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AQC; American Quality Coach
American Quality Coach Co., 1968-1970; Blytheville, Arkansas
 
Associated Builders
Cotner-Bevington
     

Since WWII the only commercial Oldsmobiles have been specially lengthened ambulance and hearse chassis, Cotner-Bevington making a specialty of the make in the 1960s and 70s.

Divco-Wayne Corp., the parent company of Miller-Meteor, had bought Cotner-Bevington in 1964 as a budget companion to their popular Cadillac coaches and from 1965 on, Cotner-Bevington built only on Oldsmobile 98 chassis.  Soon after Oldsmobile introduced the Toronado in 1966, Cotner & Bevington planned a whole line of custom hearse, ambulance and limousines based on the Toronado front-wheel-drive chassis. When they tried to get funding for a prototype Toronado from the executives at Miller-Meteor, their parent company they were told the project could not continue.

As Cotner-Bevington was purchased by DIVCO-Wayne as a lower-priced companion to Miller-Meteor's premium Cadillac professional cars, their executives believed that a coach based on the new flashy Toronado would infringe on Miller-Meteors premium status.

Waldo J. Cotner (1909-2001) and Robert Bevington (1911-2000) ran the Blythville plant for Miller-Meteor but were now merely stockholders in the parent company and had no say in the matter, so they decided to form their own independent firm to manufacture the Toronado coaches. They sold their stock in DIVCO-Wayne for capital and named the new enterprise American Quality Coach, as they were forbidden from using their own names as they were now trademarks owned by DIVCO-Wayne.

Their first product was an airport limousine - the AQC Jetway 707. It was 28' long with a wheelbase of 185", had 8-doors, seated twelve to fifteen, and featured twin rear axles - the first stretch limousine known to use them. The Jetway 707 featured an unusual vista-cruiser-style raised roof, with integral sky-lights and a completely enclosed cargo area with a hinged rear door.

A complete line of AQC hearses, ambulances, combination cars and limousines were planned, but unfortunately all of their working capital was tied up in the tooling for their first run of airport limos, and when they failed to sell, the firm was forced to abandon the other coaches. A current owner believes that only 52 Jetways were built between 1968-1970, although professional car historian Bernie DeWinter believes that the number is closer to 150.

Although later coaches were sold and titled as 1970 models, they were all built on leftover 1968 Toronado chassis.  By 1970, AQC had run out of money and closed down the once-promising enterprise, just two short years after it had begun.

National Cash Register Co. (NCR) purchased one of the the first twin-axle Oldsmobile Toronado AQC Jetway 707 Limousines for use in Dayton, Ohio for ferrying executives between the airport and their corporate headquarters.  A second was purchased by NCR shortly before AQC filed for bankruptcy in 1970.

2004 Mark Theobald - Coachbuilt.com, with special thanks to Bernie DeWinter IV.

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Pictures
1968 AQC Oldsmobile Toronado Jetway 707
   
 
   
 
References

The Professional Car (Quarterly Journal of the Professional car Society)

Michael L. Bromley & Tom Mazza - Stretching It: The Story of the Limousine

Richard J. Conjalka - Classic American Limousines: 1955 Through 2000 Photo Archive

Richard J. Conjalka - Stretch Limousines 1928-2001 Photo Archive

Dennis Casteele - The Cars of Oldsmobile

John Gunnell - Standard Catalog of American Cars, 1946-1975

   
 
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Pictures Continued

1970 Oldmobile Toronado Jetway 700 by AQC

1970 Oldmobile Toronado Jetway 700 by AQC

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