1956 GM Greyhound Bus And Other Finds!

And now, it’s time for a grab bag of vehicles being lead by a 1956 Greyhound bus with a pair of Buick station wagons thrown in for good measure. This treasure trove is located in Woodland, California and the whole shebang is available, here on craigslist for $31,500 or each can be bought individually – details to follow. Thanks to Taylor W for this tip!

First up is the Greyhound, also known as a PD-4501, a product of  General Motors Truck and Coach Division – they are commonly referred to as a “Scenicruiser”. The aluminum-skinned futuristic design was based on a prototype design originally penned by industrial designer Raymond Lowey. Offered between 1955 and about 1964, Scenicruiser production totals reached about 1,000 units.

This bus does not appear to have been used in common carrier service for a very long time as the interior resembles something more in line with what a traveling band would have employed – note what looks like bunks, on either side, behind the seats. There is also something resembling a kitchen about 2/3’s of the way back. The seller advises, “bus is a big project but all there, not run in years..” You bet it will be!

While not stated specifically, research indicates that this GM bus series was powered by a pair of four-cylinder diesel engines, utilizing a three-speed manual transmission and a two-speed clutch which allowed for two different three-speed ranges, or six forward speeds. These buses were considered to be trouble-prone by Greyhound and ultimately motivated them to acquire their own bus manufacturer (Motor Coach Industries). This example is available for $3,500.

Next up is a ’52 Buick Super Estate Wagon woodie. Unfortunately, it’s working on being woodless as some of the wood trim is missing and what remains is rather long in the tooth looking – though there are a few decent trim panels on the passenger side. This is actually a pretty rare car as Canada’s “Driving” website states that there were only 1,641 produced in ’52. There are no comprehensive images of this wagon in totality so it’s difficult to gauge its overall condition. It does have a cool-looking wire wheel at its driver’s side rear position though…The seller suggests that this wagon, “is a solid project, perfect for making into a ‘restorod‘”.

It sounds like this wagon is engineless, or at least not running, as the seller states, “sedan included for engine if u want to keep it original”. The sedan looks like a “Special” trim level that could donate its 120 HP, straight-eight, 263 CI engine if it is originality that’s desired. The Buick woodie is $7,500 or the seller will make a “package deal” of $10,000 for the wagon and the sedan.

Third and final is a 1960 Buick LeSabre station wagon modified with a raised roof for ambulance service. Now, this wagon looks pretty good as it has had a recent two-stage repaint over body panels that show to be straight and minus any deterioration – the chrome and trim look good too! I honestly don’t think that I have ever seen a Buick station wagon of this generation and have definitely not encountered one that has been transformed into an ambulance or hearse – apparently, bus and coach manufacturer Flxible was responsible for the conversion.

Under the hood is a rebuilt Buick 401 CI V8 engine but it may not be original to this wagon as a ’60 LeSabre housed a 250 HP, 364 CI V8 as standard equipment. But, considering this wagon’s modified lot in life, perhaps it was built with the larger  325 HP, 401 CI motor.  The interior of the LeSabre is still set up as an ambulance but the seller mentions that he has station wagon seats and rear cargo components to turn this ambulance back into a station wagon – it looks like quite a bit more effort than a simple bolt-in however. The seller has this wagon priced at $18,000.

So there you have it, an interesting collection of unrelated vehicles and one way to try to sell all three via a single ad. They are priced ala carte, but a volume discount may be doable, especially if it includes the bus. And speaking of the bus, how do you end up with something like that? I see value in the LeSabre wagon, assuming that the station wagon seating conversion can be reasonably accomplished; the others I’m not too sure about, how about you?

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Comments

  1. Stephen

    What does it all weigh?

    Like 10
    • Turbo

      Less than my prom date. And waaaay less fun!

      Like 16
  2. Freddy

    I think the pricing seems somewhat optimistic.

    Like 11
  3. george mattar

    I have a friend who owns a body shop. He sold his very nice 67 Corvette to buy a 4501 in about 1979. I told him it was a huge mistake. He never had time to drive his 67, and wanted to make a motor home out of the old Greyhound. He was trying to one up his dad, who had an old GM bus, ooops, they called it a coach, made into a motor home. So, the 67 got sold and I drove him down to central Pennsylvania, some farm and followed him home in that old bus. We got right to work, My first task was to degrease the engine, someone had already replaced the two four cylinder Detroit Diesels with a V692 Detroit. We ripped out the seats and he built a motor home out of it. I remember spending hours sanding the front aluminum bumper to a chrome like finish. Anyway, we have lost touch and I do not know if he still has it. As a young boy in the early 60s, I remember riding to the bus station to take my dad there to go to Idlewild Airport, now Kennedy, for his frequent business trips. He got onto one of these beautiful buses. Ah, memories.

