Federal Coach - 1989-present - Fort Smith, Arkansas

    When Executive Coach relocated Armbruster's Fort Smith operations to Springfield, Missouri in 1989, Chris Witte, a Fort Smith businessman, purchased the vacant plants from Executive and opened a new limousine company called Federal Coach. Staffed by former Armbruster employees, another former Armbruster/Stageway and Executive Coach employee - Dewayne Thompson - oversees day-to-day operations of Federal which is now one of the largest coachbuilders in the country.

© 2004 Mark Theobald - Coachbuilt.com

Federal Coach is located in Fort Smith, Arkansas... the birthplace of the original six-door limousine. Federal Coach and Fort Smith have long been known for the tradition of Funeral Coach, Limousine and Bus Manufacturing. For more than one hundred years, Fort Smith has been a world leader in specialty vehicle manufacturing technology. The craftsmen and technicians contributing to Federal's renowned "fit and finish" have honed their skills over many years. Many of these craftsmen are second and even third generation participants in this unique fort Smith legacy.

Federal Coach's commitment to quality is reflected in the modern manufacturing plant where Federal Funeral Coaches, Professional and VIP Limousines and Buses are built. The state-of-the-art facility utilizes advanced manufacturing processes and equipment and its management philosophy of continuous improvement ensures precise quality controls. The plant is staffed by a well-trained and dedicated work force who take pride in their objective to "Engineer and produce the highest quality, safest and most desired limousines, funeral coaches and buses in the market."

Federal Coach has acquired and maintained status as a Ford Qualified vehicle Modifier (QVM) and Cadillac Master Coachbuilder (CMC), having successfully completed assessments and site inspections on an ongoing basis made by Ford Motor Company and Cadillac Division, General Motors Corporation.

Federal Coach's manufacturing plant currently encompasses 550,000 square feet - 11 acres under one roof! 140,000 square feet solely dedicated to bus production since 1997 Products are manufactured in a continuous production assembly line. Once the vehicle begins the assembly process it remains on the line until completion creating a smooth flow of manufacturing with continuous quality check points.

Custom components used by Federal in the manufacturing process are produced internally to ensure precise fit and close tolerances. Fiberglass ABS plastic, wood cabinetry, wood finishes, upholstery and interior trim, laser cut metal fabricated parts and powder coating are on-sight operations coordinated with the assembly line process.

Federal Coach's people, and their skill as craftsmen & technicians, are the core of the Federal Coach team effort.

Federal Coach*
P.O. Box 6536
7400 S. 28th Street
Ft. Smith, AR 72906
Online: www.federalcoach.com


Federal Coach... Actually, Federal got started in the hearse industry in the late '80's, offering a rear drive Cadillac landau conversion with commercial glass. A standard glass Cadillac hearse was soon added to the line, though. When the new Fleetwood came in 1993, Federal abandoned commercial glass and concentrated on standard glass coaches.

The hearses built in the old A/S plant in Fort Smith after Executive acquired A/S were always marketed as Federal Coaches, and all the advertising I ever saw listed the company's name as Federal from the beginning of its advertising in 1990.

Federal may have been formed as US Coach, but soon changed its name to Federal Coach.


Dewayne Thompson joined Armbruster/Stageway in 1979 on the factory floor, and "worked his way up from there," he says. When the company was bought by Executive Coach Builders, Thompson moved with it to Springfield but returned after two years to Ft. Smith and today as its vice president and general manager, Thompson oversees one of the largest limousine builders in the nation.

Federal Coach is located in Fort Smith, Arkansas, the birthplace of the original six-door limousine Fort Smith is blessed with a diversified base of strong world-class businesses A population of 76,000 supports such economic giants as Baldor Electric Motors, Planters Peanuts, Riverside Furniture, Rheem Air conditioners and Whirlpool.

With this booming industry, and rich western tradition, we continue to grow and lead the area in technological achievements, manufacturing strategies and production of some of the worlds finest products Federalís craftsmen and technicians contributing to our renowned "fit and finish" have developed their skills over many years Several of these designers and technicians are second and even third generations in this unique Fort Smith legacy We produce full lines of Funeral / Professional vehicles, VIP Limousines and Mid Size Buses.

Federalís selection of Funeral / Professional vehicles are available on both Cadillac and Lincoln chassis to include hearses, family 6-door cars and the uniquely versatile 24-Hour car The VIP Limousines are available in nine different models with varying ranges of amenities available in both Cadillac and Lincoln chassis from stretches of 64" to 130" The offering of Mid Size buses range from transportation style to full limousine interiors in two lengths with UVL (under vehicle lift) and ADA compliance capabilities Our commitment to quality and excellence is reflected in the modern, state-of-the-art 550,000 square foot manufacturing facility.

