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Old 04-04-2020, 08:56 AM   #1
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Need Help Identifying This Bluebird Conversion Skoolie!

A good friend of mine (Slim) just acquired this 1976 Bluebird conversion from a friend of his that all but gave it to him CHEAP as he had nowhere to store the bus and therefore it had to go!

1976 International with a 392 gas V8 and a 5 speed transmission. Not sure yet of the transmission type however the pattern is 1st far left up, reverse far left down. The rest of the shift pattern for 2nd thru 5th is a the typical "H" pattern.

The story goes it was converted in 1990 however it just looks way to 1970's for that to be true. We have not found much if any yellow under the brown paint job indicating a "Skoolie" originally.

The interior finish, fit and condition tend to indicate this conversion was not some "Backyard" conversion. The cabinet fit, trim around the edges, solid condition of the cabinetry, the electric control panel in the front driver's compartment and all indicate professional conversion. There are 2 fuel tanks. One for bus fuel and one for the generator and heater fuel. Other tanks include fresh water, grey water and black water tanks under the bus. There is a 7KW Onan generator on the bus.

The bus runs and drives good with most everything working on the bus. "I" think he overpaid for the bus at $900.00 to git it out of the free storage the previous owner lost but I could be wrong!

The pictures below are how Slim acquired the bus in all its dirty and glory exterior. The inside is in nice original condition!

Please look at the pictures in the Fototime album attached. We would like the vast knowledge of the Skoolie community to give us assistance in just what exactly this bus truly is, was when built and will be in the future for Slim and his family.

Slim and I look forward to hearing your comments and providing us with additional knowledge about this "Skoolie"!

http://www.fototime.com/inv/864C7D2E56CFA95
Attached Images
File Type: jpg 20200322_185813 (1).jpg (135.9 KB, 61 views)
File Type: jpg 20200322_185830.jpg (137.3 KB, 43 views)
File Type: jpg 20200322_185900 (1).jpg (148.1 KB, 38 views)
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Old 04-04-2020, 09:17 AM   #2
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Can't help you with the bus but for the best info on your engine/tranny go here:

General IH Tech | BinderPlanet
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Old 04-04-2020, 09:57 AM   #3
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I believe this bus did originally begin life as a school bus, based on the following clues:


Presence of upper red flashing lights. A purpose-built RV would not have these.
Presence of rear emergency exit door.
Presence of hood mirror brackets and "ribs" along side below the tan stripe (not all school buses had these extra ribs, they were mandated in a few states and/or districts as addition side crash protection).


Blue Bird did manufacture RV's back in the day and called 'em "Wanderlodges" but as far as I'm aware they were all flat-front style and didn't have hoods. Looks to me like a conversion, even if it was a professionally done one. I'd look for some yellow paint under the hood, behind some trim, or somewhere to confirm.
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Old 04-04-2020, 11:03 AM   #4
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Rated Cap: Blue-Bird says 72 pass.
And Wanderlodges, at least the one my friend had, which is the only one I have seen up close, had stainless bodies.
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Old 04-12-2020, 07:42 PM   #5
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Definitely not a Wanderlodge. They typically had huge Ford FT V8s, like the 514 (?) CID in their old cabovers. I have seen pics of this bus before somewhere, but I can't remember when or where.
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Old 04-12-2020, 09:48 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by CHEESE_WAGON View Post
Definitely not a Wanderlodge. They typically had huge Ford FT V8s, like the 514 (?) CID in their old cabovers. I have seen pics of this bus before somewhere, but I can't remember when or where.

Late 1970s would've been around the time they started offering the Cat 3208 V8 diesels in the Wanderlodges. Not sure at what point they switched to the turbo version though.
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Old 04-12-2020, 09:55 PM   #7
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Coachwork: Blue-Bird
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Engine: 5.9 Cummins 12V Mechanical/Allison MT643
Rated Cap: Blue-Bird says 72 pass.
I am not sure what year my friend's was, late 70s sometime, and it had a non-turbo Cat V8. They took it from Texas to Alaska and then to Oregon. He said it was under-powered, but they made it. He died of brain cancer last year, so I can't update my memory of the details.
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Old 04-12-2020, 10:29 PM   #8
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Rated Cap: 71 Passenger- 30,000 lbs.
Looks like Slim got a decent buy ... for $900.00!
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Old 04-13-2020, 06:47 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by WIbluebird View Post
Late 1970s would've been around the time they started offering the Cat 3208 V8 diesels in the Wanderlodges. Not sure at what point they switched to the turbo version though.
Far as I know they never made a Wanderlodge with a hood.
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Old 04-18-2020, 04:33 PM   #10
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Hi Guys.
BB actually did build some motorhomes on buses with a nose,like a schoolie.
I have no idea how many they built but they called them BlueBird Inn's.
It was built to compete with the winnabagos of those time.
I have seen a few, a Ford and a chevy or two,never seen a International,and still have not seen one!
While interesting and very cool,this bus was not a factory conversion by BB.
Also,someone posted the Wanderlodges were stainless skinned,well not really,from 2005-2008 they were stainless,before that no stainless except for some trim.
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Old 04-18-2020, 05:12 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by randydupree View Post
Hi Guys.
BB actually did build some motorhomes on buses with a nose,like a schoolie.
I have no idea how many they built but they called them BlueBird Inn's.
It was built to compete with the winnabagos of those time.
I have seen a few, a Ford and a chevy or two,never seen a International,and still have not seen one!
While interesting and very cool,this bus was not a factory conversion by BB.
Also,someone posted the Wanderlodges were stainless skinned,well not really,from 2005-2008 they were stainless,before that no stainless except for some trim.
I knew they built some pre-wanderlodge motorhomes, but never knew the name. BlueBird INN. I like it. Ronnie should call his the Wayne Inn.
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Old 04-18-2020, 05:35 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by EastCoastCB View Post
I knew they built some pre-wanderlodge motorhomes, but never knew the name. BlueBird INN. I like it. Ronnie should call his the Wayne Inn.



Not pre-wanderlodge,they started that in 1963,the BB Inn was in the early 70's.


Oops,looks like late 60's.
See this.
https://www.wanderlodgeownersgroup.c...ad.php?t=36110
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Old 04-18-2020, 06:13 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by randydupree View Post
Not pre-wanderlodge,they started that in 1963,the BB Inn was in the early 70's.


Oops,looks like late 60's.
See this.
https://www.wanderlodgeownersgroup.c...ad.php?t=36110
Your link works I think but I says I have to sign in to see.
Guess I should join. I'll own a wanderlodge in the not too distant future. Probably this year if I can make a few moves.
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Old 04-18-2020, 06:23 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EastCoastCB View Post
Your link works I think but I says I have to sign in to see.
Guess I should join. I'll own a wanderlodge in the not too distant future. Probably this year if I can make a few moves.
You will not be sorry!
Go ahead and join,its free,
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Old 04-18-2020, 06:37 PM   #15
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my opinion

Think this one was a school bus off the assembly line before it was a motorhome. The upper flashy lights, the mirror bracket on the front right fender, the kind of door to get in and out on the right front... is does not look like a bus company kind of door....... There were at least two companies I know of that did motor home conversions on busses. This is one of those, maybe, the other one I saw was in California many many years ago. I wonder if Custom Coach ever did a conventional?

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Old 04-18-2020, 07:16 PM   #16
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No,Custon Coach never did a school bus conversion,i would bet good money on that.
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