    Like 20
  4. Howard A Member

    “Hail to the bus driver, bus drivin’ man”,,,1st of all, the only reason they had 2 Detroits, is they didn’t have a V8 yet. In most cases, 2 motors WERE better than one, except in this case. I read they ( the 2 motors) were a constant problem. Re-doing a motor coach into a RV is a huge task. While my carpenter old man did several campers, even this would be too much. Then, when finished, there’s the issue of actually driving these barges. I watched an old guy try and get his “Ultimate Behemoth” into a camping spot,,,for like 10 minutes. I thought of making one of my Peterbilts into a motorhome, but gave up. Seems like a royal PITA getting around.

    Like 11
  5. Ron e Bee

    that last wagon seems like a deal

    Like 5
  6. David Miraglia

    I want the 4501 but it would be a restoration project to restore it to its former glory.

    Like 7
  7. Bunky

    My late Uncle Kinsey drove Greyhound for 40 years. Mostly Billings to Seattle. Their longest run. Bet he knew all about the shortcomings of these.
    A good friend of mine remodeled a bus (“coach”) with a Detroit 6V92 into a motorhome. On its maiden voyage it managed 3-4 mpg. Been sitting for years.

    Like 6
  8. Steven O'Shaughnessy

    The Buick woodie is a 1951 since it has no chrome tailfins on the rear fenders and with 4 portholes it’s a Roadmaster which makes this big boy much rarer than the 3 porthole Super model.
    Worth saving since the National Woodie Club uses a 10% survival rate which means if this wagon had a 450 unit run in 51, there are likely only 45 left in the world. That being said, restoring one of these gems is going to be an expensive endeavor.

    Like 4
  9. Spudoo

    There’s a rather thriving old bus collectors scene, so don’t knock it too hard. Check out Bus Grease Monkey ( https://www.youtube.com/c/BusGreaseMonkey/featured ) on YT for some fascinating stuff. That said, lord knows if that Senicruiser is too far gone for restoration. But guaranteed someone would know.

    Like 5
  10. Bob Mck Member

    I may have lost my mind! I really want that bus. Thank goodness my shop doors are not tall enough to get it into the building.

    Like 6
  11. Howie Mueler

    I see Woodland and Woodland Hills are not the same.

  12. Carl Y.

    Detroit Diesel started V8s in ’57 or ’59 with the 71.
    A lot of city busses had the flat 6-71 we called a pancake engine in the dyno room.
    They were a real pain to tune & that old stamped rocker cover was prone to leaks ( being horizontal) , but a super dependable engine.

    Like 1
  13. That Guy

    The twin-four drivetrains were all replaced by V8’s during the time these buses were in service. None exist with that configuration today. Ten or so years ago there was alleged to be a twin-four setup in a scrapyard in California somewhere but I don’t know if that turned out to be correct.

    The Buick ambulance didn’t begin life as a standard station wagon. The tall windshield is the giveaway that it was built on a professional-car chassis, which would have only included a finished driver’s compartment, and maybe the external side sheetmetal. It would have been delivered to the builder sans roof or any other interior.

    Like 5
    • Beel

      Although the Scenicruiser registry site is down at the moment, there’s an active following for these cool busses. There’s some gorgeous conversions. From what I’ve read over the years, yes, all of the dual-motor configurations were swapped out for a conventional drivetrain. Truly labors of love (and check out the bus grease monkey site if you’re into old busses). We’ve owned modern RV’s, so for me personally, they’re not notable motor homes. But you have a very tough chassis that can’t be overloaded. And you don’t need a radio with a two-stroke Detroit Diesel.

      Like 3
      • Jon Rappuhn

        If it’s like any of the two stroke 71 series Detroit’s I’ve operated in various construction rigs, not only do you not need a radio but with any luck the park managers where you stay with it may even pay you for the mosquito fogging service you’ll provide.

        Like 2
      • Beel

        Yes, they’re 8V-71 motors. Here’s one of many Scenicruiser videos at Bus Grease Monkey: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M6akuLvwSTs&t=118s

        This fellow has a more dedicated channel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QlH3OrXcOdM

        Like 1
  14. Motonorm

    The Town of Wallingford, Connecticut Fire Department had a 1960 bright red Buick purpose built ambulance. I loved how it looked sitting out front of the Fire House. It was on duty in the early to mid 60s.

    Like 2

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