Disclosure: This site may receive compensation when you click on some links and make purchases.

Inexpensive People Mover: 1971 MCI MC-7 Bus

MCI, or “Motor Coach Industries”, has been manufacturing bus platform vehicles for nearly a century now.  In business since 1933, their chassis has been used for a wide variety of purposes, including everything from prison transport vehicles to highly customized luxurious motorcoaches.  In their most common form, these 40+ foot long buses are used in cities with mass transit systems to get commuters from point A to point B comfortably and inexpensively.  The next time you’re at a bus stop, take a closer look at that monstrous-looking people mover sitting there with the hazard lights flashing- there’s a good chance that it’s an MCI model.  If you’ve been in the market for one of these big machines for yourself, and in search of one that’s actually affordable and in reasonably good shape, this 1971 MCI MC-7 might be a good bus for you to consider.  Located in Yamhill, Oregon, it can be found here on Facebook Marketplace with an asking price of $9,995.

The inside of the MC-7 being offered for sale here is pretty much empty, and you can see that there are plenty of possibilities to put it together any way you want to suit just about any need, as long as that need requires a lot of space.  If you happen to have a band, this MCI would be an ideal way to travel, with ample room for all your groupies and even a few instruments. True story here, I remember sitting at a Waffle House in Louisville in the wee hours of the morning several years ago and was surprised to see this particular MCI coach drive right past my window on Bardstown Road.  My first thought was I’m glad to see that these guys are not only still together playing music but they’re actually out on the road and having fun!

This MC-7 is powered by a rear-mounted Detroit Diesel engine, and while the seller doesn’t mention anything specifically about the motor or its condition he does say that there are records going back for 20 years and that the bus is ready for a road trip.  So just add a few seats and you and your friends should be ready to roll.  It’s even equipped with its own sink and toilet.

This MC-7 was previously used by the Boy Scouts and maintained by Oregon Coachways in Eugene, and the exterior is said to be in good condition with a fresh coat of white paint.  Everything we can see looks to be in decent condition, both inside and out, and although there is a somewhat limited market for a vehicle of this caliber it would likely be a good candidate for someone in need of a platform this size.  Plus it’s not going to break the bank for the next owner, and it’s already been on the market for 7 weeks so the seller may be ready to make a deal.  What are your thoughts on this 1971 MCI MC-7 bus?


  1. Avatar photo Nevadahalfrack Member

    Am I correct in thinking these had a hydro pneumatic type suspension? If that’s the case, and if it’s been looked after as well as the bus overall appears to have been cared for then this could be someone’s RV project-the toilet and sink are still intact!
    Especially Perfect for a retired Marine considering the destination indicator in the front..

    Like 10
  2. Avatar photo angliagt Member

    I used to see those green Department of Corrections buses
    going to Pelican Bay State Prison in Crescent City,CA.That’s where
    Charles Manson was “staying”.

    Like 4
  3. Avatar photo PaulG

    The cheapest part of this bus is the initial purchase price…

    Like 26
  4. Avatar photo Claudio

    I should have been a diesel mechanic, i love camping and these busses have always caught my eye but the upkeep is said to be HORRIBLE
    I have broken down a few times while out with my rv’ing gear and have been foked by dishonest guys , i can only see this as way , way worse
    Anyone wish to adopt a montrealer, you could teach me diesel tricks !

    Like 2
  5. Avatar photo Fred W

    Interior is a blank canvas with a lot of possibilities. Price is right if the drivetrain is anywhere near the represented condition. Price a new bus this size and you’ll find this bus has plenty of room for a refurb in the budget.

    Like 7
  6. Avatar photo Stan

    How the condition of the air brakes system? Regular maintenance is key on these. Every 5- 10k needs a set of eyes 👀 on the hoist.

    Like 0
  7. Avatar photo Gary Hicks

    Today, I’m driving a Prevost H3-45, but back in the late 70’s, I was assigned to an MCI MC-7 “Challenger,” in the 47 passenger configuration, identical to the one shown. It had a 8V-71, 2-cycle Detroit diesel, and a 4-spd. manual non-synchro trans., which took a little getting familiar with. Otherwise, the bus was pretty much “bullet-proof!” Driving tour groups, OTR,1-28 day trips, 48 states, Canada and Mexico, only memorable problem, was a “blown air bag.” Oh, and it didn’t like below freezing temps! Diesel fuel had a tendency to become “jello-like,” in the injectors, and ether was necessary to get it started. Being 2-cycle, once, it started backwards! Winterized diesel, made no difference. I learned quickly, to just leave it running! The MC-7 in the pic, appears to have not been driven, or even started, for quite a while. Either that, or it’s lost all the air in the system. Either, or both, not a good sign for an MCI, and easily visible, by the way it’s squatted down. Sure, I can drop my Prevost to the ground, or raise it well above normal ride height, from the driver’s seat. But the technology didn’t exist when MC-7’s were born. However, they do have a nice feature, whereas you can “relax” the tag-axle, manually, by closing the air valves on both sides, to the rear, which allows you to have steering, on snow or ice. After the first time you turn the steering wheel, and the bus keeps going straight, especially at highway speeds, you’ll remember to relax the tag-axle, in the future, every time!

