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Flathead Powered Shorty: 1949 Ford School Bus

For some reason, old school buses are super cool. And the shorter they are the better! Just have a look at this 1949 Ford School Bus. It’s definitely a special find, as it’s a highly original short bus with it’s original and running flathead V8. While a more modern V8 would give you more performance, it would be incredibly cool to upgrade the flathead with all the go-fast parts you would typically find on a period hot rod. Whether you want to customize it or restore it, this bus can be found here on eBay in Harrisonville, Missouri.

The flathead is said to have already been rebuilt and is in good running condition. They did their best to keep it looking original and fits perfectly with the rest of the buses ratty appearance. A Coyote V8 would make driving this shorty in modern traffic less nerve-racking, but personally, I’d want to keep the flathead. Install a set of Offenhauser heads, a multi-carb setup, and a new exhaust system and this bus would sound fantastic plus it would have a bit more oomph.

The seller suggests rat rodding this bus and it’s not a terrible idea. It already has a cool look to it as is and it would definitely draw a crowd everywhere it goes. Given how rare it is though, there’s definitely a strong argument for restoring it. You just don’t see these buses anymore and it would be a shame to modify it beyond the point of ever being able to restore it. Whether someone modifies it or restores it, let’s hope someone does something with it before it’s beyond saving! So, what would you do with it?


  1. stillrunners


    Like 1
  2. Coventrycat

    Love the look and idea of a camper, but way more money to do it than I’d care to throw at it.

    Like 3
  3. Billy 007


    Like 0
  4. Joe

    Yeah that’s pretty awesome ……

    Like 0
  5. geomechs geomechs Member

    Looks like someone went a little back in time with the engine. That’s a 59AB under the hood; it should have an 8BA. That’s Ok; the 59AB had a much more efficient distributor. I like this beast. Make a camper or a great parts hauler.

    Like 6
  6. Chris

    Upgrade the drivetrain and outfit it as a food truck. Not cheap, but it would generate traffic.

    Like 1
  7. Butchb

    10 Grand? Ridiculous. “Upgraded” to 19.5 tires. Laughable if you’ve ever priced one.
    I offered $1500 for 48 Dodge short bus 20 years ago & was turned down. 2 decades later he got $2500 for it. About what this ford is worth.

    Like 4
    • Streamliner

      Well said Butchb. Your math is same as mine. I know this sector of the market very well. In this condition, this 1949 shorty bus would sell for around $1,500. as a field find with no work done. Maybe $2,500. as is, as a partially started project. Seller is clueless, which is why ebay auction ended with no offers. The look of this bus is not desirable. What seller has here is a mess. What I see is an abandoned ratrod project. The $10,000 starting price “with No Reserve” is funny. The $13,000 ebay BIN price is a joke.

      Like 1
  8. rod444

    Yeah, school buses are cool but a very small slice of a niche market. At a 10k starting bid, the seller must be targeting the slightly off kilter but obviously filthy rich eccentric who REALLY liked riding the short bus to school – I’m sure there many, probably even three.

    Like 0
  9. chrlsful

    2 in 2 days, Kouwell!
    Thanks Josh, nxt 1 in WessMass?

    Like 0
  10. JimmyinTEXAS

    Put that Coyote in it and paint it School Bus Yellow and it would look pretty good in my driveway next to my 2013 SBY Boss 302.

    Like 0
  11. David Miraglia

    With any school bus this would be a good exhibit for a bus company if restored.
    If Tony Autorino was still alive he would of added this bus to his large historic bus collection. And so would I.

    Like 1
    • Streamliner

      David, are you in CT? I’ve been thinking about Tony Autorino and his large bus collection. Do you have any idea what’s happening to Tony’s collection? Please email / call me. I’d appreciate making contact with you. (860) 653-4822 popularculture@hotmail.com

      Like 0
  12. cyclemikey

    What’s to restore? it already runs – get the brakes working and off we go. EPIC road trip! Clear coat it against the weather and park it in the front yard when you get home. Done.

    You gotta especially love the plumbing fitting in the mismatched radiator hose to connect it to the engine.

    Like 0
  13. Sam Shive

    Fit the Body on a F 350 Dually Chassis and Away You Go.

    Like 0
  14. leiniedude leiniedude Member

    The Tribe has spoken, Ended: Oct 07, 2018 , 6:38PM
    Starting bid:US $9,950.00
    [ 0 bids ]
    Price:US $12,950.00

    Like 1

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