After years of talking, and quite some time of searching and seeing a few buses (and having a couple fall through our hands), my partner and I got a bus!
We were looking for a short bus, gas, ideally the GMC/Chevy 6.0L V8 Vortec. We're wanting to build out a road trip warrior/weekend camper, and don't have any plans to live full time in the bus. We would consider doing a cross-country trip at some point to visit family, we'll see. Furthermore, we wanted to mitigate worst-case costs as much as possible - and decided we'd rather put the money into a gas engine (even if needs to be rebuilt in the future) as opposed to a diesel. Mileage was pretty great on the way home, 10-12 MPG - and the bus had no issues getting to 70.
With our price range (ideally 7k max - i.e. including potential travel/mechanic etc. costs) we were finding a lot of late 90s or early 00's shorties, but with really
bad rust etc. (we're in the midwest). Anything newer and with lower rust were selling from 8-12K if not more - depending on if from dealership or private seller. I'd read the shortie market was inflated, but it was nonetheless surprising.
Eventually stumbled upon a fleet maintained 2009 chevy blue bird shortie well within our budget - the owner sent us lots of information and pictures and the rust seemed very manageable (surface rust, but we'll do our best to treat/prevent). We drove to see it the next day (even though it was quite a drive). Some of the rust wasn't ideal, but nothing was flaking or coming apart to even the hardest of screwdriver-proding. We ended up buying it.
Unfortunately, the bus did end up needing a medium-amount of work done at the shop (thanks @Cadliackid for the suggestion on good local mechanics - we went to one of your suggestions); however, the mechanic says it's a nice find and should do us well. Our total costs is just a bit over what we wanted to spend, but overall still significantly lower than any other options we'd looked at.
Here's some shots of the bus. Undecided on names, though I'm really rooting for "Bobbie the Bus".
First step is going to be demo of course. I'll keep this thread updated with our progress. In the meantime, can anyone identify what this under our seat? Doesn't look like most of the heaters I see, if it is that. I can figure it out when we get it back from the shop, I'm just impatient...