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Old 10-02-2019, 02:17 PM   #1
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Why are Crown Buses Highly Vaunted? Or, Are They?

I have seen chatter about Crown Busses. Are CBs the Cadillacs of the bus world? If so; why?

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Old 10-02-2019, 02:21 PM   #2
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a lot of collectors like the crown's classic look and the history of them.



the drivetrains on them were solid.. with most of them getting the venerable Detroit Diesel engines, since they were in california mainly many of them lasted a long time as well..



NOTE - dont confuse real crown supercoaches with the "crown by carpenter" which was around in the 90s..
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Old 10-02-2019, 02:26 PM   #3
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They are built heavier built than the typical school bus. They use class 8 pieces in the suspension etc.

And..... The are GORGEOUS!

If my pockets were deep enough I would be driving a Crown tandem with a 671 and an RTO9910.

Unfortunately the budget dictates Bluebird.

There is one for sale near Bellingham WA with an asking price under $6000. If it is in reasonable condition, that is a steal.
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Old 10-02-2019, 02:28 PM   #4
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that one looks decent from its Pics.. no seats is a deal killer for me otherwise id likely fly out to look at it..
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Old 10-02-2019, 02:32 PM   #5
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that one looks decent from its Pics.. no seats is a deal killer for me otherwise id likely fly out to look at it..
Always the rebel

If I could swing the cost of an in-frame and a set of tires and have enough left in the bank to convert it I would be on my way to pick it up right now.
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Old 10-02-2019, 04:22 PM   #6
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Were the engine compartments in the CB larger than the busses of today? Can a Crown "host the venerable 60 series DD engine and B500 Transmission? I may go this way.
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Old 10-02-2019, 04:23 PM   #7
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Sounds like a smoother ride?
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Old 10-02-2019, 04:59 PM   #8
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Were the engine compartments in the CB larger than the busses of today? Can a Crown "host the venerable 60 series DD engine and B500 Transmission? I may go this way.
Crowns already come with class 8 engines.
You can get one with a DD 2 stroke or a Cummins 855.
If you're looking to swap an engine into a crown you're in for some re-thinking the interior as their engines are typically midships and under the floor. They're pancaked engines.
There are RE crowns too.
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Old 10-02-2019, 05:02 PM   #9
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Here are some buses for sale with the exact engine/trans you want-
Eagle Seated Buses for Sale
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Old 10-02-2019, 05:56 PM   #10
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I do not see why you would want to change the engine in a crown. DD or cummins 855 are known to last forever.
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Old 10-02-2019, 05:56 PM   #11
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I don't step in often but to clear the air about Crowns I probably should.

Crown Coach was located in Los Angeles and they were all built here and later in Chino a few miles East until they went under in 1991. All Crowns were engineered and built with such superior quality of materials that all that are still in use today are in better overall condition than any of the new built buses today which use minimal materials with a projected service life of maybe 20 years tops.

Crowns were sold with a 20 year warranty and expected service life measured in decades. The ones still in active commercial service today are ALL at least 28 years old since that was when Crown died. I still drive a Crown in service that was built in 1976 (43 years) and it's just as good today as the day it was built.

If maintained a Crown will last 100 years and still be going strong and many are on track to do exactly that. The main reason is due to the exceptional quality of the engineering and the use of much heavier than usual aluminum skin thickness, structural steel in the frame, (which Crown built in house by the way), all the drive line, engine, transmissions, axles, suspension, electrical, was acquired from many vendors and everything was custom built to customer requests using the most heavy duty components just like on the over the road trucks being made for million miles or more service levels. This is why they are so solid and last so well. Being in the road salt free west coast and concentrated in the SoCal area certainly doesn't hurt either.

Today the legacy of using what amounts to off the self commonly available truck running gears means you can still get most of the parts today since the stuff in a lot of cases is still being made and sold. Forget all that stuff about how a Crown looks and how the "retro" look is what gets the attention, the real magic is whats underneath and how they drive and handle when being used.

I learned to drive 50 years ago in a 35ft two axle Crown with a 6-71 and 5-spd transmission and have been driving variations of the same thing ever since. I have many more accumulative miles driving highway coaches since that's where the work is, but for sheer fun and taking a bus into places most folks would think impossible nothing beats a Crown.

In fact the Crown I still drive in service is the EXACT same configuration as what I learned to drive in. It's gotten so bad today I can't find anyone who can even drive the 5-spd since they only drive automatics today. So sad because most of the fun is DRIVING the Crown and not merely herding/pointing it down the road. If you ever get a chance to see and lay your hands on a Crown in person, and even better get a chance to drive it you'll never again have any questions why they are considered the Roll Royce of all buses. That's not hyperbole either since they were ALL custom built by skilled artisans by hand and each and every one of them shows the results of being hand built. Even the ones built to identical specs for large orders show slight differences due to the slow hand built process.

The point is that if you knew what those of us who have driven or ever had anything to do with Crowns know you would not need to wonder what all the fuss is about.

