1960 Double Door Panel Restoration Story

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Update 4/9/00

"Done" in time for Kelly Park! 4 months (11/20/99 to 4/5/00)
Update 4/1/00

New bumpers, NOS european headlights,
Update 3/13/00
Sorry for the lack of updates for the past couple weeks. I ended up sanding down (#600) the whole bus except the roof and re-painting , as there were some spots where the paint was very thin, and I could see through it! I now have most of the bus color-sanded and polished. This week a friend is coming over to help with the electricals, and the entire week is going to consist of re-assembly work. I'm hoping to have it streetable by this weekend!
Update 2/26/00

Update 2/7/00

Fixing the messed up cargo door handle
Update 2/6/00
What the?
Update 1/22/00

Bodywork begins
Update 1/11/00
Progress on the Nose

Update 1/4/00
Fixed the smashed doors and rusted rocker

Update 12/21/99
Been busy working on the panel, no time to update! All new brakes have been installed, rebuilt the top end of the beater motor and installed it, got the headlights and taillights working. The bus runs and drives, but has a hard time starting - it doesn't turn over very fast, even with a brand new battery. I also started on the body work, replacing the lower 7" of one of the cargo doors tonight. New nose piece is on order, and hopefully I can get that installed during the week between xmas and new years, which I have off from work.
Update 11/18/99
Spent $500+ today for all new brakes and tune-up parts, and $200 for new tires.
The Story
On 11/10/99 I got received a tip about a guy who was giving away (yup, free) some buses up in the hills. I followed up the lead and contacted the owner who verified that he did have 3 buses he was giving away, but he wanted them to go to a good home. A friend of mine, Tom Mink, and I went up into the hills to check them out. There were two 1960 double-door panels and a 1960 walk-thru panel. The catch was, we had to take all three. The two double-doors are restorable, but the walk-thru is a parts bus. I let Tom have one of panels, and I kept the other and the parts bus, which is being parted out.

The next Sunday we headed up first thing in the morning to bring them home, rescuing all three in the same day, which was a lot of work, since they all had flat tires and hadn't been moved in a long time, but we did it.

The two double-door panels are quite interesting. They were purchased on the same day by the same gentleman from the same dealer in San Francisco. They were used at the Mission Bell hotel for 22 years until it went out of business, and the buses were inherited by the original owner's grandson. They had not been registered until 1982, and they ended up with sequential license plates!

The new owner then converted them into campers, one for summer, one for winter, and drove them all up and down the west coast and Canada. Each bus came with a log detailing every fill up, oil change, valve adjustment, an accident for Tom's, and a new transmission for mine. After a number of years of driving them, he parked them in a pole barn on his property, where they sat until we pulled them out.

The buses are complete down to the tool kits, cab dividers and radio block-offs. They even have primered hubcaps. Tom's has considerable accident damage in the back end of the bus. Mine has some nose damage. Both have miscellaneous dings and dents, and very bad rust across the bottom of the nose. The cargo areas are in very nice shape, with only superficial amounts of rust. My bus has bad rocker rust on the driver's side. The belly pans are about perfect.

These buses are not cream puffs by any stretch of the imagination! They have been home to mice for the past 10 years or so, and all of the upholstery was chewed up and mouse poop is everywhere. They are also home to tons of spiders. They have lots of dings and dents, and have been brush painted.

Tom's panel on the trailer

The hoopty parts bus - hey, but it runs!

My panel

Driving the partially dismembered parts bus

The two panels, undisturbed in a pole barn for 10 years!