Road Champs Scale Model Buses

 

Road Champs
Producers of many diecast toys including cars, buses, trucks, airplanes and more.  Road Champs Inc. produced many different transit, intercity and school buses from 1992 to 2003.  There were three basic series, Flxible Metro D transit buses, Eagle Coach Model 15 intercity highway coaches, and Wayne International school buses.  Fortunately the Flxible and Eagle buses were produced in 1:87 or HO scale.  This makes them ideal for layouts, or great if you want to create a layout for your buses.  The school bus series never had a scale listed, my guess would be near OO scale.

Flxible Metro D Series - Produced:  1996-2003
Scale 1:87, body cast metal (nickel zinc?), frame & interior die cast plastic.  Head lamps and wheels, chromed die cast plastic.  Windows and tail lamps, clear tinted die cast plastic.  Rubber style tires.

This series from Road Champs may be my favorite of all bus model collectibles.  There is a wide selection of models and variations as far as bus models go.  The castings are relatively nice, and are pretty accurate to the original bus.  In addition, there are numerous special models that were produced for various transit agencies that were not marketed to the general public.

Regarding the Road Champs item number system.  It appears that there were four initial models made, Chicago CTA, Minneapolis T, New York MTA and of course New Jersey NJT.  All four of these models are numbered item number 59455.  Judging from the package date, all 1996, the use of the same item number and the lack of a choking hazard warning seem to indiciate that these were the first editions produced.  These four models were the only ones produced in the original box.  This box is easily identified by the gold shield logo on the right hand side (text inside reads "Diecast Metal and Plastic"), it's position is bulging into the open space of the box window, combined with the lack of choking hazard warning.  These four models seem to be the most common and are easily found.  A slightly modified box can be found for these original 4 models as well.  These boxes appear identical to the earliest versions but include a choking hazard warning.

Another batch of buses was then produced and the 570xx series was introduced.  Once again the box is slightly modified, this is the 3rd variant box.  The shield on the right hand side was moved fully into the front box side out of the window area, I presume for a better view of the toy.  The shield logo text was also changed to include "1:87 scale".  This version of the box includes the same style choking hazard warning label as the previous variant.  I believe these boxes can be found for all models that came in a box.

The 4th and final box version featured a change in the shield color from gold to yellow and a modified choking hazard warning label that is taller and narrower than before.  This box style also removed the "West Caldwell" text from the address.  Again, I believe all variants that came boxed can be found in these boxes.  These boxes also featured the revised numbering system for the original models from the 59455 to the 570xx system.
 

Missing Missing
Model:  SEPTA South Eastern Pensylvania Transportation Authority - Release 2
Item No.  57000    Package Date:  2003    Body Style:  2    Base Style:  2
Destination:  17 Penn's Landing    Fleet Number:  5500    
Est. Value at Auction (MOC):  $45-$95    Est. Value at Auction - Mint Loose:  $25-$50
Notes:  This model appears to be the very last Flxible Metro model produced by Road Champs, all that I have seen have been in the 2003 package.  This model is unique as well, it is the only one that features grey window trim.  I am not sure why Road Champs chose 57000 as this models item number.  Perhaps they just didn't like the idea of 57011.  Found in blister package only.
 

Missing Missing
 
Missing Missing
Model:  CTA Chicago Transit Authority    Locale:  Chicago, IL
Item No.  57001 & 59455    Package Date:  1996   Body Style:  1    Base Style:  1
Destination:  125 Watertower    Fleet Number:  5741
 

Missing Missing
Below:  First box style on the left, third box variation on the right.
Missing Missing
Model:  NJT New Jersey Transit 1965    Locale:  New Jersey, NJ
Item No.  57002 & 59455    Package Date:  1996    Body Style:  1    Base Style:  1
Destination:  34 West Caldwell    Fleet Number:  1965
Notes:    A similar model in excellent condition is available in our eBay store: New Jersey Transit.
 

Missing Missing
 
Missing Missing
 
Missing Missing
Model:  NJT New Jersey Transit 1776 - Release 2    Locale:  New Jersey, NJ
Item No.  57002    Package Date:  2000    Body Style:  2    Base Style:  2
Destination:  1 Penn Station    Fleet Number:  1776
Notes:  Though similar to the original NJT release there are a few detail changes.  Of course the fleet number is 1776 instead of the original 1965.  The side advertisements have changed to "Visit us on the web at www.njtransit.com".  Front and rear route destination signs are printed in yellow, and show a different destination.  Both examples that I have show this model using the second base style as used in the 4 bus box sets.  
 