They are the best and will be running long after most of us are gone. Mine will go to my sons who will drive them for many more decades. Crowns thrive on being driven and the more the better. There isn't anything that handles or performs on the road or in the mountains like a well running Crown it's a sublime exhilarating experience unmatched by anything I've ever driven, and I've driven most everything out there including semi-trucks. Do yourself a favor and track down a Crown that you can see and touch and see for yourself what we mean. After that you may not ever wonder and may even get bitten by the "got to get a Crown" bug. That's not a bad thing.

One other thing is that you hear a lot about how much they cost to buy and keep repaired. The cost of buying one is plenty variable and you can find good deals on occasion. One thing to keep in mind is that that really cheap Crown will probably have a whole lot of deferred maintenance issues with probable serious repair expenses to get it back into safe and reliable service condition. Finding one in well maintained and properly running condition, even though the initial price may be higher, can be a lot cheaper than repairing a nasty one with lots of problems. Repairs will easily surpass whatever initial purchase price was, count on it. An engine job will easily cost $10k or more for serious work. Other repairs are also high priced. A silver lining is that if you are moderately mechanically inclined and don't mind getting your hands dirty you can do a whole lot of the work yourself. Crowns are made to be worked on and they are essentially very simple with few complexities to make life difficult.

The REAL secret is that once you get a Crown into proper safe and reliable running condition you can drive the crap out of it, which I encourage you to do, because that is what they were built to do. The more you drive it the better it likes it. Believe it or not the more you drive it the less likely you'll have trouble with it. Remember that you as a private owner will not ever be able to put on the 50-100k miles a YEAR they were designed to survive. So once you make repairs and stay on top of stuff as they crop up you will probably never again have to spend money for that specific problem again. Routine maintenance oil changes, lube, filters, belts, and such are the majority of the expenses and if done the thing will astound you how well it "just WORKS".

A Crown is legendary for it's reliability and ability to get you home. You can take a Crown with confidence to any corner of this vast land on all kinds of roads and if you take proper care and do scheduled maintenance and have a few parts like belts and filters and tools on board it will keep on running and give you unbelievable good service and take you where you want to go with the confidence that it'll return you safely home again.

That's the real secret of why those of us who run and drive them are so evangelistic about Crowns. We like taking them out on the road and know they will get us home again in style, and we have immense amounts of fun driving them.

I don't see your location but suspect from your questions and interests that you aren't near the West Coast States where Crowns were mostly sold and used. If any farther East than New Mexico almost nobody has ever seen a Crown in person. That's pretty normal and part of what fuels the Legend. Those I've known who have purchased Crowns and taken them home way East from here all report the same phenomenon of being honked at on the interstate and having random people constantly coming up to them at rest stops and wherever they go to ask what it is and admire the beast in person. They may have even heard of Crowns but never seen one in person. It's a real treat for them. I suspect you may be one of those.

Try it for yourself sometime if you can manage to find one and you'll see what we mean. They are truly unique and a cherished part of American automotive history. Good Luck and happy hunting.
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Old 10-02-2019, 06:35 PM   #12
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Thanks so much for sharing all of that and speaking for myself I think they're awesome because of the iconic look but I do know that they are also built like tanks.
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Old 10-02-2019, 06:36 PM   #13
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I am not familiar with the Crown engines.
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Old 10-02-2019, 06:37 PM   #14
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Very informative, Thank you!
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Old 10-02-2019, 07:15 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Crown_Guy View Post
I don't step in often but to clear the air about Crowns I probably should.

Crown Coach was located in Los Angeles and they were all built here and later in Chino a few miles East until they went under in 1991. All Crowns were engineered and built with such superior quality of materials that all that are still in use today are in better overall condition than any of the new built buses today which use minimal materials with a projected service life of maybe 20 years tops.

Crowns were sold with a 20 year warranty and expected service life measured in decades. The ones still in active commercial service today are ALL at least 28 years old since that was when Crown died. I still drive a Crown in service that was built in 1976 (43 years) and it's just as good today as the day it was built.

If maintained a Crown will last 100 years and still be going strong and many are on track to do exactly that. The main reason is due to the exceptional quality of the engineering and the use of much heavier than usual aluminum skin thickness, structural steel in the frame, (which Crown built in house by the way), all the drive line, engine, transmissions, axles, suspension, electrical, was acquired from many vendors and everything was custom built to customer requests using the most heavy duty components just like on the over the road trucks being made for million miles or more service levels. This is why they are so solid and last so well. Being in the road salt free west coast and concentrated in the SoCal area certainly doesn't hurt either.

Today the legacy of using what amounts to off the self commonly available truck running gears means you can still get most of the parts today since the stuff in a lot of cases is still being made and sold. Forget all that stuff about how a Crown looks and how the "retro" look is what gets the attention, the real magic is whats underneath and how they drive and handle when being used.

I learned to drive 50 years ago in a 35ft two axle Crown with a 6-71 and 5-spd transmission and have been driving variations of the same thing ever since. I have many more accumulative miles driving highway coaches since that's where the work is, but for sheer fun and taking a bus into places most folks would think impossible nothing beats a Crown.

