Monster Motorhome!1980 Grumman 870 RV

“More of a house than an RV,” according to the seller, this 1980 Grumman 870, later known as the Flxible Metro, began life as a city bus, and later morphed into a monster motor home complete with a rooftop hangout area, propane tanks, and assorted comforts of home. The Nipomo, California classic seeks a new owner here on Craigslist where $10,000 can make it yours. It started at $20,000 or best offer, so who says procrastination doesn’t pay? Thanks to reader Taylor W. for spotting this unique rolling home.

To ward off folks who might hop aboard while you’re waiting for a light to change, a wooden residential door stands in place of the original, complete with mail slot! Only the addition of a festive wreath or hand-painted letters identifying the door as a portal to a cheese shop could make this incongruous vision more delightfully ridiculous. Stained wood is exactly the opposite of the clean and modern look that cities hoped to project with the sleek 870.

With decor not unlike many ’80s and early ’90s motorhomes, the RV’s wood grain and warm-toned carpets make you feel right at home, assuming you enjoy bouncing grandchildren on your knee and lamenting the fact that late-night TV hasn’t been worth a plug nickel since Carson retired.

Just exactly like your favorite rock star’s party bus, this top-shelf RV features a rooftop party deck. “No autographs, please!” The collapsible VIP Room telescopes up for a night of fun, then down for travel, maintaining an overall height of less than 13 feet, six inches less than the average American tractor-trailer.

Shown on a winter adventure, the customized home away from home appears road-worthy, though the owner describes some steps required to dismantle parts of the front kitchen before rolling out onto the open road. Let’s hope the seller’s quote “weighing 31,000 lbs, the 6 cylinder Detroit Diesel engine gets 5 MPG” is a misplaced modifier, because a 31,000 pound engine seems excessive for a vehicle smaller than a fast frigate. What adventures would you enjoy as owner of this truly one-of-a-kind motorhome?

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Comments

  1. alphasud Member

    I was all in when I saw the front door. Home sweet home!

    Like 29
    • Todd Fitch Staff

      Hey alphasud – agree 100% That door sold it for me. I’d laugh every time I opened it. lol

      Like 14
  2. Bluetec320 Bluetec320 Member

    This thing is awesome! I would modernize the interior and use this as my daily driver back and forth to work. After work, it would be party time on the rooftop deck!

    Like 8
    • SubGothius

      Or heck, pull a “Gonzo Gates” and just park it in the company lot and live on-site. 😆

      Like 14
      • jeffro

        I laughed that some of the younger people on here would have to Google “Gonzo Gates”.

        Like 9
  3. bobk

    My first thought was watch out for low overpasses – until I saw that the party deck collapses. My second thought was still watch out for low overpasses until you have very carefully measured the height, even with the party deck roof collapsed down. I can think of at least three overpasses here in KC that are less than 13’6″. They regularly catch overconfident or unsuspecting truck drivers.

    Like 15
    • DayDreamBeliever Member

      11’8″ Bridge: “Yum, yum, chomp, chomp, spitoo! Bwahahahaha”

      Like 14
    • Daniel

      Get a Rand McNally atlas to you can plot routes and know clearances ahead of time.

      Like 5
  4. Mountainwoodie

    Great writeup!

    That interior needs to be torn out….and I might paint the exterior……………a litttle too MTA for me. I’d be interested t know how the rooftop conversion was accomplished, it looks like there is mold up there on the floor….er ….roof.

    If you were of a mind to stay on the road and drive a City Bus..what the heck!

    Like 4
  5. markp

    Scary on multiple levels… Ba dump bump.

    Like 7
  6. ticketgeorge

    markp

    UGH!!!

  7. Rick

    -30mph uphill!

    Like 3
  8. Mark P

    When I saw this I said the same thing I said to the guy that opened our septic tank last weekend to pump it after 27 years since the last time. Holy ****

    Like 3
  9. Mike

    Looks to built better than other conversions, but it’s pretty dated. Probably needs a gut job/update/modern improvements. Probably better to start from scratch with something else.

    Like 4
  10. Ike Onick

    Grumman Flxible Metro bus had a big issue with cracked frames back in they day. I think they got sued by every city that bought them. Run away from this debacle.

