Coach Conversion, Luxury at a Reasonable Price
Willie Nelson travels in his Bio-Diesel bus, most music stars have similar rolling mansions. Built with a coach bus as the starting point they reach their high dollar price by adding lots of Glitz and Glamor. How can a normal working stiff ever afford such luxury. At between $1,000,000-$2,000,000 this kind of travel is reserved for the rich and famous.
Nothing is comparable to the comfort of floating on an air cushion as you roll down the highway. With the powerful diesel engine nestled quietly in the rear of the coach, it’s more like sitting in your living room watching the scenery through the picture window. Except you get to enjoy a new view minute by minute. Highway coaches are designed to cruise down the highway at 70mph all day long, day after day, for many years. Accumulating up to a million miles before they are even ready for any level of serious maintenance or rebuilding. With a commercial life expectancy of 20 years, they are built to last.
What better base structure is there to build your own piece of transportation luxury. Commercial bus companies keep immaculate records, knowing what their bottom line is means the difference between staying in business or closing the doors. None the less companies do fail, and their rolling stock goes up for sale. Across the country there are dealers that supply new buses for fleets, and take in trades to sell on the resale market. You may have to travel to a larger city to find one of these companies, as being rather specialized they won’t be in every city.
Do your research, certain brands have better reputations then others. With something that has spent as many years on the road as a used bus, corrosion is your biggest concern. Motors and transmissions can be replaced, but if the frame is rotted beyond repair you’ll be dead in the water before you even get started.
Use the Internet, talk to people that have built up a coach conversion. Ask lots of questions. The old saying measure twice, cut once is good advice when you start laying out your conversion.
If lots of glass and lights aren’t to your liking, go a different route. Do consider you will have a sizable investment, and your goal should be to make it as clean and professional as possible. Functionality is more important then expensive materials. Even the fanciest coaches use the same appliances found in all Recreational Vehicles, there are only a few manufacturers to choose from. They get their high price from endless amenities, and expensive fabrics and materials. You only need to build yours to suit your own taste.
Expect to spend a minimum of $10,000 to find a passenger coach that still has a usable amount of life in it. As usual, buy the most expensive bus you can afford as the overall condition of the bus will be better. Older buses many have standard transmissions, its better to avoid them and go with an automatic. You may be willing to drive with a clutch and stick shift, but your resale value will be negatively affected.
No matter what, this won’t be a cheap venture, your investment can easily approach the cost of a good used motor home. The difference will be the durability and comfort of what you have created. A highway passenger coach is one quality piece of machinery. No light weight flimsy walls, or gas engine straining to get you up to speed. Many motor homes are constructed at the very top end of the weight limitations of their chassis. Longevity isn’t their strong suit.
A converted coach will give you only slightly less mileage then a motor home. Your traveling expenses over all will be similar. Do take into consideration that if you have a break down it will be expensive. Towing a motor coach can cost well into the hundreds of dollars. Repairs at truck stops can be expensive is well. Maintaining a seperate budget for these unexpected events will prevent a vacation turning into a financial disaster. It’s in your best interest to make sure your coach is in the best condition it can be before you head out.
Check out the sites listed below to get some ideas of the cost for a used coach and ideas on how to convert yours into a rolling mansion.