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Homepage. This page: A rare photograph of a 1930s Thornycroft-based vehicle serving the local transport company in Sao Paulo.

The 1933 Thornycroft (Grassi) "King Kong" bus!

This old photo took some research! The Brazilian signwriting on the side of the vehicle says "Companhia Geral de Transportes", which was the only clue as to the vehicle's identity. Some research dug up the identity of this great looking pre-war vehicle: it features the chassis and running gear of a British Thornycroft, with coachwork designed and built by a firm called Grassi, a coachbuilder local to São Paulo.
A Brazilian-bodied Thornycroft bus from 1933
The King Kong Thornycroft bus seen in Brazil
The script on the side of the vehicle loosely translates to "The General Transport Company", which was a subsidiary of the São Paulo Railway company. This vehicle was nicknamed "King Kong", perhaps due to it's imposing presence. It was built in 1933 to ferry passengers between São Paulo and Santos, both locations featuring down the side of the bus. I'm not sure whether one or more of these were built. There is a reference to this vehicle on a Brazilian Transport Museum website, and, amazingly, a photograph of the exact same vehicle (fleet no.5) seen from behind. Click the thumbnail to visit the museum site with this, and other great old bus images, on it.
I think the styling of this bus/coach is superb. With its raised second deck to the rear, it reminds me of the coaches used by BOAC at Heathrow during the 1950s and 1960s. A close look at the destination windows suggest that this photo was taken during a special trip out (Especial), rather than on the usual trip between São Paulo and Santos. Do any examples of the Thornycroft (Grassi) "King Kong" bus survive I wonder?
Return to Old Vehicle Photos Page 8.
A photo of a much earlier Thornycroft lorry, this time seen in London, can be seen here, with ads relating to vintage and classic Thornycrofts available in the classic lorry classifieds section.

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