Wish I could say I stumbled across this forum myself but believe it or not a friend just recently referred me here
I wasn't going to make an official conversion thread since my build is close to the tail end at this point but this person has been insisting I do it and since I still have a ways to go with the interior I'm happy to oblige
So here we go...
It all started this time last year when I watched the Expedition Happiness video that went viral on Facebook. I was immediately intrigued to learn that a 40 ft. school bus could be had for a mere fraction of what they went for new. This got my gears turning and having grown up in North Carolina I immediately remembered hearing that Thomas Buses were manufactured in High Point.
After perusing the internet for some time I came across the state surplus website where I found countless Thomas buses that were selling anywhere from $2500-$4000. The next couple months were spent dilly-dallying and wondering where I was going to keep this monstrosity. During this time I was introduced very serendipitously to a group of hobbyists that worked out of a warehouse in Raleigh. Wouldn't you know it, a couple of these guys had already converted a bus themselves! (though not nearly to the extent you will soon see below). Having arranged a place to work on it, some skilled assistance, and narrowing my search to only a few buses, I decided to finally pull the trigger towards the end of January.
I bought a 1996 Thomas MVP with a Cat 3116 and an MT-643 for $3000 out of Greenville, NC. ODO read 168k and the bus had been decommissioned only the summer before so all service was relatively up to date.
Throughout the build the thought of documenting everything did come to mind, however busying myself with filming, editing, and posting seemed like a largely inefficient way to be spending my time when I could put that energy into the conversion. I took pictures when projects were completed or certain breakthroughs achieved but not for every step as I've seen many people do in these threads.
As I begin to tackle the interior over the coming months I will do a better job documenting the process and be sure to post more frequently on here.
For now, i've taken select shots from my instagram account to post on here but if you want to see more of the "in-between" as well as captions explaining the photos, please feel free to find me: @the.love.bus
My goal with The Love Bus from the get-go was actually two fold. I wanted to create a fully functioning RV that retained all of its school bus essence but also had the capacity to turn into a party on wheels without needing any significant modification. I garnered most of my inspiration from music festivals like Burning Man but there were quite a few bus builds I found on youtube that influenced the design process as well.
I worked on this bus virtually every day for over 9 months and have spent far more than I initially set out to. I've always enjoyed projects/building things and while I can't say this has been a labour of love all the way through, it's definitely been a learning process and I couldn't be happier with the way everything's come together.
At this point you might be asking yourself, WHY The Love Bus?!?
Well, I wanted to name it something I felt would resonate with people no matter who they were. That way, no matter where the bus journeyed to, it would always be well received. Love is universal and everyone reading this is guilty of its embrace, so I chose the name early on and the color purple came later basically because I didn't want a red bus
So far it has managed a cross country trip, Oregon Eclipse, and my deadline which coincidentally enough was Burning Man. Its current home is Los Angeles and in the coming months I will be designing the interior so that it too compliments the name (hint: think fur). Stay tuned my friends...