You can blame all of my bus fixation on living in the Pacific Northwest as a kid. When I lived in Illinois, I rode around in conventional Chevrolet C-60 buses and later, International conventionals, buses that had a great heavy-duty nose, but looked like a shed was attached to the back of the cab. I was riding around in a glorified U-haul truck. Living near Seattle, we had Freightliner/Thomas bricks, Gilligs and Crowns, buses that were designed from the start to move people en masse, buses that had some sense of style to them. The Gilligs and Crowns looked classic parked next to the newer buses, and they certainly had the character. You got on a Thomas, you listened to the music the bus driver picked out for you. You rode a Gillig or Crown, you listened as the bus driver did everything in their power to not grind the holy bejeezus out of third gear and you could actually hear prayers or curses being said when they had to start from a dead stop on a hill near the waters of Puget Sound. That kind of thing sticks with you over the years.
I’ve often looked at old Gilligs and Crowns as potential RV-conversion platforms. Gut the rows of Army-spec metal-backed seats, open up the flooring, and get creative and you wind up with an awesome rolling hotel suite. This 1976 Crown Supercoach that currently resides in Arizona is exactly what I mean…look at it for a moment. Keep the black stripe job that all Crowns had and shoot the whole coach in a muted color…Chrysler’s Winchester Gray would look good. Shave the school bus warning lights. Fill in some windows, say from the forward third back, leaving one on each side at the rear. Powdercoat the wheels white, or go find some Alcoas and get some fresh tires on, and prepare to add another half-million miles to the clock at least. With Detroit Diesel power and a five-speed shift-it-yourself kit, the world is yours as long as the rear gears have the legs to stretch out. The shape is as aerodynamic as you’ll get in a bus and you’ll have interested people wherever you go.
Where is that winning lottery ticket at? I’ve got plans for days for this big brick in my head!