Vintage Greyhound! 1955 GMC Scenicruiser

When you were young, did you ever take a cross-country trip on a Greyhound bus? If you did, the best way to see the USA was in a GMC Scenicruiser, a double-decker bus that Greyhound used in the ‘60s and ‘70s. GM built 1,001 of them for the bus company between 1954-56 and the seller’s copy is said to be #539. While rough around the edges, we’re told it still runs and drives and has never been modified (once retired, a lot of them were converted into RVs). Located in Austin, Texas, Big Bertha is available here on eBay where the bidding has reached $2,605.55 with more room to go on the reserve.

The GMC PD-4501 (aka Scenicruiser) was a 3-axle monocoque 2-level coach built to Greyhound specs in the ‘50s and placed into service for the next two decades. It was designed to seat 45 people in relative comfort and style, at least by the standards of the day. These types of coaches were not exclusive to the U.S. as ones like the Scenicruiser were popular in Europe. This bus is fitted with a Detroit 8v71 diesel engine and Spicer 4-speed manual transmission that was retrofitted in 1961. The odometer reading suggests this old transport is pushing nearly a half-million miles.

We’re told the diesel starts right up and runs well and the transmission shifts properly although it won’t go into reverse without some coaxing. The air suspension holds air and works properly. The previous owner told the seller that the original air conditioning is still there and works as it should. The bus was last used by a gospel group in Georgia but has been sitting for a few years but started and driven occasionally.

Some work is needed if you wanted to put it back into service. The upper windshields are cracked and need to be replaced. And the tires are ancient and new rubber should be installed all the way around. The interior is far from perfect but should work fine if refinements aren’t important. Otherwise, restoring the bus inside and out will not come cheap. But you’re not likely to see another of these on the road anytime soon.

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Comments

  1. Bluetec320 Bluetec320 Member

    Russ, you forgot the toilet picture from the Ebay auction, lol.

    Like 54
    • DC

      As King Arthur once said: Run away! Run away!

      Like 7
  2. Howard A Member

    “And I was born in the back seat of a Greyhound bus, rollin’ down Hy. 41”,,many songs were written about bus travel, when bus travel was dignified way to travel, not the “last resort for the poor”, like it’s become today. Of all my millions of miles, I only rode a “Silver Dog” once, and it was the most uncomfortable ride ever. It was winter, I needed to get to Quad Cities ( from Milwaukee), to meet a trucker friend. The bus was the only way. The heater was blasting hot, had to be 90 degrees in there. Some opened windows that weren’t frozen shut, and everybody was yelling at the driver, “Turn the heat down”, but he just stared straight ahead as if we didn’t exist.
    These were “single screw” drive, and the 3rd axle, which was a tag, was a welcome addition. It prevented the bus from “pogo sticking” down the highway, and I heard, it was for the additional weight the bus carried, as well. Before FedEx and others, Greyhound was big package carrier, as the elevated seating deck provided space below for freight. As with most these projects, (bus, fire engine, battleship), it’s going to need a lot for a conversion, and knowledge and space to do it, both sorely lacking in todays world. As a bus,,meh, “leave the driving to them”,,,

    Like 29
    • Eric_13cars Eric_13cars Member

      Ah yes, Howard. The heat. I had forgotten that. In late August of 1965 my parents took me, age 17, down to the Port Authority bus terminal in NYC and put me and my suitcase on a SceniCruiser to Chicago for college in Lake Forest. I sat next to a 40ish lady from somewhere in Europe. It was hot as hell in that bus with no respite. Rest stops in PA, and OH. 16 plus hours later arrived at 5:30 in the morning. Had to get a cab over to Union Station to catch a train to Lake Forest. Cabby tried to tell this NYC kid who had ridden the NY Central Hudson division into Manhattan hundreds of times that the train was $40 (it was $1.25). I laughed at him.

