Howdy all, I am new to the site and think its an awesome resource for bus enthusiasts and their passion!
I grew up in a converted Crown bus and spent my childhood traveling through Mexico and the United States. The reason I'm posting is that my father is getting older and has a converted 1951 Crown Super Coach (Not the one I grew up in) that he is considering selling. I'm trying to get an estimate/ ballpark on its value and see if its worth selling for him.
It has a completely overhauled motor and over the last 11 years approximately $30,000 in work done to it. It has a Cummins 180 diesel motor that is essentially completely rebuilt and original transmission. My dad is nearing 80 and cant remember some of the details, but he has a box full of paperwork on what he had done to it. It also has new tires but has been parked for about two years. I know there are many other details that are not answered here but hoping someone can point me in the right direction.
Engine: Detroit 6V92TAC, DDEC 2, Jake brake, Allison HT740
Rated Cap: 37,400 lbs GVWR
For an oldie like that it could be worth joining the Crown Coach Junkies forum and advertising it there. CCJ also has a Facebook page which is more popular now than their Yahoo forum, but as I don't do FB I can't tell you anything about that side of things! The oldest Crown I know of owned by a CCJ member is a 1955 tandem, the first ever 3-axle school bus, so a 1951 maybe could interest someone there!
The bus is currently in Grand Junction Colorado, but I'm considering driving it out to southern California where I live. I'm headed over to where its being stored tomorrow to take a closer look and take some photos of it and get a better handle on what I'm potentially dealing with.
Most of the Crowns from the early '50's had Hall-Scott gas engines. Those that didn't have H-S power had IHC RD450/501 gas engines. There were a few other engines used but it wasn't a significant number.
By the '60's, and particularly into the '70's gas power was no longer an economical choice. Consequently many owners of Crowns sent their buses back to the factory to be repowered.
The engine of choice for the vast majority of the repowers were Cummins NHH220 because it used the same engine mounts and bell housing as the H-S. It also became the "standard" engine until the Detroit Diesel 6-71 was adapted to run horizontally.
As far as I know no Crown ever used the Cummins C-180 engine. Gillig used it in a lot of RE buses in the '50's and '60's.
Pictures of the bus and of the engine would be very helpful.
Thanks for the responses everyone, there is definitely a wealth of knowledge on these boards!! I am visiting my dad in Grand Junction Co. this weekend for a couple days and will get more photos. From what I can tell the bus did get the diesel conversion but looks like it still has the original 4 speed tranny. I am a shade tree mechanic but don't know too much about diesels.
*sorry about the photo orientation, I'm working from my phone
That's a nice looking early Crown. It's hard say what the market will bear when it comes to pricing a converted Crown. There was a nice early 1960s Crown conversion for sale on here recently that found a buyer. It was a 40 ft tandem Crown with a Cummins 220. Nicely converted, but very 1970s inside. He was asking $6500, and I think he probably got that. That's probably a good reference point for you.
After some challenges with an overgrown tree, turning radius and short driveway, I was able to get the bus on the road and take her for a decent test drive! She started right up after sitting for two years on the inverter. Drove great other than the power. I can see why they used the 220 instead of the 180. I attached photos of everything I thought was relevant. I found a number plate on the tranny that looks like an Allison but couldn't find anything online. I'd be excited to hear if anyone would be able to tell me where the bus went and was originally used. Feel free to comment or hit me up with questions. I don't know alot since my dad is getting older and doesn't remember a lot himself. I did see that he has a very detailed log of everything that he did to the bus and all the mechanical work that was done.
It seems to have been very well taken care of, and no obvious rust or other signs of aging while outdoors. That's a good sign for any potential buyer. One thing though, the transmission is most definitely a 5-spd forward, that's what the "L" means. That's a low gear "granny", if you will, to be used for tough low speed situations where the regular first may not be low enough to pull out. In most cases the L is used as the actual first gear in normal progression, but as I've experienced before, it may be too low, and depending on the engine in use may not be needed. A Detroit 6-71 might need to use "L" for a normal flat road start, while a Hall-Scott 779, or Cummins 220 may not need it to get the bus moving. On uphill starts, the L may be needed, but again in my experience, the gear split between L and 1st is very wide, and the bus will actually slow to a stop before the engine slows down enough to get the thing into 1st gear. Very frustrating and unusually means you have to creep up the hill in the L gear. I've had to do that a few times, and the cars behind me don't appreciate it much I can tell you. That's why most drivers will do anything to keep the bus rolling enough to not have to start on a hill in the lowest gear they have. Power steering was either not very good, or, I hate to use the word perfected, but not really very good, or reliable at the time the bus was made in '51. I've driven several different power steering systems, back in the day, from that era, and they all had quirks and probably maintenance issues that kept them from wide acceptance and fleet usage. The vast majority of Crowns were Armstrong P/S until around the mid to late '60's when a well balanced, for driver feel, and reasonable to maintain system, became available. After all the noise and words about how nice this Crown has been taken care of and represents a fine example of the older builds, I'd have to say that unless you can find a buyer who is specifically looking for one of the earlier year Crowns, the resale value won't be any more than about $5k, if you're real lucky. I hate to say it, because I don't want to see any Crown lost, but you should know that that almost new looking 220 Cummins is worth way more to someone who has need for it, than the whole bus is worth. There's no way that engine has many miles on it, not enough even to get it properly broken in, if it's as truly new/rebuilt as it looks in the pics. If you can manage to hang on to it, and drive and use it for yourself, as converted or updated, you may find it well worth keeping. I live in SoCal and if you do too, as it sounds like, and if you want to keep it, feel free to contact me and I can help get you in touch with other Crown owners, and find info to help you get the most out of owning it. You can use the serial number off the I.D. plate to find out who ordered it originally, and how it was equipped. As John said the CCJ group has a member who can look up the original info from your serial number.