Old Dog: 1948 GM PD3751 Coach

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I can’t claim to know much about old buses, but I do know I love their style. It seems today’s methods of mass transit have made a point of being as slab-sided and as visually exciting as vanilla ice cream. But hey, maybe buses like this 1948 GM PD3751 here on craigslist were considered yawn-inducing back in the day. Thanks to Barn Finds reader Pat L. for the find.

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I’ve been trying to determine if this was a real piece of Greyhound marketing or someone’s clever adaptation of the brand’s logo once this bus passed the age of useful life. Either way, it just injects more character into an already memorable design. Although this PD3751 isn’t as striking as the PD4501 Scenicruiser, it still speaks to an era of art deco influences we don’t see today.

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Unfortunately, this bus got whacked on the rear corner while it was parked. As the seller humorously ruminates, how do you not see a parked 33-foot bus? It’s a good question, and it does add to the scope of this project which also suffers from a defective transmission and broken mounts. It’s too bad, as the body appears largely rot-free otherwise. It did run before the transmission went south.

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It’s amazing how compact the driver’s compartment is compared to modern buses. It looks like it could belong in a much smaller vehicle, but I’m sure when it was new, it felt cavernous. The seller is asking $2,000 for this bus located in Woodbury, Connecticut, and it seems like a fair price if you’re on the hunt for a vintage bus project. But you’re going to need a farm like the seller has, or to be friendly with the overseer of a local bus depot.

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Comments

  1. Brad C

    I’d kill for that dashboard. It’s the ideal blend given we rescue greyhound dogs, and have an unabashed love for mid-century, streamlined aluminum goodness.

  2. whippeteer

    I love the Old Dog logo!

  3. Howard A Member

    Another cool blast from the past. Before airplanes were the main means of travel, this was it. Logged literally millions of safe miles. It had an in line 6 cylinder Detroit diesel, a 4 speed unsynchronized column shift, and a unique “angle drive” that permitted the engine to sit sideways at the very back of the bus. That “old dog” insignia is not original. Greyhound took very serious it’s Greyhound moniker, and I doubt would make a joke about that. Originally, it had “Greyhound Lines” and the letters STOP in the middle. Very cool bus. https://i.ytimg.com/vi/YBWNEarhznU/maxresdefault.jpg

    • Dave Wright

      Many of these had 3-71’s or 4-71’s…..they were upgraded to 6-71 as the years went by. I have a friend in Califorina that has acres of this type transit vehicle. He makes a few bucks renting them to studios. These are much lighter than even the next generation and roads were slow so a 100-120HP Detroit would move them just fine. When I first became interested in buses, I was amazed at small engines these old girls had but the average speed was probably closer to 45 than 60.

      • Dave

        This bus pictured never had 3 or 4-71 engines. The very early ones model PGG-3301’s 33 foot long and the PGG-4101’s 35 foot long were gas jobs ,but most had 6-71’s in them.After the war the early ones were converted to diesel..6-71’s

        Like 3
    • Chebby

      The angle drive is exactly where it got hit, that’s likely a major hassle to repair.

      • Ottonobedder

        Looking at some other pics of these PD3751 s That is the worst possible place to hit it. Hopefully it only broke some 70-year-old rubber mounts. With that complicated shifting linkage (about 25 feet-worth), maybe the transmission will survive after everything is re-aligned.

      • TwoFeathersRV

        It is not. The bell housing is all that is damaged and the aluminum braces. We will be starting the repairs soon. This bus is a very historical one as three different bands used it. One Iconic band singer is Sleepy LaBeef who is the first owner after Greyhound. He is known as a rockabilly singer and opened for singers like Elvis and others before becoming known himself.

    • Ottonobedder

      Howard A…thanks for that pic. The First High-mounted 3rd Brake light !!

  4. Joe Haska

    In my dream world I would buy this , and convert it into the coolest motor home “As they say COACH” ever.

    Like 1
  5. Francisco

    This would make a cool diner.

