Re: Buses converted to campervans
30 Mar 2014 22:19 #112827
...jeeez .. have a look at that old decrepit machine!....such a worn out unit, well past those halcyon days from years ago, attempting to soar along and still having a crack at trying to maintain some sort of standing in this rotten, hurried world of aviation :'( :'( :'(
.....on the other hand the Tiger Moth looks just wonderful doesn't she?... ;D ;D
So far, buses converted to campervans, trucks converted to campervans, purpose-built campervans, aeroplanes converted to campervans, buses converted to houseboats. There are only two aeroplanes converted to houseboats in Australia, so I'll slot them in here. I think that both are Catalinas; there was a Dornier which was never converted; the cockpit was preserved at Echuca, and nobody knew where. AFAIK it was found, and is at the excellent museum at Lake Boga, a major WWII Catalina base. The pub also has a major display of photos of the era.
1970 Picnic Point (Murray River, NSW). Former Catalina as a houseboat. N Smith
I wasn't with my father when he took the photo. I never saw it from my early boating adventures. The rumour at the time was that it was at Picnic Point, but out of the water. I believe that it is now at the Catalina museum at Lake Boga.
I wonder how many "city" buses are converted as compared to highway types. I would think that many people wanting to do the grey nomad thing would see them as a cheap option but be very disappointed.
I can see the attraction of the city bus for a conversion. there are lots of them and they are very cheap. They mostly have low steps and flat floors.
I suspect they would be disaster on the around Australia trip with low speed, low ground clearance and suspension allergic to rough roads. Their overhangs are more extreme than the highway bus as well causing hang-ups on any reasonable dip or gutter. Underfloor engine not so convenient as a rear one.
Having talked myself out of a city bus, what is your input?
I am not a mechanic or a driver. I suspect that the vast majority of conversions have been based on availability and price. For years, the most prolific type was the ubiquitous Bedford SB, followed by the later CAC Bedford 'Commair'. More modern types are fewer, and more diverse. I suspect that not much low-floor urban is available: too recent, and still cascading from big cities to country school runs. One surprise was the venerable AEC Regal half cab. Really, far too slow to be suitable. I don't know how easy modern types are for accessibility for maintenance, but that would have to be a consideration.
Roderick B Smith
Rail News Victoria Editor
Lang, you are correct about using route type buses. When we were searching around for a suitable bus to convert into a motorhome we took several for test drives and found the route type buses to slow on the open road, also because they were nearing the end of their life the maintenance side of things had been let go. We eventually settled on a 1963 Leyland Royal Tiger coach which had not only been re-bodied but being a coach the maintenance had been kept up.