Marathon’s Production Departments
The backbone of any great company is its people. At Marathon Coach, thousands of combined years of industry expertise form the thoughtful design and expert construction that transforms the Prevost chassis into a beautiful, durable and versatile living space. We firmly believe that the quality of our people directly equates to the quality of our product, and that the talent, craftsmanship and effort of our workforce is second to none in the industry. Enjoy this brief overview of our production departments and their contributions to the design, construction and functionality of every one-of-a-kind Marathon luxury coach.
Marathon is dedicated to proper engineering and design, rather than building “on the fly.” To that end, we have by far the largest team of engineers in the bus conversion industry (20), led by Engineering Manager, and 32-year Marathon Coach veteran, Bob Chavarria. When it comes to the quality and outstanding performance of your coach’s systems, Marathon’s team of engineers are uncompromising in their pursuit of greatness. Visionary in nature, their approach and philosophies stem from a desire for resolute reliability, ease of customer use and product longevity.
A larger engineering team gives Marathon the distinct advantage of precisely planning every unique coach in advance with electrical, plumbing and HVAC schematics, as well as full blueprints for cabinetry and other components. Additionally, having more personnel creates a deeper pool of talent, know-how and creative energy. This enables our engineering team to have a wider spectrum of specific disciplines at its disposal: Electrical, mechanical, audio/visual, CNC, 3D printing and more.
Whether your preference is a custom order or a Show Coach, Marathon’s interior design department provides the unrivaled style of the interior build. We are the only converter with three full-time, professionally trained interior designers, and our “department” is actually a full-fledged, 1,000-square-foot design studio, equipped with its own conference room and an impressive library of the latest in color charts, texture books and digital resources. Sophisticated, large-format printers allow our team to create custom ceiling designs and backsplashes using backlit film. And knowing that you’ll have Alan Christianson (Marathon’s very first employee) and/or Santara Perkins designing or reimagining your coach will put your mind at ease that the interior space will provide relaxing comfort and enduring elegance. These talented interior designers merge timeless style with the personality of the individual client, making Marathon’s luxurious interiors the finest in the industry.
For decades, Marathon has pushed the limits of design and craftsmanship – but what people notice first are the exterior paint designs. At Marathon Coach, every bus exterior is an unduplicated work of art – each as unique as the clients who choose them – and the World Headquarters in Coburg, Oregon, is the only facility with full-time, in-house paint designers. Pete Sutton and Sara Fideler apply their nearly 20 years of combined experience to designing quality exteriors that run the full gamut between simple grace and bold complexity. What’s more, on custom orders, our clients work directly and intensively with Pete and/or Sara to arrive at the exact paint design they desire. “Marathon creates to satisfy our individual clients’ tastes,” said Pete Sutton. “Sometimes, we run wild with adventurous, over-the-top designs. Other times, we understand less is more and use fewer lines and colors, but make strategic choices that create an expression of elegance and luxury.”
Whichever style you prefer, the intricacy of incorporating these designs into the Prevost chassis requires expert techniques of blending, shading, texturing, special effects, ghosted patterns and custom handcrafted graphics. With more than 20 skilled artisans navigating a busy production schedule in five full-service bays, Paint Manager Ryan Fox and Marathon’s experienced team of painters create singular masterpieces-on-wheels every day. Take even a short trip through the gallery on the Marathon Coach website and you’ll see why every Marathon paint design is a top design.
The cabinetry in a Marathon coach is elemental to how owners will actually use their coaches, and there is a balance that is imperative: providing as much storage as possible while maintaining the elegance of the interior design. Our cabinetry is exquisite – constructed and finished so well that it holds up over decades – and this longevity is crucial to the timeless nature of every unique Marathon. Led by Division Leader Scott Runkle, Marathon’s cabinet design staff has more than 200 years of combined cabinet fabrication and design experience, which ranks Marathon at the top in the bus conversion industry.
The installers at Marathon take particular pride in employing the meticulous process of “scribing” – whereby cabinetry and furniture are shaped perfectly to the curved contours of the Prevost shell – to avoid shifting and squeaking. This process is essential for the extremely quiet ride in every Marathon. What’s more, all of our precision-engineered cabinetry is cut on a CNC, a state-of-the-art, five-axis router, and laminated by the most talented craftspeople in the industry. This gives our cabinetry the perfect blend of old-style artistry and modern technology.
