70 years of Setra – The story of a self-supporting success

Setra S 531 DT

It all began in 1951, when the Ulm-based Kässbohrer Fahrzeugwerke presented its S 8 at the IAA in Frankfurt and gave the brand its name “Setra”, which simply stands for the „selbsttragend“, the German word for self-supporting.

The first production bus with a self-supporting body, rear engine and direct drive to the rear axle was born.

Since then, a total of six series have followed in seven decades. The traditional brand from Ulm has often set standards in European bus construction and played a decisive role in shaping it.

SETRA – FROM INDIVIDUAL PRODUCTION TO THE MODULAR PRINCIPLE

In 1967, the 100 series was introduced with the five models S 100, S 110, S 120, S 130 and S 150. From then on, the first digit of the type designation indicated the series.

The transition from the Setra model series 10 to the 100 series is regarded as a further step towards the industrialisation of bus construction at Kässbohrer. All new models of the brand were manufactured according to the modular principle from numerous identical parts. Daily production during this period was four units.

The buses of the 100 series were characterised visually by a more angular design as well as by more comfort thanks to an enlarged passenger compartment and increased interior height.

In addition, a front axle with independent suspension and air suspension were standard equipment.

CROSS-FLOW VENTILATION FOR THE FIRST TIME IN THE Setra 200 SERIES

On the occasion of Setra’s 25th anniversary, the 200 series was introduced with six models: S 211 H, S 212 H, S 213 H, S 215 H and the high-deck variants S 213 HD and S 215 HD.

This series set further technical standards. Among other things, it was distinguished by the standard use of disc brakes on the front axle.

In addition, this series went into series production with a new type of cross-flow ventilation. The 200 series was characterised by a comparatively pleasant road handling and suspension.

DISTINCTIVE SWING ARM AND INTEGRAL MIRRORS: THE 300 SERIES FROM SETRA

In 1991, after six years of development, the 300 series was presented in Ulm. Among the most striking features of the new buses were the characteristic swing arm behind the cockpit area and the completely newly developed integral mirror system, which gave the series its unmistakable “face”.

The heated and internally adjustable “curved” mirror arms allowed the driver a very good view along both sides of the bus. Another key feature was the ergonomically designed cockpit, where the most important individual instruments were in the bus driver’s primary field of vision.

COMFORTCLASS 500 WITH SLOPING SIDE LINE TO THE REAR

After four years of development and extensive testing, the Setra ComfortClass 500 was presented to the public in 2012.

With this series, the Ulm-based brand, which has since been sold to Stuttgart-based Daimler AG, is setting new standards in terms of economy, value, comfort and safety.

DOUBLE-DECKER S 531 DT – FLAGSHIP OF THE TOPCLASS 500

The current flagship of the brand, which has always stood for the highest degree of individuality, is the S 531 DT double-decker coach. It was launched on the market in 2019.


Text Lennart Klein Photos Daimler AG

Author: Lennart Klein

Lennart Klein ist Redakteur beim Classic Trader Magazin. Seine Begeisterung gilt zwei- und vierrädrigen Klassikern gleichermaßen. Traum-Klassiker: Alfa Romeo GT 1300 Junior & Mercedes-Benz 600.

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