    • Dave Wright

      They are smaller than they look in the photos…….Rail cars work better.

  6. Brad C

    Joe Haska, these were nicknamed ‘Silversides’, and many have been converted to motorhomes. I’ve heard that even when the bus is free, you’re still sinking tens of thousands into these compared with, say, a vintage travel trailer. The tires alone are several hundred bucks, and everything goes up from there. Hard to resist such a beautiful industrial design for a vehicle, though.

    Here’s a video tour of one that was covered to an RV – I love that they kept the exterior original, as the interior is far too stylized for my taste. Doesn’t feel authentic at all with all that LED lighting and hardwood floors… but if the owner loves it, that’s all that matters.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sHr0in0hse4

    • Dave Wright

      The bus roundups usually have several and they are popular at Burning Man and Quartzsite. In the long run, they are inexpensive to operate and maintain but one like this needs so much to make it roadwoerthy it could be daunting. I just helped my buddy buy a modern Bluebird Wanderlodge……he was thinking about conventional RV until I introduced him to bus conversions…..his has a 8V92 TTA set at 600 HP…… It still gets twice the mileage od a gas rig, tires are cheeper and last twice as long as RV type tires. Also, it is 102″ wide that makes a huge difference. His Diesel Generator makes the same power as the main engine on these old girls.

    • Davnkatz Taylor

      Brad C – – – If you consider purchase price with moderization, These old buses are real bargains. Let’s say ypu buy one for $10,000. Then another $10,000 to upgrade all wiring, mechanics,etc. Then another $15-10,000 for modern amenities. For less than $50,000 you have an ultra modern, roadable, ultra attractive camper. Now, compare THAT to those modern cracker box campers. If dilligent, you MIGHT find a used one for $75,000. Road ready? Not hardly! At minimum, it will cost you another $5-10,000 to get everything into safe and top condition. Of course, you might find a used one that has “bump-out rooms” for $125-150,000, but you still face the safety and upgrade requirements. My nephew paid $98,000 for a used camper with 2 bump-outs. Can’t put it on the road because it needs too much. Plus, the bump-out hydralics have quit workiing, so it just sits rotting in his Dad’s back yard.

  7. Leroy

    I’d like to have the Jeep pickup parked in front of the bus!

    • John H. from CT

      Leroy, you beat me to the punch. My sentiment on the Jeep PU exactly.

  8. Rock On

    Would make a nice PBS series “This Old Bus.”

  9. ROAR

    THAT IS THE most BEAUTIFUL BUS, MOTORHOME, TRAILER, WHATEVER I’VE EVER SEEN!

  10. boxdin

    There is a wonderful magazine called Vintage Truck, but their first name was “This Old Truck”. The TV show This Old House quickly got their legal team in action and the magazine had to change their name pronto!

    • Woodie Man

      GREAT magazine and EVERYONE should suscribe to it. Been reading it since the beginning and never fail to learn something. They also have a new Fire engine magazine too…really top notch writing and photos.

      http://vintagetruckmagazine.com/

    • Howard A Member

      Hi boxdin, that is a cool magazine, along with the sister mag,(?) Antique Power, which focuses on vintage farm tractors and stuff. They are kind of hard to find at stores, but I believe, all TSC ( Tractor Supply Co)stores have them, and some big magazine racks. The classified’s are great. Pretty much a mid-western deal.

  11. S.S. McDonald

    John Hiscock in Loxahatchee, Florida has a pristine 1947 PD 3751, s/n 073 bus for sale. He’s in the phone book.

  12. nessy

    I really like it. Would be nice to see some interior photos.. Trouble is, 95% of us would have no place to park this tank. I remember the AACA Museum in Hershey has a number of old buses on display, however, I do not remember one like this. The rear of this bus with it’s split windows and huge grills is the best part. Call me crazy but I would like to stand behind it while it’s running to hear that big smokey Diesel, well, maybe not right behind it….