Missing Missing
Below:  Second box style shown to the left.  Shown at right, a basic box back, side and top view.
Missing Missing
Model:  Minneapolis T Metro Transit    Locale:  Minneapolis - Twin Cities, MN
Item No.  57003 & 59455    Package Date:  1996   Body Style:  1    Base Style:  1
Destination:  80A Mall of America    Fleet Number:  1948
Notes:  The Minneapolis T bus is one of the most common Road Champs buses around.  It can be found almost constantly on eBay.
 

Missing Missing
Model:  New York MTA Metro Transit Authority    Locale:  New York, NY
Item No.  57004 & 59455    Package Date:  1996   Body Style:  1    Base Style:  1
Destination:  M42 Crosstown    Fleet Number:  Not Numbered
Notes:    A similar model in excellent condition is available in our eBay store: New York City Transit.
 

Missing Missing
Model:  Houston METRO    Locale:  Houston, TX
Item No.  57005    Package Date:  1996    Body Style:  1    Base Style:  1 & 2
Destination:  82 Westheimer    Fleet Number:  1234
 

Missing Missing
Model:  AC Transit - Alameda-Contra Costa Transit Diestrict    Locale:  Oakland, CA
Item No.  57006    Package Date:  1996    Body Style:  1    Base Style:  1 & 2
Destination:  35X Downtown Miami    Fleet Number:  Not numbered    
Notes:    A similar model in excellent condition is available in our eBay store: AC Transit.
 

Missing Missing
 
Missing Missing
Model:  MARTA - Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority    Locale:  Atlanta, GA
Item No.  57007(?)    Package Date:  Unknown   Body Style:  1    Base Style:  1 & 2
Destination:  10 Peachtree St    Fleet Number:  1997
Notes:  The MARTA version of this series is the only bus I have not been able to find new in the box or on a card.  However this model can be found in one of the 4 pack bus collections, Road Champs Item No. 58706. I am not sure if the item number is correct, but it seems logical.  A similar model in excellent condition is available in our eBay store: Atlanta GA MARTA.
 

Missing Missing
Shown at right is the 4th box variation for the series.
Missing Missing
Model:  DART Dallas Area Rapid Transit    Locale:  Dallas, TX
Item No.  57008    Package Date:  1996    Body Style:  1    Base Style:  1 & 2
Destination:  555 Express    Fleet Number:  1351    
Notes:    A similar model in excellent condition is available in our eBay store: Dallas DART.
 

Missing Missing
Model:  Miami Metro-Dade Transit    Locale:  Miami, FL
Item No.  57009    Package Date:  1996    Body Style:  1    Base Style:  1 & 2
Destination:  Downtown Miami    Fleet Number:  9415    
Notes:    A similar model in excellent condition is available in our eBay store: Miami Metro Dade.
 

Missing Missing
 
Missing Missing
Model:  SEPTA South Eastern Pensylvania Transportation Authority    Locale:  Southeastern PA
Item No.  57010    Package Date:  1997 (Box)   1999 (Card)    Body Style:  1    Base Style:  2
Destination:  17 Penn's Landing    Fleet Number:  No Number
Notes:  One of the most difficult models to obtain is this black window trim SEPTA.  As shown above, it came packaged in both the standard box style as well as the blister pack bubble card style.
 

Missing Missing
 
Missing Missing
 
Model shown below features custom looking "We're On Your Way! Welcome Aboard!" stickers on the front and rear.  It is unknown who added these stickers, perhaps done by Houston METRO as a promotional item?
Missing Missing
Model:  Houston METRO    Locale:  Houston, TX
Item No.  22000    Package Date:  1999    Body Style:  1    Base Style:  2
Destination:  82 Westheimer    Fleet Number:  1234
Notes:  This model is just slightly different than its previous variations.  The only differece is the addition of the Road Champs logo underneath the roof number.  This particular bus is always found in the narrow card blue blister pack with an item number of 22000.  This version was released after Road Champs was acquired by Jakks Pacific Inc., Union NJ.  I have only see two buses packaged in this style card, this model and the International school bus.  Perhaps these were a last attempt at marketing/selling these model series before stopping production.  A similar model in excellent condition is available in our eBay store: Houston Metro Jakks Blue Card.
 

