Converted school buses are a common sight in and around Eugene. Perhaps they come to Eugene to pay tribute to the grandaddy of the genre, Ken Kesey’s Further. Or maybe just because of the tolerant, laid-back atmosphere. In any case, seeing buses parked around town with signs of life is hardly worth pulling out the camera anymore. Except when one hears a chicken clucking in the penthouse coop.
There she is, scratching and pecking in her straw bedding. So does here coop have a provision for her daily egg to automatically come sliding down into the kitchen via a chute?
In addition to the coop, there’s a few other things up there. Looks like a big water barrel with a hose coming down into the kitchen. A wheelbarrow, bikes,; is there a rooftop garden too?
Just in case you’re wondering: They’re not lost.
That looks a little scary, but man, the freedom… Im slightly jealous.
Around these parts, repurposed school busses have to be repainted (to not look like school busses).
Love the idea behind this one, tho.
Edit – also love that the ad at the bottom of the article is for Amish-built chicken coops!
I’ll 2nd that. Most jurisdictions would want the Red Lights on the top front and rear & the swing out stop sign removed.
That wheelbase looks like it implies a very heavy engine. Is that the world’s longest rear overhang?
That does look like an extra long school bus, I wonder if they lengthened it somehow.
No; this is a typical full-size school bus; not lengthened.
We are permitted 3Metres behind the rear axis that really looks like more, cool bus though, I still see the odd red and cream education board Bedford getting around though most sport new decor
Back in junior high we used to take the bus to school. Our school district used Crown buses exclusively which were the Peterbilt’s of buses. As proper car nerds my buddies and I would check out the build date of any new-for-the-year or substitute bus. The newer buses were tight as hell and fast. Those Cummins diesels had this wonderful exhaust note that came bellowing out of the single, six or eight inch exhaust. The surprising thing was when we got a 1949 loaner with a gas engine — it was tight too!
Anyway once in a while we would get a bus like the one in this article. It was always such a let down compared to the Crown. Whenever I see one of these I think of a Crown.
During my college years in the late 1980’s, I took a part-time school bus driving gig. I was assigned a 1976 Crown tandem axle 90-passenger (3 per seat) bus very similar to the unit pictured here. It had a Cummins 270 “big cam” turbo-diesel with a 10-speed Fuller Roadranger transmission. The engine was mounted flat–under the floor, amidships—which was a leading Crown Coach marketing point. With the mass of the engine down low between the axles, these buses are virtually impossible to roll over. Apparently, mounting an engine on its side is not a big deal—a new oil pan with modified oil pickup, and few plumbing issues…and voila–it works!
Driving impressions: Indeed a tandem axle school bus is a novelty–one which makes the driver feel very special. The Cummins 270 was plenty of engine for this bus, and 70mph was effortless–though entirely inappropriate for a bus full of 90 children. The shifter linkage was necessarily long–about 20 feet, but all Crown buses were so equipped, and Crown had the engineering right—it worked well.
All three of the tandem axle Crowns at my yard were also equipped with Jacobs “Jake” engine brakes. Since the exhaust exit was horizontal through the bumper on the driver side, I was always ready to blast a tailgater with a very loud decelerative bellow and a windshield full of thick black smoke. It was a very efficient anti-tailgating device!
I also drove a few other Crowns—a 1968 Crown tandem with a “Screamin Jimmy” Detroit 6-71 with a duplex Fuller 8-speed. This was 210 horsepower, and much less satisfying to drive. While Jimmy’s may have been cheap and dependable, the racket was too much for me.
I also spent lots of time behind the wheel of a single rear axle Crown (79 pax)–it was a 1966 model with a lovely 220 Cummins–naturally aspirated. That VERY torquey motor had the most delightful rumbling growl. I especially loved the sound of that monster when it started….and the whole bus twisted and shuttered to life. This bus was equipped with a Fuller 5-speed. It liked to be upshifted at 2000 rpm—and don’t miss that shift point, because you would have great difficulty shifting at other engine speeds.
Obviously, I am a great fan of Crown Coach school buses. A few remain in service in my area (Ventura County, CA). Oxnard Unified is running a Crown tandem with Cummins/10-speed (Unit 23) into Camarillo HS daily. When CA state emission rules finally mandate the retirement of that old dog…I will be shedding a few tears….
