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German quality in the MAN SL200 bus

German quality in the MAN SL200 bus
In the second half of the 60s, the German bus manufacturer MAN developed the concept of a new design. In the next decade, based on it, the company began producing new models. It is interesting that in addition to the West Germans, an enterprise from the Hungarian People's Republic also benefited from the fruits of their labors. Yes, the well-known Ikarus to all of us, in some versions of its technology, also applied the developments of more experienced colleagues.

But let's return to the German manufacturer. Passenger vehicles, assembled at a plant located in Germany, have always been valued by users for their reliability. Moreover, this applied not only to the body structure, but also to the power units.

Немецкое качество в автобусе MAN SL200Beautiful and powerful MAN buses. Photo: youtube.com

In both cases, the main reason was the fact that the main products of MAN have always been trucks for various purposes. It is clear that high-quality chassis were being prepared for them and reliable engines were being assembled. All this later migrated to the brand’s buses.

Much in common with another German bus

When preparing the new product, the company’s specialists kept pace with their fellow countrymen from Mercedes Benz. Specifically, with the O305 model. This is clearly visible in some details of the external design, and in the strong structural similarity of the engines installed on both German buses. And the formation of the internal passenger space is very similar in terms of capacity and technical solutions.

The MAN SL200 entered the factory assembly line in 1973. Its history here lasted almost a decade and a half. During this time, the design of the city high-floor bus did not change much, apart from minor elements and a few modifications.

During the entire production period, several versions of the chassis also appeared, on the basis of which bus models from other manufacturers were manufactured. The SL200 itself had a rectangular body with a rounded top.

Spacious interior with comfortable seats in the MAN SL200. Photo: youtube.com

For that time, its design looked quite modern. Another pleasant element for passengers is the comfortable wide double-leaf entrance doors. Let's take a closer look at other characteristics of the bus:

✅ seats - 45
✅ number of doors – 2
✅ weight - 16 tons
✅ length - 11 m

By the mid-70s, the bus had become a common sight on the streets of many European cities. Their municipal carriers preferred the SL200, also due to the successful design of its power unit. Here are its main indicators:

✅ naturally aspirated diesel D2566MUH
✅ engine location - rear
✅ working volume - 11,4 l
✅ power – 200 (for modified ones – 305) l. With
✅ Gearbox – 3-speed automatic (sometimes manual)

The basic version was produced by the plant until 1986. During this time, about 5500 samples of equipment were collected. Over time, the round taillights were replaced with a more modern configuration. The same fate befell the outdated star-shaped wheels. Throughout the production period, various variants appeared, including an articulated version of the bus.

Modifications of MAN SL200

In addition to some special versions, the company produced a bus model intended for the Oceania market. Right-hand drive vehicles have been successfully exported to Australia and New Zealand for many years. The SL200 also conquered the American market. Moreover, a branch for its assembly appeared in Cleveland.

It was at these facilities that the articulated version of the MAN SG240 was created. This happened in 1980. Thus was born a bus with a 280-horsepower engine and the ability to transport up to 160 passengers at a time. However, at the same time, its maximum speed was limited to 60 km/h.

Engine MAN SL200. Photo: youtube.com

If by the beginning of the 90s the MAN SL200 in Europe began to be replaced by newer models, then in the post-Soviet space a “second wind” awaited it. Used equipment turned out to be much more efficient than the existing bus fleet in the country. Moreover, during the crisis, it almost stopped being replenished with new models, and the need for transport remained quite high.

Having completed their exploitation in Europe, the “Germans” came to court in many post-Soviet cities. Moreover, in some of them they stayed for many decades. So, for example, in Krasnoyarsk the last SL200 was taken out of service only in 2016.


Photos used: youtube.com

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