The famous Belgian brand name of Van Hool was started by Bernard Van Hool, who started to show his great interest in mechanics in his early years.
During the Second World War, transportation in Belgium became difficult, as most vehicles were requisitioned by the German forces. Bernard started a small transportation company with his youngest brother and a mechanic. They refurbished a number of lorries and started their business. After the Second World War, buses running in the country were obsolete and there was a lack of touring cars. The transportation company was changed to a coach tour company with their rebuilt coaches in 1946.
In 1947, the coach builder was established. In the first years, design was made to individual buses. It was not until 1951 that serial production had begun. Nevertheless, the Belgian market was not big enough for the expansion of business. Van Hool started its first exports in 1949. Thousands of buses were sent to Africa in 1950's.
In 1957, Van Hool contracted with Fiat to fit Fiat engines and other mechanical parts in Van Hool vehicles. It was then become the integral bus manufacturer Van Hool-Fiat. The sales volume had been increased many times by then.
There were several important moves in the 1960's: the introduction of fibre glass panel in buses in 1963, the production of tankers and semi-trailers in 1965, and the export of stylish coaches to Britain in the same year.
In 1971, Van Hool started its overseas plant in Zaragoza, Spain to cater for the orders from Africa and Latin America. The oil crisis in 1973 beat the bus industry hard. Van Hool diversified the business into manufacture of other machines. In 1976, the limited company Van Hool was founded.
In 1980, Van Hool built the first apron buses and started this famous business. In addition, the A500 of 1985 was the first model of low floor bus of total length. In 1987, Van Hool made an exclusive agreement with ABC Bus Companies in Florida, and entered the market in large scale in North America. Three years later, 22 Europe built articulated buses were delivered to Montreal, Canada.
In 1990, Van Hool took over LAG, and buses are built under EOS Coach Manufacturing Company NV. In 1991, a new look of the established T8 series was unveiled. It became popular in the European coach market. New markets in Italy and Greece were opened with the co-operation with local body builders there. In 1995, the T9 series was put into market.
LAG EOS 80 (Netherlands)
LAG EOS 90 (Austria, United Kingdom)
LAG EOS 100 (Germany, Hungary)
LAG EOS 200 (Austria, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Turkey)
LAG EOS 300 (France)
Van Hool AP1137 (Turkey)
Van Hool TD824 Astromega (France, Germany, Netherlands)
Van Hool TD924 Astromega (Germany, Netherlands)
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Page created: 29 October 2003
Last updated: 7 October 2012