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School Bus Find: 1947 White Motors 2000B

1947 White Motors 2000B

As I was looking at this old school bus I had an intriguing thought hit me. It’s no wonder cars are so important to so many of us, we are surrounded by a mixture of vehicles from the very beginning of our lives and they represent specific and significant steps in life. To this day I remember the first time I waited for the school bus to pick me up and I even remember the fear and excitement of the experience. I realize now that I was excited as it was the first time going out into the world completely alone. Sure it wasn’t as exciting as the day I bought my first car or the day I got my driver’s license, but it was a step towards mobility and independence. I only wish the bus I rode in that day would have been as awesome as this 1947 White Motors 2000B. This cool looking school bus can be found here on eBay in Alhambra, California.

White Motors Bus Interior

I’m sure just about everyone single one of us has a great childhood story that involves a school bus, but I don’t imagine there are many of us whose stories involved a 1947 White Motors 2000B like this one. At one time White Motors was actually a major player in heavy equipment manufacturing and they actually produced a number of school buses. They even built the buses used in Yellowstone National Park to transport tourists around the park. While this one might not have the same level of intrigue that one of the Yellowstone Buses might have, it is still amazing to think of the role this bus had in the lives of all the children that were transported to and from school in it.

White Motors Bus Engine

Machines like this one can be difficult to restore and finding a new home for this bus could be a challenge. It takes a certain type of collector who both appreciates and understands these trucks. This one looks to be complete, but I have no doubt it will be a time consuming and expensive task to restore. White Motors owned a number of truck manufactures (Sterling, REO, and Diamond T), so mechanical parts shouldn’t be too difficult to find, but I’m sure there will be a fair amount of fabricating needed to get it back on the road. And that of course doesn’t include any of the work that is going to go into making it look good inside and out.

1947 White Motors School Bus

I absolutely love the look of this bus and wish modern school buses looked this good. And while the looks are fascinating, the stories this bus could tell are what really intrigues me. It is hard to say how many students may have ridden in this bus and the crazy things that might have happened in it, but one thing is for sure, it is a piece of history that I hope is preserved for future generations. As I look back at my experiences on the school bus, it makes me appreciate the machines and people involved with getting kids to and from school safely everyday. So does anyone here have any memories of an old school bus to share?


  1. geomechs geomechs Member

    The first bus I rode on was the remains of a 1956 IH S-150. The owner didn’t keep it for long because it was so badly worn out and replaced it with a ’58 GMC (that was almost as worn out). That one was a piece of work. The owner fabricated a forked stick that he could wedge between the dash and the shift lever to keep it from popping out of high. The exhaust system kept coming apart and one time it blasted on the brake hose over the rear axle. It burned through and when the driver attempted to stop to let some kids off, the pedal went to the floor. He finished up the round using the E-brake. Back then (early to mid-60s) there wasn’t as much concern for the safety of your kids. I might add that a bus like the one featured here would’ve been a cool bus to ride on.

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    • Clifford Gallington

      I agree about the safety comments, I survived a bus wreck with only a broken colar bone and two black eyes. We all walked a couple miles to a home to wait for parents to come, except one older girls hurt her back bad and she stayed with the driver. Always froze in winter.

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  2. Mark E

    The best day was the ‘backwards day’ ’cause the driver would do the route in reverse. It was cool ’cause I was
    the last stop.

    Back in the late ’80s I had a survival job as a bus driver for the school district. We got to pick our bus and I selected the oldest, most worn out one ’cause it would be up for replacement the soonest. Wasn’t around long enough to actually get a new bus but I got to drive a new one several times when old rusty-and-crusty died on me. Oh and one other thing, the 9 liter diesel V-8 took 4 quarts of oil per day. Several people in the office saw that figure and checked up on it thinking I was taking oil home or something… -_-;

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    If you like old busses, take a boat ride to AVALON catalina island,they have a few old restored busses that you can take a ride on. It is a beautyful experince on the lovely island to see.

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  4. Steve

    Rode a bus in middle school. The driver had to go up a very short steep hill near the school, and we learned that if we all ran to the back of the bus at a certain time we could make the bus stall and he would have to back down the hill.

    The principals office was very crowded on those mornings LOL

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    • Dave

      Thats flippin’ hilarious Steve, I could just imagine the conversation between the bus driver and the principal ” Those damn kids ran the the back of the bus again !!” “I’m getting tired of having to roll the hill in reverse” !!! Thats funny, thanks for sharing that !!

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    • ConservativesDefeated

      Classic! Kids……

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  5. Charles

    Restoration will be cool, but expensive, and then what purpose will a restored bus serve?

    Building a little RV, street-rod style, is my choice for this rig. Update the suspension, brakes, drop in a GM Duramax, Allison trans, custom paint, and a custom RV interior. it would easily tow a show car or antique car, and will be the belle of the ball. I love the lines on it!

