In 1981 with the delivery of ZIB-585, Canberra moved closer to the European scene in that it operated a fleet with MAN and Mercedes-Benz city buses – in both the standard and articulated varieties – as found in many German cities.

Mercedes-Benz O.305 – ZIB-670 at Belconnen Interchange

In December 1980, Mercedes-Benz was awarded a three year contract to supply buses to Canberra. Ansair was appointed body contractor by Mercedes and the first product of the ‘three pointed star’ manufacturer in the Canberra fleet was officially handed over on 11 November 1981. Although built essentially to the same basic VOV design as the MANs, a myriad of improvements has been made to the Mercedes unit. They are the first Mercedes-Benz O.305s built in Australia to a German design although the Canberra buses have the front end from the O.307 intercity bus. A total of twenty-eight buses were delivered in 1981 and 1982, and at the end of 1982, a further twenty one were on order for delivery in 1983.

Five Mercedes-Benz O.305G vehicles were ordered in March 1981. A new-generation articulated bus was delivered to Canberra late in 1982. These buses constitute a break with the previous engineering approach to building articulated buses. Whereas the MAN SG192 has a trailer towed by a prime mover with the drive provided through the second axle of the prime mover, the Mercedes-Benz O.305G has its drive axle in the trailer which acts as a ‘pusher’ to the front section of the bus. Claimed advantages are greater stability and comfort, lower floor height and reduced engine noise.

Mercedes-Benz O.305G – Bus 613 at Tuggeranong Interchange

Mercedes-Benz O.305 specifications

  • Fleet Numbers: 585 – 612 and 618 – 670
  • Number in class: 81
  • Chassis: Mercedes-Benz O.305
  • Engine: Daimler-Benz OM 407h (type 407-914)
  • Transmission: Daimler-Benz W3D 080 3-speed fully automatic with torque converter and hydraulic retarder
  • Wheelbase: 5600mm
  • Length: 11490mm
  • Body: Ansair division of Ansett Transport Industries (Operations) Pty Ltd, Tullamarine Victoria
  • Seating: 42

Mercedes-Benz O.305G specifications

  • Fleet Numbers: 613 – 617
  • Number in class: 5
  • Chassis: Mercedes-Benz O.305G
  • Engine: Daimler-Benz OM407h (type 407-919)
  • Swept Volume: 11.413 litres
  • Power: 177 kW (240 hp) @ 2200 rpm
  • Transmission: Daimler-Benz W3D 080/R three-speed automatic with Integral Retarder.
  • Wheelbase: 5.6m front to centre, 6.15m centre to rear
  • Length: 17,640mm
  • Body: Ansair division of Ansett Transport Industries (Operations) Pty Ltd, Tullamarine Victoria
  • Seating: 70

Further details

Featured article for April/May 2020.

Revised on 28 March 2020

This page was last updated on 4 February 2023