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Old 07-17-2017, 01:04 PM   #1
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Join Date: Oct 2016
Location: Michigan
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Year: 1990
Coachwork: Crown
Chassis: SuperCoach Tandem
Engine: Detroit 6-71 Turbo
Rated Cap: 90
WANTED: Tandem 80's Crown

I've been searching for the perfect Crown for a year or so now, I had a deal all lined up through CL, but the seller backed out at the last minute (They decided they loved the bus too much to let it go). Now that my broken heart has healed, I have cash in hand and I am looking for the perfect bus.

Here are my requirements:
  • 1980's Crown Supercoach (Late 70s or very early 90s maybe acceptable)
  • Original Exterior (ie. no removed windows, doors, etc)
  • Must be 40' Bus with Tandem rear Axle
  • Must have Turbo 6-71 Detroit Diesel
  • Must Be mechanically sound
  • Must have Heat and A/C
  • Must have good Glass
  • Prefer Automatic transmission, but would settle for 10 speed
  • Prefer less than 300K miles
  • Reasonably Priced

Please PM me if you are looking to sell, or if you know of a bus that meets these requirements.
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Old 07-17-2017, 01:38 PM   #2
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Year: 1990
Coachwork: integral
Chassis: Crown Supercoach II (rear engine)
Engine: Detroit 6V92TAC, DDEC 2, Jake brake, Allison HT740
Rated Cap: 37,400 lbs GVWR
My friend's tandem that he recently sold checked all those boxes except for A/C. Finding a Crown with factory A/C narrows down the field considerably. Another friend of mine has a 855 tandem with RTO and A/C, but they're rare buses at best. Good luck!

John
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Old 07-19-2017, 05:03 PM   #3
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Factory installed A/C will be impossible to find. There were only a handful of A/C Crowns built for desert school districts, and I only know of one left in existence. Also, automatic transmissions were not common with 6/71 powered tandems because the bus is so heavy. A twin-drive tandem typically weighs about 4000 lbs more than a 36' single axle Crown.

So it may take a few compromises on your requirements, but hopefully you can find something close.

Cheers,

Dave
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Old 07-19-2017, 05:25 PM   #4
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Good luck on getting those exact specs
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Old 07-23-2017, 03:04 AM   #5
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Location: SoCal
Posts: 178
Year: 1989
Coachwork: Crown Coach
Chassis: 40ft 3-axle 10spd O/D, Factory A/C
Engine: 300hp Cummins 855
Rated Cap: 91
So, do you have a Crown? What is it? We'd all like to see it in your profile. I know of two factory A/C Tandem Crowns (school buses, and that means something) built for a desert district. I have one, and I know where the twin to it is. Both run just fine.
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Old 07-23-2017, 11:54 AM   #6
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Coachwork: Crown & MCI
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Engine: Cummins 855 BCT/6V92TA, RTO-910/HT-740
Rated Cap: 47,000lb/38,000lb GVWR
Hey Crown_Guy, good to see you popping up every now and then.

Yeah, I only know of a certain set of twin Crown school buses that had factory A/C. (And man, what sweet buses those are!) I also know that there was at least one other tandem Crown made that had factory A/C but it was originally a transit style instead of a school bus. I believe it is still being used, or at least was up to a year or so ago for some non-profit veterans thing.

Bottom line is that your list of wants isn't very realistic.

I'd say if you want a tandem Crown that hasn't been molested inside drop off a few requirements. You'll prefer the 855 over the 6-71 in a bus that big. Also, if you must have automatic I've seen some with an Alison HT740, but really, the RR manual 10-speeds are more fun.

Good luck on your search and let us know what you find!
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Old 07-23-2017, 12:00 PM   #7
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if A/C ios the only thing stopping you, then add it unless you are making it a show-bus where everything has to be factory original.

Bus A/C is pretty generic, bracketry systems makes compressor brackets for about anything made.. Burgaflex and easton EZ_clip lines and fittings are designed ot be installed without special tools.. size your condensor and evaporator appropriately.. bolt it all together.. take it to a shop and have it Evac and charged (unless you know someone with the tools to do it).
-Christopher
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Old 07-23-2017, 12:40 PM   #8
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Chassis: SuperCoach Tandem
Engine: Detroit 6-71 Turbo
Rated Cap: 90
Updates

Thanks everyone who has posted responses. I've received a lot of feedback between this forum and a few Facebook groups. The constructive feedback all seems to point in the same direction.

I should be looking for a Tandem with a Turbo 855 Cummins, instead of the Turbo 6-71 Detroit. The 855 has more power and is necessary for highway driving with the tandem Crowns. Especially after the conversion is complete and I've added substantial weight.

