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Buffalo Body Corp
Buffalo Body Corp., 1919-1930; Buffalo, New York
Associated Firms
Buffalo Pressed Steel Co.

The Buffalo Body Corporation was a little-known production body builder that constructed various types of motor coach bodies for the Pierce-Arrow Model Z bus chassis. Early on the firm produced small numbers of closed production bodies for Packard, Fox, and other regional automobile manufacturers and is known to have constructed bodies for the Canadian-built Brooks steam-engined motor bus (all 2 of them).

The firm was founded by Roy J. MacKenzie, president, Buffalo Pressed Steel Co. (b. Nov. 17, 1886 in Cass City, Michigan) and Kenneth B. MacDonald, treasurer, Buffalo Pressed Steel Co. (b. 1879 in Buffalo, N.Y.).

Buffalo Pressed Steel Co. produced a popular line of mufflers, silencers and oil filters and were located at 778 Kensington Ave., Buffalo, N. Y. Roy J. MacKenzie was also president of the Arrow Tool Co., which was located in a portion of the Pressed Steel Co factory at 768 Kensington.

The two partners met while working at the E. R. Thomas Motor Co., and shortly after the Buffalo automaker went into receivership MacKenzie and MacDonald went into business with Daniel H. Stoll, a small manufacturer of metal-working tools and machinery, the October 29, 1913 issue of Horseless Age reporting:

“D. H. Stoll Co. Incorporated.

“The D. H. Stoll Co., Inc., has been incorporated to take over the press, shear, dies and special metal working machinery business formerly conducted by Daniel H. Stoll, at Buffalo. N. Y., under the same name. The officers of the company are Daniel H. Stoll, president; Roy J. MacKenzie, vice-president; Kenneth B. MacDonald, secretary and treasurer. The company makes a specialty of machinery for the production of sheet metal automobile parts. Messrs. MacDonald and MacKenzie were formerly associated with the E. R. Thomas Motor Co., as factory manager and purchasing agent, respectively.”

The March 2, 1916 issue of the Iron Trade Review announced the formation of Buffalo Pressed Steel Co. to the trade:

“BUFFALO — The Buffalo Pressed Steel Co. has been incorporated; $30,000 capital stock; by D.H. Stoll, R.J. Mackenzie and K.B. MacDonald, to manufacture iron, steel, aluminum, copper and brass products.”

The October, 1916 issue of Electric Vehicles announced that Buffalo Pressed Steel Co. had leased the former J.R. Kiem steel mill:

“John R. Kiem's mill property on Kensington avenue, Buffalo, N. Y., has been leased to the Buffalo Pressed Steel Company.”

Buffalo Pressed Steel‘s Roy J. MacKenzie and Lucien L. Haas held a number of US Patents related to sheet metal products such as mufflers, silencers and other exhaust-related products. As the center of automobile manufacturing relocated to the Midwest MacKenzie established a satellite plant in Youngstown, Ohio at N. Meridian Rd. During the 1930s most of the firm’s operations were transferred to Youngstown, its post-WWII officers being: Pres & Treas — Kenneth B. MacDonald; Exec V-P & Gen Mgr— John C. Stewart; Secy — Myron E. Ullman; Purch Agt— L. Miller; Chief Engr — F. Hyatt; Accts — Clark & Collins, Youngstown.

An overabundance of skilled mechanics, raw materials and direct access to the Great Lakes made Buffalo an ideal location for automobile body building and in 1919 John S. Burdick, Locomobile’s chief body engineer made it known that he was looking to get into the business on his own. In December of 1915 Kenneth B. McDonald had helped organize the Curtiss Aeroplane and Motor Corp. of Buffalo, and by War’s end had become quite wealthy. MacDonald offered to set Burdick up in business and in conjunction with MacKenzie formed, the Buffalo Body Corp., which was announced to the trade in the September 13, 1919 issue of Automobile Topics:


“MacKenzie and MacDonald Incorporate Buffalo Body Corp. — Place Burdick in Charge of Engineering-Locate Plant.

