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1947 Flxible Clipper Restoration


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20 replies to this topic

#1 bingo66

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Posted 25 November 2013 - 03:16 PM

About six months ago I purchased a 1947 Flxible clipper bus that was due to go to the crusher. I had a week to haul it out of the California desert before the scrap metal man got his hands on it!! Sat at home in Cheshire, England, I decided to buy the bus unseen and sent my money without even knowing if the bus actually existed. Luckily for me the people selling were very honest folks and I arranged the pick up of the bus that week. I chose a restoration shop to carry out the work even though I knew nothing about them or how much they charged. I found them by searching the internet and reading customer reviews. Again, luckily for me they have turned out to be very honest people and also very good at their job. You would think I had many regrets about this project but I have only one - I was looking for an Alto Saxophone book on the internet for one of our twin boys when I came across the "Flxible Clipper for sale" advert and my only regret is that once I got caught up in this restoration madness, I forgot to buy my son the book he wanted :D Oh, I do have one other regret, I didn't tell my wife what I had done until some time later :wacko: 

 

I've never done anything spontaneous in my entire life and it's not as though I'm a rich man. I've taken on weekend work and a second job in the evening to try and keep the loans down to pay for the restoration work :( 

 

I just think it's something about these old buses. They get under your skin and they're crying out to be saved. Either that or my wife is right and I'm just going mad :blink: 
 

I'll update this thread as more pictures come through

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#2 bingo66

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Posted 25 November 2013 - 03:25 PM

The bus has not moved for about 35 years so the interior wasn't the best. For some reason the bus was converted to a motorhome but never used. All of the appliances still have the shipping tags and plastic in place. I like the way the kitchen has been designed so although everything will be ripped out, the kitchen will be rebuilt to a similar design.


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#3 AndyShane

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Posted 25 November 2013 - 09:48 PM

It sure looks like you found a bus with great potential!  Good luck, finding another one with sheetmetal this nice.

 

Man, I wish you were next door to me, here in the colonies!  I think you won the lottery, when it comes to projects.


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#4 Shields

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Posted 26 November 2013 - 12:54 AM

Bingo,

Congratulations on a great find. Can't wait to see the "in progress" pictures. Good luck.

Tim
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#5 bingo66

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Posted 26 November 2013 - 02:07 AM

Got the Flxible running after about 3 months work. The Detroit Diesel that was in the bus when I bought it was brought back to life but only after a complete rebuild. Engine, brakes, suspension and almost everything else has been either rebuilt or replaced.

 

I was warned that if the bus was put through a sand blasting process to get the old paint off, it could very easily turn to dust in front of my eyes. The bodywork on a lot of these old buses are held together by layers of lead paint. I decided to take the chance anyway and the result was a bus with so little rust, it surprised everyone!! Standing in the California desert for 40 years does have it's advantages :D 

 

The video link below shows the bus stripped and running better than our family car! you can see some rust around the rear vent on the drivers side but thats about it :) 

 

http://www.youtube.c...d&v=xtS0-NwWwS4


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#6 bingo66

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Posted 26 November 2013 - 11:33 AM

The Flxible is in the paint shop at the moment. Should take about 10 days to complete. Then the interior can be finished :)

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#7 JMonroe

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Posted 26 November 2013 - 02:42 PM

Great project!  You're much braver than I to take it on.

 

Can't wait to see the final product.


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#8 bingo66

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Posted 26 November 2013 - 04:08 PM

Great project!  You're much braver than I to take it on.

 

Can't wait to see the final product.

 

I'd say stupid not brave!! :blink: 


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#9 bingo66

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Posted 26 November 2013 - 04:10 PM

I've put some photo's on Flickr of the Flxible restoration:
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#10 turtlemechanic

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Posted 02 December 2013 - 09:51 AM

Looking good, why skin the 3 factory windows over?

 

Keep posting pics as it comes around.


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#11 bingo66

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Posted 02 December 2013 - 02:12 PM

Looking good, why skin the 3 factory windows over?
 
Keep posting pics as it comes around.


Behind the windows are built in appliances and built in cupboards.

Potentially there would be a problem if a window was broken or the windows developed serious leaks. I may have to rip out the interior to fix it.
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#12 hermanmullins

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Posted 03 December 2013 - 11:37 AM

66, I love the simple but functional dash. I noticed the picture of the door, there is a paint flake that looks like a Grayhound.

 

Herman


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#13 bingo66

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Posted 04 December 2013 - 04:02 AM

66, I love the simple but functional dash. I noticed the picture of the door, there is a paint flake that looks like a Grayhound.
 
Herman


Hi Herman,

This Flxible was originally bought by the Utah Parks Company (part of Pacific Railroad Co). It's original colour was an orange/yellow colour over grey, By all accounts this bus has had a very easy working life, taking tourists around the National Parks. After that it has spent most of it's time sitting in almost 0% humidity at 29Palms, CA. As you can see from the video, after sand blasting the body, almost no rust was discovered.

Once this bus is finished, I'd love to do another one but don't think I'll be as lucky next time!

The dash will be stripped back to metal and painted a very simple cream colour.

Kerry.
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#14 turtlemechanic

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Posted 04 December 2013 - 05:23 PM

Next bus needs to be a PD4501 B)

 

(my dream bus)


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#15 bingo66

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Posted 06 December 2013 - 01:53 PM

Next bus needs to be a PD4501 B)

 

(my dream bus)

Too long for the UK by 19cm unfortunately!! A lot of tag axle RV's over here have been ruled illegal.

 

I would go for either a GM PD 3751, or a '57 Flxible Starliner - raised roof with the eyebrow window :D


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#16 bingo66

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Posted 14 December 2013 - 06:57 AM

I've updated my flickr account with some more images of the restoration:

 

http://www.flickr.co...57635089781485/

 

Project is on hold while we wait for some warmer weather. Temp is close to zero where the paint shop is and they don't want to put the final coats on then store the bus in a freezing cold shed while the paint cures.

 

Hopefully some milder weather is on it's way.


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#17 bingo66

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Posted 25 January 2014 - 05:11 PM

The Flxible has had the interior stripped. insulation installed and the ceiling panels fixed into place. The wall structures are also going up :)

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#18 bingo66

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Posted 23 February 2014 - 12:33 PM

I have started a blog to chart the restoration project (and because my wife told me I needed to let everyone know just what she has to put up with!!) :rolleyes:

 

http://47clipper.blogspot.co.uk/


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#19 bingo66

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Posted 03 April 2014 - 10:04 AM

Seating now going in. Not fixed yet but needed to see if it all fits!

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#20 mpierce

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Posted 09 April 2014 - 07:03 AM

Man, do I love those old buses!  I am an antique type of guy.  I am totally in awe. Thanks for keeping us drooling with pics!


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