Since joining Jalopnik I’ve written about all kinds of RVs built out of school buses, milk tankers, transit buses, box trucks and more. Yet, rarely have I ever run across a build that you could actually live in day in and day out. This 1999 International 3000 changes that with all of the amenities of home, including a clothes washer and dryer.
I recently said goodbye to my own school bus RV project after it broke so much that I couldn’t even sell it for months. You’d think that experience would deter me, but I still love to see what other people have built with their creativity. A lot of times, these builds are missing facilities that even cheap manufactured RVs would have like bathrooms. Better conversions may have neat quirks like an observation deck with a fire pit, but even then you might be missing out. That’s why I really like this skoolie conversion; it has basically everything you’d need for a life on the road.
Let’s start with its bones. This bus started life as an International 3000 rear engine bus chassis, with a school bus body from American Transportation Corporation. If you haven’t heard of AmTran before it’s probably because it was such a short-lived bus body manufacturer. AmTran was formed in 1980 after Ward Body Works filed for bankruptcy the year before, and kept production moving. School Transportation News notes that one-third of AmTran was purchased by Navistar International in 1991 before full ownership in 1995.
AmTran produced buses like this RE model and my old CS before Navistar International erased the AmTran name by 2002, rebranding the buses as International Truck and Bus then as Integrated Coach Corporation.
Power in this bus comes from a Navistar T444E 7.3-liter turbodiesel V8. This engine is also known as the Power Stroke when equipped to Ford Super Duty trucks of the era. It’s making 235 hp and 500 lb-ft torque in this application and it’s sent to an Allison MD3060 six-speed automatic.
Inside, you get all of the amenities of home from a full kitchen to a working bathroom.
This is a shower that you’ll want to take every morning! There appears to be plenty of seating and sleeping spaces for a bunch of people, too, which is a plus with builds like this.
But my favorite feature is the combination washer and dryer. One pain that I’ve experienced when traveling the country is getting my clothes dirty. Short of finding a laundromat I’ve more than once washed clothes in a lake. That wouldn’t happen here and I love that touch.
Off-grid power comes by way of four 220-Amp 6 Volt batteries adding up to a 440-Amp 12 Volt system. Charging them when the engine isn’t running are two solar panels adding up to a 630-Watt capability.
The tanks are pretty huge too, with 90 gallons for fuel, 100 gallons for fresh water and 100 gallons for gray water.
Overall, this bus looks like something that you could actually live in. The only thing that I’d change is making the windows bigger for more outside light, though the skylights do help with that.
This rig would set you back $63,000, which would buy you a pretty neat Class A RV built by a known manufacturer. But if skoolies are your jam, I don’t think that you can go wrong with this.