My old bus

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by audiokid, Oct 24, 2016.

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  1. audiokid

    audiokid Chris Staff

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    Here is my old bus from the 70's and 80's Rock & Roll days. Its a 1974 Chev Bluebird 54 passenger. I bought it from the school spare bus yard. It was actually the same bus that a few band members traveled on when they were little kids, prior to meeting me and forming a band. Small world.
    I restored it, then we put thousands of miles on it traveling throughout Western Canada, Yukon and the Territories,.

    I bought it after being ripped off a few times. The nice shinny vans with windows attracted thieves so one day I said, its time for a bus. Plus Rock & Roll just isn't complete until you do the Bluebird Magic bus thing ;) Good song from the The Who.

    This thing was built like a tank, had an alarm system in it, windows were all removed and seal up. It kept our gear safe from thieves. Loaded up from the back door via a ramp.

    She still runs awesome but the brake lines are gone from sitting too long in the bush. I put a wood stove in it years back for keeping us warm during fishing and camping up in the BC Coastal mountains.

    Thought I would post it as it reminds me of the old days when I was a musician full of dreams, who is still dreaming.

    thebus.jpg
     
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  2. Sean G

    Sean G Well-Known Member

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    Location:
    Sydney, Australia
    Did they come out with a 400 cubic inch Chevy big block?...we put one of those big block Chev motors in a 1968 Holden HK Monaro here in Australia...rumoured to have come from an old school bus in the US...it went like the clappers !!!

    Thats awesome...would make for a good resto as a mobile studio Chris ;)
     
  3. audiokid

    audiokid Chris Staff

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    It has a balanced 350 , 4 bolt main, with an RV cam,, 302 heads, stellite valves, , 4 speed tranny, and a split rear end. Drives awesome, and has great power.

    The inside is all insulated and very quite. I thought about using it for the mobile thing but bought a cargo trailer now.

    Ya, those 400 big blocks were really nice too. Bus' have great motors.
     
  4. audiokid

    audiokid Chris Staff

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    I believe the 400 was an Olds motor. They usually put 427 or 396 in those, made awesome muscle car motors. Mine was the exception having a small block. But the 4 bolt main made it tough. Its a great 350 for muscle too.
     
  5. Sean G

    Sean G Well-Known Member

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    Location:
    Sydney, Australia
    We stroked the 400 chev out and added oversize Manley racing pistons, imported a pair or Air Flow Research 210cc alloy drag racing heads from the US, set it up with a gear drive & electric fuel pump, coupled it with a tricked out 2 speed power glide transmission and a Ford 9 inch diff.

    The only thing was at first we couldn't pull it up with the factory drum brakes so we added 4 wheel discs all round.

    It was completely off the leash...and got about 5 miles to the gallon.
     
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  6. Sean G

    Sean G Well-Known Member

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    We left everything else stock...down to the factory 14 x 6 inch wide wheels and tyres...it was a real sleeper to look at.

    A real granny killer.
     
  7. audiokid

    audiokid Chris Staff

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    That bus gets about 5 MPG too.

    Sounds like you and I would have had fun with cars. I was right into drag racing. Have a few friends that took it serious as adults, went onto building and pro racing for the NHRA.
    I took automotive as a trade but hated it as a business. Greasy hands and hacked up nails etc just didn't get the ladies all fired up in the same way as my musical side.. So, I thought, hmm.. I should start a band instead.

    I love racing though. I wish I had all the pictures of cars I fixed up over the years. I lost everything I had as a child to young adult from being a fool leaving all my belonging at a friends farm.

    Any pics of that car, please share.
     
  8. Sean G

    Sean G Well-Known Member

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    Location:
    Sydney, Australia
    I'll see if I can dig them out...I may have some on an old mini mac I have not fired up for a few years, I know I had a few on that hard drive.

    I did the car build and resto for a long time, its a bigger money pit than audio IMO. But there is nothing better than looking at a finished product and being proud of the work put in.

    Iv'e stil got a couple of FJ Holdens' sitting in the driveway, waiting for day to come when the finances allow it. They are 62 and 61 years old now, haven't been on the road for a few decades and are undercover in their hibernation at present, waiting for the day when I bring them back to life and fire them up and drive them down the road again.
    I had a guy who approached me and wanted to buy them a couple of years ago, when he told me what he did for a living and wanted them to cut up, modify them and use them for the Mad Max Fury Road movie I straight out refused. That was total sacrilege to me.
     
  9. audiokid

    audiokid Chris Staff

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    Cool, they look like Chevs eh. We don't see Holdens' here.
    Took a look on https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holden_FJ

    Really nice!
     
  10. Sean G

    Sean G Well-Known Member

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    Location:
    Sydney, Australia
    They are based around a 1943 Buick design believe it or not...the model before the FJ (which came out in 1953) was the FX...known as the 48-215 which ran from 1948 up until the FJ came out in 1953. The FX was Australias' first locally produced car and came out to great fanfare. I have 2 FJs' and they are from 1954 and 1955 respectively. Both are the "Special" model as it was known, because it had all the added chrome and accessories.

    Holdens' started as a saddlery in 1856, then moved on to become a carriage builder workshop...later assembling early imported cars like Cadillacs, Chevys and Oldmobiles up to the 1930's. They became a subsidiary of General Motors in 1931 and then became known as General Motors Holdens' Ltd, and became our leading local car manufacturer.
    Sadly, production ceased on Australian made cars, the last Holden made here rolled off the line only last week and now all Holdens are merely rebaged imported Opals and the like....
    More reason for me to get these old girls back on the road now.

