A lovingly cared for Treasure
SetraWorld Magazine

A lovingly cared for Treasure

The classic coach collection – the Setra S 315 HDH

The brand tradition is alive and well, in part thanks to the Setra classic coach collection and its perfectly maintained beauties. The latest addition to the historic collection is a 1996 Setra S 315 HDH – a “Coach of the Year 1993” winner, whose design and technology set standards at the time.

In following with a great tradition, this unique coach will continue to be the source of great pleasure in the Setra classic coach collection, where it will be cared for with enthusiasm and passion. This exclusive collection of 18 rare models impressively illustrates Setra’s history. For the public to enjoy when selected classic coaches take part in rallies. Or, when they are displayed at their most polished, recently at the Retro Classics show in Stuttgart. From the S 8, the very first Setra coach from 1951, through to this latest addition to the collection: a Setra S 315 HDH built in 1996. A comparatively young classic, but nonetheless a very special one. Had its previous owner, Swiss operator René Heiniger, kept the coach over all these years in a well-tempered hall, the S 315 HDH would hardly be in better condition today. With its impeccably maintained equipment and a gloss as flawless as on the day it was delivered.

A lovingly cared for Treasure - The classic coach collection – the Setra S 315 HDH
A lovingly cared for Treasure - The classic coach collection – the Setra S 315 HDH

Hello and goodbye: the S 315 HDH stays and Heiniger Carreisen’s new Setra S 415 GT-HD “Final Edition” heads home.

And yet it covered some 500,000 kilometres between its first registration in May 1996 and its journey to the Setra classic coach collection in Neu-Ulm last November. What type of lifestyle did the S 315 HDH enjoy with “Heiniger Carreisen” from Uster in the Canton of Zurich? Well, between April and October, it regularly travelled to Venice, Prague, Ljubljana and Copenhagen, in the summer to Lake Garda, or in the footsteps of William Tell over the Klausen Pass, as well as in many other parts of Europe. The Heiniger flagship coach was also given some extra special treatment: the 315 HDH was driven mainly by the boss himself. It was only ever washed by hand and was able to spend winters in an indoor hall. Although goodbyes are never easy, René Heiniger isn’t too sad, since he knows he is passing the S 315 HDH into caring hands.

The 300 series plays a special role in the history of the Setra brand. When introduced in 1991, it set all-new standards that are still impressive today – as did the previous series. Its numerous customer-oriented innovations amazed even the experts. Perhaps more than anything, the innovative design of the coach’s bow was fascinating: with its lateral wings over the front axle which still shape Setra design today. And with the revolutionary integrated rear-view mirror system developed by Setra and baptised the “ladybug antenna” by trade show visitors. The new exterior mirrors not only gave the coach a distinctive look, they also provided all-round visibility – laterally as well as in the previously blind area in front of the vehicle. Just a quick look into the electrically adjustable mirror was needed for every coach driver to be persuaded of the system’s advantages. René Heiniger also quickly recognised the qualities of the new series: “When I saw the S 315 HDH and its development at the Neu-Ulm plant, I immediately knew that this would be my coach,” recalls the 59-year-old operator.

A lovingly cared for Treasure - The classic coach collection – the Setra S 315 HDH

“When I saw the S 315 HDH and its development at the Neu-Ulm plant, I immediately knew that this would be my coach”

René Heiniger

Although the S 315 HDH was built on the concept of the predecessor model 200 series, the new 300 series was “reinvented”, especially in terms of its operation and maintenance. The multifunctional electronic display, used in a coach for the first time, informed the driver on the condition of all major systems. A notification was given automatically or by pressing a button on the steering column and signalled status with different colours: red for messages relating to road safety, and orange for those addressing operational safety. In addition to the standard six languages for text messages, further languages could be easily programmed.

Ease of maintenance played a major role in the design of the new Setra S 315 HD. Customer service staff and service technicians had greatly contributed to its evolution. This led to the development of an exceptionally service-friendly coach, which included some extras that were anything but expected at the time. Examples of this include the V-belt tension via compressed air, an easily removable front panel, or the easy access to the windscreen washer system. All error messages were automatically stored in a microprocessor, and could then be analysed and rectified in the workshop. Also, access to the engine was designed in a way that was more maintenance-friendly than ever before.

Another great customer benefit was that, in spite of more extensive comfort fittings and safety equipment, the coach was not any heavier. This was achieved through computer-based structural optimisation of the materials used, in relation to the overall structural strength of the bus frame.

The fact that the Setra 300 series was ahead of its time was confirmed in 1993 by a jury of journalists who honoured the coach with the coveted “Coach of the Year” award. The series’ sales success was equally impressive: no less than 1,686 units were sold by the time it was replaced with the 400 series in 2001. René Heiniger’s S 315 HDH coach later received additional extras such as a wide-angle front and rear camera, a video and DVD player, an induction loop auditive system for the hearing-impaired – and a vase of flowers on each window pillar. This was a special request from the service-oriented Swiss operator.

“In this immaculate condition, you could still drive this coach anywhere today,” raved Ottmar Steiner, Setra’s chief mechanic for the classic coaches, during the handover of the S 315 HDH Setra to the collection. He was also delighted to have a little less work to do. The usual mandatory expert restoration can easily be postponed in the case of this classic coach which has been taken care of so passionately.

SetraWorld 53 – 01 | 2014

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