During our years of live-aboard full-time bussing, we ran into many different kinds of other bus conversions, from the sublime to the ridiculous. The bottom end were pretty sad - schoolbusses " converted" by the addition of some baling wire and poles cut from the woods, scrounged plywood and cardboard, and a few 2 X 4's spiked together here and there, tastefully finished outside in the traditional school bus yellow, with all the lights still left in place, (and usually with a few letters painted over to make it say "Kool Bus."
We might think the "top end" would be the $300,000 Barth Factory Conversions, weighing in at the megaton rate, with 20KW gensets, which you had to have running in order to have hot water or use the stove (honest!.... we always called them "Barfs." But of course, what we found ourselves considering the ideal was somewhere in between these two extremes.
There are the flat-front, rear-engine Schoolies. These usually have quite a bit of basement bin storage, and have that deluxe look and feel that really makes a huge difference to resale value. Afterall, the Wanderlodge is just a flat-front Bluebird schoolie, built from the git-go at the factory as a motorhome, and they sell for outrageous bucks, new or used. So that's a good way to go if you want to do it deluxe, but aren't quite into taking on the care and feeding of a 410x or smaller MCI. And a good idea it is! But otoh, it isn't _really_ a motorcoach, now,is it? Not an ex-greyhound, an inter-city bus, a _Bad_ bus.
During our travels, we ran into lots of other kinds of live-aboards. The ones that really turned our cranks were the Flxibles.The first Highway Coaches. We hoped to find one some day, and we finally did, just this year. We don't need a bus anymore - Nelson hasn't been onthe road for 10 years, but we bought the Flxi anyway - couldn't stop myself. Needs repowering and complete interior rebuild, but It Followed Me Home - Can I Keep It?
So, what's available in the line of a not-quite-gross Highway Bus? Right in the middle? The Original Family Motorcoach, that's what. Presenting ...... The Flxible Clipper:
|Are These Things Cool, or What?|
When you open the door in the back, there's the engine, bolted in back-to-front onto the b-t-f transmission. The radiator isn'teven in the way - it's up above the engine, in an airduct coming down from the scoop intake which reaches up over the back of the roof. This isn't just for the cool look; it's extreme engineering at it's finest. Changing an engine? Just open the door, unbolt the removable center section of the rear bumper, support engine with dolly, unbolt, and slide out. Or block it up and push bus ahead. Bolt on another, and carry on. To change transmission, do the same but do it deeper. It's a giant VW Van!
Interested? There are Flxi's around, and they're not getting that big a dollar. You might want to check out some of these:
Our Flxi's Own Web Page
TheFlexible Owner's International egroups site
The Flex Owner'sInternational Web Site
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