“Buffalo aims to take its place as a producing center for automobile bodies along with other cities at present known for that industry further west along Lake Erie. Such is indicated this week in the incorporation of the Buffalo Body Corp., which in fact represents the culmination of plans upon which R. J. MacKenzie and K. B. MacDonald, owners of the Buffalo Pressed Steel Co., Inc., have been working for several months. Adequate plant space for the new company’s immediate requirements, room to grow, and a body engineer of known capabilities are among the assets with which it starts.

“In active charge of engineering activities, the company has placed John S. Burdick, who is made a vice-president. Burdick was body engineer for the Locomobile Company of America, prior to assuming his new duties at Buffalo. It is revealed that Burdick had planned to establish a body manufacturing company of his own, a plan which he gave up in joining his new connection. He has been with the company some weeks now, supervising equipment and in other ways preparing the new venture for its first steps. He will keep in close touch with developments in European body building practice, so that clients of the Buffalo organization may have all the best thought at their disposal.

“The immediate purpose of the company is to build enclosed bodies. It has secured the property formerly belonging to the Buffalo School Furniture Co., reputed to lie in the heart of the city's best labor market, and containing about 150,000 square feet ready for immediate use. In addition some five and a half acres have been acquired for future expansion purposes. With this news it is made known, too, that the plans of the company are of decidedly large proportions. It is expected that several separate manufacturing units will be established eventually, each given up to the manufacture of a separate class or grade of body construction. In the optimistic views of the company’s founders, ‘Buffalo is to be made one of the real centers of the body building industry.’”

The September 27, 1919 issue of Automobile Topics mentioned that attorney William R. Daniels (b. Oct 9, 1875 in Buffalo), a partner in Hughson & Daniels, No. 602 D. S. Morgan Building, Buffalo was also involved in the firm as secretary-treasurer:

“Buffalo Body Corp., Buffalo, N.Y. - To manufacture automobile bodies. Capital, $1,000,000. Incorporators: K.B. MacDonald, R.J. MacKenzie, W.R. Daniels.”

Kenneth B. MacDonald served as president of Buffalo Body while MacKenzie remained President of Buffalo Pressed Steel. The Body company’s initial office was located at 500 Main St. after which it moved to 824 Seneca St., the former home of the American Seating Co., whose plant occupied 5 acres of land bordered by Seneca St. to the south, Smith St. to the north, Lord St. to the west and Fillmore Ave. to the east. The October 1919 issue of the Automotive Manufacturer indicated the firm was planning to construct its bodies using steel:

“Buffalo (N.Y.) Body Corp., recently organized with a capital of $1,000,000 by K. B. McDonald, formerly of the Curtiss Aeroplane Co.; R. J. McKenzie. W. R. Daniels and others, has completed arrangements for occupying the former plant of the American Seating Co., at Seneca and Lord streets and Fillmore avenue, which it will equip for the production of steel bodies.”

A number of men formerly associated with aircraft industry joined the Buffalo Body works force. The October 1919 issue of Automobile Topics announced the appointment of J. E. Nield, a former manager with Trego Motors Co. of Conn. a major supplier of Liberty engines to the Allies:

“Nield Joins Buffalo Body

“J.E. Nield, assistant general manager of the Trego Motors Co., has resigned to become associated in the manufacturing department of the Buffalo Body Corp. In addition to his duty in this department he will also have charge of purchases.”

E. T. Musson, another aircraft executive, joined the firm as vice-president of production, the December 1919 issue of the The Automotive Manufacturer reporting:

“E. T. Musson, formerly general manager Canadian Aeroplanes Co., has been made vice-president in charge of production of the Buffalo Body Corp. Prior to his association with the Canadian Aeroplanes Co., Musson was superintendent of the Russell Motor Car Co., West Toronto, Can.”

Buffalo Body’s listing in the 1920 Buffalo Directory follows:

“Buffalo Body Corp. (K.B. Mac Donald, pres.; R.J. MacKenzie, vice-pres.; William R. Daniels, secy. and treas.) manfs automobile bodies, 125 Smith.”