Another point of contention has been the request for a automatic transmission. I actually prefer a manual, but I thought an automatic would be nice for my wife and other family and friends. However, In the future I'll be focusing on the 855 Cummins and any transmission will be acceptable.

Also, I've learned that factory A/C is not common enough to have it be on my list of requirements. As CadallicKid suggested it can always be added to the engine, or roof top units can be used.

Again, thank you to everyone who has helped with my Crown search.

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Old 07-23-2017, 05:37 PM   #9
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I think your adjusted requirements make a lot of sense. Factory installed A/C and under 300K are not likely matches to find. I wouldn't limit your search to 855 Cummins tandems, though. That engine was an expensive option over the standard Detroit, so they are rare. It might take two years of searching to find one. Detroit 6/71 tandems with the 10 speed Road Ranger perform fine. The relative power deficit only really shows up on steep mountain roads. If you live in an area where climbing mountain passes isn't a common occurrence, then a Detroit tandem would be fine - and a lot easier to find.

Good luck with your search!

Dave
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Old 07-23-2017, 07:12 PM   #10
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Join Date: Jun 2016
Location: Orange County, CA
Posts: 925
Year: 1990
Coachwork: integral
Chassis: Crown Supercoach II (rear engine)
Engine: Detroit 6V92TAC, DDEC 2, Jake brake, Allison HT740
Rated Cap: 37,400 lbs GVWR
My friend's turbo Detroit Crown tandem with a non-overdrive 10-speed and 4.1 axles (now sold) made it up Tehachapi out of Bakersfield in 9th until he had to slow for a truck. However, its seats were already stripped out, so that's at least half a ton less just there. If you're going to add weight to a Crown, such as doing a full conversion with it, you'll need the extra torque from a 14-liter Cummins. I imagine a fully-converted Detroit tandem with a full load of water and supplies would be slow, but with twice the torque a Big-Cam Cummins doesn't slow much for anything! A few weeks ago several of us were coming back up Cajon Pass in my friend's RTO tandem Crown (with factory A/C!) and we were needing to slow for cars ahead of us while climbing the 6% grade. Fun! You realize at times like that how a 30-year-old Crown or Gillig is still in a league of its own when compared to modern disposabuses with their little pickup truck engines. Nothing beats cubic inches for getting uphill.

John
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Old 07-23-2017, 11:04 PM   #11
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Posts: 178
Year: 1989
Coachwork: Crown Coach
Chassis: 40ft 3-axle 10spd O/D, Factory A/C
Engine: 300hp Cummins 855
Rated Cap: 91
Cascade Crown; My earlier post was for you. Let us know what kind of Crown you have. We'd all like to see it.

Serpent; I'm still around, just not on this forum much. We did all right, with these two, that's for sure. I'm glad to see you are too. I also see you took the plunge into a coach, and just what I'll be looking for as well. I've many miles on -9s and I'll be looking for one with the rare factory re-design to the shift linkage that allowed for 5-spd transmissions to be installed. I've only seen a couple through the years, and they were options for mountain terrain operators who really needed more than the 4-spd. If I can find one in good enough shape I'll slap an RTO1210 in it and drive off into the sunset.

If I can't find one with the factory linkage, I still know how to convert the 4-speed push-pull linkages into a proper 5-speed pattern for use by the RR. I did it once before with my Scenicruiser when all the linkages fell apart at the bulkhead attachment points. The final result was so smooth I could shift that thing with my fingertips and float the gears just as smooth as you please. It was great. Anyway Serpent, lets be sure to keep in touch and, one day I expect I'll be finding myself up in your neck of the woods with my Twin for a family re-union. Have a good one.
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Old 07-24-2017, 01:28 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by Crown_Guy View Post
Cascade Crown; My earlier post was for you. Let us know what kind of Crown you have. We'd all like to see it.
I was wondering who that was directed to. I'm helping a friend assemble a small fleet of Crowns to be used for a specialized transportation service. We have three tandems: A 1983 6-71 with an RT910, a 1986 6-71 with an Allison HT747 (Converted. Originally 5 speed), and a 1986 855 with an Allison HT740.

