Optima Bus Corporation - 1998-present - Chance Coach - 1979-1998 - Wichita Kansas


A privately held corporation, Optima Bus Corporation is a leading manufacturer of transportation products, including the Opus Low-Floor Bus and American Heritage Streetcar.

The company was founded in 1979 as the Chance Coach division of Chance Industries, Inc. Increased demand for the company's products from municipalities downsizing their bus fleets prompted the management group, along with American Capital Strategies, to purchase all company assets in 1998.

Today, the company operates from a state-of-the-art production facility in Wichita, Kansas, where it has continued to manufacture and market the popular American Heritage Streetcar. The company has also introduced its Opus Low-Floor Bus, an innovative new concept in transit vehicles that is being embraced by transit systems nationwide.

With an eye toward the future, Chance Coach adopted the name Optima Bus Corp. in 2003 to reflect its renewed mission, promise and commitment to the small and medium bus market

1976: Chance Manufacturing Company purchases the product line of Minibus, Inc. of California

1982: The product line is expanded to include the VS-24 Alamo City Streetcar, featuring authentic turn-of-the-century styling, Phillipine mahagony and antique brass trim.

1993: Introduces the AH-28 American Heritage Streetcar in response to the Americans with Disabilities Act

1999: Enters into a strategic alliance with Wright Expotech, a division of Wright & Son Coachworks of Northern Ireland, and introduces the Opus 30' low-floor bus.

2000: Moves into a new 124,000 square foot facility devoted to the manufacturing of the Opus in 30' and 35' lengths, and the American Heritage Streetcar.

2003: Chance Coach, Inc. changes name to Optima Bus Corporation effective February 1, 2003. The new company name reflects the progressive identity and commitment to being the leader in the mid-size bus and trolley markets in North America. By excelling in the areas of quality and craftsmanship on which the company was founded, Optima is rapidly becoming the ultimate in transit products.



For more information please read:


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

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

Albert Mroz - Illustrated Encyclopedia of American Trucks & Commercial Vehicles

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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