Old buses make a fantastic platform to let your imagination, finances and skills run wild to build a truly unique RV. I love searching the net for these things and seeing what people come up with. Now, another one has popped up on my radar, and every detail of it is somehow better than the last.
This 1999 Blue Bird All American might be one of the coolest skoolies I’ve seen yet, with its rad underglow, rooftop fire pit and horse trough bathtub. The seller for this bus says that it was built by people with experience, and the finished product has been driven 10,000 miles, even camping on Bureau of Land Management land. Check this thing out.
The platform for this bus is a 1999 Blue Bird All American. These school buses are known for resembling transit buses and were even used for Blue Bird’s own luxury Wanderlodge RVs. This example measures 40 feet long and would have carried around 84 passengers on school duty.
Making it even better is that it has a rear-engine configuration desired by skoolie builders.
In the back sits a Cummins ISC 260 8.3. In this configuration, the 8.3-liter straight-six turbodiesel makes 260 hp and 660 lb-ft torque. That goes through a four-speed Allison MT643 and the seller says that it cruises 70 mph comfortably. It sounds like it has properly good bones.
The exterior is finished with two-stage auto paint and is said to have been done by a bus painter. It has some touches that I haven’t seen on any other school bus conversion. The hazard lights were converted to those aftermarket headlights that you see on Jeeps.
Apparently, the idea there was to have some neat DRLs in the daytime and bright off-road lights at night for navigating dark BLM lands. Out back, the hazard lights were converted into extra turn indicators and taillights.
The roof of the bus was converted into a party deck of sorts which features a two-foot fire pit.
Yes, you read that right. I’ve seen rooftop decks on a school bus before but never with a fire pit. That pit is fed with propane with the gas coming from a hard pipe threaded through the bus’ bathroom wall and down to the frame.
The cherry on top is LED underglow lighting, which the seller jokingly says that you can use to signal that you want to street race this bad boy.
Things are perhaps even better inside, where the interior looks like the kind of home you see in magazines.
There’s a lot going on here, but I think the highlights are the full kitchen and the bathroom, which features a horse trough-style bathtub with its own side door and marble everywhere.
Oh, and the toilet is heated with a bidet. This bus has a better bathroom than my apartment!
Lots of these conversions also claim to be off-grid, but this one seems to back said claim up. The bus carries 116 gallons of fresh water and has a 95-gallon grey tank and a 45-gallon black tank. The roof has 1,200-Watts of solar panels, with to top-up 600-amp hours of lithium battery. And there’s a 3,000-Watt gas generator onboard as well. You get three propane tanks. One is for the aforementioned fire pit, and two are to power the stove and instant hot water heater.
Interior comfort comes from that fancy-looking diesel heater on the floor, the rooftop A/C unit and there’s some 1.5-inch foam insulation all around.
It looks like a ton of thought actually went into this, and it’s comforting to know that it’s actually been lived in on the road. I didn’t even cover half of the ad. A bunch of these builds seem to be meant for Instagram, but this appears to be for someone who will, you know, actually take the thing across the country.
Of course, there’s a pretty big catch, and it’s the price. At $87,000 on Facebook Marketplace in Long Beach, California you could buy a lot of other types of RVs. On the other hand, I doubt any of those will be anywhere as fantastic as this bus.