Home Life on the Road Bus Projects Introducing: Our New Vintage Bus!

Introducing: Our New Vintage Bus!

After two  months of searching the country following serendipity’s beacon – yesterday we bought a vintage bus!

Our 1961 GM PD-4106

She is a 1961 GM PD-4106, serial number 446. She’s 35′ long and 96″ wide.

While the 4106 is best known for being the heart of Greyhounds long haul fleet, our bus started her life as a regional tour bus owned by Citizen Auto Stage out of Nogales, AZ – better known and still in business as Gray Line Tours of Arizona.

As best we can tell, she spent essentially all of her service life in Arizona and the southwest, the land of minimal rust and corrosion. We don’t know much about the prior owners who did the conversion into an RV, but according to the stack of receipts we found she was converted in 1989, and seemed to travel regularly between Yuma, AZ and Napa, CA (and since the bus has a built in wine cabinet, we’re going to assume the folks who converted her were wine lovers.). When she was converted the bus was also upgraded to a have an Allison v730 automatic transmission, power steering, and Mini-Max air brakes (which will eventually need to be replaced as they’re now obsolete).

She’s been sitting sad and lonely for several years now before we found her for sale in Yuma, AZ – roasting away in the intense 110+ degree sun.

Video Tour!

Click here for a video tour of our new vintage bus!

We’ll be following up soon with a full post about how this old girl came into our lives, a tour of all the buses we looked at in our search, the adventures of getting her and of course we’ll continue blogging all about our adventures in becoming bus nuts!

Washing the 'For Sale' info off - This bus is ours! Some washing and polishing, and this bus is gonna shine!

Interior shot. We have plans to reconfigure the front living space by removing the dinette and making a dual office. We love the open feel of the inside!

The bedroom! The mirrors are actually fold out doors to a HUGE hanging closet and storage area. A walk around bed (so we don't have to crawl over each unless we WANT to) was a non-negotiable criteria in our search.

The solid wood cabinetry on this thing is beautiful. There is lots of well thought out storage. The hallway is lined with cabinets containing drawers, shelves and a pull out pantry. The bathroom suite (which is near impossible to photograph) is genius.

We have much to still figure out, such as the house systems (we haven’t found the fresh water tank, for instance – and suspect it’s under the bed!). And there is some work to be done, such as it immediately needing new tires & wheels and brake adjustments to be safe to drive.  There’s also an air leak that we’ve already traced down to being a hopefully simple fix.   Our next major stop will be visiting with a bus guru in Arizona who has invited us to stop in and learn how to maintain this old girl, and help us go over the engine.

We suspect it’ll be many months before we even partially understand all that is here as we back trace all of the systems. We look forward to starting work on making it truly ours, such as converting the dinette into a dual desk office area, adding a solar electrical system and more.

For now.. we’re just very very happy to be.. HOME!

56 COMMENTS

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  1. my wife and i are looking for a bus to fix up and travel with our disabled son. any advice would be appreciated. love your site.

  2. Nice looking land yacht. I’ve purchased 7 retired 40-ft buses from various fleet auctions over the years, but the one we (my new wife and I) own now is a 1977 GMC 4905A, a 40-ft long beast with a Detroit Diesel 6v92 Turbo powerhouse in it.

    We had R&M Fiberglass cap the front and rear to give it a new, modern-looking high-end RV appearance, and we gutted the inside in preparation for building the interior to our liking. Unfortunately, work demands required me to halt all bus conversions and drive it to a storage lot in a nearby city where it has now sat for almost 2 years and refuses to start up. The engine turns and turns, but it just won’t fire up.

    Anyways, being a bus owner means work…usually expensive, time-hogging work. Now we want to sell it and just get a smaller pre-fab RV from a lot somewhere or online so we can just hit the road as fulltime RVers. We are sooooo eager to become wandering nomads.

    You two be safe and keep posting. If you get up to the Denver area, let us know.

    • Yes.. everything we’ve heard about doing a conversion on your own says it’s a lot of work! So glad we found a high quality pre-converted bus, and have been able to concentrate on modifications that we mostly find fun to improve our quality of life.

      Best wishes in finding your ideal coach and joining us out on the road!

  3. Totally jealous! I think the 4106 is the Cadillac of 35ft buses. Me and my family of 6 traveled(lived in a series of 35ft buses. We sang Southern Gospel music and had different musicians traveling with us as we got older and grew up so by the late 80’s we were traveling in 2 buses. But we’ve been of the road since 1990. I miss it. I’m 50 but once a busnut always a busnut. Dad sold the last 2 for scrap(without permission)last year. Very emotional seeing your home(friend)leave like that. The oldest one was a 55′ Flxible Vl-100. When they drove it away “oh the memories”. All it took was a hot battery and that old 671 started right up. We one went over 7 years without a breakdown. How? Paying attention to what she was saying to us and fixing the problems before she broke. Maintenance constantly. NEVER EVER even for a moment slide under your Zephyr without her being properly blocked up. If any questions please feel free to contact me. Any problems can be fixed with mostly Brain power. Just like anything else. Have fun,fun,fun.

