Featuring Farber Specialty Vehicles/Custom Coach

By Bob Miller, NTEA Director of Outreach

This article was published in the February 2018 edition of NTEA News.

NTEA recently visited with Ken Farber, president of Farber Specialty Vehicles/Custom Coach (Columbus, Ohio), which custom designs and builds coach-style bodies on Freightliner front and rear engine rail chassis. Bodies are designed for a wide variety of applications and markets for the mobile service industry.

Farber’s automotive story began in 1920 when N.C. Farber became an authorized Ford and Lincoln Mercury franchise owner in Westerville, Ohio, when a Ford four-door sedan delivered price was $724. In 1948, Don Farber was awarded a franchise for the Tucker automobile and received one of only 50 cars ever manufactured. The Tucker was like no other automobile previously produced, as it featured many safety innovations, including the first pop-out windshield, padded dash, passenger crash chamber and a center headlight which turned with the steering wheel. It was powered by a helicopter engine mounted in the rear of the vehicle and was capable of sustained speeds of 120 mph. 

The first Farber conversions were made to Dodge vans, and introduced at a trailer show in 1969. Van roofs were cut out and extended with fiberglass tops to accommodate stand-up room and camping equipment. During the 1960s, the business diversified into recreational vehicle sales. 

In 1995, the specialty vehicle division moved into an 18,000-square-foot manufacturing facility in Columbus, Ohio.

In 2002, Farber purchased Custom Coach, the original upfitter for premium bus conversions. During the same year, manufacturing operations were relocated to a 50,000-square-foot plant next to Interstate 70 in Columbus.

Today, Farber Specialty Vehicles has more than 150,000 square feet of manufacturing facility space, and more than 110 employees.

Farber’s vehicle lineup provides a wide range of services to customers, including law enforcement, command centers, communication vehicles, mobile health, dental, telemedicine, mammography, bloodmobiles, mobile outreach bookmobiles, computer labs and marketing display units.

The company also specializes in mobile emergency response vehicles, such as mobile SWAT, tactical response, crime scene mobile labs, fire rescue and hazmat. Other offerings target medical support (mobile health outreach, audiology and veterinary services); education (mobile simulation labs and workforce development classrooms); and government (Veterans Affairs, and Homeland Security and catastrophe response vehicles).

Farber is focused on remaining synonymous with innovation, technology, safety and quality. Its collaborative customer service and hands-on design studio put customers in the driver’s seat during the design process — from selecting the right chassis and creating a custom functional array of equipment to install in the unit, to choosing body graphics to get your message out.

The company carries a complete line of parts and optional accessory equipment for customers as well.

As Farber continues to drive the future of the specialty vehicle market, the team is proud to carry forward everything they have imagined, learned and engineered — taking the best of the past and combining it with today’s technology.


Custom body from Farber Specialty Vehicles.

Learn more at farberspecialty.com or call toll-free 800-331-3188 or direct 614-759-2098.