Before Buses, We Had Charabancs

You might have never heard the word charabanc before, except maybe in song lyrics. The word is from the French language, meaning "carriage with benches," which was handy when transporting a lot of people. There were such vehicles before automobiles, drawn by horses and carrying human cargo. Automotive charabancs likewise were used to take groups of people to special events like sports matches or on tours.

As you might guess, putting this many people in an open top car was not safe, and the high clearance tended to cause them to topple over. And that's why they were eventually replaced by buses. Jason Torchinsky at Autopian learned about charabancs from song lyrics, and wrote up his research along with plenty of pictures of charabancs from the early 20th century. 

(Image credit: Ex-Biddles staff 2013

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