Live Auctions

King Of All Woodies? 1954 Chevrolet 4400 Bus

Okay, we’re going to tackle the elephant in the room right away — the buy it now price for this 1954 Chevrolet 4400 woody bus of $355,900 is a reach and a big one at that. However, I’m going to assume that the price is there just to get interest raised in the unusual vehicle and that the seller will pay attention to more reasonable offers. Regardless, this is one cool bus even if it’s not a barn find and therefore we wanted to show it to readers. It’s listed for sale here on eBay and is located in Villa Park, Illinois.

The seller informs us that this is one of two similar buses built from 1954 Chevrolet chassis to serve the Adirondack Lodge of New York transporting guests from the train station to the lodge. It’s a massive 23 feet long and 7 feet tall with five rows of seats. And as you can tell, the vehicle has been completely restored. I wonder what the bill was for the restoration of the woodwork?

Based on this picture from a 1953 Campbell/Mid-State Body Company (the manufacturer of the body) GMC wagon brochure, this model is the “Convoyer”. You can read more about Campbell/Mid-State here; it’s fascinating reading. They actually built bodies on many different manufacturer’s chassis until folding in early 1957.

I’m guessing you need a wheel that large to get leverage to turn those huge front wheels. By the way, if original-type wood was used in the restoration, the lighter wood will be ash and the darker mahogany. I’m guessing if that’s wrong someone will know and correct me!

Can you imagine a bus full of excited vacationers heading to the lodge? It must have been fun then, and would still be fun to ride around in this classy bus today.

Naturally, the underside of the bus has received a lot of attention as well. It’s hard to find fault here.

We’re told this is the original engine, and apart from needing a good detail under here (I would expect perfection considering the asking price!), there’s not a lot to be done. So what do you think is a fair price for this cool bus, and how would you use it if it were yours? Do any of you have any memories of riding in a giant woody? Please share them with us!

Comments

  1. geomechs geomechs Member

    Nice truck!!! I don’t know if it’s asking price nice but it’s nice. About the same utility value of a school bus but a lot more class. I wouldn’t know what to do with it but it would be most welcome at my place. Maybe I would take it out, load it with adventuresome people and go for a cruise. I have no doubt that it wasn’t the most comfortable mode of transportation back in the day but maybe some people enjoyed it just the same. I might add that my late father would NOT be amongst that crowd. I really do hope that someone buys this and does take it out on the road for regular exercise…

    Like 11
  2. Weasel

    Does it have any rips or tears in the upholstery?

  3. stillrunners Stillrunners Member

    Nice…..that manufacture also built on Dodge Studebaker and International that I know of – did they do Ford chassis’s as well ?

  4. Mark M.

    Seatbelts should be installed otherwise I am sure it’s a bumpy ride. Doubt it should or could drive on highway. But really cool. But not for that price

    Like 1
    • PatrickM

      Seat belts would have to be installed in order to pass most state inspections. This is one great looking vehicle. Too bad I don’t live near the mountains. It may not be comfortable, but, it could run up some steep grades. Anybody know what CID that is? Could we put in a bigger inline 6?

      Like 1
      • geomechs geomechs Member

        Are you sure of that? I’m not sure how it is with all states but I’m sure that MT says that if seat belts did NOT come new then you don’t need them. However, it’s a slippery slope. If you install seat belts, you cannot remove them. BUT, your insurance company will try to weasel out of any compensation if the vehicle didn’t have seatbelts as original but you installed them. Better not to install them if it didn’t come that way from the factory. Engine wise it would likely be a 235. You could probably drop in a 261 with no problems; a GMC 302 with few problems…

        Like 1
  5. Andrew T Gerns Member

    The high price doesn’t take into account the ongoing cost for the buyer of maintaining that beautiful wood body. Or maybe the seller wants to recoup that cost?

    Like 5
  6. jerry z

    Damn that’s a lot of timber! Curious what thing thing cost new? $355K? Give me a ’40 Ford woody instead.

    Like 5
  7. John

    Hi Jamie.

    Remember that Fiberfab Banshee that you wrote about a 2 years ago? You said you wanted it…

    Well, guess what I found languishing in a shipper’s yard when I dropped off an Alfa going to France. Yes, it’s the exact car that you wrote about. I think it’s abandoned there.

    I have some pics if you’re interested.
    PS, you can thank my son for finding your article after we went researching on the ride back home. I used to lust after Fiberfab kits back in the 1970s. I thought it was Fiberfab but I wasn’t familiar with the Banshee.

    Like 4
    • Jamie Palmer Jamie Palmer Staff

      JOHN, very interested! You can contact me at tr6driver@yahoo.com…please!

      Like 1
      • John

        Hi Jamie.

