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Old 04-18-2019, 11:41 PM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Join Date: Apr 2019
Location: Everywhere
Posts: 14
Year: 1994
Chassis: GMC
Engine: 454 Big Larry
Squally the Trolley

....
"Hey... Woah, now that's a trolley! Not a bus!"
*Crowd roars, some hastily light torches while others sharpen their pitchforks*
....
Me:"But... I just want to hangout and share ideas!!
.
.
OK, are we cool? Can I stay?

Details on the trolley:
Named Squally
1994 GMC 2500 chassis with 6.7l gas engine
big round tail light that says 'STOP'
working bell
...That's most of the important stuff

Details on me:
Named Erik
1994 Human Male
Makes a bunch of art and tries to persuade people to buy it.
*** www.StayWildNeverMild.com ***
Takes pictures, sometimes they are in focus and people like them.
Started mobile life in a Jeep Wrangler TJ converted into a camper, moved into a Chevy g30... Next, a trolley!

1low.jpg

2low.jpg

3low.jpg
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Old 04-19-2019, 10:31 PM   #2
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Join Date: Apr 2019
Location: Everywhere
Posts: 14
Year: 1994
Chassis: GMC
Engine: 454 Big Larry
*So what IS this thing and what did it DO....?*

It's been 6 months since I handed over a small piece of paper and in exchanged received 10,000 lbs of metal and a significant amount of rotted wood. After years of neglect and water leaks, Squally (the trolley) sat lonely in a commercial heavy equipment trading yard begging for someone to come and rescue them.

Some online research and phone calls, I've been able to piece together a reasonably good story of WHAT this silly looking box on wheels got used for...

Most of its life was spent servicing the Cape May - Lewes Ferry in New Jersey / Deleware - after a CarFax report, I see it bounced around from side to side every couple years. An internet search revealed hundreds of pictures from its years of service... Pictures of spooky haunted hayrides, breakfast rides with Santa and Mrs. Claus, historical downtown tours, Coast Gaurd Bootcamp shuttles and fashion photos are all over the internet.
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Old 04-19-2019, 10:51 PM   #3
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Join Date: Dec 2017
Location: Dawsonville, Ga.
Posts: 5,810
Year: 1999
Coachwork: Genesis
Chassis: International
Engine: DT466/3060
Rated Cap: 77
Cool that you found out that much history on it.
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Old 04-19-2019, 11:12 PM   #4
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Join Date: Apr 2019
Location: Everywhere
Posts: 14
Year: 1994
Chassis: GMC
Engine: 454 Big Larry
*So HOW did you get this thing..?*

When I saw Squally for the first time, I fell in love. It was hands down the most unique vehicle I had ever seen in my life. It has charm, it has grit, it has style, and it has a story.

The price was listed at $28,000 when I saw the ad on Craigslist. My friend sent it to me AS A JOKE, and as I would to any joke- laughed. A few weeks later the ad was reposted, but this time for $18,000. How could that be? I sent an email to the seller, my interest was peaked, and I wanted to take a look at this thing. But the asking price was still WAY out of my budget by OVER DOUBLE.

The trolley was at an equipment trader - NOBODY knew anything about it. They got it as part of a larger deal, and it was just sitting around- they wanted it gone. It was somewhat frustrating to have someone show you what could be your most significant investment, project, and commitment to date - and be of no help. They just opened the door and watched me poke, pry and crawl around.

*So who manufactured this?" - "no idea.*
*What does it have for an engine?" - "no idea."
*Where did it come from" - "no idea."
*How much will you take for it" - "no idea, but ill ask the boss."
.
I should have known when the owner reported multiple bus companies coming to inspect the trolley, all of which walked away from- that I was about to get into a much bigger project than anticipated. But I was stoked and knew this was the perfect platform for my camper conversion.

*After meeting with a few banks to see about taking out a loan and eventually selling my soul- I took it home for $11,000. *

yeah!7 (1 of 1).jpg
yeah!5 (1 of 1) copy.jpg

yeah!4 (1 of 1).jpg
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Old 04-19-2019, 11:26 PM   #5
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Join Date: Apr 2019
Location: Everywhere
Posts: 14
Year: 1994
Chassis: GMC
Engine: 454 Big Larry
It sure was fun having seats to drive around 21 of your friends comfortably.. and you can bet I packed as many of my ski bum friends into the back as I could for some late night drives around town! A part of me wishes I enjoyed that phase more than I did. But I didn't get the trolley to give out tours. I got it to create an art studio and a home to live! So the seats came out pretty darn fast. Solid oak, with genuine gum, stuck to the undersides. For sale, $120 each if anyone is interested.

seats (1 of 1).jpg
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Old 04-19-2019, 11:59 PM   #6
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Join Date: Apr 2019
Location: Everywhere
Posts: 14
Year: 1994
Chassis: GMC
Engine: 454 Big Larry
swlow.jpg


*Storytime*

Immediately after getting the trolley, I left for Joshua Tree, CA on assignment to take pictures of an acro yoga and rock climbing retreat. I didn't come back for over a month..

