique intercity parlor coach was introduced. It was a 40′ long coach that was 96″ wide. There were a few 35′ long by 96″ wide and a few 40′ long by 102″ wide buses built, but they both are very rare. Later renamed the Prevost Champion, it was claimed to be the first North American coach with an integral structure. It featured slanted side windows and Prevost’s improved air-ride suspension. The coach featured three axles, a split level, and air conditioning. The Champion was built thru 1981.
The first Panorama coaches were built specially for Murray Hill featuring the curved roof wrapping side windows that would carry thru to the Le Mirage XL and make Prevost famous. In 1971 it was made available to other operators and in 1973 it was renamed the Prestige. These coaches were mechanically very similar to the Champion. The Prestige was 40′ long by 96″ wide, although there was supposedly one 35′ prototype built. Like the Champion the Prestige was built thru 1981.
Thomas B. Harbison and William G. Campbell, American businessmen, formed a partnership with André Normand, President of Prevost Car Inc. to become the company’s owners.
The first Champion conversion shell rolled off the assembly line. Thru 1970 total Prevost bus production was less than 1000 vehicles.
Prevost unveiled its legendary Le Mirage. It is easily distinguished from the Prestige by the lack of the “step” in the roofline. It was the most modern looking passenger coach built up to that time with its roof-wrapping side windows, a rust-protected integrated frame, fluted all stainless-steel skirting with less rivets showing than other coaches. All Le Mirage buses built thru 1982 were 40′ long by 96″ wide.
As longtime motor home owners, Thomas Harbison and William Campbell contributed to the engineering of the first Le Mirage conversion shell, which was introduced at the 1978 Family Motor Coach Association (FMCA) meeting. Prevost set new standards in reliability and versatility for high-end custom conversions. Less than five years later, Prevost had achieved industry leadership. To this day the company remains the undisputed world leader in the manufacturing of bus shells for high-end motor homes and other specialty conversions.
A plant expansion was necessary to keep up with demands and put together the industry’s leading in-house R&D team.
The first North American 102″ wide-body coaches and conversion shells were introduced, the Prevost Le Mirage XL, later to be referred to as simply the “Prevost XL”. Over time it became Prevost’s best selling coach ever. The XL also received new square head lights and a different tail-light group. There have been a few 35′ long Le Mirage coaches built, though most of these were motor homes.
The company expanded more, and Prevost brought revolutionary changes to the bus industry with the introduction of the articulated Prevost H5-60, the first in its H-Series, at the ABA (American Bus Association) annual meeting in Las Vegas. It was a 5-axle 60-foot long articulating coach, with a fully paintable exterior. While not many have been built, the design was used to further develop the H-series.
The technical advances achieved by Prevost engineers with the development of this next-generation coach led to a line of completely new premium touring coaches and conversion shells beginning with the H3-40.
Prevost introduced a long wheelbase 45-footer, the XL-45 Entertainer, engineered for traveling entertainers. It outsold all other competitive models for this purpose. Prevost launched new models: H3-41 premium touring coach and the H3-45 VIP bus shell for high-end conversions.
A 45-foot long tour coach model, the H3-45, was introduced. This included a number of technical improvements over the H3-40. As a result, the H3-40 was replaced by the H3-41, a shortened version of the H3-45. The H3-41 can easily be distinguished from the H3-40 by the trapezoidal first side window.
Volvo Group of Sweden and Henlys Group of United Kingdom acquire joint ownership of Prevost; expands production, parts and service facilities. The Prevost Le Mirage XL-45 45′ long touring coach was introduced to compete with MCI’s popular 45′ long 102DL3.
Prevost introduced frameless windows for remarkable panoramic viewing, a revolutionary development for the tour and charter bus industry. Prevost was the first North American bus manufacturer to earn the ISO 9001 certification covering manufacturing and design operations.
The Le Mirage was redesigned and the result was the 45-foot Le Mirage XLII, later to be simply called the “XLII”. While it retained the trademark Prevost curved side windows, it had a fully paintable exterior. The new frameless bonded windows add to the modern look of this coach.
The Prevost H-Series received cosmetic updates that were revealed at the 2002 UMA Motor Coach Expo in Indianapolis Indiana. Prevost also introduced an all new interchangeable wheelchair lift system. With the new Prevost interchangeable wheelchair lift system it takes less than 15 minutes for any “lift-ready” Prevost to become ADA compliant.
Volvo Bus Corporation became the sole owner of Prevost Car Inc. and its Nova Bus division. The Prevost XLII models received some cosmetic upgrades including Xenon headlights, which offer twice the luminosity of conventional headlights and last six times longer. Later in the year Prevost released its new multiplex electrical system to become standard in 2005.
Prevost sets a new standard with its space-saving second-generation multiplex system.
Prevost launched the all new X3-45 with the longest wheelbase of the industry for a smoother ride and the largest overall under floor surface area for storage.
Prevost launches the Volvo 9700 in the North American market.
The next redesign for the H-Series shows clean, sleek lines.
Prevost announces it will manufacture all vehicles with the Volvo D13 Engine.
Prevost manufactures its 15,000th vehicle; introduces Aware Adaptive Cruise Braking; gains industry market share lead for first time; introduces X3-45 Commuter Coach; as well as its first mobile app, the Prevost Service Locator.
Mobile app technology leads to an entire suite of digital tools.
Prevost becomes Official Luxury Motorcoach of NASCAR. The company introduces PRIME (Power Recovery by Intelligent Management of Energy). Recent expansion brings the Prevost Service Network to 10 service centers, four mobile service trucks and more than 150 Prevost-trained service providers.