      Like 18
  3. geomechs geomechs Member

    We had a common joke in our neighborhood: head for Las Vegas in an $80K Cadillac and come home in a $380K bus.
    The year I entered the workforce (1971) I went on a camping trip down the left coast with my folks. Coming home we encountered a major wind storm in Pocatello that almost blew the camper off the road. No choice but wait the storm out for a couple of days. Unfortunately I had to be back to work and my sister had to be back in school so we took the bus back home. Somewhere along toward Butte someone had to use the ‘head.’ Well, they must’ve had a severe ailment in their lower GI or encountered some wild chili at ‘Tomain Joe’s,’ whatever the case the bus was permeated with a massive stench that stayed with us until we changed buses at Great Falls. At least back then we could smoke for fresh air…

    Like 49
    • Fahrvergnugen Fahrvergnugen Member

      Been there, didn’t do that…

      Like 15
  4. TCOPPS TCOPPS Member

    Nice to hear the seller’s been keeping this one maintained during the course of his ownership. Seems very transparent on what you’d be getting here which is a breath of (geomech’s much needed) fresh air.

    Like 13
  5. 370zpp 370zpp Member

    I am trying to picture the gospel group in Georgia having problems backing up with this.

    Like 8
  6. Ken Carney

    …Now we’re here at the station,
    and you’re getting on.
    And all I can think of is…
    Thank God and Greyhound
    you’re gone!

    Thank God and Greyhound
    you’re gone.
    That load on my mind got
    lighter when you got on.
    That shiny old bus is a
    beautiful sight,
    the black smoke a-rollin’
    up around the tail lights,
    It may sound kinda cruel
    but I’ve been silent too long.
    Thank God and Greyhound
    you’re gone.

    Like 17
  7. That Guy

    Ebay auction already ended – “no longer available.”

    Like 3
    • lew

      Apparently did not reach reserve.

      Like 1
      • George

        Most likely sold off eBay to a private seller. There were no bids.

        Like 1
  8. bobhess bobhess Member

    You’ve got to admit, whatever faults it has it’s one impressive looking rig. Style and mass running out your ears.

    Like 21
    • lew

      These Scenicruisers were designed by famous industrial designer Raymond Loewy. Finding a bus as complete as this one, especially if it runs, is very rare these days.

      Like 19
  9. Johnmloghry Johnmloghry Member

    I was 16 years old and just flunked out of high school. My dad put me on a grey dog heading out of state, it didn’t matter where just not there. I don’t remember how many hours passed before my ticket ran out in Tacoma, Washington. Managed to get a job on a chicken farm in Sumner for $1.00 per hour plus room and board. Never rode another one of those beasts, and never got any smarter through the next 56 years. It’s been a ride, military service in the 60’s, several marriages, lots of jobs, homeless at times, bought 4 homes, more cars than I can remember. Now I’m 74 and retired and have no clue what’s coming next. But whatever it is it won’t be on greyhound.
    God bless America

    Like 67
    • Mike

      Been back to Sumner John? Main street hasn’t changed much, but everything around it has exploded. The traffic is insane and Orting, WA which you might remember was a sleepy farming town has now become a monstrous bedroom community. When Rainier blows its top and the lahar rolls into town, nobody’s getting out alive.

      Like 8
      • Johnmloghry Johnmloghry Member

        No I haven’t been back to Sumner, but lived in Everett, Seattle, Kirkland and Tacoma up until 1985. Had a sister (passed away in June) that lived in Graham. Have daughters, grand children and great grandchildren in or around Pierce County. I don’t know any of them and it’s best that way. But thanks for asking Mike.

        Like 3
    • On and On On and On Member

      Very interesting quick life story. I’d say you’re entitled to say that you’ve been around the block.

      Like 14
  10. JCH841

    Rode a few in college. Walking to the station in Syracuse NY one Friday, I caught up with a girl from my school and got up the courage to talk to her. She was going to Rochester, I was going to Buffalo so we got on our respective buses. To at least my chagrin, both buses pulled into Rochester. We could have sat together and talked for two hours.

    Like 6
  11. Carl Y.

    Either engine is a replacement or the bus is newer bc Detroit didn’t make a v-8 till 59.

    • WayneA

      The ebay add said it was done in 1961. Both engine and trans.

      Like 2
    • That Guy

      These originally had a pair of 4-cylinders. The setup was quite troublesome so all were retrofitted with V-8s.