“Burdick, John S. (M) vice-president In charge of engineering, Buffalo Body Corporation, 125 Hardwood Place, Buffalo, N. Y.”

John S. Burdick was well-known amongst auto body building circle and the fabulous closed bodies he had engineered fro Locomobile, bright sinmilar comission to Buffalo Body, the June 1920 issue of the Automotive Manufacturer annoucned that the firm was producing enclosed coachwork for Packard:

“Buffalo Body Corporation, Buffalo, N. Y. manufacturers of fine automobile bodies, has completed installation of additional equipment and is actively engaged on a large special order of enclosed bodies for the Packard Motor Car Company. They will employ several hundred additional skilled enclosed body builders at their plant at Buffalo.”

The 1921 Buffalo Directory reveals the firm was also leasing space in the Buffalo Leather Co. plant at 125 Hardwood place:

“Buffalo Body Corp. (Kenneth B. Mac Donald, pres.; R. J. Mac Kenzie, vice-pres.; Charles F. Bronson, secy.; William R. Daniels, treas.) manfs auto bodies, 125 Hardwood pl.”

John S. Burdick resigned his position as vice-president in charge of engineering in the fall of 1922, the October 19, 1922 issue of Automotive Industries:

Oct. 16 - Burdick-Atkinson Corp. has been established at Hamburg. N. Y., to manufacture steel wire springs for use in automobile coachwork upholstery. John S. Burdick, formerly the vice-president and general manager of the Buffalo Body Corp., is the incorporator of the company. Associated with Burdick, who is president and general manager, are Frederic R. Atkinson as vice-president and factory manager; Franklin R. Brown, treasurer and Harry Burdick, secretary.”

Buffalo Body made small numbers of closed bodies for the air cooled Fox car which was built in Philadelphia, PA from 1922 to 1923. Other bodies for the Fox came from Bridgeport Body, Derham, Fleetwood, Jacques Mfg., and Springfield Metal Body.

A December 5, 1924 fire destroyed one of the firm's buildings that fronted on Smith Street, the January 1925 issue of The Automotive Manufacturer announcing the firm was erecting a new building to replace it:

“Buffalo (N. Y.) Body Corp., 824 Seneca street, is arranging for the erection of a two story plant, 70x100 ft., to replace a portion of its works recently destroyed by fire with loss reported at $150,000, including equipment. Kenneth B. MacDonald is president.”

Business picked up considerably for the firm with the arrival of the purpose-built Pierce-Arrow Model Z bus chassis. The Pierce-Arrow plant was ill-equipped to manufacture bus bodies and the firm contracted with Buffalo Body to produce its standard coachwork. An attractive parlor car was exhibited at the 1925 AERA (American Electric Railway Association) show, the Commercial Car Journal reporting:


“Two interesting buses will be exhibited by the Pierce-Arrow Motor Car Company, consisting of two different types of bodies, one a De Luxe Parlor Car body built by the Buffalo Body Corporation of Buffalo, New York, and the other a Touring Bus, Pay-Enter type built by the Farnham-Nelson Company of Roslindale, Mass. Both are mounted on standard six-cylinder Pierce-Arrow bus chassis.”

Buffalo Body Corp. was Pierce-Arrow’s preferred bus body builder and the firm included 6 Buffalo-built standard bodies in their Model Z Bus Chassis Catalog as follows.

Type 1 - Standard Street Car Pay-Enter:

“For city and town work the standard street car pay-enter type of body is especially adapted. Service such as this requires a sturdy body that is light in weight, with entrance low and wide, a door operated with little effort on the driver's part and a seating arrangement that allows passengers to easily find a seat and leave quickly when arriving at their destination.

“In this body built by the Brown Body Corporation these requirements have been met in a most successful way. Brown bodies are unusually light in weight and strong. The seating arrangement is well designed, and the door control, which is full ball-bearing, operates with ease.

“The window construction is a Brown patent and is of aluminum. The roof is so constructed that the windows raise up into the roof. They are adjustable to several heights. The three windows in the rear are stationary and are protected by guards.

