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Old 07-05-2015, 01:09 AM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jul 2015
Location: Rahotu, New Zealand
Posts: 10
Year: 1951
Coachwork: Superior
Chassis: 2000 Chevrolet.
Engine: 400 ci Chev Vortec
Greetings From New Zealand.

Greetings: I'm johnboy, married for 48 years to She Who Must Be Obeyed, and have been around the car/hot-rod scene for more years than I'm prepared to admit to.

Whilst on runs we used to carry a tent with us, and pitch it to sleep alongside the car.

After many years of this She decided we were getting too old to sleep on the ground; so we progressed to a pop-top caravan.
That's one where the roof of the caravan folds backwards; thus doubling it in size, and a canvas top concertinas the full double length of the vehicle.

This proved satisfactory for many years; until She decided we were getting too old to sleep under canvas...so what was to be our next step?

"Why don't we buy a bus, and convert it to a camper?"

So...I didn't want a full length 44 seater, we've had one of them before, and found it to be a pain in the butt in towns when wanting to shop for essentials like food, ciggies, and beer...so I went looking for something smaller.

Due to our hot-rodding background I didn't want a modern English, Scandinavian, or Japanese machine; it had to be early American.

Took me a few years but I finally found a 1951 Ford F5 School bus, at the same time picking up a 2000 lwb dually Chev ute to be used as a donor chassis; ensuring we had later model (and more reliable,) running gear.
Henry made vehicles capable of 60 mph, with lights capable of 50 mph, and with brakes capable of 40 mph.)
Story board #1 follows:


1951 Ford F5 School Bus.

Purchased as a hulk from Desert Classics Texas on 31st March 2009.

At the same time we purchased from another source a 2000 Chevrolet long-wheel-base dually pick-up to be used as the donor chassis and running gear.

These were shipped from California 28th May 2009, arriving in New Zealand late 2010.

They were then trucked to Cox Engineering Te Poi arriving early January 2011, where the work of transferring the Ford Body to the donor chassis, changing it from left-hand-drive to right-hand-drive, changing it from right hand entry to left hand entry, along with other body, mechanical, electrical, and general refurbishment was done.

The chassis is now the lwb 2000 dually Chevrolet, engine is now a 400 cubic inch Vortec with a 5 speed manual gear box behind it, with the Chev back axle. That explains the seeming anomaly of the registration describing it as: 2000 Chevrolet ute Ford bus.

The body is the original 1951 Superior body suitably modified for New Zealand driving conditions.

The interior has been modified to become a motor caravan, and has been certified as being self-contained.

This is not the original vehicle that was running around in the fifties; but it is a piece of history that has been rebuilt and retained for the future.

Many thanks are due to those who have assisted with help and advice during this project, they are in no particular order: Graham Cox, (Cox Engineering,) Willy Roach (Eagle Automotive,) Bryan Cresswell, my fellow Mavericks C. C. members, Richard Cardiff, Rspears and 34_40 of CHR, Ian Scott (Scott’s Panelcraft,) Errol Ward, Robbie Low (Arthur and Low,) our son TJ Norton, Dave Green, (Specialty Cars,) Nigel Fraser, (Classic Auto Repaints,)


Story board #2.


The Baby Elephant.

We spent two years searching the internet for a bus of this type and size. It was found and bought from Desert Classics in Texas March 2009, arriving at Cox Engineering early 2011, in a completely dilapidated and weatherworn state, and with any lettering on the exterior indecipherable.

During refurbishment it was noted that some of its young passengers had pencil graffitied their names onto the ceiling. One young fellow had written: ‘Henry Hamlon, BillingsOklahoma ’55 ’56, age16.” This was our first tangible link to the bus’s history. (This graffiti was photographed, enhanced, transferred to vinyl, and replaced on one ceiling panel.)

With a bit of research we were able to confirm that Billings High School was still extant in Oklahoma, with Perry being the nearest town of any size, so on a trip to the USA in September 2010 we deviated to Perry Oklahoma, where we met and were treated to great hospitality by the locals.

During our brief stay we were able to confirm that this bus did indeed service Billings Independent District High School; and we even got to meet some of the ‘kids’ who had ridden in it.
This was the start of some enduring friendships that continue today.

In August 2012 the bus was deemed ready for Certification so was transported to Nostalgia Motors Hamilton for this to be done. Low Volume Vehicle Technical Assoc. (LVVTA) classed it as a station wagon, albeit a rather large one. But New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) said “No.” And then couldn’t make up their bureaucratic minds as to what it was.

So for thirteen months NZTA did (essentially,) nothing.

And in the meantime the unpainted bus sat outside in the Waikato weather. Deteriorating again.

So…through a friend I contacted the TV programme ‘Fair Go’ who came to interview me 4th September 2013. NZTA Hamilton rang me literally minutes after the TV crew left, to ask me to not go to air. You’re thirteen months too late!

Three working days after the show aired NZTA approved Certification of the bus.

With Certification, registration, and a new CoF it was driven in early September 2013 to Donaldsons at Thames for the interior to be fitted.

And was driven out again 5th June 2014 to Brokers Panel and Paint in Waitara to be painted in its original livery of yellow and black.

Drove it out again 10th September 2014.