It’s no secret that the use of handpicked, quality laminates in our coaches gives our clients unlimited options for color, texture and finish, and adds durability to the house build. It’s also well known that laminates have proven to hold their hue and luster over long periods of time and help give Marathon coaches their storied longevity. But what’s really remarkable is the precision and perfectionism with which Marathon’s laminates department does its part to provide excellent finish to every surface. Expert installation techniques – such as “edge-banding” around wall and furniture corners, so that you will never see a seam or exposed wood anywhere in the coach; and “grain-matching,” where the fine details in the cabinetry doors or drawers line up perfectly – give Marathon’s interiors unmatched elegance and endurance. Combined with these masterful techniques, our knowledgeable and experienced crew uses the industry’s best materials and adhesives, and this truly sets Marathon’s fit and finish apart from the rest.
Upholstery Manager John Farley has been with Marathon 24 years, and has been in the upholstery business for nearly 50 years. John leads a talented upholstery team that works closely with our design team to create the lavish interiors you see inside every Marathon – including wall panels, sofas, and cockpit seats – and trains his staff to work to the highest standards in order to meet the expectations of every client. The stellar upholstery team at Marathon is comprised of experts in pattern-making, sewing and leather wrapping, as well as enduring techniques such as horizontal and vertical channeling, to create luxurious, timeless furniture and surface treatments for our top-of-the-line coaches. When even the inner walls of the closets and drawers are fitted with engineered leather, you can be assured of the consideration given to every detail of every Marathon.
More than 20 years ago, unsatisfied with the quality of supposed “high-end” sofas, Marathon decided to build its own in-house, and since then, we’ve been constructing our own sofas from the ground up. Step into Marathon’s “sofa palace” and immediately experience the sights, smells and feel of the highest quality raw materials, custom-ordered, measured and cut for our sofas, dinette seats, furniture upgrades and more. For our posh salon sleeper sofas, we even make the folding bed frame from scratch. We purchase our top-of-the-line recliners and cockpit seats, and immediately remove the covers and cushions and refurbish them to a higher standard with better materials and added comfort and style. On any given day, you’ll see Charles Null or Kevin Perrier measuring and cutting leather, fitting springs and foam around raw wood and creating patterns that will be passed on to the upholstery department to implement Marathon’s exceptional fit and finish.
The electrical system is the brain and backbone of your coach, so quality is critical, especially where wiring is concerned. And with 10 miles of wiring in every coach, clear and thorough installation, organization and documentation of the electrical systems is paramount. Marathon Coach takes pride in its “aircraft-quality” wiring, with a 27-person team that installs Marathon’s proprietary TechLink system, connecting the user with the controlling systems of the coach, including (but not limited to) the generator, lighting, climate controls, and audio/visual.
In addition to the patented electrical system, Marathon coaches are designed with unprecedented access to the wiring systems – there are hidden panels installed throughout the coach to provide easy access behind the walls when needed. For example, unlike some coaches where a surface may have to be partially demolished to allow access, in a Marathon, it may be as simple as removing a shelf in the half bath or pulling out a drawer in the kitchen. With every wire neatly labeled and every detail mapped out in the master schematic, there’s never any guesswork. You can bring in your 20-year-old coach and we’ll still have the wiring diagrams, making your upgrades or repairs simple and safe.
Arguably the surface that takes the most abuse, the flooring in a luxury coach has to be durable, beautiful, versatile and expertly installed. Marathon’s flooring department uses a variety of deluxe, durable materials such as weight-saving synthetics, natural stone tile, natural stone slabs, porcelain, hardwoods and more. In newer Marathons, strand-woven bamboo, which is harder than most woods and can adopt the look of almost anything, has brought sustainability and versatility to Marathon floors. And our installers take pride in superior, tight-fitting floors with minimal grout lines, for a deluxe feel that is elegant, clean and comfortable. Flooring Team Leader Tristan Michener supervises a team of six experts that create an essential element of the look – as well as the use – of a Marathon coach.
Being the largest bus converter in the world, Marathon can afford to implement new technologies in the production process. Our five-axis CNC (Computer Numerical Control) router machine uses next-level technology that cuts all types of plywood, acrylic, sheet plastics and sheet aluminum into precise, complex shapes. Andy Johnson, part of Marathon’s engineering team since 2000, is the CNC programming specialist, while operators Blake Powell and John Trimble work alternately to program and cut Marathon ceiling parts, countertops, cabinets, roof caps and many aluminum flat patterns for the metal shop. What’s more, each CNC piece is custom cut using precise engineering plans and labeled with corresponding numbers, streamlining the fabrication and assembly process.
