Hello, My Name is Michael Minion. Myself and five friends are wanting to build a Skoolie as a project to work on the next two years before traveling around the United States and back to Canada. I am am the spokesperson for the our little group and Looking forward to learning all I can. Firstly we will need to acquire a bus, We are looking for a 50's -60's bus but have no probleb buying a modern School bus.
~Best Wishes Michael
Sounds like a good trip before you guys all start getting married and then start working in a cubicals until you retire.
The classic buses are getting kind of expensive if they're in decent shape, unless you can find a deal somewhere of course. There have been some classics being listed here lately. What kind of budget are you working with for the bus purchase? You said you've got two years. How thorough of a build are you guys planning? I'll assume you're talking about a 40' bus for six people that's diesel powered. Front engine or rear engine? Dognose? So many choices.
Many of us are getting 18 to 20 year old buses at quite low prices directly from the bus barns. Lots of choices. The problem is getting the specific bus model you want in your local area. Sometimes some of us get lucky and buy locally, but many people drive interstate to get their right bus. People here will often point out buses you might like. They just have to know what to look for.
Unless some of your crew are accomplished mechanics I would stay away from any of the older buses. It isn't that they are harder to work on than newer buses but finding the parts and pieces to make things work is getting pretty difficult for some of the makes.
IHC still supports most of what they have made over the last 100 years. You would be amazed at what is still available at an IC Bus or Navistar truck dealer. Or from your local NAPA, CARQUEST, or O'REILLYS. But I have absolutely no clue where one would start to look for parts for a Studebaker, White Super Power, or REO. It is hard enough to find parts for a Dodge, Chevy/GMC, or Ford.
You will also find that not only do the older buses have brakes that are quite a bit smaller than newer equipment but the engines are also much smaller and have much slower speed gearing. When the top speed is geared down to 47 MPH you don't need nearly as much HP and torque as you would need if the top speed is geared to speeds in excess of 70 MPH.
There are some buses out there that might be what would work for you. Recently someone posted a '60's vintage Crown 10-wheeler for sale that had Cummins power. The price was very attractive. And I know parts and pieces for a Crown are not that difficult to find if you know who and how to ask for parts for one.
Good luck and happy trails to you!
I agree with what cowlitzcoach said for your stated purpose. For traveling the country seeing and experiencing get something as new as you can. Unless you want to spend your travel time and money fixing.
But...........I'm an old fart and think the old White Super Power is one of the prettiest buses ever made.Now that I have the time I would love to find something about my age to spend my time hunting and fixing.
Many of us that are "well aged" grew up making, adapting and repairing. We rebuilt carburetors,water pumps.starters and generators. You could actually go to the local parts store and buy the parts. The parts stores didn't generally sell to the public, dad had a garage. If they did it was at a higher price so the garages could make a profit. Electrical switches could be taken apart and many times repaired, not much plastic was used.
The Older bus's are a dream of ours but are more likely to understand that we will acquire a regular standard school bus. To answer some of you gentleman's questions before I leave for Classes, Our budget for buying (not restoring) the Bus would be a rough max of $5500 Canadian, If there was one that was a reasonable amount above that we would obliviously consider it. For a Build, all we are looking to do inside is to install home build bunk beds at the rear, install a Cabinet and counter with a Coleman Camp Stove built in and couches at the frount before the frount ( as well as installing a new floor and walls for insulation. Dognose bus would be our bus of choice. We are currently on the search for a bus we could buy from western Canada. If anyone has questions for me i would be more then happy to answer the.
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