        You’ve got mail :-)

        Like 3
  8. Ken Carney

    Better treat it for termites first! Attention
    all passengers, the driver has turned on the NO SMOKING sign. Please extinguish
    all smoking materials. Vaping is permitted if you prefer. All kidding aside,
    this would be a great way to haul my entire brood up to Old Town for a fun night of cruising. But $355,000? I’m
    surprised my heart monitor didn’t go off!

    Like 5
  9. JOHN Member

    That thing is so sweet, I think it belongs in a living room. I’ve got the lemon Pledge ready…

    Like 4
  10. Mountainwoodie

    Wow…..That’s the biggest Woodie I ever seen ….and 6 wheeled at that

    It tops a number of Campbell bodied monsters that have appeared over the years at Wavecrest in Encinitas. I wonder if it came out of the massive Nick Alexander Woodie sell off ten years ago.

    Without an overdrive that must be a bear to get up to the cruising speed of………..ummm,,,40 miles per hour.

    Heres a rare 4 wheel drive 40 Ford from that collection

    https://www.hemmings.com/blog/article/splinter-group-1940-marmon-herrington-4×4-ford-woodie/

    Like 2
    • Cris

      Being a dually doesn’t make it six wheels, you need a third axle for that 😉

      Like 2
      • Howard A Member

        Um, how do you figure? I count 6 wheels,,,

        Like 6
      • Mountainwoodie

        I see your point but have to agree with The Sage. I see 6 wheels too. I say tomatoE you say tomahto.

        geomechs…yeah you’re right…..I had a friend who took a, I think it was a ’47 Ford M/H, tore it down, rebuilt it wood and all and added a canvas sunroof and it ended up in Alexanders collection. I think it sold for close to a quarter mil.

        Like 1
      • Danny

        Cris you are correct, a 6 wheeler is THREE axles. Howard A is speaking through his lower oriface.

    • geomechs geomechs Member

      I saw a pic of a ‘46 Ford 3-ton that must have been based on a 40 passenger school bus. Although this would measure up to super high standards of Nick Alexander’s former collection I doubt if this would’ve been one of his; I’m sure that Alexander was exclusively Ford. But I could be corrected on that too.

  11. FordGuy1972 FordGuy1972 Member

    An incredible vehicle but with limited appeal I would think. It would generate a lot of interest at your local Show ‘N Shine but it’s hardly a daily driver. Storage would be an issue for most; you’ll need an airplane hanger for it. The restoration must have cost a fortune, probably what the seller is asking. It might be of interest to a resort owner for ferrying guests around, that was it’s intended purpose after all. However, you’ll need a mechanic and a good cabinet maker to maintain it.

    Like 1
  12. jeff

    Wow – I could use it as my campmobile – I don’t like driving on Highways anyway.
    Thanks for that!

  13. Howard A Member

    Obviously, the price is the elephant, but hey, it’s 2020. People, especially in Colorado, have big bucks, BIG BUCKS, and I could see someone with a mountain resort in Vail, buying this and taking guests to remote areas, non 4 wheel drive ones, of course, and there are plenty. Probably have millions in the resort, what’s another $350g’s to make an impression? It is really neat, and who knows what something, especially as unique as this, is worth today?

    Like 3
  14. Dave

    I have to give everyone credit for not crossing over the center line…

  15. CFJ

    Unusual vehicle! Would really attract attention at ANY car show! But as mentioned in an earlier post, where would you park it out of the weather to further preserve the wood? I know my two car garage is too small and not tall enough; doubt there is an average storage facility with enough unit height for storage. Would have to be a warehouse or airplane hanger for proper storage! All of those concerns aside, this would be a great vehicle to own; but the asking price is very aggressive.

  16. Puhnto

    For that kind of money you can have two Packard wooden bodied station wagons and have change left over for lunch!

    Like 2
  17. BlondeUXB Member

    I truly like it.
    (It’s been bouncing bottom an eBay for more than a year)

  18. canadainmarkseh

    All it’s good for is museums and parades. I like the look of it but not at that price. I also say an up grade to at least a 350 cid with a 700r trans is needed just to pull it around at a comfortable speed. I like woodies but a Chrysler town and country 2 door coupe would be way more desirable to me. Most of us would need to rent a ware house stall just to store it.

    Like 2
  19. Del

    Good Wood 🤔🤣

  20. Maestro1 Member

    I think this is terrific but I don’t know what to do with it. I have no snow where I am nor salted roads but it would take logistics to make this work for me and
    I’m not sure about driving $355 plus cars on the roads around here with all the yahoos and illiterates on their smart phones.

    Like 3
  21. chrlsful

    my dad, born in the 30s, went to school in 1 like this (either on UP or dwn on Eastern Shore). Least he said “It was a wooden bus”

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