Marshall Lewis'

1945 Chevy School Bus


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07 November 2005
# 1279

From Marshall:

            A little further information on our 1945 Chevy bus. My girlfriend discovered her in 1972 on her way to class in Missoula, Montana. She came home all excited so we went to take a look. The older gentleman had built her up as a snowmobile base camp, complete with bunks and full kitchen stove. We asked if we could go for a little test drive down to Weiser, Idaho for the National Old Time Fiddlers Championship for a few days and he agreed.

            We loaded the bus up with some friends, some recreational goodies, and headed off for some very fun times, including getting arrested for skinny dipping. All that led to a bond with the bus that lasts until this day. I ended up buying her for $1200 on the condition that the owner rebuild the transmission. He did and she has been part of the family ever since. She hosted many, many wild times prior to children. Now she is a stately matron of the camper set.

            Her interior has been remodeled a few times over the last 34 years. She is now done up in knotty pine, very much resembling a sailing yacht. She has a two-burner stove, sink, refrigerator, dining area, vented heater, closet and head. As the girls grew, I replaced the double bed with bunk beds, relegating us to sleeping on the convertible dining area. Last year, our girls outgrew their bunks so Iíve replaced the bunk beds with a very comfy fold-out couch we found in a camper catalog. The girls are camping in a tent until we can find a '40s teardrop trailer.

            Unlike her street rod engine/tranny/overdrive, she has stock steering, front axle, brakes, and rear end. The steering box was rebuilt and king pins were replaced last fall. The differential seems to be holding up fine. My next project is to replace the front drum brakes with discs for better stopping power. It would be great to replace the front end altogether and put in power steering, but I have not been very successful in determining what would be a good swap.

            We have just been accepted to this yearís Hot August Nights in Reno. It will be our first foray into the show circuit as she has always been a driver, not up to the standards of those beautiful cars. My daughters are amazed I can still find projects to do, but the old girl is a work in progress and the best hobby I can imagine.

Thanks,

Marshall Lewis
"Pinepal"
Bolter #9290
Truckee, California (in the mountains near Lake Tahoe)


07 November 2005
# 1279

From Marshall:

 

            We thought folks might be interested in seeing our 1945 Chevrolet bus. I bought it in 1972 and have been restoring it ever since, having lived in it during my ski instructor years. It became our family camper after I found a lady who loves it as much as I. Our girls have grown up camping 30-40 days a year and traveling all over the western United States in her.

            She is powered by a well-built 350 Chevy, Turbo 400 and overdrive.

Thanks,

Marshall Lewis
"Pinepal"
Bolter #9290
Truckee, California (in the mountains near Lake Tahoe)



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