Crowns of long ago were originally equipped with enormous Hall-Scott gasoline 6 cylinder engines, but those were prone to crankshaft failure–and consumption of vast quantities of fuel. Cummins and Detroit diesel engines were used throughout the 60s and 70s, with Detroits exclusively in the 80’s. Crown Coach ceased production of these “Twinkie” shaped models in the early 1980’s. CA emission standards were not attainable with the existing engines, so some revised design rear-engine models were made at the end which allowed used of the 6v92 electronic control (and some alt-fuel) Detroits. But the rear engine design left Crown without its prime market differentiator. I believe the last Crown rolled off the Los Angeles assembly line in 1988.
Thanks for your reminiscence of these fabulous Crown buses. I’m long overdue to do a proper in-depth article on them. I used to live in LA in the 70s and 80s, and loved them, including their gnarly exhaust sound.
I’m also long overdue to do an article on Hall-Scott.
I will look forward to your piece. I have physical access to a former LAFD Crown Firecoach…and could likely get up close and personal to Oxnard Unified #23 if you would like some photos. Let me know.
They’re very rare up here. If you can get a nice set of pictures of #23, that would be terrific. No rush….
Having ridden to Jr. High in single axle diesel Crown’s in the mid-1960’s, I have fond memories of the growl of those engines and the hiss of air brakes. Those were built in the late 40’s to early 50’s, so seemed old to me at the time, yet those buses were still in use decades later.
Due to the fact that they were manual transmission and that the drivers were also the mechanics that worked on them, and other school district vehicles, during the school day. they all were men. We did not misbehave.
Had a bus license and an RV that started life as a 59 chevy bus till last year. I have always thought that the buses stuck out too far. There was a lot of steel placed high in the frames for kid protection. Funny thing though. No seatbelt requirements except for some of the short buses.
Back about 10 years ago or so, I drove a 72 passenger school bus for our school division for extra curricular school outings and the odd time as a spare driver on the regular day runs.
Around town, especially when pulling away from a parked position alongside a curb, the extended rear end would swing way out into the boulevard on a sharp pull out into traffic. One had to be mindful of signs, fire hydrants and objects in general, if you didn’t want to have to worry about filling out damage claims and accident reports afterwards.
Also about that time, we bought a used 66 passenger GMC bus for our greenhouse business and used it to haul a 1000 gallon water tank for irrigation.
Used school buses are great if you don’t mind the stigma of a bus as wheels. We painted ours flat black…sort of a mini locomotive. Stopping power was excellent with 4 wheel discs all the way around. However, the slosh of a half full water tank was a little disconcerting at times. 🙂
You know, this rig is not exactly environmentally friendly and then all that extra weight is added to it. c’est la vie.
Anyway this rig is quite cool and I am sure the people who live in this bus are a fascinating group. The driver or drivers have to have an air brake endorsement and in Oregon regular drivers cannot drive a vehicle meant to carry more than 16 total people so there is another endorsement. Not sure how Oregon works, but in New York the owners of buses who have a regular license have to prove to the insurance company there is not seating for more than 15 people (I think seat belts are counted) and even then they assume you will haul more people so your insurance rates are through the roof.
My school district only had one of these International 3800s believe it or not despite these being what I assume is the main bus of the 1990s and 2000s. Instead they had a bunch of International Harvester S-Series, a Thomas Vista and went on a flat nosed rear engined fix with several Thomas SAF-T-Liner ERs, and two Blue Bird TC2000s. Those flat nosed buses kind of sucked for the terrain they had to work in, but the Blue Birds really sucked and that is why the fleet purchaser got fired. Also, the Thomas Vista was somewhat rubbish as well. After that mini fiasco they went gaga for Freightliner FS-65s including two from a canceled order (or display models) with a manual transmission.
hey! this is Us in the Bus. you know it as the chicken bus but her real name is HERE WE GO AGAIN! The chicken on top is Gertie. shes a good layer…2 eggs a day.. rhode island reds are awsome as coop chickens. Our last bus, the In-cog-neat-o had a rooftop garden. We grew tomatos and stawberries and assorted kitchen herbs. hopefully i will have the paint job on her by the end of this summer… plus a nice deck for nude sunbathing on top. we have five new chicks this year, they should be laying by thanksgiving or christmas. much love from HERE WE GO AGAIN!
I see this thread is rather old but I just wanted to say that I love your bus. I see it around Eugene now and then and always make sure to come drive by and see what’s new on the outside =) My husband and I are planning a bus build in the next few years and we always love seeing “the chicken coop bus” (what our kids call it) whilst out adventuring around town. Would love to see inside photos!