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Restomod Camper? 1947 Diamond T Bus

Diamond T Company was an American truck manufacturer that also had a brief run in the automobile business. There isn’t much info out there about them being in the bus business, too, with the seller suggesting this example may be one of only five built. It looks to have been off the road for ages and its more recent use could have been as a camper. Located in Latham, Missouri, this tired transport is available here on eBay where the bidding has only reached $1,125 with a reserve still to be met. Kudos to Kyle K for bringing this interesting tip forward!

Founded in 1905, the company’s name was derived partly from the owner’s (C.A. Tilt) father who fashioned a logo featuring a big “T” (for Tilt) and framed it with a diamond, which signified high quality. The hood emblem on trucks was a sled dog in a harness (?). The firm disappeared in 1967 when it became a subsidiary of White Motor Co. and was merged with Reo Motor Co. to become Diamond Reo Trucks.

We don’t know if this bus is as rare as the seller thinks, but I don’t recall ever seeing one. Its former life is sketchy given that it was both green and yellow at different times. If yellow, was it used as a school bus and that configuration of seats were pulled out later for it to be used for camping? We don’t know. The body was sourced from Wayne, which supports the notion that T’s bus business was sporadic.

The seller paints a more optimistic of the condition of the bus than the photos do. We’re told there isn’t much rust, just a lot of dents that will need to be taken care of. And there isn’t a lot in the way of glass left. Not much is known about the bus mechanically other than it doesn’t run and has an automatic transmission, but that doesn’t sound right. What would you do with it if you stepped up to the plate with the necessary green stuff (without a title)?


  1. Howard A Member

    Predictably, while still following the site for the great writers, some posts I simply can’t keep my big mouth shut about. No more Uncle Marv stories, and “since 2014” went away, nobody cares, however, a Diamond T post, well, that supersedes all the rest.
    Thanks to Russ for a great write-up, as usual, couple things, 1st, this is nothing more than a Diamond T model 509 C(?) cabover, and was a very popular truck. They were used in all sorts of configurations, not many school buses, due to their high price. It’s powered by the standard Hercules in line 6, about 90hp, and is not an automatic. Automatic school buses were a long ways off. The hood ornament Russ describes was not Diamond T, but perhaps thinking of Brockway, with their “Husky-Drive” mascot. Diamond T going back to the teens, always was the “Diamond” and “T” logo. The timeline for Diamond T was, in 1957, White bought them, but kept the name. They also bought REO, and kept the names separate until 1967, when they merged the brands into Diamond REO, and lasted until 1975. Funny to see this, as when I got my ’49, 201 pickup in the early 80s, it was missing the bronze(?) “Diamond T” logos on the hood. Adorned some man cave, I’m sure. I searched far and wide, no “innernet”, mind you, all word of mouth, that I was good at, found a cabover like this in a yard, and it had the name plates. Naturally, I was happy, as it’s a very important part of the truck. I think someone reproduces them today,,,,for the cost of what I paid for the whole truck.($100)
    What to do here? If it doesn’t leak, be the classiest storage shed in “Plywood Heights,,,if allowed that is. Later, folks.

    Like 12
    • Connecticut mark

      Keep all the stories, screw others who do not like them! , I stay on this site to read what you and Geo and other old timers say, not the new Dopes! Who do not like what you wrote.

      Like 7
      • Matt

        Boooo !!! ….Boooo !!! ….👎👎 …🤢🤢🤮🤮 !!!

        Like 6
      • John Eder

        @Matt- give it a rest. Everyone is welcome here but the haters. There are plenty of places on the internet for you to spew your vomit where it will be appreciated by those who focus on bodily functions.

        Like 3
    • PJ

      do you still have the ’49, 201 pickup? I’m getting my grandfathers flat bed truck back on the road this summer.

      Like 0
  2. Dave

    Well, well, well. Just when the air had cleared…

    It’s too bad about the grill, that was the nicest thing about it.

    Like 6
    • James Wisely

      Make a small diner with seats and a table.Good for going to car shows. Install a Cummins diesel so I could pull car trailer. Possibly pull my food trailer.

      Like 0
  3. TomP

    I like it. I think there should be a school bus museum where old rare busses could go. In the museum should also be write-ups by past students with memories of riding on the bus way back when… Kind of like the antique motorhome museum.

