Reports indicated an increase in production at Mauck2 as well as a new distributor and new models. Hence, a recent trip to the Columbus, Ohio area prompted your National Bus Trader staff to stop in for a visit.
The Mauck Heritage
The story behind the Mauck2 is the story of Andy Mauck, an Ohio native. As a youngster he took an interest in vehicles and took road trips to races during his high school days. Mauck started his professional career with vehicles at Sutphen Fire Apparatus in Columbus. He spent 12 years as project engineer where he collected customer specifications along with the salesman’s proposal and created the final build documents for the manufacturing of unique fire trucks.
A ride on a shuttle bus in 1990 prompted Mauck to think about building a better small bus. He devoted substantial time into developing concept drawings and basic ngineering. In 1991, Mauck left Sutphen Fire Apparatus and created what became Mauck Specialty Vehicles. A new vehicle was created that was approximately the same size as a small bus. It offered state-of-the-art construction techniques and was more integral construction than body-on-chassis.
By 1998, the company had 35 staff members operating out of a facility 45,000 square feet in size. More than 80 units were sold to wide range of customers including Paul Allen, Alan Jackson, George Foreman, Merv Griffin, Nike and Custom Coach. Most of them were used for personal vehicles and private transportation.
The company was merged into Advanced Bus Industries, LLC in 1998, a company led by several former management people from the now-defunct Flxible Company. They took the existing vehicle and developed it into a 30-foot transit bus. Mauck left the company to take advantage of other opportunities.
Custom Coach Corporation converted several of the MSV units into custom personal vehicles. It was here that Mauck first met Owen Connaughton, who was part of the Custom Coach team. Later, Connaughton founded Creative Mobile Interiors in Grove City, Ohio and Mauck joined the team there.
CMI soon became the major conversion company for Sprinters. Designed by Mercedes-Benz, the Sprinters were highly respected for several reasons including quality, fuel economy and durability. However, Sprinter options in the United States were limited and there was considerable interest in getting a larger and more unique body for the Sprinter chassis.
Looking to provide this need, Mauck left CMI and founded a new company in Juneof 2006. That company was expanded in May of 2007 and was renamed Mauck2 LLC. Their first prototype emerged in April of 2009. Given a limo interior by Executive Coach Builders, that first vehicle was displayed at the Limousine, Charter and TourShow in Las Vegas in January of 2010. NATIONALBUS TRADER did an article on the Mauck2 in our November, 2010 issue.
What is the Mauck2?
To some extent it is difficult to categorize the Mauck2 since it is a cross between a van and a minibus but tends to have the best advantages of both.
The Mauck2 body is designed for the 3500 170-wheelbase cab-chassis Sprinter. Hence, it offers all of the advantages of the Sprinter chassis. Designed in Germany by Mercedes-Benz engineers, the Sprinter is powered by a very economical and wellregarded modern diesel engine that reportedly gets 20 miles per gallon. In addition, the Sprinter has high quality construction, durability and low life cycle costs. Unlike many minibuses, the Sprinter has a good suspension and can be used in long distance operation as well as local shuttles. More than a million Sprinters are in service around the world.
While the Sprinter is available with several different bodies in Europe, body selection is limited in the United States. Hence, the Mauck2 body fills an obvious gap. In addition to offering more interior space, the Mauck2 provides exterior storage and a modern, attractive appearance. The Mauck2 is 80 inches wide at the floor level and hence provides an additional 10 inches of width for passengers or interior equipment. With an interior height of 781⁄2 inches, most people can stand up inside.
The Mauck2 has a galvanized steel frame with a gel-coated fiberglass body bonded to the frame. With the Mauck2, optional pullout rocker compartments under the floor provide additional storage for anything you would like to bring along. There is a wide range of other options on the Mauck2 including an automatic step entry at the side door, an automatic rear hatch and a trailer hitch.
When first introduced, the Mauck2 became immediately popular as a personal transportation vehicle. Creative Mobile Interiors has become an expert in providing custom personal interiors in the Mauck2. However, the Mauck2 has increasingly been opted for other uses. It is a great vehicle for tailgating parties, it is increasingly popular with a limo interior, it can be equipped for golf outings with two foursomes and their clubs, and it is now gaining popularity in commercial applications including hotel shuttles and as a guest transport vehicle.
Improvements and Changes
When we last visited the Mauck2 facility, production was just getting underway. The first few units produced were being sold or were receiving their special interiors. Here is a list of some of the more interesting developments and improvements at Mauck2.
In late 2011, a agreement was signed with Dattco, Inc. to be the exclusive North American distributor for the Mauck2. Mauck says: “Dattco’s reputation for quality, integrity, financial strength and their interest in development of new products have made for a great relationship.” Based in New Britain, Connecticut, Dattco sells new school buses and several types of minibuses including IC Bus, Glaval and Turtle Top. The Mauck2 buses are now in their inventory and you can even see photos on the Dattco Web site.
As production has increased, so has the staff. Chris Ellis has joined Mauck2 as their director of operations. He was a production manager at the Kenworth factory in Chillicothe, Ohio and has been a big help at Mauck2. Ellis is a hands-on individual, an excellent mechanic and has moved Mauck2 into more professional production operations. In addition to an improved production line, the company now uses integrated digital bill of material management and purchasing. The engineering department has developed more than 400 CAD drawings to document the Mauck2 design and manufacturing.
Increased sales and production have moved the Mauck2 more into a true production line and additional workstations similar to the major bus manufacturers. Like the big buses, everything starts with a weld jig to fabricate the basic body frame structure. Then, the structure moves to a jig chassis. Here, the body panels are bonded to the frame and the structure is matched to the Sprinter chassis for a perfect fit. Following this are other workstations where the body is finished.
The Mauck2 body frame can vary slightly for different applications. Currently, they try to keep a few frames in stock to speed production when an order comes in. Creative Mobile Interiors or other companies complete the interiors on some of the vehicles.
One of the more recent improvements can be seen with the side windows. Originally, 10 panels of glass were used on each side of the body as passenger windows. This complex arrangement allowed for small optional vent windows. However, few people wanted the vent windows and others were concerned for security and water leaks. As a result, the windows were redesigned using three large panels of glass. This not only improves visibility for the passengers, but it also provides a sleeker appearance and eliminates potential water leaks.
Another recent improvement can be seen with the taillights and cab marker lights. The Mauck2 originally used special Lincoln lights that proved to be difficult to work on and source. The Mauck2 body has now been remoulded and uses standard Mercedes-Benz lights that work better with the wiring harness and are much easier to work on and source.
With the involvement of Dattco it was not surprising to see Mauck2 place additional emphasis on interiors suitable for commercial operators. Increasingly popular is their 14-passenger People Mover model. It offers two-and-one seating with an aisle and a rear luggage area. Black leather seats with armrests provide a high class interior while the Mauck2 design and new passenger windows gives the exterior a unique appearance.
Along this same line Mauck noted that they recently sold a Mauck2 VIP Guest Transport vehicle to Whistler Wired, the premier vacation and property management company in Whistler, British Columbia. A Mauck2 meets you at the Vancouver airport when you book your trip to Whistler through Whistler Wired. The vehicle is equipped to handle nine or 10 guests with all of their luggage and ski equipment. The Mauck2 is used by other transportation providers for charters and tours in the off-season.
Additional information on the Mauck2 is available on the Dattco Web site.