    Like 1
  11. Ike Onick

    The New York City Transit Authority placed an order for 851 Grumman Flxible 870 buses. Built in 1980, this order brought to light a design flaw in the frame design of the 870. Serious cracks that developed forced the buses from service and prompted legal action between Grumman, Rohr and the transit authority. Grumman agreed to rectify the problem on the existing buses. According to a Grumman spokesperson, engineers had designed the undercarriage of the 870 to save weight. This was a new design consideration for buses at the time, and they did not anticipate the metal fatigue the buses experienced on the poor road conditions in New York.[3]

    Grumman submitted an 870 to tests on what they believed to be one of the more deteriorated streets in New York. Data collected from the tests was used to redesign the frame of the bus. The redesigned 870 became known as the Grumman Metro. It would continue to be built under the Flxible name after Grumman sold Flxible to General Automotive Corporation in 1983.

    Like 13
    • Rob Robinson

      New York City initially during the original ordering of those Grummans elected to not heed the recommendations of the manufacturer to install the heavier duty suspensions because of higher cost per bus.. They were not the only ones to do so and everyone who went the cheaper way all experienced the same not just NYC. Flxible in part made the heavier suspension plus improvements standard across-the-board and just renamed the bus from 870 to Metro.

      Like 2
  12. Howard A Member

    “Right to the moon, Alice”,,this is pretty cool. It would make one more trip if I owned it, to a secluded lot in the UP,( der hey),,oops,I mean to an undisclosed location, far, far away. With conventional housing going for 4 digits ( for a 1 bedroom)and the cheapest constructed home here now costs over $600g’s, ( with taxes to match)many people are going for these “mini-houses”. They fit on a mobile home lot, and is about the cheapest way to live modernly, and are about the same size as this. One difference, they aren’t $10g’s either, which makes this awful attractive.

    Like 8
  13. Don Eladio

    Aren’t these things geared super-low for city driving? Bus experts, chime in!

    Like 2
    • Wayne S

      There were two gearings a 4:10 for highway and a 5:37 for city.

  14. Jack

    The lit bug light makes the deal complete…

  15. butchb

    City buses are often geared for city street driving, not the open highway. Better check the top speed of this baby before you hand over the dough.

    Like 2
  16. Nah

    Prolly gets 5 mpg 1) because of the stupid shape of the addition, and 2) because the two-stroke Detroit is bouncing off the governor at 55 mph. I’d also check the horsepower to make sure it could even pull higher gears too.

    Like 1
  17. Tom S.

    Watch a few of the videos at 11foot8.com before you plan your dream trip in this beast.

    Like 5
  18. Johnmloghry Johnmloghry Member

    Watch out for those bridges you may have to pass under. Ouch, where did that deck on top go? This bus isn’t for driving. It should be parked on a lot somewhere and used for rental property/ house. In large metropolitan areas you could get between $1,000. To $2,000.00 per month for this beast. Providing there was no HOA or deed restrictions to deal with.
    God bless America

    Like 1
  19. Howie Mueler

    Does the canned food come with it?

    Like 1
  20. Bob McK Member

    Would make a really nice camp if you have the land on a lake.

    Like 4
  21. chrlsful

    yeah the DD would B the 1st thing to go (they were fantastic for time/place/use but that’s not here’n now). a 12V and allison might replace it in my use.

  22. John Traylor

    5 miles to a gallon of fuel. Holy smoke the buyer better have deep pockets to take this beast anywhere at all. What a joke.

  23. martinsane

    Its kool. But not as a touring rig but as mentioned park it on your land and modernize it and enjoy as a parked forever item.

  24. AMISHTRUCKER

    Most higher end truck GPS’s (Garmin, Rand McNally) will give you a “heads up” well in advance of low bridges. I agree, the 5mpg is hideous. Just picked up a 2021 Kenworth T680 yesterday, drove it 200 miles home, and got 7+ on the highway, and it’s over 600 bucks to fill my 2 tanks for work, can’t imagine filling this up in every state I’m attempting to drive through on a pleasure trip.

    • Cattoo Cattoo Member

      The tractors used at work being Cascadia from Freightliner average just about six mpg. Other makes give or take a mpg.

  25. Frank A

    I worked for Grumman fixing those buses from 1981 to 1983 which was when all the repairs were done per the contract. ROHR sold the plans to Grumman Flxible and knew there was a problem hence the lawsuit. There were more than NYC that had them. Nassau County on Long Island, NJ Transit and several private buses companies had them, I actually had to work on one from Virginia Transit. The engine cradles, front mechanicals, fuel tanks and some body supports needed reinforcements. It was an interesting job to say the least.

    Like 2
  26. Bill McCoskey

    I continue to be amazed at the huge amount of brain trust that exists in the Barn Finds readership. It’s one of the reasons I enjoy making detailed comments when I can share information. Thanks again guys for the education about the NYC Grumman Rohr buses.

    Like 4

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