    Like 9
    • CVPanther Member

      TomP: Great idea, I would definitely visit an old bus museum. They were/are a big part of growing up in rural America.

      Like 6
      • -OZ- Member

        The AACA museum in Hershey, PA has a “Museum of Bus Transportation” gallery that has a nice collection

        Like 8
  4. TheOldRanger

    I sure wouldn’t want the job of fixing this one up, and I do like the Diamond T vehicles. The museum sounds like a great idea.

    Like 6
  5. Maggy

    Scrap metal imo.Way too far gone for me to sink good $ into. That’s just me but if he gets his price or close and someone does something with it ….awesome.

    Like 2
  6. charlie Member

    I often play a game with myself on BF – which vehicle of the day would I want most if someone gave it to me, and which would I want least. Most, today, is the ’69 Camaro, no matter how “true” it is, and least is a toss up between this old bus, the two rotary engined, and the “collection” assuming I had to take the whole package. The other weirdos are at least just one vehicle and I could park them outside without getting in trouble with my HOA or renting a hanger at the nearby local airport where the hanger supply is about 4x the aircraft need and they are rented out to anyone for anything.
    And, in my youth, I did buy a ’40 Ford Standard woodie wagon which was in similar condition to this bus, but a lot smaller. Had enough wood left for patterns, and all the sheet metal, except the floor.

    Like 4
  7. Rallye Member

    I’m sure that this was sold at that big auction NE or KS last fall for way over scrap. The auction was mentioned here. I don’t think there’s 2 of these with remnants of bunks and other details on this one.
    Seller says he had it for a year. ?? (seems like a long time)
    Also says automatic. I see a clutch pedal and shift lever.
    Odd that the shift lever is straight up. I drove a cab over like this and the shift lever had 2 90 degree bends to bring the knob forward. Looked good but felt awkward.
    Might be some coach builder did the bus body. Diamond T sold cab chassis, partial cab both conventional and COE.

    Like 1
    • Rallye Member

      It sold for $2125 last fall.
      I was pleased to see the Diamond T prices.
      I have 2-614s and 2-404s

      Like 1
  8. dan

    junk it.

    Like 0
  9. FordFixer Member

    A member of our local truck club has a restored bus like this. Diamond t not sure of year, runs a Isuzu diesel, 5 speed with brownie, air, PS, etc. he goes to ATHS shows across the country pulling a stock Diamond T pickup on a trailer.bus is school bus yellow, the pickup railroad blue. Quite a sight. It runs good, keeps up with traffic. ( John Miles, Bloomfield, NM ) if you need any info on parts, resto, etc. he will be the one to speak to.

    Like 2
    • John Eder

      Thanks for mentioning ATHS- American Truck Historical Society. A great and interesting group. Well worth a look if you are unfamiliar with them.

      Like 1
  10. Howard A Member

    Just the facts,,,( he never said “Ma’am”)
    It’s a model 509C, a popular cabover at the time, a school bus, not so much, due to the cost. It has a Hercules QXLD3 in-line 6, about 90 hp, and is not an automatic. 3 or 4 speed crash box, maybe a 2 speed rear. White bought Diamond T in 1957, and REO around the same time, but kept the names separate until 1967, when they merged the brands into Diamond REO. That lasted until 1975. I think Volvo owns the rights now. The hood emblem Russ mentions was Brockway “Husky-Drive”, not Diamond T.

    Like 2
  11. Robert Levins

    This bus would look great in a museum. OR – the movie industry. In the movie industry you actually wouldn’t have to worry about restoring it. The bus could live on as a prop rental. Believe it or not there are a lot of things that you could do with it without restoring it, and make some money on it. I really do like the museum idea a lot. There’s a lot of history here! Thanks for the great article and best of luck to the new owner.

    Like 1
  12. Robert Levins

    Oh, and by the way – I’ll bet that the “ Steam Punk “ artists/ industry would love to have this bus – they could do a lot with it.

    Like 0
  13. George Birth

    $1500.00 and the reserve not met? An offer of $250.00 would be on the high end of what this one is worth. This one is not worth putting in a museum, a crusher would make it worth more.

    Like 1
  14. Bob

    I think there was 1 like it at Woodstock.

    Like 1

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