“Details of Construction

“Seating Arrangements - Seats are of the touring car type, upholstered in genuine Brown Spanish leather, and arranged to give ample knee room. The driver's seat is of the ventilated type. Longitudinal seats are optional over wheel housings. Push buttons are convenient to each seat with a monitor bell at the left of the driver.

“Construction - Body construction is especially sturdy, with framework of second growth ash. Sills, pillars, rails and ribs are mortised and put together with screws. Below the belt line the posts are 13 inches from center to center, which makes a rigid foundation for the paneling, which is of 16 gauge aluminum, with each panel separate and easily removed for repairs.

“Roof - The roof is of 1-inch fir panel, covered with No. 8 white duck, heavily painted. The interior shows the exposed bows, laid off in panels. The curved sides will accommodate standard advertising cards.

“Heating Sysytem - The heating system is of 1" seamless steel tubing heaters on each side of the body running full length, and protected by perforated metal housings. A regulator is installed on toe board, convenient to the driver.

“Exterior paint is in a twelve coat system, with optional colors except white and light red. A lacquer finish is also optional. The interior is finished with roof flat white and all mouldings and panels stained light and finished with three coats of varnish. This aids in lighting. Floors are finished with two coats of shellac.”

Type 2 – De Luxe Sight-Seeing Bus With Special Roof:

“Designed for sight-seeing work among the mountains and canyons that surround Salt Lake City, this Pierce-Arrow de luxe bus shows the possibilities of the adaption of Buffalo bodies to special work.

“The large plate glass windows found in the roof are of special interest, enabling overhead vision. Another feature of the roof construction is the pull curtains in the interior which allow the glass windows to be covered when not in use.

“A large fleet of these busses is now in use in Salt Lake City, being operated by the Pierce-Arrow Sightseeing Company. They are finished in shining white enamel and each bus is individualized by a name that is typically ‘Utah’ such as: Bee Hive, Sego Lily, Seagull, Silver, Copper, etc.

“Each bus has a front entrance and a lengthwise aisle between two rows of upholstered seats. At the rear is an observation platform similar to those found on Pullman observation cars. It is shaded with an awning and provided with revolving chairs.

“Details of Construction

“Lighting - Six dome lights are provided, one tell-tale stop light and four riding lights, with purple lens. Automatic step light is found at the service door. All lights are controlled by switches convenient to the driver. Passengers may signal to driver by means of parallel cords at the roof which operate a buzzer. A cigar lighter is found in the rear.

“Roof - Constructed of cross bows, suitably reinforced with iron braces, with three ply veneer on top, insuring great strength and rigidity. The roof is then covered with heavy oil duck and painted.

“Eighteen plate glass windows, each 18" square are provided, each extending as close to the outside of the roof as possible.

“Seats - Seven seats, each seating two passengers, are provided in the main section of the bus. One large single chair is located next to driver. Two longitudinal seats, each seating three people, are placed over wheelhousing. The single chair next to the driver and three rear chairs have revolving pedestals. This plan provides seats for 24 passengers and the driver.”

Type 3 – De Luxe Pay-Enter Motor Bus:

“Comfort of the most luxurious sort combined with the practical advantages of the pay-enter body have made this de luxe pay-enter bus one of the most popular types on the market today.

“This vehicle offers the utmost in riding qualities and facilitates fare collections, for all passengers when entering pass through the front service door and by the driver's seat. The center aisle speeds up loading and unloading, while the additional service doors and driver's door assist in handling passengers with the utmost efficiency.

“The Buffalo Body Corporation, builder of fine bus bodies, has, in the de luxe vehicle pictured on the obverse page, combined beauty of exterior with strength and lightness of construction that sets a new standard in coach craft.

“The purchaser has the option of a number of seating plans which cover practically every type of installation where a pay-enter type of motor bus is desired. Baggage space is provided either at the right of the driver, in the rear, or on the roof. Folding taxi seats are provided where baggage space is located inside, which allows this space to be used for passengers when not required for baggage.

