Your Own Tour Bus: Bristol Double-Decker

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I’m not sure where to begin with this one, so let’s start here: this is a genuine Bristol double-decker bus that was converted to run tours across the U.S. for European visitors and Chinese exchange students. It’s been lavishly equipped on the inside but has been languishing on a ranch, until now – and it’s available here on craigslist for $45,000.

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Here’s what the bus looks like today. The nose was damaged from being moved around with a forklift, but that’s said to be the worst of its flaws. The Gardner six-cylinder was recently rebuilt and is paired to a manual transmission. The seller claims the Bristol has over $75,000 invested in it and is registered as an R/V in Alaska.

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The inside, apparently, is where the magic is. Professionally built with solid oak and what sounds like a true chef’s kitchen, featuring a Wolf grill and professional food freezer. The picture above shows occupants comfortably enjoying a meal while seated on what I presume to be an upper deck. The bus is said to sleep and feed 22 occupants.

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While it does look a bit tired here, I’m assuming the seller doesn’t include any updated photos of the interior because it still remains in good nick. But if I’m forking over $45K, I’m hoping that means a window wasn’t left open while it stored on the ranch! This does look like a great opportunity for a travel business, but could it be put to better use than ferrying tourists?

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Comments

  1. Bobsmyuncle

    Foolishly as shown in the diagram, the upper deck with it’s great vantage point is used as the sleeping area with views obscured by the beds.

    Not exactly great planning for a touring bus.

  2. Scot Douglas

    I worked at a sports car shop back in the nineties that bought one of these things to restore (never did before the company was bought out), but one memory came to mind when seeing this. I can’t remember where they bought it from, but to get it back to Michigan, they had to have a D.O.T. approved route that was free of overpasses. :D

    • geomechs geomechs Member

      Hi Scot. That didn’t bother James Bond….

  3. OA5599

    This would be the ultimate Uber vehicle.

  4. Van

    I’ve thought about turning one of these into an RV. If you could build the upper deck like a pop up, DOT clearance wouldn’t be an issue. The price of this one sounds like double what I would have thought it’s worth. It does look like fun, having never been on one.

  5. Rex Kahrs Member

    Somehow the front fender looks damaged in the first picture with Tom Selleck. Higgins is gonna be pissed.

  6. daniel zilka
    • Bobsmyuncle

      What a neat business idea. Thanks for the link!

  7. Peter K

    What idiot would move a bus around this large and this heavy with a forklift?

    • Mark S Member

      There’s no cure for stupid

  8. Rex Kahrs Member

    Stupidity…the world’s renewable resource!

  9. Chebby

    Weird, just an hour ago I saw one of these in an outdoor food court.

    Owner is dreaming at $45k, the luck of the dragon might get you $4,500. Maybe. Old buses are worth very little, especially when they have been sitting, and with significant body damage to boot. The fender might be easy to fix, but the upper deck structure got crunched, too. Those photos are from the 1990’s if not the ’80s. I would not assume that anything not shown is in good nick.

    If you’re even slightly interested in buying this bus, watch this video. This is a converted bus with a chef’s kitchen being sold by my old boss. (His style is pretty amusing.) I used to cook many meals in this thing when it was in service, but it has been sitting a long time. You’ll get an idea of how to inspect such a vehicle. Also note the asking price is $5k.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IVPphaS5k38

    • Bobsmyuncle

      Your old boss is instantly likeable! I feel like I want to buy something from him just for being a solid guy LOL.

      From my knowledge those gas ranges are probably worth his asking price no?

      • Chebby

        Ol’ Gardy is quite a character, and crazy like a fox when it comes to business.

        “Now this thing works..well it doesn’t really work but it was expensive.” LOL

        I would say the parts on the bus are easily worth 5k when you count the ranges and the engine and transmission. I think it’s like $10k to rebuild a Detroit Diesel.

  10. steviealx Member

    80’s chicks

  11. S Ryan

    My question is. How big was the forklift?
    Ripped the fender off and hit the top corner of the bus?
    My guess is a Tree?

  12. geomechs geomechs Member

    I watched a film on these buses a few years ago. To qualify as a trained bus driver you had to put those buses through a 180 degree controlled skid on wet pavement. That would have been quite a thrill, especially the first time….

    • Scot Douglas

      I saw that too! It was incredible!

  13. Ck

    Its kinda kool ,I like the food truck idea. How about converting the top of it to a dining area?Maybe paint the thing red as if it were still across the pond . I guess you could use it as a RV,I dont know .just throwing some stuf out there.

  14. Doug Towsley

    There is several of these busses in the Portland Oregon metro area. 1 sits on a farm waiting to be worked on, and 2 I know of in operation.
    1 I have invited to several vintage events at our museum, They use it for tours, Weddings, Batchelor/Batchelorette parties and anything you can think of if you can pay. They get booked a lot for wine tasting and tours of area winerys and the same for all the craft brewing and pubs in the area.
    I recently saw ads for tours of Grows and Pot shops as well in several papers. (Wacky weed is legal here, let someone else drive, welcome to the magical mystery tour, Steppa right this way!)
    We also have a double decker Trolley that is fully operational from Hong Kong in our trolley museum at Antique Powerland in Oregon. (12 museums on site) There is tracks so you can arrange a ride.
    See: https://doubledeckerpdx.com/

    Looks like $205 per hour with 4hr minimum. Click on the toolbar and select tour destinations. NBA games, Football games (Beavers vs ducks) Cannibis tours. Irony is years back they used to call them the Portland Jail Blazers. Many were busted with Pot. Now you can smoke pot, tour a pot farm and then go WATCH the Blazers. Hmmmm.. things have changed.

    Theres a Green Irish Double decker tour bus here too but cant find a website on it.
    But while looking for it, found this website with many Double deckers for sale and might give a perspective on them. I have no real indepth knowledge of them other than being familiar with the Busses locally.
    But back in the late 1970s and 1980s there used to be a outlaw hippy bus company called the Green Tortoise that run up and down the west coast and tours of Baja Mexico. I regret I never got around to taking one of their tours when I had the chance, I knew several of the Drivers and some people who went on the tours and not for everybody but those with a sense of adventure and an open mind all had a blast. If skinny dipping in the Baja peninsula and getting your buns sunburned is your idea of fun in the winter time while people in the NW are getting soaked with winter rain and snow.

    • Chebby

      Doug, the Green Tortoise is still around. I used to be a driver, and that fella in my video link is the guy who started it. His son owns the company today. All the buses are now modern air-conditioned units but the concept is still the same. The Baja trips are the best!

  15. Mike Burnett

    Not suitable as an RV intended for the open road having a top speed of about 45 miles per hour. Maybe this one has fixed the problem with the manual gearbox fitted if it has different gear ratios to the original.

  16. Howard A Member

    Might want to watch those bridge clearance signs. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lD10Bhpdvcs

  17. Jay E.

    Here in Southern Oregon they now offer Wine and Weed tours. Get pot on the upper deck, munchies and vino on the lower. Driver partitioned. Seems like the perfect “Magical Mystery” tour bus. Price seems excessive, there was a coffee shop conversion nearby, it was dang near given away.

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