History of a Coach Builder: Looking Back into the Yesteryears

In the era of automation, handmade still hold an important place. One such exemplary creation is the coachbuilding. Living in the age of mass production, the art of coach builder companies are still very much alive. It is not to deny that, the craft of coach building has become the most sought-after option for the ones who fall for quality and detailed work.

For both the initiated and the uninitiated, a coach builder is typically referred as the body of an automobile. Considering its humongous popularity, coachbuilders have now become a part of a luxury car. However, the art of coachbuilding dates back to the late 1920s.


Time to Tour the Past

The process of coachbuilding is extremely labor-intensive. That’s why in the yesteryears, there was hardly any concept of series production. It is easily understandable that the process of making a new vehicle was complicated.

The process of coach building earlier involved crafting the following parts:

  • Exterior panels
  • Floorpan
  • Firewalls
  • Body

In short, a coach builder compromised the entire skeleton of a car over the chassis. After this was done, the skeleton used to get wrapped with the metal panels to add the finishing touch.

Process of Work & Purpose of the wooden skeleton:

During the early phase, the automotive companies mainly focused on the chassis and powertrain respectively. The workflow of the coach builders was:

  1. The makers would receive the chassis to design and build everything from scratch.
  2. This typically includes the making of body, interior, fenders and cabin.

The fun fact was that earlier the coach builder used to work with the clients directly. Understanding their needs and requisites, they used to come with bespoke designs with distinctive features. After getting approval from their clients, the makers used to give in their best efforts to create life-sized drawings depicting the side and top views of the car body.

Another thing, the makers used to consider in the yesteryears was rendering of color and sketches to their clients for better comprehension. These sketches were required in the creating a life-sized body form termed as a maquette.

Many of the millennials may not be familiar with this term. A maquette was made up of wire frames for imparting an improved visual aid to the coach builder. A layer of wooden bucks was also used to make this particular element.

coach builder

Earlier the companies used to opt for wood to blanket the structure for the following reasons:

  1. Proper absorption
  2. Dispersed vibrations
  3. Higher speed
  4. Withstand various climatic conditions
  5. Less prone to aquatic damage
  6. Doesn’t get damaged along grain lines

However, with the pace of time, the wooden skeletons faded away and were substituted by the uni-body designs.

The Current Scenario

Even in the 21st century coach builders is still on the apex. Nevertheless, the production is less as these are still made manually. That’s why the luxury car industry is shifting towards this dynamic making system.

For those who want to opt for a coach builder, one must understand its value. A little research will help them to opt for the best bet.