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Sold1972 GMC Bus Motorhome Conversion w/ Shorty Mini

UPDATE: The bus has GONE, GONE, GONE to its new home! And the shortened Mini is GONE too!

A shortened Mini is part of this awesome conversion of this GMC bus done in 1999. The Mini rolls out of the cargo section on ramps – ready to go!

More details below.

Located In Fairfax, VA. Nationwide delivery available (at extra cost).

[ ID# BUSANDMINI ] Asking $55k for both, or $48k for the bus alone.

Note: Seller will consider selling the shorty Mini separately, depending on the wishes of the bus/motorhome’s buyer.

More info:

GMC 4108A 35′ Conversion Bus Motorhome
with 1969 Austin Mini baggage bay car

* 1972 Chassis
* Freshly rebuilt Detroit Diesel 8v71 with Turbo and Jake brakes
* Allison V730 automatic transmission
* 1999 High-quality conversion with beautiful cedar/marble/oak interior
* All the features of coaches costing 10 times as much!
* High-def LCD TV, large house battery bank
* 1969 Austin Mini baggage bay car with winch loading system
* Well maintained; ready to drive anywhere!
* See full feature list below
*
Notes from the seller:

Now here’s something you don’t see every day! This is a unique motorhome, built to rival the million-dollar “rock star” coaches in its features and usability and has a few things even not found on the others! All top-end motorhomes today are built starting with a bus, not a lightweight motorhome or van chassis.

It’s been my favorite toy for the last four years and I’ve done lots of interesting things with it and to it, but now it’s time to move on, so it’s looking for a new home.

Starting with the bus itself, it’s a 1972 GM model 4108A 35 ft. bus. This model was called a “buffalo” because of the distinctive roofline that steps up from the driver’s area to the passenger area. This coach has the desirable R&M front and rear caps, plus its custom tailgate that gives it a modern coach appearance and shape, plus lots of headroom in the front of the coach. The buffalo design also means that it has some of the largest baggage bays of any bus ever made, which is why the little car fits (more on that later too).

Why a bus? In brief, once you drive a bus, you’ll never want a typical motorhome. Motorhomes are built on a often-overloaded light truck chassis, with a wood or fiberglass box perched on top. A bus is made like an aircraft-a rib structure with a structural skin.

A bus like this one is made to carry 47 passengers, plus their luggage, in safety and comfort. To use a bus like this one as a motorhome is a wonderful overkill. Buses are designed to last 30 years and travel 3 million-plus miles in heavy service. As a motorhome, they’ll last nearly forever, if maintained. I have friends with buses decades older than this one and they drive them everywhere. GM made great buses and, as they are almost all aluminum, they don’t rust. Unfortunately, at some point while re-skinning this bus for conversion, some smaller steel panels alongside the larger aluminum ones combined to cause some small areas of surface rust to lift some paint in small bubbles. Most have been fixed and touched up, but up close may still be seen. From a distance, the body skin looks perfect.

The bus is powered by a Detroit Diesel 8v71, one of the most reliable engines ever made. This one was rebuilt in 1999 when the most of the motorhome conversion was done. At that time, a turbocharger was added, which really helps boost the acceleration and fuel economy. With its Allison V730 automatic transmission, this bus is relatively easy to drive. At the time of the rebuild, also installed is an oversized radiator, which cools the genset also. The bus has lots of power; it gets up mountains fine, with no overheating problems.

If you’re concerned about maintenance, don’t be. There are a number of repair/maintenance shops experienced with older coaches, and any number of places to get parts. Included is a full set of maintenance/repair manuals. Plus there are great Internet groups with lots of helpful, knowledgeable people.

The bus is a pleasure to drive – big and solid – and you feel like king of the road and everyone treats you that way!

