This Marvelous Customized School Bus Has Been Ruining Snow Days For A Decade

We may earn a commission from links on this page.

That glorious red vehicle you see above was a school bus in its previous life. Now it is a snow plow called “The Red Bull.” I find this to be absolutely badass.

In 1996, the bus began its life as a typical school bus, serving as transportation for children to and from the delightful halls of school in the Cleveland Metro School district. Once the district’s new buses came in, however, the old bus was retired.

Justin Kobak, who works for the district, told Jalopnik in an email,

“When we got our new buses this one was retired. We were contracting out our plowing of our 3 school bus lots when my boss had a great idea. Let’s put a plow on an old bus and have our mechanics plow the lot... Amazingly it does the job [perfectly]!”


Kobak says that in the nearly 10 years that the bus has been in service, it has never gotten stuck in the snow. There have been three “versions” of it, and the latest is the one you see here.


For this version, the frame was hacked off past the rear axles to help it turn with improved clearance. The body shop, which has spent nearly 500 hours on the bus since it came out of retirement, did most of the work, including painting it.

An eight-foot Boss salt spreader was fitted to the back, a definite improvement over what the bus used to have, which was a smaller hopper that had to be hand loaded with individual salt bags. With the new spreader, all anyone has to do is load the salt in with a Bobcat.


The front end was fortified with larger leaf springs and the front bumper was modified for the plow.


The engine and transmission were left stock. It’s a naturally aspirated 7.3-liter IDI motor paired with an Allison transmission. Here’s a walkaround of it.

Kobak says that the interior is “pretty beat” because the people who are using the plow are just himself and his mechanics and they aren’t picky. They don’t need Bentley-rivaling bespoke coachwork dolling up the inside of their bus plow.


Plowing snow is hard and difficult work. It’s awesome that Kobak and Co. were able to bring some fun and originality to it.