      Like 3
    • Cyrus Penland

      Who in the world would paint a Detroit Diesel red? Should be Alpine Green. I worked at MK&O in Tulsa and Continental Trailways Central Lines in Wichita in the 60s and early 70s. All of our busses were powered by Detroit Diesels. At Trailways we still had some GMC PD-4104s and a fleet of Silver Eagles, also a Golden Eagle or two. I remember the Greyhound Scenicruiser and the Silver Sides. :)

      Like 2
      • wcshook

        If I remember correctly, when Greyhound rebuilt a Detroit Diesel, they painted them red. Your right in that DD were painted green. Some are also painted silver.

        Like 1
  12. George Kushner

    I was shuttled back and forth from Providence RI to Albany then Glens Falls NY., via Trailways, for my court ordered parental visitation. Ain’t divorce grand? Anyway, it was the 70’s and everybody, including this wayward teen, smoked everywhere. The built in ashtrays were emptied at every rest stop.

    Like 1
  13. Goatsnvairs

    If I was a billionnaire…

    Like 6
  14. brav

    Rode a bus twice (aside from school busses every day) in the 70’s and 80’s. Never again if I can at all help it! Also do recall having some items shipped to me via Greyhound freight and picking them up at the bus station.

    More fondly I remember my Matchbox Scenicruiser Bus. Covered a lot of miles with that! I think I still have it in some box full of childhood stuff in some basement recess. If I can find it I’ll offer it for sale. Ran when parked after all!

    Like 6
  15. David Frank David Frank Member

    Say what you will about the greyhound, but once passenger trains went away there was still a way for folks of modest means to ride the dog or Trailways to get around the country. When you’ve stood beside the road on a winter day with your thumb out and a big ol’ dog goes by and you without the fare, the idea of a warm ride was very appealing indeed. There are a few bus museums around and this project is a little less involved than restoring a battleship so let’s hope someone with deep pockets will take this on.

    Like 11
  16. WayneA

    Worked on more of those than I care to think about. Transits too. Today they are the transportation of last resort. To gut one of these and make it ready for conversion is a two to three month project not counting major rust and frame repair. If you’re good 16 hours to R&R the engine/transmission with another 40-60 in rebuild hours. 4-8 hours to R&R the radiator send it out for recore. R&R the pumpkin 4-8 hours. Send out for overhaul. Remove all the old lines compressor and heater core system replace with mini-splits. Helped a friend do his. We had over 2000 hours into it by the time it was road worthy again, but was a beautiful coach when we were done.

    Like 11
  17. Rob

    I took 2 bus trips when I was in college. Thankfully, I’ve never had to take another.

  18. Steve Clinton

    “Leave the driving to us” and leave this bus for someone else!

    Like 3
  19. Angel_Cadillac_Diva Angel Cadillac Diva Member

    I never took a bus across the country or even across town for that matter, but occasionally took one from NJ to Manhattan NY

    Like 1
  20. gene polis

    Those don’t look like ’55 era headlights on that GMC…….I always liked the looks of the 60’s-70’s era GMC city buses…….

    Like 2
  21. BleedNRed

    I’ve always loved the look of the ScenicCruiser. If I were to win the lottery, I would spend a million bucks (hyperbole) and upgrade one into a first class RV…. (including slideouts). That would be a cool way to travel around the country.

    Like 4
  22. David Miraglia

    I want it so baddd…

  23. Brian M Member

    In about 1968, we put our son on a Greyhound in Melbourne, FL with a ticket to Manchester , NH. He really wanted to get there so at every long stop along the way, he located the very next bus leaving and got on it. By doing so he beat his luggage to NH by three days!

  24. John

    Rode one of these L.A. to Boise August of ’61. Stopped more than a dozen times at wide places in the road. “Going home” makes all the other stuff worthwhile.

    Like 1
  25. Johnmloghry Johnmloghry Member

    I wondered when someone would make reference to that old Roy Clark song: “Thank God and Grey Hound your gone”.
    God bless America

  26. George Kushner

    “Take the Greyhound. It’s a dog of a way to get around.” Harry Chapin
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iFPGdfsVwxY

  27. John Planic

    you would be the king at cars and coffee.

    Like 1
  28. Dan

    Yes, as a matter of fact I made 3 trips cross country in 60 and 62, Los Angeles to New York, and back once by Greyhound. When I was 11 and again when I was 13.

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