Man, hadn't even really thought about a manual! I've got 2 other cars here, both manuals - actually my clutch foot is killing me right now from sitting in LA traffic
I do like a good old fashioned manual transmission though. Food for thought.
The breakdown of costs I was promised via email today never showed up - guess they've gotta brainstorm how to explain it. In the meantime, I got in contact with a Nashville mechanic who's going to swing by and check out the bus tomorrow. Guy's been working on all kinds of diesels for 35 years, has done a number of transmission swaps, etc on school buses, AND sounds more than happy to work on thing. Fingers crossed that the pieces will come together soon. He's also going to check out the prospects of putting an MT643 in there. Whether it's a 643 or a manual, the consensus here seem to be NOT to put another AT545 in there. I'm right there with ya.
Sounds like it takes a bell housing, a cut down driveshaft, and 2 pints of unicorn blood. Shouldn't be a problem.
In the meantime, here she is in all her glory:
And in shame: