Burning Man is over (for a while now, actually), and dusty refugees from the Nevada desert can still be seen on the streets. Buses are always popular vehicles of choice, for obvious reasons. The handsome face of this big Blue Bird caught my attention–looks like a locomotive.
This is as big as Blue Birds got, probably 40 feet long. These buses came in both front-engine and rear-engine pusher versions. It’s pretty obvious which this one is; the grille on the front gives it away.
Uh-oh; someone tried to tow something a lot heavier than the bumper was capable of handling; then again, it’s not like school buses normally have hitches attached. This one should have been attached to a solid cross-beam welded to those frame extensions.
Can’t not look inside. To me, that shift lever looks like one used with an Allison six-speed automatic, which was a popular box back in the ’60s and ’70s. I’ll bet that’s Armstrong steering.
Since we’re looking…all the comforts of home, albeit not arranged in the usual ways.
I’m looking at the headlight surrounds on this bus. They resemble those of a 1959 Chevy, but obviously too thick.
I believe if you look at a 1960’s Flxible, the headlight surrounds ARE the same as those used on 1959 Chevys. Anyone know or care to research?
As fas as Bluebird buses go, the air force used lots of them. I rode the Beale shuttle to and from town many times and the base had an interesting Bluebird bus converted to a mobile diner for the base Security Police on flight line duty. They even gave it a name right up in the destination window above the windshield: “Buckley’s Greasy Spoon” – the word “Greasy” had staggered letters which made it funny. Who says the air force didn’t have a sense of humor?
Every time I went to the mailroom, I passed by the SP building and the bus was parked there, I smiled. I loved that name!
The base used both front and rear engine models, too. A few of each painted in USAF ultramarine blue.
Good old bus, no reinforcing beam behind the tow ball epic fail, looks as if its only part way through RV conversion.
I’m guessing that the bent bumper is from trying to pull something that was stuck, rather than too heavy.
Must have been a “Woah! Dude?” moment. There’s a tow hook on the frame.
Kinda has a rolling meth lab quality inside, ala Breaking Bad. My SD used Carpenter and Crown
Yeah, Breaking Bad was the first reference that occurred to me too.
Very nice, but we Hoosiers prefer our old buses to be the products of Wayne or Carpenter. 🙂
Wasn’t that Superior Coach up in Richmond?
I was thinking that it was Wayne. I had thought that Superior was in northwest Ohio. But I could be wrong.
That rear overhang is massive. I wouldn’t want to be captive in traffic next to the right rear blind spot when it makes a left turn and the right rear corner starts swinging out. I’ve never noticed that much overhang on other Bluebird coaches.
BTW, I’ve noticed more dusty Burning Man cars around town this year than ever before … Tacoma’s, Subaru’s, Vanagons, etc.
For the Blue Bird (as well as the other school buses like Superior, Thomas, Wayne), I prefer the conventionnal models, back when we got GMC, Chevrolet, Ford, Dodge and International front ends and engines with Allison automatic transmission. Someone posted some pictures and audio of a 1986 Blue Bird GMC with the Allison transmission.
Is it me or did the Allison autos make an unusual sound when switching gears?
I think the unusual sound is was make the Allison auto something special. Here the sound audio and pictures of old International buses equiped with the 345 V8 with Blue Bird, Thomas, Superior, Wayne, Ward, Carpenter bodies. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aWmu10MUGqM&feature=related
The sound of the DT466 diesel engine heard in other clips cover the Allison transmission noice.
I don’t know – I have never heard you switch gears.
I’m surprised Paul hasn’t done a curbside on a wanderlodge built by blue bird) yet. These were some of the first “luxury” motohomes out there I remember seeing them as a kid in the campground and thinking that is the most awesome camper ever (it was the 80’s)
I sort of did: https://www.curbsideclassic.com/curbside-classics-american/curbside-classic-1957-blue-bird-all-american-bus-the-all-american-dream-comes-in-many-variations-and-colors/
That alluded to them, but if I find a genuine Wanderlodge, I will certainly do a CC on it. Still looking…
I’ve never seen a school bus that big, that’s crazy. I’d be terrified to drive that thing on any road that required turning.
I’ve never heard of “Burning Man”, and the Wikipedia article made my head spin… WTF is this??
Burning Man makes a lot of heads spin.
Think of it as a “mini” 1969 that happens every year.
For people of a certain age (that age being 20s to 30s) Burning Man IS our Woodstock… but it happens every year.
A nearby school district still has some Blue Birds with circular lights. Slow, and loud, but way cooler than the Internationals replacing them. Caught a glimpse of one with a green interior, too. The fire deparment recently practiced their jaws of life on an “aging” bus donated by the school district. Yep, a circle light green interior one.
I LOVE these old Blue Birds, up here in Canada they were called “All Canadian”and the bus company I worked for years back had tons of these things.
IIRC they had the 446 IHC engine that screamed away in the front of the bus and a loooong throw five speed with a circular clutch pedal that required He Man strength to push down. They drank gas like no tomorrow, the steering was heavy as hell,and were generally unpleasant to drive.
The rear engine models,however, were far better, nice and quiet up front and the venerable 3208 CAT diesel pushing from the rear. We brought a pile of those up from LA into Western Canada through Death Valley and not once did they give us any issues, though 100 kmh (60 miles) was as fast as we could get them to go. Haven’t seen them on the streets in years,probably scrap metal by now.
I’m not taking my rat rod bus to burning man
1959 Blue Bird.
Looks like Buddy Holly’s tour bus.