Missing Missing
Model:  Houston METRO    Locale:  Houston, TX
Item No.  57200    Package Date:  1999    Body Style:  1    Base Style:  2
Destination:  82 Westheimer    Fleet Number:  1234
Notes:  Very scarce bonus pack edition.
 

Missing Missing
Model:  Houston METRO    Locale:  Houston, TX
Item No.  22000    Package Date:  2000    Body Style:  1    Base Style:  2
Destination:  82 Westheimer    Fleet Number:  1234
Notes:  Very hard to find.
 

Flxible Metro D Series Special Edition Models
Road Champs produced a number of special edition Flxible Metros that were available only from specific regional transit authorities.  These models are noteably different from their mass produced counterparts.  Models produced are far less common but are some of the most highly detailed buses in the Road Champs Flxible Metro series.  All three known variations are shown below, though there could possibly be others.  
 

Missing Missing
 
Missing Missing
Model:  LV CAT Citizens Area Transit    Locale:  Las Vegas, NV
Item No.  191401    Package Date:  Unknown    Body Style:  1    Base Style:  Unknown
Destination:  301 LV Blvd    Fleet Number:  Not Numbered
Notes:  Image of actual CAT METRO, and model backstory provided by Bryan Lee, founder of the Yahoo Group American model buses: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/a1modelbuses.  The LV CAT model was a special promomotional item only available for about a year at the Las Vegas Downtown Transportation Center, while they were still using the Flxibles.  This bus came in a plain white box, series #191401.  A similar model in excellent condition is available in our eBay store: Road Champs LV CAT.
 

Missing Missing
Model:  Houston METRO 4000 - Special Edition    Locale:  Houston, TX
Notes:  Differences include: stripe connects across the top of the bus and it's position along the bus side is slightly more towards the back, bus number is 4000 and is above the "Metropolitan Transit Authority" text, front of bus has handicapped sign under number, destination sign text is different and in different color, front top marker lights are painted, roof grille near rear is detailed, American flag after METRO on the door side, rear destination number printed in different color.  This model is also a newer release which uses painted tail lights that are cast as part of the body.
 

Missing Missing
Model:  Minneapolis T Metro Transit - Special Edition    Locale:  Minneapolis - Twin Cities, MN
Item No.  Unknown    Package Date:  Unknown   Body Style:  1    Base Style:  2
Destination:  21A Selby Lake    Fleet Number:  1948
Notes:  This Twin Cities Metro Transit model is another of Road Champs special models that were not mass marketed.  The information I received with the bus stated that this model was sold exclusively at the Mall of America.
 

Eagle Model 15 Series Coach - 1995-????
These models were constructed in the same scale and style as the Flxible Metros.  There were only three different models produced with very limited variations.

As with the the Flxibles, the Eagle coaches all started out being numbered 59455.  In addition, box styles changed like the Flxibles as well.
 

Missing Missing Item No.  58001    Model:  Sun Tours Eagle Coach    Package Date:  1996   
Destination:  Canyonlands    Fleet Number:  931
 

Missing Missing
 
Missing Missing
Item No.  58002    Model:  Gad-About Tours Eagle Coach    Package Date:  1996   
Destination:  Branson, MO    Fleet Number:  Not Numbered
 

Missing Missing
 
Missing Missing
Item No.  58003    Model:  Greyhound Eagle Coach    Package Date:  1996   
Destination:  New York    Fleet Number:  Not Numbered
Notes:  There are two variations, one with clear front windows, and one with tinted front windows.  I believe the tinted front window variation was the earliest version, only being found in the first two box package styles.  Destination is always New York.  This model was produced for much longer and more heavily than the other Eagle coaches, as it can be found on the last style blue cards.  This model was also included in most of the 4 pack bus box sets produced by Road Champs.  In addition this model was sold at Greyhound terminals in small mostly plain white boxes.  A similar model in excellent condition is available in our eBay store: Greyhound Eagle.
 

Missing Missing
Item No.  58003    Model:  Greyhound Eagle Coach    Package Date:  1997   
Destination:  New York    Fleet Number:  Not Numbered
Notes:  Final blue card package style.    
 

1:87 HO Scale Four Bus Box Sets
There are at least two, four bus box sets.  These sets only contain 1:87 HO scale models.  The more common sets contain three of the Flxible Metro D models and one Greyhound Eagle Coach as well as two billboards.  Some sets include 4 Flxible Metro buses only.  Buses are identical to their individually sold counterparts.  These sets are more rare than the individual buses making it difficult to know what all bus combinations were produced.
 