“Details of Construction

“Frames - Body frames are rigidly built of tough white ash, substantially reinforced with forgings. All joints are glued, screwed or bolted together. When two pieces of wood which are not glued or wood and metal is joined together, a heavy coating of lead and oil is first applied. Before applying panels, the frame is covered with wadding to prevent the possibility of rubbing or rumbling.

“Seats - Several types of seats are offered, all exceptionally roomy and comfortable with special springs and genuine hand buffed leather used for cushions and seat backs.

“Heating - Heater pipes are drawn tubing instead of the usual iron pipe. More effective radiation is provided by this method. Heater exhaust is equipped with mufflers, insuring quietness in operation.

“Ventilation - Particular attention has been paid to ventilation, standard equipment consisting of four automatic roof ventilators with two cowl vents, one on each side. All side windows drop into wells, including front quarter windows beside the driver. The one-piece windshield also aids in maintaining effective ventilation.

“The service door control is located on the left side and convenient to the driver. An illuminated sign is installed over the windshield. Lovejoy shock absorbers are installed in the rear. Five color combinations are optional.”

Type 4 – De Luxe Pay-Enter Bus for Inter-City Work:

“Built to the specifications of a railroad company's executives, this type of de luxe pay-enter bus is of interest to bus operators everywhere. A number of these busses were recently delivered to the New England Transportation Company, and were made in accordance with the plans of the company's transportation officials. They are especially designed for inter-city work.

“The bodies, built by the Buffalo Body Corporation, are of 27 passenger capacity.

“They are equipped with four doors, a right hand service door, a front emergency door at the left of the driver, a baggage door at the right rear and a left rear emergency door.

“The baggage space in the rear measures 40 3/8 inches long and is 86 inches wide. This compartment is equipped with five folding seats.

“Details of Construction

“Clear Vision - Clearness of vision is an important factor in the design of this body, as it is in all Buffalo bodies. Front doors have been set back farther than is customary in ordinary practice, eliminating the bulky wood pillar from obstructing the driver's vision and leaving only a slender stanchion supporting the windshield. This design also accomplishes another purpose, giving a wide unobstructed passageway for the entrance and exit of passengers.

“Seating - All seats are finished in dark brown Spanish leather with the balance of the trim in artificial leather to match. Seats are of special design, equipped with comfortable cushions and roomy enough to accommodate persons of any size. Structurally, they are made in the same way as the chairs in your living room.

“Channels - An unusual feature in the construction of Buffalo bodies is the use of light weight steel channels for the support of body panels. These absolutely prevent drumming. As an additional precaution against noise, wadding is placed over the frame to prevent the possibility of chafing or rumbling.

“Windows - Clear vision is provided for passengers by setting the window pillars almost opposite the backs of seats, giving each seat an individual window. Windows are all in rust proof steel channels with heavy felt lining, insuring quietness.”

Type 5 - De Luxe Observation Coach:

“The Pierce-Arrow Observation Coach is an example of striking beauty in coach-craft, with appointments raised to such a degree of luxury that it more closely resembles a private owned equipage than a public service vehicle. Although this particular coach is used by the United States Rubber Company for tire testing and special demonstration work, busses of this type are meeting with particular favor, especially in California where they are used for long distance sight-seeing trips.

“This de luxe type of bus contains everything that adds to enjoyment of the ride.

“Easy chairs, wide spacious windows that allow an uninterrupted view of the scenery, unequalled riding qualities and the luxurious interior combine to give passengers a degree of comfort that is equal to the appointments of a Pullman Car.

“In this particular car a plate glass observation "platform" with grilled railing gives passengers in the rear a full view of the broad highway as it unrolls behind them. Chairs in the front are of the swivel type so that the passengers can sit in any position they may desire. An awning protects the rear seat passengers from the glare of the sun and gives a touch of distinction to the stern of this proud vehicle.

“A water cooler, fans, railing over the rear wheel housings for storing away luggage and other refinements are provided. The dash and color of the exterior make it especially attractive.

“Details of Construction

“Frame - Constructed of tough white ash, seasoned by scientific methods, reinforced with forgings. Joints are glued or screwed together. After assembly, raw linseed oil is hand rubbed into frame to preserve it.

