This 1946 Flxible Bus Is An American Icon That You Can Cruise The Highways With Today!

This 1946 Flxible Bus Is An American Icon That You Can Cruise The Highways With Today!

There are certain vehicles that for reasons of design, timing, or role achieve an iconic status in history and the Flxible Clipper bus is certainly one of them. BangShifter and Drag Week ace Mark Covey sent us the sale link for this 1946 Flxible Clipper (which has been converted into a motorhome) and we think the thing is boss. Like all companies that “make stuff”, there’s some neat history behind the Flxible (yes, that is the way it is spelled) name. The company started in the early 1900s as a manufacturer of motorcycle side cars that had the ability to keep a wheel on the ground even when the motorcycle it was attached to leaned over. The Flexible Motorcycle Side car company was a smash hit and they could barely keep up with demand, but then there was a problem and that problem’s name was Henry Ford.

When the price of a Model T was dropped so low that it was actually cheaper than the motorcycle side cars that the company was making, the writing was on the wall and by the early 1920s the operation had switched gears into converting vehicles into transport buses, building ambulances, hearses, and other custom style vehicles. The bus business became a big success and the company took the Flxible name.

They were cranking buses and introduced the classic Clipper name in 1936 but then WWII broke out and they then went into the production of parts for ships and tanks, ultimately graduating to some complex manufacturing of  blimps and dirigibles. Specifically, they made the control cars, fins, rudders, etc for the aircraft that were used to spot U-boats off the coasts of the USA and elsewhere.

The 1946 Flexible you see below (and above) is cool for several reasons, not the least of which is that it is likely pretty early in the company’s post war construction period. They had spiffed up the design, made it more rounded and aero, created the “smiling face” front end that really endeared these things to people and the company couldn’t build them fast enough. Clippers were built into the 1950s. This bus was likely powered by one of three engines originally. It would have had a Buick straight eight, a Fageol truck engine, or a White truck engine. All of these were serviceable but you can imagine that these things were not exactly merchants of speed. The bus is now powered by what the seller calls an “International” bus engine. The photos don’t clearly indicate what mill is. Maybe you are better than us and can ID it from the photos below. Those engines are literally built like anvils. Power is not huge but reliability is a strong point with the very heavy V8s. Sliding a new engine in wouldn’t be bad as they are “cradle” mounted and the whole works pulls out as a unit. Hello Cummins!

It is pretty rare to see one of these in this type of shape. There are plenty spotted in junkyards and restored to gleaming perfection but to see one in working shape that could use some love is pretty neat. The seller wants significant money for this bus and we bet that he’ll get it. There are LOTS of enthusiasts out there that would give an arm for the chance at making one of these their own.

Let’s hope whoever scores the bus posts plenty of photos of the restoration job!

In the event that the bus sells, here’s the text of the CL listing:

1946 Flxible **WOW!!!**
YES it RUNS!! Same model and year used in the movie ‘RV’ starring Robin Williams. Very solid body.
Strong International Harvester School Bus Engine, approx. 52,000 mi., starts right up
Original Transmission
New Radiator
Needs new tires
Interior is all electric, stove top/oven, refridgerator
AC unit is new
Interior and Exterior Lighting all work
New toilet
Original Owners Manual included with notes from previous owners
Needs serious updating
If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact me show contact info
as is no warranty
will sale fast very very rare


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4 thoughts on “This 1946 Flxible Bus Is An American Icon That You Can Cruise The Highways With Today!

  1. Chevy Hatin' Mad Geordie

    A similar event took place in the UK when the advent of the Mini caused the extinction of 95% of our motorcycle industry. Unfortunately, British motorcycle companies did not have the foresight to diversify and so we were denied our own gems like this.

    I just hope some patchouli-reeking rich acid casualty form the 60s doesn’t turn it in to a replica of “Furthur” the Merry Prankster’s famous school bus – why has my computer grown legs and eyes and it’s winking at me and it’s got an axe and its…….

    Shoulda stayed away from that brown acid, man!

      1. Chevy Hatin' Mad Geordie

        I may have dabbled with mind-altering substances in the 70s – but my brain’s not THAT fried, mate!

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