Following three years of painstaking renovation, Scania in Estonia has proudly unveiled its bright red 1969 Scania-Vabis bus in near mint condition. “It’s a beauty and we’re really pleased,” says Raimo Oinus, Marketing Manager at Scania Eesti.
Like all oldtimers, the bus has travelled in history. The bus was bodybuilt in Norway by Brødrene Repstads Karosserifabrikk – which from 1925 until the company folded in 1990 had built some 5,000 buses – on a Scania-Vabis BF76-59 chassis with an 11-litre engine generating 190 hp (140kW). “The nearly 50 year old chassis and engine were in surprisingly good shape and very little work was needed,” explains Oinus.
The bus was operated in Norway until 1994, in service as a school bus during its last years there. In 1994, Grimstad city postman Oddbjørn Lønskog donated the bus to the Estonian Tarvanpää folk dance ensemble. The bus became second home for the troupe and was used for travel to performances all around Estonia and even abroad. In 2006, the bus body was too battered to be driven around and was considered beyond repair.
Scania Eesti received word about the retired oldie and decided to save the bus from the scrap heap. “We felt pity and found that it would be a shame to let this piece of history go to waste,” explains Oinus. “The Scania-Vabis had 310,560 kilometres on clock but we still don’t know if that is in addition to one million or two.”
However, nothing happened until three years ago when the bus operator Mootor Grupp’s Busland workshop in the city of Võru took on the assignment to bring the bus back to life. Going over each detail, it was restored step by step.
Mootor Grupp handed over the bus to Scania Eesti in conjunction with Scania’s 125th celebration events. The bus will now be exhibited at events and other special occasions in Estonia.
Bus technical details:
The bus was bodybuilt in Norway by Brødrene Repstads Karosserifabrikk in 1969
Scania-Vabis BF76-59 chassis
Scania D11 engine with 140 kW, 190 hp
Length: 11.94 m
Passenger seats: 41