Paul’s find the other day of the “Advanced Design” Chevy Hippie Bus once again got me fired up to go see what vintage buses might be out there for sale. This malady of mine usually occurs once a year, and lasts about 24 hours, before reality returns and I realize that I live in Tokyo and the parking space at our home barely fits my Volvo C30. But one can always dream…and a little googling finds some real beauties out there. Which would be your pick?
How about an iconic Flxible Clipper – this one a 1952 Visicoach model. And it has celebrity heritage – it was one of Willie Nelson’s first tour buses. Just imagine how much Platinum Gold still permeates those interior walls. While this bus may be terrestrial-bound, inside those fumes could have you soaring higher than Jeff Bezos or Richard Branson.
There is a large and active Flxible Owners Club that can help find parts so getting this one back on the road could be done, though would likely be a bit expensive. It has no engine, and it might be a little difficult finding a Buick 320 cubic inch straight eight like the one it left the factory with, but you could always go with a CAT or Cummins diesel – a popular modern upgrade.
You’ll have a unique piece of Americana – just ask Jay Leno… Price: $8K.
Americana? What spells Americana better than a GM Old Look bus – this one a 1950 Series 4512. There was no more ubiquitous motor vehicle on American city streets in the decade of the ‘50’s.
Sure, it’s a little rough on the outside, but in what has to be a minor miracle, it retains its factory passenger seating in what appears to be very good condition, and the original ads still remain above the windows.
Could you see yourself behind that big steering wheel? Just remember, it’s big because there’s no power steering. Price: $24K.
OK, those two may be a little too big or too far gone – how about a cute little 1950 Ford B-Series “Shorty” school bus.
It comes with new tires and while not original to the bus, a period-correct flathead V8 which is said to run well.
The seller may be a bit too optimistic here – asking $10K, when the typical price for one in this condition is more like $2K.
Maybe your plan is to modify your bus into a motor home – here’s one already done for you – a 1978 Blue Bird Wanderlodge 33-FC. Blue Bird made these Wanderlodge front-engined, forward control models from 1963 to 89 (the Wanderlodge name was used on a rear-engined model through 2009). No interior pics, but one can imagine the orange shag carpet, strobe lights, and Farrah poster.
This one has a later-model CAT 3208 turbo diesel. While looking clean and well-kept, at least on the outside, the ad states it is “non-operational” and would need to be towed away. Price: $15K.
So, in your “what if” world, which one would you pick?