Missing Missing Model:  Eagle Model 15 Coach & Flxible Metro D Transit Buses
Item No.  58706    Package Date:  1997   
Notes:  These issues appear to be the most common.    
 

Missing Missing
Model:  Flxible Metro D Transit Buses
Item No.  58706    Package Date:  1997   
 

International School Bus Series - 1991-????
Produced for many years, the International & "Golden Rule" school bus was a very popular toy.  There are numerous package variations, many of which are shown below, a few other minor variations are mentioned.  The sides of these buses all read either "International" or "Golden Rule".  Most of these buses were produced in yellow paint, but I have seen the "Golden Rule" edition in a white/off white color.
 

Missing Missing International School Bus - Golden Rule    Item No.  Not Numbered    Package Date:  1991   
Notes:  This is the earliest known release of the classic Road Champs school bus.  The back of the package lists the manufacturer as "Geoffrey, Inc. Distributed by Toys "R" Us, Inc.".  The Road Champs logo is on the base of this model which appears to be the same casting as all the other production runs (aside from the Sounds of Power release).  Perhaps this was a special order by Toys R Us.  
 

Missing Missing
 
Missing Missing
 
Missing Missing Item No.  5900    Package Date:  1992   Variation:  Golden Rule - White Card    
 

Missing Missing Item No.  5900    Package Date:  1992   Variation:  Golden Rule - Blue Card    
 

Missing Missing Item No.  5900    Package Date:  1992   Variation:  Golden Rule - Blue Card, Desert Background    
Notes:  This card variation was found from an eBay seller in Australia.  Possibly a regionally specific release.
 

Missing Missing
 
Missing Missing
Item No.  5980    Package Date:  1992   Model:  Golden Rule - Sounds of Power    
Notes:  Rarely seen new in the package. Body casting appears identical to the standard versions. This variant can be easily identified in loose condition by looking for the battery cover on the frame.
 

Missing Missing
Item No.  5900    Package Date:  1993   
Notes:  First appearance of the purple and black "Road Map" style package for this item.
 

Missing Missing
Item No.  5900    Package Date:  1993   
 

Item No.  5905    Package Date:  1994   
Notes:  Not pictured is a transitional package type with 1993 style front with red "Die-Cast Metal & Plastic", dated 1994.  This type has the typical 1994 card back.
 

Missing Missing
Item No.  5900    Package Date:  1994   
 

Missing Missing
Item No.  5905    Package Date:  1995   Series:  Deluxe Series    
Notes:  There may be a 1995 5900 card variation, I am unsure if there is any difference between them.
 

Missing Missing
Item No.  5900    Package Date:  1996   Series:  Deluxe Series    
 

Missing Missing
Item No.  5900    Package Date:  1997   
Notes:    A similar model in excellent condition is available in our eBay store: Road Champs School Bus Jakks Blue Card.
 

Missing Missing
Item No.  22000    Package Date:  1999   
 

Special Issues & One-Offs
Shown below are promotional and one-off issues of some of the standard Road Champs bus castings as well as one unique bus.
 

Missing Missing
Bus Type:  International School Bus  Release:  Old Navy Supply Co.  Item No.  None  Package Date:  None
Notes:  This model appears to be a promotional style, impulse buy, item that Old Navy sold in their stores.  Card and blister are identical to the standard issues.  Judging by the packaging style we can assume these were produced sometime after 1992 and as late as 2003 (the last known use of this style package).  I might speculate that these were produced during the middle to late 1990s.  The bus is identical to the standard releases, including the frame stamping, with the single exception of the text on the side of the bus which reads "Old Navy Supply Co.".
 

Missing Missing
 
Missing Missing
Bus Type:  Unknown 1940s-1960s Style Transit Bus    Item No.  29180    Package Date:  2001
Release:  Junkyard Wars Jumpin' Challenge Dash Or Crash Set    
 

Missing Missing
 
Missing Missing
Bus Type:  Eagle Model 15 Tour Bus Casting    Item No.  24900    Package Date:  2000
Release:  Car And Driver Halloween Bus    
 

Missing Missing
Bus Type:  Eagle Model 15 Tour Bus Casting    Item No.  5920B    Package Date:  1995
Release:  Hershey's Chocolate World Bus