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Old 04-18-2015, 04:32 PM   #1
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Location: Austin, TX
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Year: 1987
Smile ATXcursions Big Red Tour Bus

Hey Ya'll -

I just joined the forum a few days ago and thought I'd put up a thread about the bus project that we worked on this last summer/fall/winter for my tour company. Just a heads up - I'm not the person who worked on most of the conversion, so I apologize for the lack of technical detail and lack of progress photos from each stage of the conversion.

Summary: We're a tour company based in Austin, TX that is looking to build a fleet of party buses that are Texas-themed and not lame and Vegas-y like your typical neon/big-screen-TV/leather-seats/light-up-stripper-pole party bus.

The bus is an upgrade from our original vehicles. We started the company using Ford passenger vans. We use the bus and our other vehicles for our beer brewery tours and river tubing trips. We needed something that was super durable, easy to clean, and somewhat water resistant (people come in wet after they are done floating the river).

It's a 1987 GMC/Thomas 40 passenger. I'm embarrassed to say I don't have any knowledge about the engine and have never once been under the hood myself.

Here's what it looked like when we got it:


We bought the bus from a group of guys in Houston who used it as a camping/hunting trip vehicle. I don't have any photos of the interior as they had it originally, unfortunately :/

That photo was taken while we were in a small town Walmart parking lot waiting on hearing from a guy who said he was going to repaint it for us. Long story short, we ended up wasting a lot of money and time on him and had a bunch of things stolen from inside the vehicle.

This is how it looked with the first version of it being sanded:


I'll post more shortly here with photos of the interior being stripped out! Hope you guys enjoy the project.
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Old 04-22-2015, 02:05 PM   #2
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Stripping out the interior


Such a nice piece of rubber lining the back. Sad to have to toss it.


The secret to successful bus conversion

It's sitting on a wine barrel that we sanded and poly coated. We're using them as trash cans and storage.
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Old 04-22-2015, 02:20 PM   #3
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Beer- the other bus fuel.
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Old 04-22-2015, 02:21 PM   #4
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Sanding the outside down. Getting down to the original yellow color.


The paint is the one part we didn't do ourselves. The first guy to attempt it was a complete dud - didn't even get past the sanding stage and we had given him several weeks to do it. The second company sanded it, painted it, called us and said they weren't proud of how it looked so they were going to redo it for free. This is them working on sanding:


YAY new paint!





Only thing I'll note about paint is that it is expensive. Literally thousands of dollars. And to do it on your own is extremely difficult due to both skill and just having a clean space to do it in. It's not easy to fit a 40 passenger bus under any roof. Consider yourself fortunate if you have an indoor work area.
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Old 04-22-2015, 02:31 PM   #5
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Paint job looks really great!
I will be spraying mine outdoors. Will just try to pick a day with little wind, wet the area down first, and hope for the best.
Keep up the great work!
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Old 04-22-2015, 03:00 PM   #6
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Shiny

so..you took all the seats out, so you can put others in? me confused
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Old 04-22-2015, 06:24 PM   #7
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I love it.

My wife says it looks like a fire truck bus.

All my cars are red. I love red.

Nat
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