Advanced manufacturing utilizing machinery and processes of CNC Lasers, Routers and Milling machines, complete in-house Fiberglass departments, ability of custom pre-formed plastics, and our own Powder Coating departments allow us complete control of quality, technical design and production of needed parts for assembly Our own machine shop and tool & die department complete our full abilities in-house for meeting the demanding needs of full scale production Our continuous flow manufacturing process keeps all vehicles moving through the various stages of manufacturing much like Ford and General Motors This well planned, aggressive process provides a smooth and efficient flow through all production lines, arriving at the Quality Control (QC) station with a well built product.

Working with Ford Motor Company and General Motors, Federal Coach meets and exceeds all manufacturing requirements thus achieving Lincoln Qualified Vehicle Modifier, Cadillac Master Coachbuilder and Ford Qualified Vehicle Modifier (Bus) status Each Federal product is compliant to all FMVSS, CMC and QVM regulations, assuring you only the safest vehicle on the road It is our goal to continue and progress forward with new technologies and processes in continually improving and caring for your safety Our Mission is taking singular pride in the objective to engineer and produce the highest quality, safest and most desired vehicles in the market.


    For more information please read:

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

Gregg D. Merksamer - Professional Cars: Ambulances, Funeral Cars and Flower Cars

Thomas A. McPherson - American Funeral Cars & Ambulances Since 1900

Carriage Museum of America - Horse-Drawn Funeral Vehicles: 19th Century Funerals

Carriage Museum of America -  Horse Drawn - Military, Civilian, Veterinary - Ambulances

Gunter-Michael Koch - Bestattungswagen im Wandel der Zeit

Walt McCall & Tom McPherson - Classic American Ambulances 1900-1979: Photo Archive

Walt McCall & Tom McPherson - Classic American Funeral Vehicles 1900-1980 Photo Archive

Walter M. P. McCall - The American Ambulance 1900-2002

Walter M.P. McCall - American Funeral Vehicles 1883-2003

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

Thomas A. McPherson - Eureka: The Eureka Company: a complete history

Thomas A. McPherson - Superior: The complete history

Thomas A. McPherson - Flxible: The Complete History

Thomas A. McPherson - Miller-Meteor: The Complete History

Hearses - Automobile Quarterly Vol 36 No 3

Marian Suman-Hreblay - Dictionary of World Coachbuilders and Car Stylists

Daniel D. Hutchins - Wheels Across America: Carriage Art & Craftsmanship

Marian Suman-Hreblay - Dictionary of World Coachbuilders and Car Stylists

Michael Lamm and Dave Holls - A Century of Automotive Style: 100 Years of American Car Design

Nick Georgano - The Beaulieu Encyclopedia of the Automobile: Coachbuilding

Marian Suman-Hreblay - Automobile Manufacturers Worldwide Registry

G.N. Georgano & G. Marshall Naul - The Complete Encyclopedia of Commercial Vehicles

Albert Mroz - Illustrated Encyclopedia of American Trucks & Commercial Vehicles

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

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

James M. Flammang & Ron Kowalke - Standard Catalog of American Cars, 1976-1999

Ed Strauss & Karen Strauss - The Bus World Encyclopedia of Buses

Donald F. Wood - American Buses

Denis Miller - The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Trucks and Buses

Susan Meikle Mandell - A Historical Survey of Transit Buses in the United States

David Jacobs - American Buses, Greyhound, Trailways and Urban Transportation

William A. Luke & Linda L. Metler - Highway Buses of the 20th Century: A Photo Gallery 

William A. Luke & Brian Grams - Buses of Motorcoach Industries 1932-2000 Photo Archive

William A. Luke - Greyhound Buses 1914-2000 Photo Archive

William A. Luke - Prevost Buses 1924-2002 Photo Archive

William A. Luke - Flxible Intercity Buses 1924-1970 Photo Archive

William A. Luke - Buses of ACF Photo Archive (including ACF-Brill & CCF-Brill)

William A. Luke - Trailways Buses 1936-2001 Photo Archive

William A. Luke - Fageol & Twin Coach Buses 1922-1956 Photo Archive

William A. Luke - Yellow Coach Buses 1923 Through 1943: Photo Archive

William A. Luke - Trolley Buses: 1913 Through 2001 Photo Archive

Harvey Eckart - Mack Buses: 1900 Through 1960 Photo Archive

Brian Grams & Andrew Gold - GM Intercity Coaches 1944-1980 Photo Archive

Robert R. Ebert  - Flxible: A History of the Bus and the Company

John McKane - Flxible Transit Buses: 1953 Through 1995 Photo Archive

Bill Vossler - Cars, Trucks and Buses Made by Tractor Companies

Lyndon W Rowe - Municipal buses of the 1960s

Edward S. Kaminsky - American Car & Foundry Company 1899-1999

Dylan Frautschi - Greyhound in Postcards: Buses, Depots and Post Houses


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