“Panesl - Below belt 14 gauge aluminum, above belt 16 gauge aluminum.

“Lighting - Six dome lights are located above seats, each having a 20 candle power bulb. Two flush dome lights are located over aisle, step lights at the service door, two rear marker lights, two tell stop lights, one emergency door tell light and one stop light are furnished. Dome lights over the aisle are controlled by separate switches.

“Seating - Seating arrangements are for 11 passengers and driver. However, most any seating arrangement can be provided. Seats have individual cushions and individual seats.

“Doors - Two doors are provided, service door at the front and left hand emergency door.

“Curtains - Drape curtains of Sun fast mohair, with color in harmony with trim.

“Mouldings - Finish mouldings are of solid American Black walnut, Valspar finished and polished.”

Type 6 - The Caravan - A De Luxe Traveling Home:

“The Caravan - a de luxe traveling home, shows an interesting adaption of the Pierce-Arrow bus chassis for use of the individual owner. This special body, mounted on a Model Z 220 inch wheelbase chassis, contains every convenience found in a modern home. The most ingenious of devices have been utilized to use every inch of space without cramping the occupants.

“The main compartment has the luxury of a modern drawing room. Four comfortable arm chairs are provided for the owner and his family. A Pullman rug covers the floor. Book cases, reading lights, Pullman tables, even a radio, are provided. All windows that drop are provided with adjustable copper screens. The arm chairs become comfortable berths at night with Pullman curtains shielding the occupants.

“In the back of the traveling home are found the kitchen and bath room. The kitchen is equipped for all kinds of cooking and contains a refrigerator. The bath room is complete with folding wash basin, shower bath and toilet. A 30 gallon tank located beneath the floor furnishes the water supply. The pressure is supplied by the engine.

“Details of Construction

“Cabinets - Two large cabinets are found in this traveling home. One, on the right hand side, is a clothes closet and is equipped with hinged doors with full length mirrors in each door. The one on the left side contains a chest of drawers. The cabinets are made of American black walnut.

“Floors - Floors are covered with linoleum with a rug in the main compartment. Drape curtains of Sunfast rep are used in the main compartment. This car is trimmed with an uncut plush with artificial leather above the belt line. Head room from floor to inside of roof is 70 inches.

“Equipment - Equipment includes bumpers, wheel carriers, search light, marker lights, windshield cleaner, rear vision mirror.

“Body - Body is constructed of tough white ash with thick aluminum panels. Braces are of forged steel or malleable iron. Roof covering is of heavy oil duck. Heating is through 2 inch tubing, completely shielded and controlled by valve.”

One of Buffalo Body’s Caravan private coaches was featured in the July 12, 1925 issue of the Kansas City Star:

“‘The Caravan’ is a Complete Motorized Home

“A traveling home, mounted on a Pierce-Arrow bus chassis, complete even with shower bath and radio, has just been finished for its owner, R. Connable, formerly managing director of the F. W. Woolworth Company of Canada, who, with his family, will take a 3-year tour in this luxurious vehicle that will cover Canada, the United States and part of the British Isles.

“‘The Caravan’, the name given by Mr. Connable to his traveling home, contains all the conveniences that are found in a modem house. Four upholstered chairs, used as seats in the daytime, are made into comfortable beds at night, with the aid of air mattresses. These chairs can also be transformed into lounges, capable of seating sixteen persons. Two upper berths in the form of hammocks form part of the equipment. Thus, six persons are provided with comfortable sleeping quarters.

“Complete equipment for cooking is found within the bus, which carries an electric stove and refrigerator. In one corner of the bathroom, complete with shower bath, toilet and washstand. A 40-gallon tank slung underneath the rear end furnishes the water supply.

“One of the many interesting things in the car is the arrangement of the wall panels. These are of walnut and fold flat against the side. When desired, the traveling home can be completely separated into two dressing rooms, provided with full length mirrors. A radio with 100-foot aerial concealed in the ceiling of the bus is another feature.