Cheers,

Dave
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Old 07-25-2017, 07:11 PM   #13
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Posts: 178
Year: 1989
Coachwork: Crown Coach
Chassis: 40ft 3-axle 10spd O/D, Factory A/C
Engine: 300hp Cummins 855
Rated Cap: 91
cascade crown; very nice, I'm so happy someone has found a way to keep using their Crown(s) in service. I've always been trying to interest out of state operators in acquiring and using the Crowns I find around and about. Crowns are built to be used and driven, the more the better. That sounds like a great little fleet and I hope you manage to keep them running for many years to come. I love it when a 30+ year old Crown is still running reliably in daily revenue service, while all the rest of the newer ones are going away after less than 10 years, through rust, or lack of parts, or whatever. When you're done using them for service I'm sure they will have an after-life as one of your principals' private RV. At least that's what I'd be thinking of doing. That way you'd know all about the condition and reliability of what you'd be buying, have your cake and eat it too. If you don't already, it's also a great way to get licensed and drive a Crown, as it was meant to be driven, loaded with people and baggage. They feel and ride quite different when loaded up, and it gives another perspective to how hard they can work and still do it with grace and style. Those who only experience a mostly empty Crown as bought for personal use, miss one of the most endearing qualities built into all of them, their vastly superior ride quality, immense strength, how quiet the body is, no rattles or groans, load carrying ability, and how well designed and balanced the engine, cooling system, and running gear all work under heavy loads. They're fantastic in the mountains and handle like they're on rails in turns. I love to drive in the mountains and the Crowns all seem to enjoy it right along with me. Enjoy your Crowns and keep us informed of how things work out for you with them, I know I'd like to hear about it.
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Old 07-30-2017, 07:29 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Crown_Guy View Post
cascade crown; very nice, I'm so happy someone has found a way to keep using their Crown(s) in service. I've always been trying to interest out of state operators in acquiring and using the Crowns I find around and about. Crowns are built to be used and driven, the more the better. That sounds like a great little fleet and I hope you manage to keep them running for many years to come. .
Thanks! Our intention is to restore these into proud condition and use them for student charters. We see an opportunity/need for that in our area, and it should work out well. I have to say, though, that the biggest motivation for us to start this is the desire to save some of the last of the Crowns being retired out of school service this year. I've been a Crown enthusiast since I was a kid, but until late last year, was completely unaware of the whole sickening situation with these older buses being destroyed due to emissions compliance issues.

I've always heard of the legendary durability of these coaches, but it is quite impressive to experience firsthand how tight and solid these buses feel even with 400K+ miles on them. Three of our four buses were driven up to Washington from the LA area (1200 miles) and they made the trip with no mechanical issues. I don't know of too many other 30-35 year old vehicles with high miles and unknown service histories that you could expect that of.

We're potentially looking for a few more, so if you come across any leads on soon to be retired Crowns, please let me know. So far all of our buses are 40 footers, but we would like a couple 36' 6/71 automatics. I know automatics aren't as cool as the 10 speed buses, but most drivers can't or don't want to drive them these days.

Thanks for the supportive and informative response.

Cheers,

Dave
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Old 07-31-2017, 05:18 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Crown_Guy View Post
cascade crown; very nice, I'm so happy someone has found a way to keep using their Crown(s) in service. I've always been trying to interest out of state operators in acquiring and using the Crowns I find around and about. Crowns are built to be used and driven, the more the better. That sounds like a great little fleet and I hope you manage to keep them running for many years to come. I love it when a 30+ year old Crown is still running reliably in daily revenue service, while all the rest of the newer ones are going away after less than 10 years, through rust, or lack of parts, or whatever. When you're done using them for service I'm sure they will have an after-life as one of your principals' private RV. At least that's what I'd be thinking of doing. That way you'd know all about the condition and reliability of what you'd be buying, have your cake and eat it too. If you don't already, it's also a great way to get licensed and drive a Crown, as it was meant to be driven, loaded with people and baggage. They feel and ride quite different when loaded up, and it gives another perspective to how hard they can work and still do it with grace and style. Those who only experience a mostly empty Crown as bought for personal use, miss one of the most endearing qualities built into all of them, their vastly superior ride quality, immense strength, how quiet the body is, no rattles or groans, load carrying ability, and how well designed and balanced the engine, cooling system, and running gear all work under heavy loads. They're fantastic in the mountains and handle like they're on rails in turns. I love to drive in the mountains and the Crowns all seem to enjoy it right along with me. Enjoy your Crowns and keep us informed of how things work out for you with them, I know I'd like to hear about it.
Send some out here to the east coast I've never even seen one!