    Below is a stock FJ Holden Special sedan in teal green...the gun metal and red is how mine will look once its finished...right down to the rear venetian blind in the back window.
    The only difference is I plan to have rear bullet stop lights and indicators from a '59 Cadillac frenched into the rear guards in place of the chrome wind splits and reflector housings in the last pic below...they suit the factory bullet stop light that is in the centre of the boot above the rear number plate.

    Sadly, my 2 old girls don't resemble these lovely cars below for looks...but it gives you an idea of what they are and what I'm planning with mine.
    One will be completely stock just like the teal green version, which is an original factory color and one a sleeper just like the gun metal grey cruiser below it.

    The plan is a small block chev with 2 speed powerglide transmission in the gun metal sleeper. These cars only had a 3/4 chassis from the factory which finished below the rear doors, so a full box chassis rail construction is needed to stop them twisting when fitting a v8...they only came out with a small 138 cubic inch inline 6 cylinder motor originally.

    They just don't make cars with these classic lines anymore...that you can actually open the bonnet and fix things yourself, without having to plug a laptop into it to service it.

    Not only do I have the 2 old girls but I also have 2 complete sets of doors, 4 spare front and 4 spare back guards, 3 spare bonnets and 3 spare bootlids, 3 complete sets of original glass and a storage locker full of chrome and parts I have collected for the last 20-odd years. I took a load out to a local Holden swap meet a few months back, just surplus stuff I didn't need and made a killing.
    The stuff is just harder and harder to find by the day now...and the collectors and owners fight for the stuff.

    A mans' got to have a hobby...or two. ;)


    1954-holden-fj-special-sedan.jpg
    07.jpg 54_2 (1).jpg
     
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  11. audiokid

    audiokid Chris Staff

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    beautiful.
    Love the black and red. That looks so sweet.
     
  12. Sean G

    Sean G Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2015
    Location:
    Sydney, Australia
    Holden actually built a concept car based on the FJ a few years back called the Efijy.

    It actually toured the US and won quite a few awards at SEMA...you may have seen pics of it.

    Unfortunately, it was never put into production...and I believe many an oil-rich arab sheik has offered whatever they wanted to part with it, but to no avail.

    Here it is...based on the little ol' FJ.
    Efijy 3.jpg Efijy 2.jpg holden_EFIJY_DV-07_DAS_02.jpg
     
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  13. audiokid

    audiokid Chris Staff

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    Wow, so gorgeous. It should be build. I would a car like that.
     
  14. Sean G

    Sean G Well-Known Member

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    Location:
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    Now, not to be deterred...a few ingenious Aussies have set out to replicate those beautiful lines above...and build their own Efijy...

    here are a couple of examples customised from the humble ol' FJ and FX models...I can't wait to see them finished.

    Fx custom coupe 2.jpg

    Custom FX coupe.jpg
    holden-fj-10.jpg

    I have even thought of taking to one of mine with a gas axe as well...but I just can't bring myself to do it to one of these lovely old ladies...as much as I would love to !!!
     
  15. audiokid

    audiokid Chris Staff

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    That's nice too. The back end of the roof looks like it would be a challenge. Nice job on that.
     
  16. Sean G

    Sean G Well-Known Member

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    Location:
    Sydney, Australia
    The guy with the top one pictured documented his build and had a blog for a while...a lot of work with the rear of the roof, creating sail sheets, hours on the english wheel to get the shape right and then spotting them into place . I documented all his pics and build notes "just in case"...

    The second one in bare metal at the bottom was another build by someone else. These were done with the 48-215 / FX model, which has the same body shape as the FJ apart from a few style changes such as the grille, badging and tail light.

    If I had the skills to do something like that I would take it on. There is about a foot taken out of the roof height as well, there is a lot of work to get those c pillars right.

    That purple color paint by House Of Kolor on the Efijy is called Soprano Purple......its the color I wanted to do mine in but two tone with a white roof on a purple body.

    I was working for Valspar here in Australia at the time who owned House Of Kolor and even then it was over $1000 a litre, just to buy the paint alone.
    Inside and out you would be looking at 4 to 5 litres of paint. Thats' 4 to 5 grand before you even think about bodywork and an oxide then primer undercoat. :eek:

    Because it is like a mirror candy finish the bodywork has to be absolutely 100% perfect or any imperfections show through the paint.
    Then you need someone who knows how to apply translucent candies otherwise it can look really crap. Big big dollars in the bodywork and paint alone there....file finishing and lead wiping not included. :(
     
  17. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

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    man, if the seats on that old girl could talk, I bet we'd hear some awesome stories.
    Great post, Chris.
     
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  18. Sean G

    Sean G Well-Known Member

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    Plenty of additional seats on that bus for those female fans after the show.
     

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  19. Sean G

    Sean G Well-Known Member

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    Location:
    Sydney, Australia
    Speaking of fishing, I had a chance to wet a line today in one of our freshwater rivers, the Nepean River, at the foot of The Blue Mountains not far from where I am.

    I may have talked about the Australian Freshwater Bass before with the few fisho's here on RO (@audiokid @DonnyThompson ).

    Here are some pics from today...the Australian Bass is one of the best sporting fish to target in Australia, they put up a great little fight.

    While most average under 1 foot in length, I landed this nice specimen which was just over the 1 foot or 30 cm mark.

    After the pic it went back into the water to fight another day. Great day on the water with a good mate and some great weather and scenery as well.
     

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  20. audiokid

    audiokid Chris Staff

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    Right on, Sean! Love those pictures.
     
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