EX­PORT LARGER

A lot of peo­ple get up in arms when bus prod­uct is im­ported into Aus­tralia. So when Coach De­sign sends prod­uct back out, isn’t it time to cel­e­brate a bit?

ABC (Australia) - - CONTENTS - WORDS FABIAN COT­TER IM­AGES NATHAN DUFF

It’s not Coach De­sign’s first NZ ex­port and doubt it will be its last, but what this lat­est cus­tom Alpine body on a Sca­nia K 450 EB6x2 chas­sis is, is ‘fet­ter’ – in a good way. Fabian Cot­ter re­ports.

THE DES­TI­NA­TION might not be too far away and it’s not like it’s the first time it’s hap­pened – and that’s a good thing – but Queens­land-based Aussie body builder Coach De­sign prep­ping and ship­ping out a beau­ti­ful lux­ury coach to New Zealand (one of two, re­cently) is def­i­nitely some­thing to be happy about.

In fact, in those parts and many oth­ers around the coun­try you could ex­pect Coach De­sign fans to be mak­ing like they were ap­pear­ing the in the Phar­rell Wil­liams video for the song Happy and be danc­ing in the streets, in work­places, at ten­pin bowl­ing al­leys and even on top of closed-lid dun­nies in their bath­rooms maybe (Dis­claimer: that last one could be dan­ger­ous; don’t try that at home, kids!).

Yet while this is noth­ing less than the 83rd ve­hi­cle that Coach De­sign has ex­ported to New Zealand – with the com­pany’s ex­ports start­ing in 2000 – and it be­ing the 15th coach for op­er­a­tor Bayes, this one dif­fers from the pre­vi­ous pack. How so? Well, de­pend­ing on how you see it and say it, “she’s a bit fet­ter/ fat­ter” than most. By about 50mm, to be ex­act. Just the thick­ness of a cou­ple of pieces of chewy ei­ther side puts this ‘wide-bod­ied’ Alpine at 2.55m – a stan­dard not blinked at in many parts

of the world, but kind of taboo here in Aus­tralia. Sh­hhh....

Yet the beauty of this build is that it’s not stay­ing here, so as that fa­mous old Latin say­ing goes: “Win­ner, win­ner, chicken din­ner.”

Ul­ti­mately, it’s a great-look­ing unit and build­ing it wasn’t without some hur­dles to hop over in the process, but Coach De­sign was more than happy to meet those head on and con­fide with ABC mag­a­zine ex­clu­sively about what those are ex­actly. While we were there and saw it in build last month or so, we de­cided to sneak around the work­shop and have a sticky beak (on a week­end, safety in­struc­tions fol­lowed) and then come back and ask a few ques­tions about how this all came about. As you do…

EX­PORT SUC­CESS

at the time of our ques­tion­ing while he was fill­ing in for a fin­ish-line fore­man on hol­i­days – Coach De­sign di­rec­tor Chryss Jamieson was only too happy to give ABC mag­a­zine the low­down on what’s what.

“The last two ve­hi­cles that we built for Bayes will take our to­tal NZ ex­ports up to 83 coaches – which started back in 2000,” Jamieson con­firmed.

“In­clud­ing the coach about to be sent to the wharf, this will be the 15th Bayes

With Ash­ley Jamieson un­der the pump

coach. All the coaches we build for NZ are of a very high spec and sim­i­lar to what is in Europe.”

“NZ will ac­cept Aus­tralian ve­hi­cles that are fit­ted with an Aus­tralian com­pli­ance plate, but NZ have a to­tal ve­hi­cle weight penalty sys­tem, where the heav­ier the ve­hi­cle the more road fuel tax they have to pay. So the coaches are built to the NZ roll- over stan­dards, which means a lighter frame con­struc­tion.

“As every ve­hi­cle is built we send draw­ings and all in­for­ma­tion to a NZ engi­neer­ing firm based in Auck­land to get the com­pli­ance wheel turn­ing and, when the coaches are fin­ished, we sup­ply a weigh bridge cer­tifi­cate so the reg­is­tra­tion pa­per­work can be com­pleted. By the time the coach reaches NZ all the pa­per­work is in place and there are no hold-ups,” he said.

So with cru­cial things like weights and com­pli­ance to be dealt with at the best of times, surely Coach De­sign had to over­come other is­sues for this first wide-body Alpine?

“This coach was a chal­lenge for us be­cause it was our first ever 2.550mmwide ve­hi­cle and, as the num­bers of these ve­hi­cles to be built was not go­ing to be very many, we had to min­imise our tool­ing costs,” Jamieson said. “Sur­pris­ingly, though,

…the 83rd ve­hi­cle that Coach De­sign has ex­ported to New Zealand.

the amount of work to make the wider ve­hi­cle was nowhere near what we had orig­i­nally thought,” he ex­plained elat­edly.

So how long did it take? “A stan­dard-width ve­hi­cle is about a 12-week build and this one was only another week’s work.”

FUSSY CLIENTS – IN A NICE WAY

Ac­cord­ing to Jamieson, the Bayes fam­ily are ex­tremely fussy buy­ers and had done a lot of their own re­search on some of the com­po­nents for this coach, par­tic­u­larly in chas­sis se­lec­tion: a Sca­nia K450 EB6x2, ef­fec­tively pur­chased di­rectly from Swe­den.

“It is so much fun to work with com­pa­nies like that [Bayes] be­cause the end re­sult is out­stand­ing,” he said.

“The Brusa seats – another thing the client wanted – came from Turkey and they were so good look­ing with many fea­tures; how­ever, the calf sup­ports had to be re­moved as there was just not enough space for them. NZ seat com­pli­ance is also much less than Aus­tralian stan­dards and they can­not be used here,” Jamieson was quick to point out.

In fact, ABC hears from in­dus­try sources this is a big is­sue in terms of seat se­lec­tion in this coun­try in that ADRs al­low seats con­structed in other coun­tries into Aus­tralia if they are al­ready on a bus or coach as a Com­pletely Built Up unit (CBU), and thus do not need to meet the test and safety stan­dards that lo­cal seat pro­duc­ers do.

But again, this stun­ning coach is not for Aus­tralian road use.

A PEAK IN­SIDE

The cabin is a comfy and in­spir­ing place to be.

As Jamieson ex­plains, other fea­tures in­cluded new read­ing light/ vent mod­ules; shadow light­ing un­der every win­dow sill and step en­try mould­ings; cen­tremounted fi­bre­glass mod­u­lar toi­let; Waeco re­frig­er­a­tor on top of the cen­tre toi­let; huge seat spac­ing; and both cen­tre and front en­tries were fin­ished off in a dark wood­grained vinyl.

“Another two new fea­tures for

Coach De­sign was the one-piece screen and the Ja­panese plug­door con­trol sys­tem from Tai­hei Denki,” he said.

“There were two of these spe­cialised ve­hi­cles for Bayes and one is al­ready on the NZ roads work­ing. The se­cond one [pic­tured] is also com­plete and just wait­ing for ship­ping.

Above: Fam­ily-owned Bayes Coach­lines took de­liv­ery of this beauty. Be­low:The Brusa seats sourced from Turkey. Op­po­site:Dark wood­grained vinyl is a prom­i­nent fea­ture.

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