Staying out it California put me behind schedule on getting the trolley livable for the winter season, and there was already a TON of snow in New Hampshire! As a ski photographer, and 18" of white fluffy stuff in the forecast, I threw together the quickest conversion one could imagine. A cheap kerosene heater from Home Depot, a folding table, and a bed I stole from my parent's house. Boom.

Trolley conversion Phase 1.
*It was terrible.*
* Self-reflection.... Yet so much fun...*

inside o me (1 of 1).jpg

heat low.jpg

Although the skiing was EPIC, the living was the worst. Seriously. Kerosene heat + sub-zero temps + late night makeout sessions with the ski bunny staying with you + snowy ski gear + 60 glass windows = the worst case of freezing condensation you can imagine.

Every morning I would scrape THE INSIDE of the trolley windows and accumulate around 3 modest snowball-sized heaps of frost into a bowl and toss it out the window. Hilarious. Yet, not a sustainable way to live. So I drove south back to the workshop to build Phase 2.


Did I mention the trolley doesn't have any heat? Ya. It was COLD.

Picture taken after driving a drafty trolley 4 hours on the highway in a snowstorm, thank goodness for loud electronic music to keep the blood flowing, otherwise, I'd have gone entirely hypothermic-

itscold (1 of 1).jpg
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Old 04-20-2019, 12:35 AM   #7
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Join Date: Apr 2019
Location: Everywhere
Posts: 14
Year: 1994
Chassis: GMC
Engine: 454 Big Larry
*So where are you at NOW..? (Part 1)

It's been 3 months of deconstruction. Early morning, late nights. Where has the time gone? What month is it? How did I get here? Yikes. I think this project is making me crazy.

Initially, I only wanted to fix walls that were affected by water leaks. Easy enough, Right? Wrong. The damage was unimaginably worse.

The rear windows are removable - when it was beautiful and sunny, 6 bolts would quickly remove the entire window structure to reveal a giant view hole - "YAY, LETS GO FOR A TROLLEY RIDE!" But the foam gasket that sealed that gaping hole got as dry as an old kitchen sponge and water would leak right in with every rainstorm.

After removing the window brackets, I found all the wood had decomposed to an unrecognizable state. Mushrooms of some sorta were growing behind it and there was mold everywhere. Pictures show damage better than words.

mold3.jpg

mold1.jpg

mold2.jpg
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Old 04-20-2019, 12:56 AM   #8
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Join Date: Apr 2019
Location: Everywhere
Posts: 14
Year: 1994
Chassis: GMC
Engine: 454 Big Larry
*So where are you at NOW..? (Part 2)

As I made progress on taking the walls apart, evaluating the damage (Which turns out to be EVERYTHING) I notice the floor was spongy... I crawl underneath, and it appears to be metal. How can that be?

*Deep sigh..*
*It was not metal...*

The floor was fiberglass. Above that, wood, and that - had become rotted as well. Spongy, water saturated, and moldy as can be. So it all came up. Which, involved a painstaking estimated 40+ hours of human-powered effort to remove every screw (there was over 300) filled with glue or rust, that needed to get removed.

floor tikes 2.jpg

floor yike.jpg

At this point, I am down to the frame. The sub skeletal structure of the trolly body is welded to the frame, so I can't take it apart anymore... I think I finally removed all the rotting wood! Besides the ceiling, there are only a few pieces of wood left: the dash, and the instrument panel.

*Ha... Haha...*
*Crazy eyes, hands shaking, lots of sweat and bloody knuckles."

It should be mostly forward-ish progress from here.

The picture was taken today of my dad helping prep the frame for paint.

floor yikes 3.jpg
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Old 04-20-2019, 02:15 AM   #9
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Join Date: Sep 2015
Posts: 491
Year: 2002
Coachwork: Thomas Built Bus
Chassis: Freightliner FS65
Engine: Caterpillar 3126E Diesel
Rated Cap: 71 Passenger- 30,000 lbs.
Looks like you are living up to your tag line ... stay wild.


You have one wild ride there. It is a gem and will be even moreso once you are done with it!
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Old 04-20-2019, 08:08 AM   #10
Bus Crazy
 
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Join Date: Nov 2018
Location: south east BC, close to the Canadian/US border
Posts: 1,069
Chassis: still looking for my bus
very unique - I'm looking forward to following the build
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