FWIW- My AmTran runs and drives amazing and was in service for 22+ years. So I don't think Crown is the only bus that lasts longer than 10 years.
I'll bet if FL had bought Crowns we'd have run em into the ground just like all our other buses.
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Old 07-31-2017, 11:02 AM   #16
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Year: 1966
Coachwork: Ward-AmTran
Chassis: international S-Chassis #1653
Engine: Int. 9.0L 165bhp / AT545
.....and I Looked, and Behold; Probably the only 196x Crown triple-axle Supercoach in Holland, perhaps entire Europe. No idea how it got there but when I was still looking for a school bus to buy I visited this guy who dealt in foreign buses. He had 197x Thomas/International schoolbusses, some lovely greyhounds, a suberb 1960 Setra and....hidden away behind them I glimpsed these unusual curved lines that I'd seen before somewhere. Taking a closer look I instantly recognized the Crown lines ans gazed upon this majetic triple-axle bus. And what a state it was in, no rust to be seen. Heck the previous owner had even painted the engine block. It is still the most beautiful bus I have ever laid my eyes on.

But oh, the price...and the shear size of it making it a disaster on our small roads.
I hope she gets a loving owner some day. *sobs*
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Old 08-01-2017, 04:34 PM   #17
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Posts: 178
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Chassis: 40ft 3-axle 10spd O/D, Factory A/C
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.....and I Looked, and Behold; Probably the only 196x Crown triple-axle Supercoach in Holland, perhaps entire Europe. No idea how it got there but when I was still looking for a school bus to buy I visited this guy who dealt in foreign buses. He had 197x Thomas/International schoolbusses, some lovely greyhounds, a suberb 1960 Setra and....hidden away behind them I glimpsed these unusual curved lines that I'd seen before somewhere. Taking a closer look I instantly recognized the Crown lines ans gazed upon this majetic triple-axle bus. And what a state it was in, no rust to be seen. Heck the previous owner had even painted the engine block. It is still the most beautiful bus I have ever laid my eyes on.

But oh, the price...and the shear size of it making it a disaster on our small roads.
I hope she gets a loving owner some day. *sobs*
Walter, do you have any pics?? Can you get the serial number from the I.D. plate, or the build number located inside the right front wheel wheel. With these numbers, there's is a guy who can locate the original build and who ordered it. This goes as well for Cascade_Crown, in case you're interested in the history of your little fleet. I also know of at least one other Crown (35ft two axle 6-71) that went to Germany. I was involved in getting the bus from the college who sold it, and helping him purchase and train him in how to drive it to Texas for shipping to Germany. I also found a Youtube video of another German guy documenting his trip from Seattle to Jacksonville Fl. There seems to be a few Europeans who appreciate the Crown legacy enough to make the effort to bring some to the Continent. . Crowns can be forever, if taken care of.
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Old 08-16-2017, 11:59 PM   #18
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Posts: 113
Year: 198x
Coachwork: Crown & MCI
Chassis: 40ft Tandem/40ft MC-9 Tag
Engine: Cummins 855 BCT/6V92TA, RTO-910/HT-740
Rated Cap: 47,000lb/38,000lb GVWR
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Originally Posted by Crown_Guy View Post
Cascade Crown; My earlier post was for you. Let us know what kind of Crown you have. We'd all like to see it.

Serpent; I'm still around, just not on this forum much. We did all right, with these two, that's for sure. I'm glad to see you are too. I also see you took the plunge into a coach, and just what I'll be looking for as well. I've many miles on -9s and I'll be looking for one with the rare factory re-design to the shift linkage that allowed for 5-spd transmissions to be installed. I've only seen a couple through the years, and they were options for mountain terrain operators who really needed more than the 4-spd. If I can find one in good enough shape I'll slap an RTO1210 in it and drive off into the sunset.

