Bargain Bus: 1941 Flxible Clipper

Flexible? Fixable? So many ways to confuse this name, but I think I’ve got the correct spelling in the title. And really, it’s a shame I didn’t know this manufactuer’s name since Flxible was one of the largest manufacturers of coaches, ambulances, and even motorcycle sidecars, based in the great state of Ohio. How many of these can there be left? You’ll find this “Clipper” model in need of a savior here on craigslist for $4,000. 

This bus was spotted by loyal Barn Finds reader Olaf E., who seems to have knack for spotting the truly special and / or unusual. There’s not much information on this bus, other than the seller mentioning that the interior has been “gutted” and that the Chevy engine and unnamed transmission don’t have many miles on them. But since the Clipper hasn’t run in many years, both of those facts can quickly become moot points.

If I’m correct that this is indeed a Clipper model, then it was manufactured in two phases beginning in 1937 and ending in 1950. From what I can tell from photos, some of the more distinctive design changes involve that unusual “hump” on the back of the bus: some have vertical taillights while others sport horizontal units. No matter what the list of subtle tweaks looks like, the back of this bus is definitely unique.

From this angle, it looks like this bus may have been inhabited at one point – see the stairs? I suppose it’s possible that the owner was in the midst of restoring the bus and built the stairs for easier access, but whatever its purpose has been for the last few years, it’s apparent that being roadworthy wasn’t a priority. It’s going to take a chunk of change to restore this Flxible, and for that reason, I think the price needs to come down. Should this Clipper be saved?

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Comments

  1. Howard A Member

    May I be the 1st to say, I don’t think this Flxible is fixable.( I always thought that name was missing a vowel) That hump on the back is a popup fresh air vent. I read these had Buick straight 8’s and 4 speeds. I agree, pretty steep price for a poker shack in the woods. Big following for these, and some are done up really nice. I can only imagine what the inside looks ( and smells) like.

    • DrinkinGasoline

      Flixable

    • Dan M

      For copyright reasons they dropped the e on purpose.

    • tm

      That’s a 43-45 Clipper. Our 47 Clipper 29 passenger coach is still on the road in 2016. parked for winter but back out in 2017.

  2. Dave Wright

    That’s no bargain………..

  3. Jeffro

    Atleast the sister didn’t steal the battery. And I didn’t see an Aston Martin parked next to it. It’s the little things that make me smile on the inside!

  4. DrinkinGasoline

    Howard and Jeffro….Reality is larger than life !!! Too funny !!! :)

  5. Skloon

    I have pulled a few McI coaches out of fields this may not be as bad as feared typically over built but years of bodges can be your undoing

  6. Chebby

    Not even for free.

    Beautiful jet-age styling on these old Flexies, but this needs $2,000 worth of tires just to be a roller. Sink $50k in it and you can sell it for 10.

    Somebody else gave up on this one a long time ago.

    • Chebby

      https://simpletire.com/goodyear-295-75r22.5-756817619-tires

      As my friend said about his 1965 GM fishbowl: “Every time it needs something it’s $700.” This bus needs a lot of somethings.

      • Dave Wright

        No one pays retail list for semi tires…….these go on sale for 300-350 each, my brother is a Goodyear dealer, I buy them a bit cheaper than that………not cheep but in an RV (bus) application the average person would never wear them out.

    • Howard A Member

      That’s true. Restoring any truck or bus is big bucks. Suckin’ all the fun out of it.

  7. Chas

    This is definitely a Clipper model, but it looks much later to me, possibly a1948 model.
    @Howard A; the hump on the l back is not a fresh air vent. Rather it is an ingenious engine cooling arrangement. Air is drawn into a scoop on the front of the hump and moves down a channel and past a radiator which is mounted way up high at a 45 degree angle. The air then continues down the channel to the engine compartment and over the engine and then out the bottom of the engine compartment.

    • Howard A Member

      Thanks Chas. I don’t know these things, so I appreciate the knowledge passed along. One site claimed it was a air intake, I just assumed it was for passengers. I suppose it would take in bugs as well as air. Thanks again.

  8. John K

    Rollin’ down the highway in the big ’49
    Leavin’ all my worries and troubles behind
    don’t know where we’re going and I really don’t care
    when the wheels stop rollin’ I’ll know that we’re there

    trouble down in Texas and a scare for the boys
    Made it into Houton just in time to make noise
    Sure got high in Dallas, said “hello Mr. Floor.”
    Good morning Mississippi, I ain’t drinkin’ no more

    – Big Sandy and the Fly Rite Boys. Big ’49 (They use to travel in a ’49 Clipper).

    • john C

      Everybody now !!! Everyone hum a few bars…. Here we go —–>

  9. Ben T. Spanner

    I’ve been to the Flxible concave in Loudenville Ohio where dozens of owners meet with their coaches. Its a small town so the bus parade makes 2 or three laps.

    If you admire a particular coach the owner may invite you in for the grand tour. On conversion was done in the 1950’s as a demo for electric baseboard heat and had a huge on board generator to power the system.

    Lot’s of support for restoration, but buying a running example is probably more cost effective.

    • Dave Wright

      A running example with a Diesel…………..They are fun busses but impractical with any sort of gas power. Didn’t Jay’s mechanic put a 500HP 8V92 in his?

  10. Robert White

    This bus is a major liability cost wise and is not a reasonable investment for anyone in the market for a Vintage Bus. Clearly, it would be much smarter to simply get drunk and burn your paper fiat currency in a steel wastepaper basket whilst watching Cold War Motors(tm) field finds & winter cold starts just for FUN. Moreover, if anyone on BF has $4k to throw away I would appreciate it if you would throw it to me instead of wasting it on scrap metal and mouse turds.

    Sincerely, Bob.

  11. Brad C

    I’d like to buy a vowel… but I bl-w my b-dg-t on this b-s.

  12. jaygryph

    All the good looks of my UltraVan, at only 5 times the weight. :D

  13. RNR

    As seen at the 2013 Gathering of the Faithful…..

    • Neil

      And, it can even defy gravity.

      • Rick R

        It’s a MAGIC bus……(sorry, pot became legal in Massachsetts today)

      • PAW

        Obviously picture has been taken in Australia

  14. David Miraglia

    Being a long time Flx fan. This baby needs work. With tires and a proper paint job she could be a nice static display.

  15. Sebtown

    Saw one last week heading south on Hwy 101 going about 70mph! If was being hauled on the back of a low boy. They always get my attention but remain far down on my list dream purchases.

  16. Jeff

    There’s one parked down the street from me. Has a 454 and manual transmission. Nice bus.

  17. Chad Robinson

    Our local sports teams traveled on a clipper for away games for many many years. I will have to see if I can find a pic somewhere.

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