“Bookcases, a compartment fitted with hangers that will hold thirty suits or dresses, Pullman tables for dining or playing cards, screens that slide into place when the windows are lowered - these are other interesting fixtures.

“‘The Caravan’ is finished outside with two tones of blue - with body beading of silver. Single pneumatic tires in front and dual pneumatics in rear provide comfort over the roughest roads.”

The firm displayed a 29-passenger De Luxe Sight-Seeing Coach at the 1926 AERA convention, Bus Transportation reporting:

“In the sightseeing class, the Buffalo Body Corporation, Buffalo, N. Y., exhibited a 29-passenger job on a Pierce-Arrow chassis, marked for Greeley Sightseeing Company, New York.”

A second Buffalo Body private coach, constructed for Ollie O. Norwood, a municipal securities broker in Austin, Texas, was described in the June 1927 issue of the Elm Tribune, the journal of Buffalo’s Elm Vocational School:

“$30,000 Touring Home is Built for Texan

“Most Complete Bus of Its Kind Constructed in Buffalo.

“What is described as the most elaborate and complete motor tour­ing home ever built has just been constructed by two Buffalo firms for O.O. Norwood of Austin, Texas, a guest at the Hotel Statler. The man­sion on wheels cost between $25,000 and $30,000, and contains every device possible for the comfort of its occupants.

“The body, finished in three shades of contrasting blue, is mounted on a Pierce-Arrow bus chassis, with a wheelbase of 220 inches. The body itself was especially designed and constructed by the officers and engineers of the Buffalo Body Corporation and took 10 month to design and construct. The equipment includes ­an altimeter, reading lights, radio set, wardrobe with full-length French mirrors, lavatory and shower bath, electric stove and refrigerating plant, and a kitchen and bath in white enamel. The finish in the living room is of American black walnut, rubbed, to a semi-piano finish.

“The living quarters are toward the front end. The driver's seat can be folded down making a bed for two persons. Seats, for four persons in the living room can be converted into two beds at night. Each bed is equipped with an all mattress and pillows. The latest type vacuum brakes and shock absorbers insure the comfort of the owner and his guests when the rolling room forsakes the main thoroughfares for the byways.­

“Mr. and Mrs. Norwood, accompanied by two guests, will motor to New York, Washington, Pittsburgh, Chicago, Yellowstone National Park, Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, Fresno, Los Angeles, Hot Springs and home to Austin. The construction of the vehicle was done under, the supervision of Harry A. Shaw, and Ernest S. Cook of the Buffalo Body Corporation.”

In the summer of 1927, a prototype Brooks Steam Bus was bodied with a 29-passenger parlour car-style body by Buffalo Body Corp. The aluminum-bodied coach was fitted with blue leather seats and was shown at the October 1927 AERA convention in Cleveland. A second Brooks steam bus was fitted with Buffalo Body coachwork in July of 1929, this one was a Meritas-bodied 39-passenger pay-enter type fashioned after a popular ACF coach called the Metropolitan.

By that time Pierce-Arrow had halted a truck and bus chassis production and Buffalo Body turned to the producion of municipal hearse and ambulance bodies, its listing in the 1929 Chilton’s Directory follows:

“Buffalo Body Corp., 600 Smith St., Buffalo, N. Y. (Hearse & ambulance).”

Unfortunately it was unable to withstand the early stages of the Depression and withdrew from business sometime in 1930.

© 2013 Mark Theobald for






Pierce-Arrow Factory

Pierce-Arrow Model Z Bus Chassis

Type 1 - Standard Street Car Pay-Enter

Type 2 – De Luxe Sight-Seeing Bus With Special Roof

Type 3 – De Luxe Pay-Enter Motor Bus

Type 4 – De Luxe Pay-Enter Bus for Inter-City Work

Type 5 - De Luxe Observation Coach

Type 6 - The Caravan - A De Luxe Traveling Home


Beverly Rae Kimes & Henry Austin Clark - Standard Catalog of American Cars: 1805-1942

The Arrow - publication of the Pierce-Arrow Society

Roger B. White – Home on the Road; The Motor Home In America, pub. 2000

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