I Accidentally Bought a Bus

My bus

My bus. Sorry about the dark picture.

Last weekend, I was having dinner with my friend and business partner.  After our carry permit class, we try to get dinner, unwind from the class, debrief, and figure out how to improve our business.

Over the course of this discussion, the idea of owning a bus came up.  It was part of an impractical-but-useful solution to one of our larger expenses.   My partner mentioned that he had a friend who owned a bus, so I asked him to find out how much he was asking.

A few days later, he called me and said simply, “We bought a bus.”

Oops.

What year?

“I don’t know.”

How big?

“Huge!”

Does it run?

“It used to. ¬†It probably still does, but they lost the key.”

Crap.

So we own a bus. ¬†It’s a 1987 Ford B700. ¬†It’s 20,000 pounds empty, has a 429 motor that doesn’t leak oil, and an air horn.

Under the hood, it’s got a couple of issues. ¬†There are some melted vacuum tubes leading to a vapor box. ¬† The vapor box is used to cheat obsolete emissions standards and doesn’t do anything productive. ¬† There’s also some belts missing. ¬†The belts drive an air pump that pushes clean air into the exhaust system, again, just to cheat emissions standards that we don’t have anymore. ¬†Nothing necessary–or even useful–is broken.

Part of the $1000 we paid for the bus went to a locksmith who came and made us a key.

The interior of the beast is 3/4 converted to an RV.  There are 4 folding bunks in the back, minus mattresses.   There are two RV sofas that fold down to beds, plus seating for another 12 people.  No kitchen or bathroom facilities.

We’ve done some research and come up with a few choices for this impulse purchase:

  1. Flip it.  We should be able to at least double our money quickly.
  2. Finish the RV conversion already in progress. ¬†This wouldn’t turn it into a fancy motorhome, but it would make a great deer shack on wheels. ¬† I figure we could make this happen for about $500 and turn it into a $3500 toy to sell. ¬† Or take deer hunting.
  3. Turn it into a full RV. ¬†This would be more expensive. ¬†My estimate is a $5-6000 investment to make it a $10-12000 RV. ¬†It would take most of the summer to do, which means we wouldn’t be selling it until spring. ¬† I quit wanting to do this when I saw the bus in the light. ¬†There’s not a lot of rust, but it’s more than I’d want to fix to make the outside look as good as the inside, in my head.
  4. Party bus. ¬†What’s a better way to spend a Saturday evening that shepherding a drunken bachelorette around with her friends? ¬†It’d take about $2000 to outfit the bus, plus insurance, plus licensing, plus the fact that drunken bachelorettes are obnoxious.
  5. Auction.  We got an estimate for a $3000 sale, minus a 20% commission.
  6. Stunt-jumping. ¬†I saw a video of a guy jumping a bus over 20 motorcycles. ¬†I could do that. ¬†I’m sure one of the race tracks around here would pay good money to have us do that one weekend. ¬†Afterward, we’ll melt the bus for scrap.
  7. Sell the engine and scrap the body.   That should bring us at least $1500.

We jumped into this with no real plan, but there are a few ways we could make our money back. ¬†I’m expecting a healthy profit on a pretty short timeline.

What would you do if you owned a bus?

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  • 13 comments

    Comments

    1. OOPs! One of the benefits/shortcomings of a partnership! Good luck.

    2. I think the better question is, will it make it from MSP to St. Louis and back…

    3. Miriam says:

      I would paint it like the Electric Mayhem bus from the Muppets and give tours.

    4. Haha I love this. I don’t know how you got into the conversation, but I would lean toward one of the cheaper options. In my mind, the less time spent the better, and this is a great way to just flip it and pocket some cash.

      Do you think you could find other cheap bus deals for you to flip?

    5. Awesome investment! I would use it for a road trip this summer, then sell it.

    6. Wow. That’s definitely not your typical evening activity, huh? I’d try and get rid of it asap. Just storing it seems like more than a headache than it’s worth.

    7. You bought a bus? lol

      I say that you turn it into a party bus and bring it to fincon. If that isn’t an option, then I would say take the cheapest and quickest option and move on to your intentional investments.

      • I’d do that, but I’d have to take up a collection for gas money to get it there.

        I’d be looking at 250 gallons of gas to make the trip.

    8. So, how is this going? Flipped yet? I would love to see how this works out, lol. ūüôā

    9. Wow, that escalated quickly. Lol. But hey. At least you now got a bus. Well, if you are into deer hunting or goes out of town every now and then, that would come in really handy. IF you don’t have any use for it, you might as well flip it and sell it.

    10. christie says:

      Whoa. I thought I was impulsive !
      ~ Christie

    11. That’s a weird purchase, hope it turns a profit. I have an idea for you if it doesn’t sell. Chartered bus rides to play paintball for large groups.

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