The little car is a 1969 Austin Mini (ie: sometimes nicknamed a “Mini Cooper”) and was created by a custom auto shop in Canada for a similar bus. It’s been shortened, has step-over entry and a removable windshield. Other than that, it’s a typical, but very small, car. The Mini loads and unloads in about 5 minutes using ramps and a pipe-guide system (ie: like the wheel guides at a car wash) and a special winch mounted on a 4×4 beam to the bulkheads. The winch is controlled by a small wireless remote. The Mini runs great – and is a kick to drive. Recently replaced are the tires, wheels, generator, thermostat and a few other odd parts.

OK, now to the fun part…the motorhome in the bus. The walls and ceiling are unique. Apparently the converter’s brother-in-law was in the custom wood business, and got him this beautiful knotless white cedar (called Port Orford Cedar) and both the walls and ceiling are covered with this tongue-and-groove siding. It matches the oak cabinetry perfectly.

A brief tour:

The driver area has a newly factory re-upholstered air-suspension seat. Since I often travel alone, I’ve moved many of the controls that were scattered around the coach to panels reachable from the driver’s seat, including controls for the water pump, water heater (electric and gas), front air conditioner, speakers, stereo power and driver’s 2-speed fan. Also here is a round marine-type remote control panel for the Sony car stereo, including the 10 CD changer and XM radio.

The power system is something I’m particularly proud of, since I re-did it and it’s the equal of any high end, million-dollar coach. Start with the house battery bank-eight 6 volt GC2 golf car batteries for a total of 500 amp hours at 24 volts. The bank is connected to a 4000 watt pure sine wave inverter-some say it’s the finest inverter ever made-the Trace SW4024, with the LCD display/control panel wired to a custom control panel inside the coach. This inverter has several special features that make the coach power system very flexible. You can set it to limit the power it draws from the shore power cord, so if you’re plugged into a 15 amp circuit or a 30 amp, you can still run everything you want and the inverter will draw power from the batteries when it needs it, then replace it when it doesn’t.

The power system is monitored by Trimetric monitor which uses a special shunt to measure the current flowing into and out of the battery bank, and shows the percent capacity remaining in the battery bank. I installed a custom battery watering system so you can top up the distilled water in all the batteries with a few squeezes of a bulb pump. There are also two 100-watt solar panels and a Heliotrope controller. All of this power is switched via a set of marine-type battery switches in the battery bay. The shore power wiring (all new) leads to an auxiliary breaker box in the utility bay with separate breakers for 50-amp and 20-amp shore power connections. It all works great.

If you love electronics as I do, this is the coach for you! I installed five of the best sounding speakers I could find-these are Infinity 6″ component speakers with external crossover networks and they sound fantastic. The speaker switches up front switch the five speakers between the Sony car stereo (used when driving) and the surround sound amp (used when parked with TV). There’s also a huge JBL powered subwoofer up front. The TV is a breathtaking 27″ LCD HDTV (high definition TV) that is stunning, and much larger than most coaches have. It’s mounted on an articulated swing arm so you can position it to face the couch, the table or in between. With the surround sound system, subwoofer, high-end speakers and a good movie on DVD or satellite, it’s better than most home theater systems!

The kitchen is practical and has an LP gas stove and oven with a stainless sink. I didn’t use it much so I built a custom butcher block wood counter that matches the table and washer/dryer cabinet top and lays on top of the existing kitchen counter to provide a large working space, bookshelf, etc. You’ll see photos below both with and without it. It just lifts off if you don’t want to use it; it’s not permanently attached.

I replaced the original freestanding little dining table with a much larger, nicer peninsula-shaped table, anchored solidly to the wall and supported by a custom 3″ black steel column. I used this for a desk, but it would make a great dining table for normal people who would rather eat in their RV than work! There’s a nice skylight above the table. (

Please note that the twin 22″ computer monitors in the photo are not included, though everything’s negotiable if you’re looking for an office on wheels!)

Next is the matching oak cabinet with the combination washer/dryer, and a closet or pantry with shelf above. The Norcold refrigerator/freezer runs off of either propane or 120 VAC and is wired to the inverter so that it will run off of the bus alternator while underway, along with the electric hot water heater and the front air conditioner-the powerful inverter will handle it all.

