Coach Converted: 1948 Greyhound Bus

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$20,000 buys you this custom-coach-converted Greyhound bus, affectionately known as a “Silversides” model that may or may not also be considered a GM PD-3751 by old-school bus enthusiasts. That’s a lot of names for a solitary bus, especially one that hasn’t done passenger duty in decades, but at least someone is keeping this example here on craigslist alive by converting it to R/V use. 

Thanks to Barn Finds reader Ikey H. for the find, which is listed on craigslist in Minneapolis. The seller provides relatively few details on this unusual conversion, which doesn’t appear to be a pristine show-quality example. It’s odd – I’ve found a site in the last few weeks that almost exclusively hawks bus conversions like this, but those listings were all very high-grade and fairly big money. This one looks a bit rough around the edges, which makes me wonder if it’s a backyard conversion.

The workmanship inside the bus looks decent, but not necessarily restoration-shop quality. The cabinetry is basic but presentable, and the fridge looks plenty old. The carpeting looks tired in places, and there are no photos of sleeping quarters (perhaps that’s what at the end of the hallway in this picture). As to why you’d choose this over a lightly used Sprinter R/V, well – I’m not sure. Perhaps the art deco design of the ’48 GM pushed the owner to convert a bus rather than buy a slab-sided van.

Up front, replacement bucket seats have been added in place of the original bus driver’s seat. The cabin is not luxurious, either, which further cements my believe an amateur performed this conversion, as most restoration shops will try to gussy areas like this up. Still, it’s an interesting option for folks who like to camp or cruise, but it likely lacks some of the modern conveniences we’re used to – not that that’s a bad thing.

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Comments

  1. Howard A. Howard AMember

    Pretty cool bus, not mentioned what is powering it. If it’s original, it’s the 6 cylinder Detroit. Placed sideways, it had a unique angle drive, and that is the original shift lever. These were 3 speeds on the column,( 35 ft. of shifting rods) and reverse was electrically operated. Not sure if these were the ones with a microphone, instead of a tachometer, early buses had that. One could ditch the motor, but as a motorhome, it probably does ok. I see people living in buses all the time here in Colorado. These were built to roll, each one providing millions of miles or service. I really like this,,,, Detroit? Meh, I’ve lived with them before.

    Like 15
    • Ed P

      Didn’t these have overdrive to give them 6 speeds ?

      Like 3
      • mike

        nope 4 spd on the tree. For reverse you put it in first, held the electric button down and brought it back into second. The tricky part was you were backing up in the 2nd gear ratio. Hard to back up hill but you could go 30 mph in reverse.

        Like 3
      • Howard A. Howard AMember

        Maybe. It could be a 4 speed on the column. I’ve driven trucks with the 2 speed rear axle switch on the dash.

        Like 3
      • BR

        Question for Mike:
        Please explain how that Spicer 8500 four-speed crash box can possibly be in two gears at once (2nd & rev.)? There is only one mainshaft and one countershaft.
        Four and five speed column shifts are not uncommon. Beginning in the mid ’60’s many tilt cab trucks had them.

        Like 0
  2. That Guy

    I’d guess this was a professional job, but many years ago. It looks like it would clean up well, with just some detail changes to lighting, upholstery, and carpeting.

    Others will be more knowledgeable about the mechanics than me. I don’t know how usable a 70-year-old bus with the original drivetrain would be today. Although it was designed for long-distance travel, this predates modern highways and I suspect it would get tiresome driving this thing today.

    Like 8
  3. Chinga-Trailer

    Which is more tiring, driving one of these old buses, or following one through the mountains without an opportunity to pass?

    Like 17
    • Howard A. Howard AMember

      Didn’t have that problem in the 50′ and 60’s. It’s why dual quads were an option.

      Like 5
  4. Mike

    Just like any senior, the belt line is up pretty high.

    Like 18
  5. IkeyHeyman

    I owned a school bus camper conversion years ago with a couple other guys, and I enjoyed driving that. Always wanted to drive one of these big boys!

    Like 4
  6. Kenneth Carney

    Sure wished we had one of these when
    my band and I were playing on the road
    50 years ago. Yeah, we had a converted school bus,, but it’s just not the same.
    This thing oozes a whole lot of class for
    what it is. Would make a great trip vehicle for a family vacation. Reminds
    me of Charles Kirault and how he traveled
    around the country in one of these. Just
    turn off your phone, look out the window
    and watch the scenery drift lazily by. It
    just might be what the doctor ordered!
    Maybe I can get him to prescribe one of
    these for me.

    Like 12
    • Graham

      “…look out of the window….” Hmmmm – the driver’s view to the left is virtually non-existent without craning the neck back or forwards. No scenery view there, much less that of traffic coming from the left at an intersection?

      Like 1
      • BR

        Armchair comment for sure. You have to actually sit in the seat to fully appreciate it.

        Like 5
  7. CanuckCarGuy

    So, rather than building a tiny house…I could buy this and own a tinny house?