  4. It really is a beautiful bus. I can only imagine your solar setup NOW! :) You’re gonna have all the electricity you can ever desire… I view having your own power generator devices as the holy grail of this adventure. You will be glad to know that I have begun making a few baby steps! I already have an old Ford 15 passenger van which I plan to convert into a small home on wheels to try out the lifestyle. So the race is on to make it into a livable home before my last 2 months on my apartment lease runs out. I think my little “old gal” made it into my life just in time!
    Good luck with the grand old bus! The interior IS well designed. You never told us how much you finally got it for. (My guess was 9,000. Just a guess… since you mentioned the guy was motivated to sell?)

  5. We have been doing some really cool projects using an iPad for control of everything from music to video/TV, lighting to climate control and navigation. Just something to think about…I mean if your looking for nerdy.

  6. Great find. Now you need to get a nice ham radio and some cool electronics in there. My shop in Colorado does custom electronics, so if you have any questions I may have the answers. Happy motoring.

    • The coach actually came with a HAM radio, we’re looking forward to trying it out with our Technician’s licenses. Tech’ing it out is the whole point, and we have bunches of projects planned to make this one stylin’ tech-nomad pad!

      • Well, if it came with a ham radio then the previous owners obviously had class! Make sure your SWR is good before you use it so you don’t burn up the receiver. Happy motoring!

      • Glenn – We both passed the test and got our license over a year ago so that we would be better able to volunteer for disaster relief work. But since then we haven’t actually put our license to use.

        The radio that comes with the bus will actually be our first. Now I just need to track down the 12 volt wires to it so that I can turn it on… *grin*

  7. What a beautiful new home! You’ve come a long ways from the T@B!! I hope to meet her in person, maybe you’ll bring her back to her old rolling grounds in Napa, Ca, or at BRC? Happy Travels!!

    Sue (4×8 teardrop…)

  8. Wow…she’s a beaut! The people who did the interior did a really exceptonal job. I love the woody and airy feel of the pics. Congrats!
    Nina

  9. OMG! I use that abbreviation sparingly, but… This deserves that oft-used expression! Good on ya! YOu know… that picture of you wiping the windshield of the “old gal”… it almost seems like the bus is looking back at you and smiling… (those headlights and the bumper seem to be “grinning”… like a happy mutt that has been adopted by new owners!)
    It’s a beauty and I am sure you will have lots of fun in the future.
    Congratulations!

  10. Wow! Lovely! Whatever are you going to put in all that interior storage space? And how come it feels more spacious than our 35′ motorhome with all our slides? You done good!

    • We’re swimming in space!! Can’t imagine at this point in time needing more space than this. Gonna take some getting used to. I mean, we actually have to *walk* to get to the bed.

  11. Congratulations! She looks great – and I love the video. Nice ‘Vanna’ action Chris. Have fun with your new home. Any names yet?

  12. It is a nice looking machine, congratulations on purchasing it. I have a felling from reading your write up here and your postings on the yahoo group GMC Bus Nuts that you all did your home work. I also think that you all will love your old coach and it hope it serves you well for years to come.

    • Thank you… we are so grateful for the entire busnut community. And honestly, that the community exists and has been so giving with advice & help, has been a big part of us choosing to go the vintage bus route.

  13. Congrats on what looks like a great ending to your search. It’s probably too late to bring it to the busnusa.com rally in Salem, OR this weekend. :)

    We will be starting our quest for a land yacht next spring. I hope we find something as cool as yours.

    Cheers!

  14. Holy wow! That rear closet is bigger than all the storage you had on Orion combined! That is a really well-designed interior. You guys did GREAT! As soon as I saw Chris mucking about with the doors, I was thinking “Paramotor!!” :-D

  15. Looks great! I’m very jealous.

    Don’t be surprised if that engine drools oil out the air box vents it just the nature of the beast. It will make good power and should be reliable with replacement parts and service tec’s readily advaible.

    • Yeah.. we’ve already been prep’d with ‘If it ain’t dripping oil, then you’re out’. :) She does drip more than other’s we’ve seen however, so we’ll be getting her to a bus guru soon enough for a good looking over.

  16. Congrats on your new home! She’s beautiful! We toyed with an old bus briefly but we decided we had barely lived through too many fixer upper home projects to do a bus one. Can’t wait to read all about your improvements!

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