The Orion II was a paratransit or shuttle bus custom-designed and -built in Mississauga. They seemed futuristic, with a monocoque body that could be levered off the entire chassis (I seem to recall the hinge was at the front, but that may be false-memory syndrome) and front-wheel drive. Short-wheelbase versions were used by Wheel-Trans here in Toronto, which still uses long-wheelbase versions on so-called Community Bus routes.

Their engine note and brake squeal remain distinctive to this day; you could hear one coming up behind you, stopping at the red light, and driving away on the green.

Orion IIs were expensive at well over $100,000 a pop, and I thought they were only really used here and in Scandinavia, but in fact they were sold all over North America.

Long white shuttle bus with grey, red, and black stripes, windows half the height of the bus, and a single door behind a large front wheel is emblazoned Community Bus in script type

They look fantastic in lobster red. And for all those Orion pimps out there: Did you know you could buy a limo version on eBay (PDF)?

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