Curbside Classic: 1946 Chevrolet Hippie Bus – Or Is It Now a Tiny House?

This is just what I needed back in the day, as in the early 70s. I never stayed in in job or place for more than a few weeks or months. And I hated paying rent (no wonder I became a landlord). I’d couch surf, camp, sleep in my car (only in the most dire circumstances given that I had a Corvair and VWs). I talked my way into someone’s attic for a while, and a basement too.

But if I’d had this, I’d have been set. Of course it would have taken a lot more gas money than my VW to go anywhere. I might have ended staying in one place after all.

Whatever. But this recent conversion of a 1946 (or so) Chevy school bus got me to stop and admire the handiwork.

Let’s step back and get a better look at what we have here. The sun was strong and low in the horizon, so my shots are not all very good.

Here’s the pilot house. The steering wheel looks very original; the seat obviously not.

It looks to be a very recent construction, and the interior is still mostly empty.

That stove caught my eye; it’s got to be the smallest wood stove in existence. It’s a miniature, but is obviously functional, given the double-wall chimney and stack up on the roof. Does it burn pellets, perhaps? That’s my guess.

An old treadle sewing machine stand and another old van seat.

The view from the rear window shows the big loft over the cab.

There’s a little porch back there too.

I was curious as to what was under the hood. The original 216 inch Chevy “Stove Bolt” six? Hmm. Let’s take a look.

At first glance, it rather looked that way.

But it’s actually a GMC six, which is a very nice upgrade. The GMX sixes were bigger and tougher, and came in a variety of displacement sizes, from 228 all the way to 302 cubic inches. The 270 was probably the most common one in the 50s, and found its way into quite a few Chevys as well as hot rods. The “Jimmy” was in fact a major force in the immediate post-war years until the Chevy V8 came out, due to its displacement and ohv head.

These engines even found their way into a number of “specials’ like this 1954 Sorrell-Manning,

Needless to say, this is of course just a contemporary version of the classic “hippie bus”, of which there are still several around in Eugene. A lot of genuine early hippies left San Francisco in 1968-1970, and a good number found there way here. just a few blocks from my house, there’s one in a back yard, a testament to their early years.

They really don’t make good vehicles for the hard-core restless, like I was. But that didn’t keep me from wanting one.