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Big Band Bus: 1980 MCI Motorcoach

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If you’re looking to get the band back together, you’ll need a bus to convert into your tour buggy; this is it! This 1980 MCI Crusader II Motorcoach is in Klamath Falls, Oregon and it would be a good one to convert into your party wagon. Touring or camping, either one is possible with this big bus.

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This bus was made by Motor Coach Industries, which was owned by Greyhound from 1958 until the late-1980s when they were purchased themselves and the different companies were spun off like an aging band member’s record contract. You are 100% correct, this bus isn’t something that’s usually shown on Barn Finds. It wasn’t found in a barn and it isn’t an all-original survivor like a lot of the vehicles shown here are; but it is unusual, it’s in great shape, and it’s inexpensive. The conversion possibilities are almost endless here.

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The seller mentions that this would be a great bus for a church group or an RV conversion. The rebuilt transmission has 50,000 miles on it since being rebuilt and the bus has AC, a DVD player, and two monitors. I would probably turn a section of it into a motorcycle / snowmobile hauler and make the rest of it a nice motorhome, but that’s just me.

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This is a 47-passenger layout now but that can be changed, unless you’re starting a tour service or something similar. There’s even a restroom in the back so that’s a plus. Maybe you want to drive paying passengers between two popular cities twice a day, I know people who make a living doing that. You can think of some creative way to use this bus to make money!

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This is the Detroit Diesel Series-92 engine, the 9.0L, 6V92, to be exact. This is a two-stroke cycle, V-block engine. It was totally rebuilt 25,000 miles ago so it’s probably good for another 500,000 before you have to worry about it again. This great bus is found on Craigslist with an asking price of just $7,500! How would you use this bus, would you convert it to a camping-and-classic-car-or-motorcycle-hauling rig or would you keep it for passenger service and start making money with it?


  1. jim s

    it may be inexpensive to buy but ownership would be costly. tags and insurance would be an issue. not sure what you need in the way of a drivers license. still you see them on the road in private use so there must be a work around. nice find.

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    • skloon

      I only need an air brake endorsement in Alberta for mine, insurance is cheap as it is an RV due to having water and a toilet, oil changes are a bit costly though with 50 litres or so, and let’s not talk about tires

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      • Dave Wright

        Semi tires are as cheep or cheeper than the weird sizes used on many RV’s and run 3 times as long. My brother, owns my dads tire shop, just put tires on my duramax dually, the list on a good set of wranglers was close to 200.00 each and I got 70,000 miles out of the last ones. A good semi tire is 350.00 and is good for a couple of hundred thousand. 19.5 RV tiers are at least as expensive and last no longer than pickup tires.

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  2. jim s

    i would like to have the motor for a project.

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    • Dave Wright

      I have owned many buses, you register it as an RV…..mine were….no special drivers licence, these are much cheeper to,own and operate than a large motorhome. Everything is designed for inexpensive safe operation. Semi tires and engine are easy to buy and maintain. I like the MCI’s the best, they have strong steel frames that can handle towing a heavy trailer, standard turning engines unlike the GMC’s that turn left and are mounted transversely. I do prefer a MC-5, they are 35 feet long and a little handier. These are built to strict safety standards unlike a motorhome that becomes a pile of aluminum siding and kindling in a crash.

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  3. Mike

    In Missouri as long as it is titled as a Camping RV or private owner that does not haul passengers, you can tag it as a RV/Camper and you are not required to get a special Driver permit to driver it. In Missouri you can insure them or what is called special use, which means as long as it is sitting or in storage your cost are for liability only. When it is on the go you pay for full coverage. I owned a Motor coach for a few years, that is how I know.

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  4. Sukey

    I drive a transit bus and even the new ones are maintenance pigs that will break you
    You thought owning a big boat was costly ?
    Imagine owning a cruise ship ……

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  5. Bob S

    I’d insulate it, add Propane, heat, make a sealed off room at the back for a dirt bike and a street bike, divide off a portion for ski tuning and live in it year round. That is all the space I would need, The dog would like it too.

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  6. Chebby

    A good ole MC-9! This seems very fairly priced if it’s as good as it looks. Engine and trans rebuild was probably $20k.

    These are great buses and well-maintained they will go the distance. Maintenance is not cheap, as others have pointed out. Cruise ship is an interesting way to put it. My friend who owns an older GM Fishbowl says every time the bus needs anything, it’s $700.

    If you title as a motorhome, you can get around a lot of the commercial requirements but I would recommend Class B training on how to drive it properly. These do surprisingly well off-road too, getting to remote campsites.

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  7. Trickie Dickie Member

    Very Interesting find for this BF site. I learned a lot. And NO, vehicles shown here don’t always have to be covered in bird droppings and three inches of dirt to be featured.

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  8. Alan Brase

    Of course it’s a maintenance pig if you drive it 12 hours a day, 7 days a week. A trip a month might not be so bad. Change the oil one a year, maybe. Let the filter go a couple years. Incredibly over built. 2 cycle detroits were very good performers, would last a long time.

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  9. hhaleblian

    We’re on a mission from God.

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    • Rod_Munch

      Do you think they’d take a microphone in trade?

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  10. Wayne

    Why would you change the oil once a year, but let the filter go for a few years. Filters are cheap compared to engine rebuilds.

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  11. AlphaRoaming.com

    Nobody has mentioned “gallons per mile” fuel costs yet as part of ownership costs…

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    • Dave Wright

      These will get better mileage than a comparable gas motor home, 8V71 in my high geared buses would do over 12 MPG

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  12. Jubjub

    Just love to hear Detroit powered buses. A rare treat anymore.

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  13. Alan Brase

    I love that sound, too. I had a small ag tractor once that had that same sound, a 1959 John Deere 435, had a Detroit 2-53 in it. And a baby supercharger on the side. Detroits are really something. Very good for applications where they need full power all the time, like industrial equipment, light plants, cranes. Usually 4-53 or 6v-53 or 4-71or 6-71 models.

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  14. Stu


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