It had its debut at the New Plymouth NZ NSRA Nationals 24th October 2014.

~~~~~~~~~~

Just hope I haven't bored you to tears!
jb
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Old 07-05-2015, 07:50 AM   #2
Bus Crazy
 
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Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Moodus, Ct.
Posts: 1,054
Year: 1996
Coachwork: Champion
Chassis: Ford e-450
Engine: 7.3 Powerstroke
Rated Cap: 14
Greetings Kiwis! Wannabe Kiwi here. ( I toured the north island for 3 weeks while racing on your T.A.B. money.) If it wasn't for family getting old and young (grandchildren), I would push everything I own in a pile + torch it + move down there-LOVE the place!
Knowing your kind, that amount of work to make what you want doesn't suprise me at all-and I know it was done by the most capable people out there. (Every good race team out there has a Kiwi or Aussie on it. You guys can make something out of nothing.)
You have GOT to post pics of your bus!
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Old 07-05-2015, 03:30 PM   #3
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jul 2015
Location: Rahotu, New Zealand
Posts: 10
Year: 1951
Coachwork: Superior
Chassis: 2000 Chevrolet.
Engine: 400 ci Chev Vortec
Thanks for the kind words.
I'm not too crash-hot at pictures...when I'm behind a camera I usually manage to photograph my finger...or the grass...or the tops of nearby trees...so I have to rely on pics that others have taken and post links to them.
I'll see what I can do.
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Old 07-05-2015, 08:02 PM   #4
Bus Geek
 
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Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Houston, Texas
Posts: 6,161
Year: 1946
Coachwork: Chevrolet/Wayne
Chassis: 1- 1/2 ton
Engine: Cummins 4BT
Rated Cap: 15
Good tale with a Happy Ending JB. And like the others here, after hearing about what sounds like an amazing transformation...we definitely need pix.

Best of luck mate, can't wait to see this darlin'.
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Old 07-06-2015, 12:35 AM   #5
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jul 2015
Location: Rahotu, New Zealand
Posts: 10
Year: 1951
Coachwork: Superior
Chassis: 2000 Chevrolet.
Engine: 400 ci Chev Vortec
Here's a link to the Fair go programme for a start:

http://tvnz.co.nz/fair-go/waiting-bus-come-video-5580917

You may have to put your cursor on it, press Ctrl and left click to get it to work, and it may take a few moments to 'get into gear' as well.

This clip shows some of our other cars as well.
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I don't need to be told I'm a son of a b***h; I've been one a long time.
The hours are good and there's no heavy lifting.
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Old 07-06-2015, 01:37 AM   #6
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jul 2015
Location: Rahotu, New Zealand
Posts: 10
Year: 1951
Coachwork: Superior
Chassis: 2000 Chevrolet.
Engine: 400 ci Chev Vortec
Here's another link to a Farcebook photo taken in March of this year at Beach Hop Whangamata, a celebration of cars that were on the roads in the sixties and before.

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?f..._t=like_tagged

She looks a little bit different here from the previous clip.

We've not yet finished the interior; we've got the beds, toilet/shower, blinds, curtains etcetera installed to make it liveable, (just,) but haven't yet done much to the 'cockpit' area.
That will be attended to over the next few weeks. (Time and money permitting.)

I've also found that the gear ratios aren't that crash-hot; I've got a 5 sp Chev NV4500 manual box with a diff ratio of 3.42 :1, and the throw between 2nd and 3rd, and 3rd and 4th is too wide...so I've ordered a GearVendor 2 speed so that I can split those shifts.

Will add to this as/when I find more pics.
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I don't need to be told I'm a son of a b***h; I've been one a long time.
The hours are good and there's no heavy lifting.
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Old 07-06-2015, 01:40 AM   #7
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jul 2015
Location: Rahotu, New Zealand
Posts: 10
Year: 1951
Coachwork: Superior
Chassis: 2000 Chevrolet.
Engine: 400 ci Chev Vortec
Smile

johnboy
Thank you for posting! Your post will not be visible until a moderator has approved it for posting.

That's okay; you can rest assured I'm not a spammer.
It's most probably the links that are the problem...they're kosher too!
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johnboy.
I don't need to be told I'm a son of a b***h; I've been one a long time.
The hours are good and there's no heavy lifting.
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Old 07-06-2015, 09:16 AM   #8
Bus Crazy
 
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Join Date: Dec 2014
Location: Russell, Kansas
Posts: 1,114
Year: 1989
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Saf-T-Liner ER
Engine: 3208 CAT/MT643 tranny
Rated Cap: 87
WOW! LOVE the video link. Typical leftists. NO ability to think and WAAAY too chicken to take responsibility. I HATE dealing with inept government pencil pushers. I feel your pain!
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Old 07-06-2015, 09:23 AM   #9
Bus Crazy
 
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Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Andrews,Indiana
Posts: 1,636
Year: 1991
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: AARE
Engine: 3116 Cat 250hp
Rated Cap: Her, me and Molly
I'd love to see your bus, won't watch video (costs too much). Pictures aren't that hard to post.
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Old 07-06-2015, 09:28 AM   #10
Bus Crazy
 
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Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Moodus, Ct.
Posts: 1,054
Year: 1996
Coachwork: Champion
Chassis: Ford e-450
Engine: 7.3 Powerstroke
Rated Cap: 14
From the country that invented common sense-all they needed was a poke.Problem solved the next day.
If that happened over here, the fact that they got called out would have made things take even longer. "We are going to launch an investigation to determine our next course of action. We'll get a committee together within the next couple of months..."
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my bus build http://www.skoolie.net/gallery/Skoolies/Sped
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