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Old 04-09-2012, 10:38 PM   #1
Bus Crazy
ol trunt's Avatar
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: So Cal
Posts: 2,066
Year: 1935
Coachwork: Superior
Chassis: Chevy
Engine: 317 ci/tid / Isuzu
1935 Chevy school bus

Time to lurk no longer! I hope my follies prove to be amusing. It all began when a friend returned from Hot August Nights in Reno Nevada in 2009. I was gifted with a commemorative tape measure and two color Xerox sheets showing various 50ís restorable cars. I know my friend expected me to get excited over a couple of 57 Chevy Bel-aires, but what caught my eye was a little yellow 1935 Chevy school bus! I live in Oxnard, Ca (near Santa Barbara) and promptly drove to Bend, Oregon to buy the bus. It was not to be as the PO sold it out from under me before I got to Bend! I next located a 57 Chevy school bus in northern Washington State near the Canadian border. The seller assured me that the bus was in good drivable condition so after agreeing on a price subject to my inspection, another friend and I set out to drive the bus back to Ca. The bus was worthless. I did get it to start only to discover that the brakes when applied allowed the pedal to pass through the floor board and on to the ground! So much for that busóbut it was a fun trip! Finally, in March of 2010, I located a bus (via e-bay) near Salt Lake City, Utah. I spoke at length to the PO of over 17 years and felt confident that I had found my bus. I was thrilled when the bus was delivered as it was in much better condition than I had been led to believeóit started right up and the brakes worked just fine.

The plot thickens. While I drive a big Ford sedan at work and find it to be an excellent car, I had my heart set on a Chevy school bus and the one I purchased ended up being a 22 foot long 1936 Ford (with a Chevy 327 v/8 and TH 400 trans). Sooo, I began looking for a 35 Chevy 1.5 ton cab and chassis. I found one located in where else but Reno, Nevada and had it shipped to Oxnard. I was able to sell the Chevy 327/AT as well as the complete frame and front sheet metal from the 36 Ford and the Stove Bolt six cyl from the 35 Chevy. This left me with a Superior bus body and the sheet metal from the 35 1.5 ton Chevy. Thanks to a little magic from the DMV I now have a 1935 Chevy motor home!

I probably should have called it good at that point and gotten on with the project. The operative word here is SHOULD, but I didnít. Since I will want to be able to drive my MH anywhere as well as to tow a dingy, I searched for a modern chassis and driveline to put under the bus body. I settled for a 2005 Chevy W3500 317 CID Turbo diesel with only 39000 miles on it (junk sale in Tucson, AZ more shipping- oh well).

Fast forward to January, 2011. The dingy I had in mind needed to compliment the ďart decoĒ look of the school bus. While mulling this over I stumbled upon a 1959 Morris Minor Traveller woodie wagon for only $200 and only 350 miles away. The lines of the MM look a lot like the school bus what with its tear drop fenders and rounded body. These little cars were built by the folks who built the MG sports carówell known for a strong but none too powerful motor, cruddy transmission and smoke producing Lucas electrical systems. I jumped right on it!

It did not take me long to decide that Iíd have to find some other platform to put the MM on if I ever wanted to use it for my Toad. Who says you canít go backóat least to Salt Lake City! Yup, I found a 1989 Chevy Geo Tracker 4x4 with EFI, an automatic Trans and A/C that looked pretty good. No shipping this time. In an effort to burn up yet another friendship, two of us headed out to pick up the Geo using my S-10 pick-up and a tow dolly. Donít do thisóat least donít do it in January in a snow storm with a rented dolly! Itís been almost a year and a half and I still am not quite over the pucker factor.

Not unlike those other guys I have laughed at, I immediately tore up the bus, both trucks, the MM and the Geo. While most of the parts languished for most of last year, I did manage to complete the Toad and begin acquiring parts for the MH conversion. Oh yea, I almost forgot the 25 foot fifth wheel I was givenóI tore that up in my driveway and scrapped the S&S stuff. While free is good, I canít believe how much work it took to strip the thing out and get it scrapped. The ones Iíve seen wrecked on the highway seem to have explodedómaybe I should have added a little speed!?!

Now, two years after my bus purchase, I am actually beginning to build my conversion. I have retired (except for two days a week) and hopefully Iíll finally get something done.
I plan to chronicle my wins and losses and provide photos along the way. Iíll start by offering a hodge podge of pics that sort of cover my start to date.

Iíve really enjoyed this forum and I hope I can contribute here and there. Thanks Jack AKA ol trunt ... ool%20bus/
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Old 04-10-2012, 09:31 AM   #2
Bus Geek
Tango's Avatar
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Houston, Texas
Posts: 7,329
Year: 1946
Coachwork: Chevrolet/Wayne
Chassis: 1- 1/2 ton
Engine: Cummins 4BT
Rated Cap: 15
Re: 1935 Chevy school bus

ol trunt --- Welcome to the Madhouse! For someone "retired", it appears you have plenty of work to do! Great finds all and this looks like a story everyone here will be enjoying for a while. And judging by what I've seen so far, you have the skills to pull all of these projects together. Always happy to see another Art Deco Chevy Shorty in the works, and yours is even older than mine. Best of luck on the builds and keep the images coming...we love to watch other people work.
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Old 04-10-2012, 10:58 AM   #3
Bus Crazy
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Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Moodus, Ct.
Posts: 1,061
Year: 1996
Coachwork: Champion
Chassis: Ford e-450
Engine: 7.3 Powerstroke
Rated Cap: 14
Re: 1935 Chevy school bus

Have you been this lazy your whole life-or just since you retired?
Welcome! With your ambition + skill level, I'm betting your bus will be a work of art when finished!
More pics!
Don't make a fuss-just get on the bus!

my bus build
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