    My dad and I converted several busses to motor-homes over the years. Our first was a 1938 Flexible Clipper with a straight 8 Buick pusher style. The bus had mostly served as a Trailways Unit. We did a Silver Eagle, which is also a Trailways style bus. Later we converted a 1968 Bluebird, a 1974 Thomas Coach, and a 1980 Bluebird.

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  6. Alan (Michigan)

    Since the Catholic high school was 10 miles from our local grade school, students would bus from our town, instead of having parents do the driving. It was a direct run, with only one or two stops for students living right on the chosen main road route. This was in the late 60’s….

    The bus we normally rode on was one of a pretty modern fleet, and all of those had automatic transmissions, even. But when any of them broke down or was pulled for a major maintenance, the single back-up bus would be pressed into service. We ALWAYS got it, for one reason only: There was but one bus driver capable of safely piloting it, and he was affiliated with the parish: Johnny Burkhardt. He was not the regular driver on the route, being a business owner, and serving as a sub. But when the old bus was brought out, he was always behind the wheel. Not joking here, it was bus #13.

    The 45+ years have faded the specifics on the bus, but I am thinking it was an International Harvester, similar in vintage to this one, maybe a couple of years newer. Vertical rear emergency door. Gas engine, and a manual transmission, with what surely was a non-synchromesh “creeper” first gear. Top speed may have been 55 or so…. There were a couple of decent hills on the route to and from school. On several occasions, Johnny had to stop on a climb, and then get going again, certainly not an easy thing. But he was a master at clutch, throttle, and shifter manipulation. Never more than a fleeting moment of uncertainty that we might not make it. Those of us (certainly including myself and my older brother) who were into cars would try and get the right front seats, so we could watch Johnny’s magic skill. His double-clutch work was magnificent.

    Silly things I recall include the over the windshield pivoted vacuum operated wipers, which would absolutely stop at high throttle openings, and go into warp drive when decending hills off-throttle. And then there was the exhaust, which amounted to a smallish muffler towards the front, and a long straight pipe extending to behind the rear bumper. When rising through the rev range, the pipe would resonate: Bbbrrrraaaaaaaaappp! And when the RPM’s fell, especially if the bus was in gear and coasting down from speed, it was a different version, which my brother described as: Ppaaarrrrrrrrrrbbbb! LOL.

    Johnny of course passed on many years ago, and it has been a long time since I thought of him. But I have to say, it is pretty certain that he had a significant influence on my development into a very proficient user of a manual transmission. Thanks for stirring the memory, BF!

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  7. Rex Kahrs Rex Kahrs Member

    This bus is cool, but I can’t really share your enthusiasm for riding the bus to school. In rural Ohio we rode 1.5 hours to and 1.5 hours from school every day. Up and down the winding roads, with the sweet smell of diesel fumes wafting in at every stop. The nausea finally wore off last week!

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  8. whiskey runner

    wow great bus.. i have the twin to it that i rebuilt several years ago. one of the coolest things i noticed while building mine was the names scratched into the paint on the interior.. i do know that john c. loved maria l. back in 1955 ha ha ha ha . on mine i modified the drive train with a 1959 cummins c180 supercharged engine and 10sp. fuller roadranger trans with a 4:11 IHC diff. i raised the roof 14″ and added a 14ft. slide out.. i draw a crowd anywhere i go with it..if i had the ways and means this bus would be sitting in my yard for sure..:)

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    • ConservativesDefeated

      Wow.Just Wow!

      How much money and time did it take to build that? It looks like a very methodical professional job.

      Just amazing.

      Hope you can post more details of the conversion as I’m sure all of us dreamers want to know.

      Thanks for posting your pix..

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      • whiskey runner

        thanks glad you like my “magic bus”.. it took me about six months of 10-12hr 7 day a week work to get as far as i have on the bus..hard to figure cost but just guessing i would say 14,000 in parts and materials.. but it was all worth it i made the trip from chicago to la on rte. 66 that was a blast.. i have put maybe 20,000 miles on the bus and it is just fun to drive around in

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  9. Jeff Garrett

    I rode in a international loadstar 1600 bus my first 4 years it had the 345 V8 the thing used a quart of oil every 2 weeks the driver was late one day and the front of the bus was white with fire extinguisher foam apparently it broke a valve spring and caused an Engine fire that didn’t stop the driver from getting us to school though. Next year it was replaced by a 85 Ford with the 375 4V it would get jammed in reverse and vapor lock.

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  10. ConservativesDefeated

    @whiskeyrunner: Thanks for replying. You forgot to price out your labor …probably incaculable!

    When I was a kid I wanted to build a nice wooden cabin on an old pickup like we used to see all the time in the sixties and seventies.

    Somewhere I have a coffee table book about old truck chassis with handbuilt wooden structures on them. Yours of course is several magnitudes of finish and competence above all of them

    Every time I see a handbuilt mechanical marvel like yours I am reminded of the astounding mechanical and construction competence that resides in so many Americans in the old car and truck hobby.

    Just great to see.

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