The clever matching wood door serves as both the bathroom closet door and the door between the living area and the bathroom, depending on which way you swing and latch it. There’s a custom heavy raw silk curtain between the bathroom and the bedroom.

The water system in the coach, of which the converter is especially proud, is very nicely done. Fixtures and plumbing are all standard home type, so easy to service, and are installed well. By changing valve settings you can use water from the city supply and turn the coach pump off, or fill the fresh water tank from the same city hookup. The pipes are insulated in the bay underneath and there’s a thermostatically controlled heat tape so everything works fine, even in freezing weather.

Speaking of cold weather, the coach is well insulated, and has both a ducted central propane forced air furnace with electronic digital thermostat, and also three separate ceramic heaters in the living room, bath and bedroom. The bath heater has a towel-warming bar. When connected to shore power, use one, two or all three of these heaters and the coach stays nice and warm without burning any propane.

The bedroom has a well-built hinged platform with storage underneath and a full sized bed. There seems to be room for a queen-sized bed if you wanted to put one in.

I would not hesitate to take this bus anywhere there’s a road. The 35-foot length means you can get into any campground or RV park, and it’s easy to maneuver around city streets, even while towing a car. There are probably features I forgot to tell you about, since I keep adding things. I told you-it’s a giant toy. I keep it serviced, most recently by the best shop in the country for these coaches; its work is excellent. It’s ready to go on short trips,
long-weekend trips or for full-time living (as I have also done in it). You won’t be disappointed with this coach!

Coach:

* 1972 GM 4108A “Buffalo” bus chassis
* R&M Fiberglas front and rear caps for modern coach look
* Fresh Detroit Diesel 8v71 350 HP diesel engine with Turbo (rebuilt by Southern Oregon Diesel, 1998)
* 64k mi on new engine/trans; approx 300k total coach miles
* Allison V730 Automatic Transmission
* Shepherd Power Steering
* Jake Brakes
* Alcoa aluminum rims
* Michelin front tires, Otsu rear; good tread on all tires
* 165 gallon fuel tank
* Ramco remote-control power mirrors with wide angle view
* Back Up Camera and monitor
* Gauges: Tachometer, Pyrometer
* Speedometer with Trip Odometer
* Oil Pressure Gauge
* 15″ computer/video monitor at dash for navigation, video display, etc.
* Oversized radiator works for engine and genset
* Radiator spray system
* Engine block heater
* Aluminum wheels
* Truck style front door latch and lock
* New rear end, rear drive axles, brake pads.
* Trailer hitch with 2″ receiver and towed vehicle lighting connector
* Full Manual set including maintenance and parts books
* All service up to date and documented, fluids, filters, brakes, air bag

Interior:

* Solid Port Orford Cedar wood walls/ceiling (natural blonde color-not red cedar)
* Oak cabinets
* Drawers have marine-type slam latches; won’t open underway
* Bostrom air-suspended driver seat with new gray velour upholstery (2007)
* Gray Dygart two-toned passenger seat (new 2003)
* Beige leather sofa
* Beige storage bench/ottoman
* 3-drawer file and storage cabinet
* Peninsula shaped dining table with custom column leg
* Skylight
* Tile shower with glass door and enclosure
* Sealand Ceramic Toilet
* “Temple Gray” Marble tile in kitchen and bathroom
* Carpet in front entry area, living room and bedroom
* Full sized bed with high quality mattress and foam topper
* Bed platform storage with hinged top and air springs
* Pleated shades in kitchen and dining
* Designer curtain rods and curtains in living room
* Day/night shades in bedroom
* Oak window frames
Power System:

