Canberra moved closer to the European scene in that it operated a fleet of MAN and Mercedes-Benz city buses, in both the standard and articulated varieties as are found in many German cities.
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 0 305s built in Australia to a German design although the Canberra buses have the front end from the 0 307 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 0 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 0 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 O305 / Ansair Fleet
Fleet Numbers – 585 to 612 and 618 – 670
Number in class: 81
Chassis: Mercedes-Benz O305
Engine: Daimler-Benz OM 407h (type 407-914)
Gearbox: Daimler-Benz W3D 080 3-speed fully automatic with torque converter and hydraulic retarder
Bodies: Ansair division of Ansett Transport Industries (Operations) Pty Ltd, Tullamarine Victoria