Marathon’s mechanical crew, which consists of 10 versatile technicians led by Division Leader James Barclay, builds in countless parts of the coach at every stage of production. At the shell prep stage, workers in this area install satellite equipment and roof vents as well as the generator and generator mounts. Further down the production line, they build the complex ceiling of the coach and install the hydro-based heating system, as well as other subsystems in the coach. And throughout the fabrication process, they are called upon to install essential brackets, supports and tracks for items such as TVs, awnings and air pocket doors.
A small unit of uniquely skilled artisans in the solid surfaces area creates some of the most frequently used items in the bus conversion. With the technology to heat and bend materials to intricate shapes, Marathon’s solid surfaces department fabricates countertops, sinks, shower features, entryways, fan covers and some smaller items such as snack trays and blind guards. Most of the solid surfaces throughout a Marathon coach are cut and formed from Corian and other brands of synthetic stone, chosen because they are lightweight, adaptable, repairable, easy to clean and available in a wealth of colors and styles. All of Marathon’s solid surface work is done in-house, and the quality is evident in the stylish molding and flawless seams in every surface of every coach.
For just about everything in the coach that touches water – sinks, toilets, showers and even washing machines – members of Marathon’s plumbing department are experts in motorhome water systems. Using an array of ABS and other materials that follow strict codes, our plumbers manage the critical tasks of implementing and rigorously testing every tank, pipe, fitting and connection that converges at the immaculately designed plumbing bay, which comes standard in all of our coaches. What’s more, Marathon is the only converter that installs water lines from the plumbing bay directly to all output points – this greatly minimizes leaks and malfunctions. And if a problem does arise, this direct line design makes any issue easy to diagnose and repair.
Two decades ago, to the naked eye, luxury buses from different converters looked largely the same. Marathon Coach was the first to really innovate and custom-design exterior composite parts to enhance the appearance and function of the Prevost bus chassis. The unique roof caps over our awnings are a great example of these telltale modifications, and the reason you know a Marathon right away when you see it. At the factory in Coburg, Oregon, we have the machinery, materials and skilled artisans to create just about any interior or exterior components in our coaches. We have two professional fabricators in the composites department, where fiberglass is molded, using a variety of methods and systems, into wheel wells, fenders, roof caps, dashboards, cockpit pieces and other components, including that handy drop door that houses Marathon’s patented Freedom Plus sewer hose system.
One of Marathon’s many industry advantages is our ability to machine so many metal parts on premises. We employ a small, but talented, team of metal workers that uses both MIG and TIG welding techniques, brakes, rollers and an iron worker to punch, shear, bend, smooth and assemble parts from aluminum, mild steel and stainless steel. These workers adeptly fabricate the coach’s TV mounts, various brackets, generator bay rollouts, pocket door tracks, and almost all of the parts of the articulating king bed in the master suite – and that’s just a small sample. An incredible 250 unique metal parts are machined in-house at Marathon Coach.
Suspended directly above the center of the factory floor at Marathon Coach Headquarters in Coburg, Oregon, is a large banner that reads: “Our Commitment to Quality Stands Out.” That banner serves as a constant reminder that we cut no corners, and that excellence is expected in every aspect of our operation. It should come as no surprise, then, that quality assurance inspections occur throughout Marathon’s manufacturing process – not just at the end. And when the time does arrive for the final examination of one of our coaches, there is a thorough Executive Walk where Marathon’s executives join our department leaders to pore over the coach in painstaking detail. These procedures further ensure that our clients receive the highest quality luxury coaches on the market.
Coach detailing may seem like a “finishing touch,” but at Marathon, it is very important to us, as we recognize we are handing you a new home. A remarkable average of more than 80 hours are spent on the detailing of every new unit we manufacture – and that figure only represents the final detailing. In fact, Marathon has detailers working on our coaches throughout the entire production process. For example, the coach exterior is washed when it arrives from Prevost before the shell is prepped for paint, and then again just before delivery. And the interior is detailed after every major build-in to ensure the next department has a clean workspace for the next installation.
Our service department in Oregon has two detailers on staff whose responsibilities include coach washing. Whether for paint prep, as a finishing touch after a repolish or wax or as a service to our clients after maintenance or upgrade, our detailers use professional equipment and a spot-free water system for a flawless result. There is even a hose and wand tied to a beam in the wash rack to rinse the roof, keeping your Marathon as dazzling as the day it drove off the lot.