* Wrico Diesel 8000 watt diesel generator with removable tall exhaust stack
* Eight 6V GC2 house battery bank (500 AH at 24v)
* Battery watering system (fill all batteries at once in seconds)
* 4000 watt Trace SW4024 pure sine wave inverter with inside remote control panel and battery temperature sensor
* 200 watt solar panels with Heliotrope charge controller and battery temperature sensor
* Automatic generator / shore power transfer switch
* 50 amp, 30 amp and 20 amp shore power hookups with circuit breakers
* Battery switches allow charging of house or starting batteries from inverter or solar
* Automatic charging of house batteries from engine alternator when underway
* Battery charger/conditioner for coach starting batteries
* Dual 12 volt accessory outlets near couch
* Steel power strip under table with dedicated circuit
* Trimetric battery system monitor, shows % left in battery bank via precise shunt measurement

Entertainment:

* Sony 500 watt high-end car stereo system with cassette, 10-disc changer, XM satellite radio and marine remote control panel convenient for driver
* Five Infinity 6.5″ component speakers; toggle switches select Sony car stereo or home theater system
* Boston Acoustics 2.0 200 watt surround sound receiver with DVD, Dolby ProLogic II, component and optical outputs and component inputs for high def satellite receiver
* 27″ LCD Olevia high-def LCD TV on swing arm mount; can face sofa or table; can function as computer monitor also

Systems:

* Suburban hot water heater, propane with electric hot rod option
* Suburban 3-burner propane range with oven
* Norcold refrigerator/freezer
* Suburban SF30 ducted to driver, living room, bath, bedroom
* Electronic digital thermostat
* Three electric ceramic heaters
* Equator Washer/dryer
* 120 Gallon Fresh Water tank
* 80 Gallon Gray water tank
* 40 Gallon Black water tank
* Three fantastic fans: living room, bedroom and custom kitchen range hood
* Driver two-speed fan
* Two Dometic roof air conditioners; front runs off inverter while underway and has driver-reachable thermostat
* Antique style Holmes three-speed oscillating fan in living room
* Water heater controls, front A/C thermostat, speaker switches and driver fan wired to custom oak driver control panel
* Water pump with pressure accumulator tank and pressure fill from city water
* Twin 40 lb. propane cylinders in sheet metal box in baggage bay; vented through floor, automatic switchover
* Smoke and CO detectors in bedroom
Car and loading system:

* 1969 Austin Mini; shortened to 89″ length to fit bay
* Fully registerable as a car
* Can reach highway speed
* New tires; replaced steel wheels, new baby moon hubcaps
* New battery, generator, thermostat
* Huge “Ahh-ooh-gah” horn
* Removable windshield
* Removable suede racing steering wheel
* Steel ramps and pipe guides to load and position car precisely in bay
* Winch and cable with wireless remote to pull car into bay, and lower out
* Loads/unloads in about 5 minutes
Storage:

* Under bed storage area
* Large closet in bathroom; small in kitchen
* Numerous drawers and cabinets in kitchen, bath and bedroom
* Two laundry hampers in bedroom
* Craftsman 5-drawer steel tool chest
Other

* Cell phone antenna
* Cat 6 Ethernet cable hookup
* Cobra CB Radio and external antenna
Bay Inventory:

* Front bay: genset, batteries, AC circuit breakers, storage space
* Middle bay: Austin Mini and loading system, propane tanks, inverter, two large storage bins
* Rear bay: water and waste tanks, pump, plumbing, tool chest, shore power, water and waste connections, hose and cord storage, extra storage space with cargo mats

Additional photos available show some furnishings that came with the coach when I bought it. These things are in storage, and are included with the coach, if picked up from storage. These pieces include:
* Green Recliner
* Matching Green co-pilot chair
* Small dining table and oak chairs
* Two oak storage chests matching interior

UPDATE: The bus has GONE, GONE, GONE to its new home! Sorry… However, the shortened Mini is now available. See listing in Consignment 1 section!

Vehicle Details:
  • Engine: Detroit Diesel 8v71
  • Transmission: Allison V730 automatic

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