If I can't find one with the factory linkage, I still know how to convert the 4-speed push-pull linkages into a proper 5-speed pattern for use by the RR. I did it once before with my Scenicruiser when all the linkages fell apart at the bulkhead attachment points. The final result was so smooth I could shift that thing with my fingertips and float the gears just as smooth as you please. It was great. Anyway Serpent, lets be sure to keep in touch and, one day I expect I'll be finding myself up in your neck of the woods with my Twin for a family re-union. Have a good one.
I've been loving my MC9, but that Crown drives like a bat out of hell compared to it. I haven't actually been able to convince myself to change the colors or really 'mess' with the interior much on the Crown; somehow seems too much to mess up for no good reason. ;) Restored the essentials and working on some 'open-space' long term **** mostly after you helped me get it.
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Old 08-22-2017, 09:44 PM   #19
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Join Date: Dec 2013
Location: SoCal
Posts: 178
Year: 1989
Coachwork: Crown Coach
Chassis: 40ft 3-axle 10spd O/D, Factory A/C
Engine: 300hp Cummins 855
Rated Cap: 91
Serpent-- It sounds like you've already experienced the distressing condition caused by split loyalties and the "Split Mind" over which is more fun/enjoyable to drive. The envious and classy magnificence of, air-conditioned, full air-ride, very stylish, and just plain coolness of driving and pulling up in a luxurious Coach, of one make or another. Or the raw driving thrill of what a Crown does for the driver behind the wheel. There isn't anything quite like it, with any other make of bus. I've driven many many of them and I do have a sense for what's special. The Crown is like a high end sports car in that it lets you feel the road like no other, and even the wind in your hair, if you open the drivers side window. All the smells, and sounds as you drive along and you are very intimately in tune with the vehicle as you need to be driving it all the time to get the most out of it. Coaches aren't quite like that, they are cool, but laid back in a way, with you just a little removed from the feel of the road, and no real way to get the outside air in your hair. Most coaches require a little more effort to stay ahead of them and plan your moves due to the suspension system, and even the steering gives it's own inputs. This keeps you pretty much on your toes to "Manage" everything, as a highly involved "Passenger". But a Crown in good mechanical condition where Steering, Shifting, Tires, are all working as designed, the experience is much more along the lines of "Strapping the Crown on" and you becoming an integral part of it, thinking what you want to do, makes it happen as if by magic. For anyone who's never had the chance, please forgive my flight of fancy, but it isn't really an exaggeration to say that Crowns are unique in their ability to put the driver into a position to feel as if he's part of the vehicle. It may sound weird, but it's something I've felt constantly over the years.
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Old 08-23-2017, 06:41 AM   #20
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Serpent-- It sounds like you've already experienced the distressing condition caused by split loyalties and the "Split Mind" over which is more fun/enjoyable to drive. The envious and classy magnificence of, air-conditioned, full air-ride, very stylish, and just plain coolness of driving and pulling up in a luxurious Coach, of one make or another. Or the raw driving thrill of what a Crown does for the driver behind the wheel. There isn't anything quite like it, with any other make of bus. I've driven many many of them and I do have a sense for what's special. The Crown is like a high end sports car in that it lets you feel the road like no other, and even the wind in your hair, if you open the drivers side window. All the smells, and sounds as you drive along and you are very intimately in tune with the vehicle as you need to be driving it all the time to get the most out of it. Coaches aren't quite like that, they are cool, but laid back in a way, with you just a little removed from the feel of the road, and no real way to get the outside air in your hair. Most coaches require a little more effort to stay ahead of them and plan your moves due to the suspension system, and even the steering gives it's own inputs. This keeps you pretty much on your toes to "Manage" everything, as a highly involved "Passenger". But a Crown in good mechanical condition where Steering, Shifting, Tires, are all working as designed, the experience is much more along the lines of "Strapping the Crown on" and you becoming an integral part of it, thinking what you want to do, makes it happen as if by magic. For anyone who's never had the chance, please forgive my flight of fancy, but it isn't really an exaggeration to say that Crowns are unique in their ability to put the driver into a position to feel as if he's part of the vehicle. It may sound weird, but it's something I've felt constantly over the years.
I know exactly what you mean.

I owned a 1968 Crown tandem with a Cummins small cam NHH220 with a turbo and an Allison HT70. It was a wonderful driving bus that could cruise all day at 70 MPH with a full load of passengers. I reconfigured the 15-rows of school bus seats to 14-rows of coach recliners. When I started having some issues with it the bus got parked mostly because it wasn't worth the headache trying to placate the insurance company. At the time in order to get commercial coach insurance there was only two or three companies offering to underwrite the coverage. At that point the insurance companies get to dictate what you can use. The '68 made the average age of my fleet "too old" to insure. ARGHHH!

The MCI that replaced the Crown as the coach in my fleet was okay but it sure didn't drive or ride as well as the Crown. The full air suspension would require crabbing the steering wheel if the wind got very aggressive. Driving the Columbia River Gorge was always interesting.

I later purchased a 1978 Crown with a 6-71T/5-speed that I reconfigured with the coach recliner seats out of the 1968 Crown. I made a LOT of $$$ with that bus. I used it on a daily service route and some charter work. As Crown_Guy pointed out you strapped on the Crown and away you would go.

When I shut my business down (insurance and government regulations made it unprofitable to stay in business) my 1978 Crown was the last bus I sold. I was going to convert that bus into a moho. When my only child was born the year I turned 50 I realized that she would be graduating from college before I could ever get the bus completed.

It is too bad the bus manufacturers don't build a good 35' coach type bus any more. I think there would be a huge market for a bus built like a GM 4104/4106 or an MCI MC-5. With the same running gear as a 40' or 45' coach so you would have parts commonality and the bus would run like a scared rabbit. The school bus trip buses come close but an IC RE/Thomas Saf-T-Liner RE/Blue Bird AARE configured as a commercial coach just never quite make it like a Crown commercial coach did.
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