    Like 11
    • Tamela Robinson

      Yes you can i have a 1953 and im obsessed with it its so fun to learn to do custom work when you dont know how and it turns out professional

      Like 0
  8. Mountainwoodie

    Judging by the interior this was done in the late sixties to early seventies……. formica and plywood. But the deco design is beyond cool……..with enough money you could modernize the interior……..and be the coolest guy in the KOA campground

    Like 7
  9. Mike

    It is a 4 speed trans.

    Like 4
    • Howard A. Howard AMember

      Thanks, Mike.

      Like 2
  10. Chuck

    More than likely a Detroit 6-71engine. It was a 2 stroke diesel, and they had lots of torque! I drove a 2500 gallon fire truck tanker with one in it! It would go down the road ok, however it had 2, 60 gallon fuel tanks, which it really needed! The fuel economy on these things terrible, however, in 1948, and I’m guessing, Diesel was probably less than .15 a gallon. They also had 2 engine shut off controls. One was a fuel shut off, the other closed the air intake, because Detroit’s were noted for losing the rotor seals on the blower, and running on crankcase lubricating oil. In that condition, the engine ran until it either ran out of oil, or blew up! Shut the air off to it, and it would stop!

    Like 11
    • John

      This YouTube video from yesterday of a Detroit 16v71 demonstrates the points that Chuck makes here, as the engine is pushed into its death, re-born, and then really killed: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JxLb3Yqqds4

      Like 2
      • Chuck

        Hi John, Thanks for the video of the Detroit Diesel. A lot of people don’t realize that Detroits were used in generating plants for off grid use, for marine use, and anywhere they needed a prime mover! Medium speed Detroits ran between 300 & 900 RPM. The nice thing about a Detroit, is that it produces a lot of power in the lower RPM range. It was not uncommon to see a 1200 or even a 900 RPM generator with a Detroit engine. They were very common in fire department use, because they were fast compared to trucks with a 4 stroke diesel. Another reason they were popular in fire use is once set up, they would run even if the electrical system on the truck went out. (personal experience)

        Like 3
    • Jim O

      I drove many 671’s aka 238’s in the 60’s and 70’s and with plenty of power

      Like 0
  11. Steven Wilson

    I would love to purchase this, it is something my wife and I could enjoy. I love reading Barn Finds and knowing others have different tastes, i just wonder why some forget the listing title, or negate to remember most vehicles have been stored in out buildings and left for years. My point in this case specific is this, negativity seems to be more present, then how this vehicle survived with older interior work, and a front cab that is not up to today’s standards. But let’s not forget that “retro look” are coming back and if this vehicle is as solid as it looks, i think it would be put back quite easily to the grandeur it was years ago. I guess beauty is truly in the eyes of the beholder. Happy New Year to all B/F readers. God bless

    Like 12
  12. Bob

    I have a building that I could store this in. It would be a blast driving this old bus around. I need to sleep on this..

    Like 4
  13. cyclemikey

    Why would you choose this over a “lightly used Sprinter R/V)”?

    Isn’t that an odd question for a vintage site like this? Why would you choose an old car instead of a two-year-old Kia? Same reason, I guess.

    Like 9
    • Bill

      Fill the water tank, fuel tank, and a bit of gear + beer, and then my three-hundred pound mother in law, and the Sprinter is already overloaded. You won’t overload one of these busses.

      Like 2
    • jim hurley

      Thanks Cyclemikey;
      The whole editorial completely perplexed me. Instead of critiquing it for what it once was or what its future could be,let’s beat it to the ground. There were 1643 of those buses produced. The classic Silversides, known for the aluminum fluted siding. It’s a 71-year-old piece of history. The conversion believe it or not it was done by a professional company back in 1971. Nothing has been done to the interior since.
      The motor and clutch were overhauled 23,000 miles ago.
      It’s powered by a 671 Detroit engine that has been changed from a two valve head to a four-valve. Spin on oil and fuel filters have been added. It has a new style starter and a 2 pulley high output alternator with all new N65 injectors installed. The Governor is set at 68 MPH. It does have a four on the tree manual transmission.
      It gets 13 miles to the gallon and that’s probably not as good as a Sprinter but its okay.

      Like 1
      • Wayne Kotila

        Is this bus still available?

        Like 0
  14. Robert Clint

    It is a little over priced for a vehicle that is that old. $15000 is a fair price.

    Like 4
  15. BobH

    Hey Jim, I’m interested in learning more about your bus and possibly visiting it. I saw it on Busesforsale.com but wanted to talk to you direct. Please let me know if you’re available to talk.

    Like 0
  16. Jim Hurley

    Get a hold of Busesforsale.com
    Ask for Tom Jr. He has all of the information on the coach.
    If there is something he can’t answer he’ll let me know.
    Thank you for your interest

    Like 0
  17. BobH

    Thanks, Jim. I may do that.

    Like 0
    • Jay Bayer

      BobH
      Call him yourself. We drove up to see the bus last week to get pictures for an upcoming publication. That bus is awesome. We all went for a ride spent most of the day hanging out. Here’s Jim’s number xxx-xxx-xxxx. Give him a call he’s a really neat guy to talk to.

      Like 0

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