Nostalgic Throw back 3 -India’s first Hybrid bus, 1936.

Chevrolet Petrol Bus - G D Naidu BusChevrolet Petrol Bus - G D Naidu Bus

Mr. Gopalaswamy Doraiswamy Naidu, fondly known as GD Naidu (1893 – 1974) was an Indian inventor and engineer from Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu. He is credited with the manufacture of the first electric motor in India. His contributions were primarily industrial but also span the fields of electrical, mechanical, agricultural (Hybrid cultivation) and automobile engineering. Naidu also developed independently internal combustion four stroke engine. He had only primary education but excelled as a versatile genius.

In Pre Independence era, British people used to import Cars, buses, and trucks from across globe primarily from Europe for their commercial operation in India. There wasn’t any native Indian manufacturer’s back then and we need to solely depend on imported products. Petrol was the most popular fuel, and we had even buses and trucks runnning in Petrol.  G.D.Naidu, was working in various fields but he also had interests in the transportation. In 1920, he started his transportation business and soon he integrated many of the fellow transporters under the umbrella “Universal Motor Service”. The idea was Naidu had technical know-how, and he invited people to join the company so that the fleet can have a common service outlet.

There were many buses scrapped and one which ran in 1936 between Coimbatore and Palani for a distance of 100 kms is still preserved. The bus was originally designed to run in Petrol, but the availability was limited to city limits.

Chevrolet Petrol Bus - G D Naidu Bus

Chevrolet Petrol Bus – G D Naidu Bus

Hence GD Naidu worked on a alternate design to run the engine with Methane. There is a boiler and related fitments in rear end bus, and a person is dedicated to operate the same. By firing a specific grade of coal, Methane was produced and the same was used to power the engine. Infact the engine can run in dual mode, either with petrol of Methane.

Chevrolet Petrol Bus - G D Naidu Bus Engine compartment

Chevrolet Petrol Bus – G D Naidu Bus Engine compartment

The entire roof is made of wood and the seats were all front facing. It can accommodate 20 passengers and had also provisions for luggage. The vertical compartment seen behind holds the boiler to produce Methane.

Chevrolet Petrol Bus - G D Naidu Bus Seating layout

Chevrolet Petrol Bus – G D Naidu Bus Seating layout

There is a dedicated place for luggage inside the saloon.

Chevrolet Petrol Bus - G D Naidu Bus

Entry to the bus was through a single door located in the rear over hang.

Chevrolet Petrol Bus - G D Naidu Bus Passenger door

Chevrolet Petrol Bus – G D Naidu Bus Passenger door

The bus had drum brakes all around and the brakes were all hydraulically operated.

Chevrolet Petrol Bus - G D Naidu Bus

This is the arrangement to produce Methane by coal firing. While the bus is fully operational, enough efforts taken to bring back the methane production from this boiler failed, primary  reason being non availability of particular grade of coal.

Chevrolet Petrol Bus - G D Naidu Bus (8)

The driver and conductor for the bus was same, yes it was Mr.Naidu himself and he had pleasure driving them.

Chevrolet Petrol Bus - G D Naidu Bus - Driver work area

Chevrolet Petrol Bus – G D Naidu Bus – Driver work area

The bus is completely restored in house by  team of experts.

Chevrolet Petrol Bus - G D Naidu Bus

Chevrolet Petrol Bus – G D Naidu Bus

The place is house of many classic cars, immaculately and maintained in a pristine manner.

Chevrolet Petrol Bus - G D Naidu Bus (12)

Our Sincere Thanks to Management and Team of Gee Dee Naidu Museum, Coimbatore.

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