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1959 Chevy Viking SWB Bus

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Owned by Bryce Jones
"1959 Shorty"
Bolter # 4337
21 July 2008
# 2387

From Bryce :

           Well, after watching this site for a couple of years, I thought I was ready to put my project on the site. It is a 1959 Chevrolet Viking Short Wheelbase Bus with a 2 speed rear differential.

           I got the bus for free from a guy who wanted it hauled off his property. It had an old conversion into an RV, complete with a 100 gallon propane tank, stove / oven and a trashed refrigerator.

           The bus had no motor or transmission but I was told he had put a small block in it at one time. To keep restoration costs down, I looked for alternative engine options (i.e., big block). Finding good used Chevy stuff cost more than I wanted to spend.

           I found an old guy in the area with a 1972 Buick Electra for $200. It ran, so I took it home.

           I sent the TH400 out for a heavy duty rebuild and tore the engine down. Bummer -- a little worse than I had hoped. Since I already had a good chunk of change in the rebuilt transmission, I was committed to B.O.P (Buick, Olds or Pontiac) power. I found a rebuild company out of Spokane that would sell a rebuilt long block for $1500 (no core required). Sold!

           The vehicle karma gods must have been shining on me that day.

           When the motor arrived, I ran the block and head numbers. Buick Stage 1!!! Bonus! [ Engine pix ]

           As you can see, the bus has been sanded [ pix ] , massaged and sprayed [ pix ] with PPG Epoxy primer.

           Here are the other mods so far [ and a pix ] :

  • Tilt front end
  • Hydroboost braking system
  • 1988 GMC Topkick front axle. Better brakes plus it dropped the nose about 2.5 inches. Now it's raked!
  • 7 foot by 9 foot roof rack (for cocktail parties).
  • The roof and rack are sprayed with white Dura-Bak to seal it all up.
  • Body to be painted Volkswagen Cyber Green.

           Still to come:

  • Woodie sides with underbody cargo boxes.
  • Power steering.
  • Motorcycle carrier.
  • Interior finish work.

           I hope to have rolling down the road for it's 50th birthday!!


Bryce Jones


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