I see that Colin Davidson worked for Deluxe for a short time and I wondered who else did?
I drove for Deluxe Coachlines for around two years on their Express Network and continued to be closely associated with them until they went POP!!
After six seasons overseas I arrived home to Wangaratta from Trek America never wanting to drive coaches again. A week later I got a call from Jim Watson who was a family friend, he was operating Deluxe Coachlines from Wangaratta and he had heard I was home and would I come and see him. Next morning I visited Jim at the depot and that afternoon I left Wangaratta in a 12 metre Denning 6V92, air over spring suspension, six speed chinese pattern overdrive spicer gearbox (top speed ridiculous at around 150kph) and drove to Sydney and picked up a group of old bowling ladies and drove them to Perth. Returning empty to Melbourne to pick-up up a school group for Harrietville before returning to Wangaratta some seven days later after lunch on the Wednesday and I got sucked into doing a "School Run" later that afternoon. On Thursday I left Wangaratta at 7.30am and drove (two drivers) to Melbourne, Adelaide arriving into Perth at 6.30am on the Saturday morning, serviced, fuelled and cleaned the coach and departed on the Sunday morning att 8.00am for Adelaide, Melbourne, (Wangaratta) Sydney and arriving into Brisbane on Wednesady morning, serviced, fuelled and cleaned the coach and headed out for Sydney then arriving into Wangaratta at 6.30am on Thursday morning. In the early days this happened often and I arrived into Perth each Saturday morning at 6.30am for over twelve months. I travelled over the Nullabor 156 times in my time with Deluxe and had the dubious honour of getting paid nine days pay per week on a regular basis. I spent six months working in the Perth Office Monday to Friday and driving to Port Hedland on the weekend (depart Friday7.00pm and return Monday 6.30am).
By the time Colin started with Deluxe I suspect the coaches were fantastic (fleet numbers in the 100;s plus) but when I started we had six coaches which went DOWN to three after a split in the business partnership and we were left with numbers 1, 3 & 4. These coaches were unbelievable, the ride and cornering was sentational but the 8V71 series GM with the six speed spicer cross cut (read - crash) gearbox was a bugger and impossible to drive if you were tired, you could just not change gears, even engaging first was embarrassing as the clutch brakes were never adjusted correctly and you had to force the gear lever with the resultant "crash" and the roacking of the coach (and embarrassment !!). The Tachometers rarely worked and the engines were a long was away and we got used to changing gears watching the oil pressure gauge or by having the radio tuned slightly off the ideal setting so you could tell what revs the engine was doing, the later 6V92TTA and seven speed spicer was like "syncro" by comparison.
When I started with Deluxe, coach numbers were in there early 20’s. For a while there, it seemed like a new coach was arriving on a weekly basis.
I remember on one particular trip, driving across to Perth, we were approaching Cocklebiddy and I saw a Semi in my rear vision mirror, I called him up on the CB and said I would back off and let him come around me. His reply was, keep pedaling and I’ll come around you, so I did and in no time he was past me. I saw him at the next roadhouse and he told me that I was doing 145kms when he passed me. I was off the clock, from memory they only went up to 120kms.