    Like 23
  8. Avatar photo Moparman Member

    Well, it looks as though this one may start out as a “Slow Ride”, and depending on where you were headed, it might take more than “Eight Days on The Road”, LOL!!! GLWTS!! :-)

    Like 4
  9. Avatar photo Harvey Member

    Buy yourself some trouble:-)

    Like 5
  10. Avatar photo Ken Carney

    A lot of bands used them as transport in the
    ’70s. Used to ride many a mile on a bus like
    this when I played on the road and they were
    very comfortable when properly equipped.
    And Mike, you’re right. There was nothing
    like traveling around the country having a good time playing your music. Seeing this bus brings back so many fond memories.
    Would make a great motorhome project for
    me and my new girlfriend.

    Like 4
    • Avatar photo Gary Hicks

      They were very comfortable driving-wise, once you got used to the size and weight. They didn’t have engine retarders (jake brakes), but if the engine was “fresh” the compression helped to provide a similar affect. As I stated in my previous comment, they didn’t like real cold weather. But you learned to adapt. I always had a metal pan and bar-b-que charcoal with me to place under the oil pan, cause the 90 weight oil, when real cold, wouldn’t allow engine to turn-over fast enough to start. And I carried a case of “road flares” which I used to thaw-out the air lines, crawling the full length of the bus, as the compressor was on the engine, and air cans, valves, were in the front, and at times a few drops of water in the lines wouldn’t allow air systems, service brakes, parking brakes, entrance door lock, and toilet flushing, to function, or release properly. Heating air lines with road flares usually did the fix. But all in all, they were a very solid, dependable ride. I’ve driven many brands, and still do, and actually the MCI MC-9, purely from a drivers perspective, is probably the best I’ve ever driven! By todays standards, they’re obsolete, not having all the creature comforts bus groups require today, such as video, audio, 110 and 12 volt, USB, WiFi, at every seat, but call me nostalgic, “those were the days!”

      Like 18
      • Avatar photo Mike

        The company I worked for had one of these, coming home from the Miami cruise terminal (empty) the clutch assist went out. To hold it in traffic I had to stand up, it wasn’t a fun drive back to Venice FL. Other than that I have nothing bad to say about it.

        Like 0
  11. Avatar photo Troy

    A new Prevost is about $500,000 just for the coach then the price goes up for all your toys so if you’re good at carpentry and wiring this is a good blank canvas to start with

    Like 10
  12. Avatar photo Timothy Pearn Member

    I had a 1967 MCI 5a in the 90’s that was converted from new for Anheiser Busch. It had all the comforts of home including a 15kw diesel generator,Hydronic heat central air and heat , bathroom and kitchen etc. I took my family all over the midwest in that bus we loved it and it was built like a tank. This bus would require more work than it would be worth. You Can still buy older professional conversions for under 25k.

    Like 0
  13. Avatar photo john

    If the seller would also deliver to north Florida, I will pay cash today !! And thank you for that service and fly you home again.

    Like 4
    • Avatar photo Michael Berkemeier

      Why don’t you ask the seller, instead of posting it here?

      Like 9
  14. Avatar photo Jim Muise

    A wonderful dollar mover. Unless you are a diesel mechanic,keeping this beast running mile after mile would require a fat wallet. Adding a full interior of new camping furniture would require another fat wallet! This is a nice family project for someone who has big dreams and bigger wallets! Keep looking campers unless you intend to park it on your 40 acre lake front property and never drive it again!


    Like 1
  15. Avatar photo Kenn

    Certainly the problem with diesel fuel isn’t insurmountable since a high percentage of the big semi’s are diesel powered. Ditto the air brake system.

    Like 1
  16. Avatar photo Martin

    They are a great project but unless you are happy with a fairly rudimentary interior it will take years and tens of thousands to get this to where it is a nice RV. Tires are done after ten years and that is 3 to 5 thousand right there. You can gamble on that kind of deferred maintenance and push it off but every time you go for a trip you are agonizing about a blown tire, or a bad air bag or worse. Not exactly relaxing. I spend far more time working on mine than driving it but I like that part and its very rewarding creating something out of an old clunker. But even doing every single thing myself and having a big well equipped shop it is a lot of dollars to get it road worthy.

    Like 2
  17. Avatar photo Bob McK

    Perfect for getting groceries.

    Like 0
  18. Avatar photo The FIN MAN

    VERY TRUE! I’ve never owned such a vehicle, however, I have a good friend who has owned two class A motor coaches over the years, and I’ve heard many a horror story about the expense of upkeep on those big vehicles.

    Like 0
  19. Avatar photo Johnny R

    I would paint Chiefs on the side, pound a few holes in the luggage doors and put it out in the front of the yard and tell everyone the old man sold me the team bus.

    Like 0
  20. Avatar photo Russell Wilson

    I messaged yesterday and got no response

    Like 0

Leave A Comment

RULES: No profanity, politics, or personal attacks.

Become a member to add images to your comments.


Get new comment updates via email. Or subscribe without commenting.