  13. Jim

    Funny thing about old Detroit engines that a lot of people don’t know. If they run out of fuel they will NOT prime themselves. Even if you run the thing on starting fluid for an hour, that little doughnut fuel pump will not suck air out of the lines, it has to have fuel to it.

    When I was in high school we had a diesel repair service and I actually got to bill the shop teacher one day. The team had an old scenic cruiser that somebody let lose it’s prime. They could NOT get it to start. We had a service truck set up with an external fuel pump, which, oddly enough was a Detroit fuel pump on a Kaiser AC motor. We’d hook that inline right at the tank. Start and run the thing till it got warm. Then shut it off and hook it back to the tank. Restart it and immediately run it WOT until it pulled the little bit of air that had gotten back in the line through there.

    So I went and got the service truck. Started the bus. And billed them thirty five bucks. I’d love to have that old dog there to restore…

  14. David Miraglia

    I’ll take it. Been driving buses since 1989. That baby is all manual shift and steering.
    And I already have a place to put it. Great collector Item to add to my future bus fleet.

  15. ROTAG999

    Wow drove some old buses mostly GMC with floor shift never on the column this is a very narrow bus also !

  16. bingb

    http://www.countrysbarbecue.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/broadway_new.png Bit like this at a BBQ joint..The funny part it is in Georgia and the bus destination signage is for Escanaba MI..
    My home town in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.

  17. Rustytech Member

    For someone with the interest and the financial wherewithal to do it, this would be the coolest motor home in America!

  18. charlie Member

    Met a guy with a late ’30’s Flexible at Burning Man, he drove it from LA, a good 12 hours in a modern car, some long up hill grades, had a Cat diesel, transmission, and rear axel and wheels, and could easily do 55 except on the long uphills. A previous owner had done the interior and the exterior, and it was classy and useful.

  19. Randall

    I love this old bus. Reminds me when I was a kid riding in the car following one of these babies and smelling that black diesel smoke…that was perfume for the soul man!

    • Ralph A Down

      If there is one thing I can hardly stand, its the smell of diesel, whether raw or burned. To each his own!

  20. ROTAG999

    This may have leaf springs in the front pretty bumpy ride may have air rides but doubt it out of the factory. That trans usually sits in the motor-frame so think it should be fairly easy fix or find another as it unbolts as a unit. Hard to say what is still out there in parts land or if a custom fix is required. Pretty cool but would look for something newer.

  21. David Montanbeau

    The bus in the background was our race car hauler and camper in 1968. It was an old Detroit City Bus. Had a 427 flathead Continental 6 in the back. I think it also was 1948.

    • ROTAG999

      David do you know the make of the bus ? Thanks JB

      • David Montanbeau

        Like the one pictured.

  22. Doug Towsley

    Depends on your zoning, Where our house is, you can only park an RV or bus like this for so long and then has to move. But we own a cabin in another county and private resort/gated community. We could park it there with sewer hook up and power and let the tags expire and even jack it up and remove the tires, build a porch off the side. Very nice conversions done,,, be a nice camper/micro house/ home away from home.
    But just depnds on your zoning. Or…. bury it and stock for the Apocalypse Have a concealed entrance and store your ammo and MRE’s

  23. ROTAG999

    David what quick search i did this is a Ford we have lost most of the old builders like white,twin,kenworth and many more thanks for the picture i hope this is good info that is what i came up with.

  24. TwoFeathers

    we are picking up a bus like this for a customer and are looking for parts. Does anyone know the location of this bus? or know who may have parts for one? call us at 413.522.6102 TwoFeathersRestorations.com

  25. ernest

    looking for the canister oil filter for a 1948 with a 671 Detroit ,the one I have is about 19 inches long and 4 1/2 to 5 inches around any help

    • TwoFeathers Restorations & Design

      You should join the FB Page for the pd3751 Silversides. Most of the owners that own these buses are on that page. IF there are any parts out there. You will find the contact you need there.

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