In fact the Crown I still drive in service is the EXACT same configuration as what I learned to drive in. It's gotten so bad today I can't find anyone who can even drive the 5-spd since they only drive automatics today. So sad because most of the fun is DRIVING the Crown and not merely herding/pointing it down the road. If you ever get a chance to see and lay your hands on a Crown in person, and even better get a chance to drive it you'll never again have any questions why they are considered the Roll Royce of all buses. That's not hyperbole either since they were ALL custom built by skilled artisans by hand and each and every one of them shows the results of being hand built. Even the ones built to identical specs for large orders show slight differences due to the slow hand built process.

The point is that if you knew what those of us who have driven or ever had anything to do with Crowns know you would not need to wonder what all the fuss is about.

They are the best and will be running long after most of us are gone. Mine will go to my sons who will drive them for many more decades. Crowns thrive on being driven and the more the better. There isn't anything that handles or performs on the road or in the mountains like a well running Crown it's a sublime exhilarating experience unmatched by anything I've ever driven, and I've driven most everything out there including semi-trucks. Do yourself a favor and track down a Crown that you can see and touch and see for yourself what we mean. After that you may not ever wonder and may even get bitten by the "got to get a Crown" bug. That's not a bad thing.

One other thing is that you hear a lot about how much they cost to buy and keep repaired. The cost of buying one is plenty variable and you can find good deals on occasion. One thing to keep in mind is that that really cheap Crown will probably have a whole lot of deferred maintenance issues with probable serious repair expenses to get it back into safe and reliable service condition. Finding one in well maintained and properly running condition, even though the initial price may be higher, can be a lot cheaper than repairing a nasty one with lots of problems. Repairs will easily surpass whatever initial purchase price was, count on it. An engine job will easily cost $10k or more for serious work. Other repairs are also high priced. A silver lining is that if you are moderately mechanically inclined and don't mind getting your hands dirty you can do a whole lot of the work yourself. Crowns are made to be worked on and they are essentially very simple with few complexities to make life difficult.

The REAL secret is that once you get a Crown into proper safe and reliable running condition you can drive the crap out of it, which I encourage you to do, because that is what they were built to do. The more you drive it the better it likes it. Believe it or not the more you drive it the less likely you'll have trouble with it. Remember that you as a private owner will not ever be able to put on the 50-100k miles a YEAR they were designed to survive. So once you make repairs and stay on top of stuff as they crop up you will probably never again have to spend money for that specific problem again. Routine maintenance oil changes, lube, filters, belts, and such are the majority of the expenses and if done the thing will astound you how well it "just WORKS".

A Crown is legendary for it's reliability and ability to get you home. You can take a Crown with confidence to any corner of this vast land on all kinds of roads and if you take proper care and do scheduled maintenance and have a few parts like belts and filters and tools on board it will keep on running and give you unbelievable good service and take you where you want to go with the confidence that it'll return you safely home again.

That's the real secret of why those of us who run and drive them are so evangelistic about Crowns. We like taking them out on the road and know they will get us home again in style, and we have immense amounts of fun driving them.

I don't see your location but suspect from your questions and interests that you aren't near the West Coast States where Crowns were mostly sold and used. If any farther East than New Mexico almost nobody has ever seen a Crown in person. That's pretty normal and part of what fuels the Legend. Those I've known who have purchased Crowns and taken them home way East from here all report the same phenomenon of being honked at on the interstate and having random people constantly coming up to them at rest stops and wherever they go to ask what it is and admire the beast in person. They may have even heard of Crowns but never seen one in person. It's a real treat for them. I suspect you may be one of those.

Try it for yourself sometime if you can manage to find one and you'll see what we mean. They are truly unique and a cherished part of American automotive history. Good Luck and happy hunting.
Very well said I was fortunate to purchase mine directly from a CA School District whom ordered it new. The paperwork even has the 20 year warranty certificate...lol
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Old 10-03-2019, 04:23 AM   #16
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Very well said I was fortunate to purchase mine directly from a CA School District whom ordered it new. The paperwork even has the 20 year warranty certificate...lol
You lucky dawg!
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Old 10-03-2019, 04:37 AM   #17
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I crawled under and walked through quite a few Crowns about ten years ago when they went through Washington State surplus. These were 10 wheel buses with turbo'd 6-71's mated to a mt 643. They went for about $4 k. I would of bought one, but ten tires scared me away. That's 8 drive tires!
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Old 10-12-2019, 04:24 PM   #18
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Gillig made an equal bus!!
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Old 10-12-2019, 06:40 PM   #19
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Gillig made an equal bus!!
Gilligan's made a similar bus in that used a lot of class 8 pieces and had an excellent reputation for reliable and longevity.

When it comes to shear beauty the Crown takes the cake.
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Old 10-13-2019, 03:04 PM   #20
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the crowns are a very nice bus to be sure..
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