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1930 Buick 12 pass bus


bikrbil
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So Bikrbil, have you pulled the trigger and this is definately your next project?

I join the others in saying what an incredible project this would be so please keep us in the loop with regular updates on progress, photos and any history you learn about the vehicle.

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This is going to be a pretty unique vehicle to restore. You will need some deep pockets to accomplish the task. The radiator shell is definitely 1930 Buick but the body is totally custom built. Even the doors are not Buick. The chassis may be an extended version of the 1930 60 series which was 132 inches in stock form. From what I see in the pictures the sidemount hardware is not Buick, probably due to the fact this bus has truck tires/wheels which will not work with the stock setup . In your other previous post you mentioned the bus has hydraulic brakes whereas the stock brakes were mechanical in 1930. It would seem then that the chassis is heavily modified from stock form. Does the bus have the original 331 CI straight six motor in it or perhaps something else?

Thanks,

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I got this from PrewarBuick.com.... The Flxible Company and Buick - PreWarBuick.com

<TABLE border=4 rules=all cellSpacing=4 borderColorLight=#660000 borderColorDark=#660000 cellPadding=11 width=738 frame=box HSPACE="0" VSPACE="0"><TBODY><TR><TD bgColor=#fffbf0 height=1455 vAlign=top width=698>Hugo Young and Charles Kettering (pictured, right) to go into the professional car and motorbus business by 1924. The first Flxible bus was a 12-passenger sedan built on a Studebaker chassis.

113165f00.jpgHowever, the following year Flxible chose a Buick chassis for its motorbuses, of which 31 were built that year. Between 1925 and 1928 Flxible built a few buses on Cadillac, Reo and Studebaker chassis, but most were built on Buick chassis.

Also in 1925 Flxible began building ambulances and funeral cars. Eleven were built that year and production doubled the following year. Buick's longest chassis in 1925 was 128 inches, so the first professional car and bus chassis were stretched by forty inches. Buick's largest motor used in professional cars was the 255 cid six-cylinder that produced 70 bhp. That year Buick abandoned hand operated windshield wipers introducing vacuum operated wipers, and also adopted balloon tires. The following year the combination starter/generator was superseded by separate units which were more efficient and reliable.6de6bae0.jpg

After Walter P. Chrysler left Buick in 1920, Harry H. Basset became president, but died of pneumonia in October 1926. Edward Thomas Strong took over for 1927. That year total Buick production was 235,000 for the model year, and the 2 millionth Buick was built in 1927.

</TD></TR><TR><TD bgColor=#fffbf0 height=1327 vAlign=top width=698>6df134c0.jpgBy 1927 Flxible built 119 motorbuses and 40 professional cars. In 1928 those numbers went up to 159 and 124 respectively, and for 1929 the numbers were 112 and 264. Sales totaled $528,796 for 1929, which also included sidecars and auto bodies, which were a very small fraction of the business by then. Buick increased the size of their six-cylinder engine to 331 cid and 99 bhp for 1930. In 1931 the company switched to a new straight eight engine which had a cid of 344 and produced 104 bhp. It featured an oil temperature regulator that either cooled or heated the engine oil depending on conditions. The Shafer Buick 8 qualified for the Indy 500 at 105 mph that year. Buick's longest chassis for 1931 was the Series 90, which was 132 inches but still had to be stretched for bus and professional car applications.

6d62c940.jpgAs the Great Depression ensued, business plummeted for Flxible. Bus production dropped precipitously from 81 in 1930 to 77 in 1931, 11 in 1932, 10 in 1933 and only 6 in 1934. However, people continued to be hospitalized and die at the same rate as before, and so the ambulance and hearse business sustained the company. Combined ambulance and funeral car production was as follows: 213 for 1930, 182 for 1931, 171 for 1932, 222 for 1933 and 156 for 1934. Twenty buses were repossessed during these years whereas only three professional cars were repossessed for the same time. Flxible's CPA recommended to scrap the remaining sidecar inventory in 1933.

</TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>

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Wow, Thanks for all the information. I have not pulled the trigger on it yet. We are still negotiating and I am thinking it will be in 10 to 12K range and hope it is worth that. My past passions were with vintage motorcycles.The engine is a straight 8 with 2 carbs. here is a shot of the inside and engine. Thanks!

post-82361-143138804218_thumb.jpg

post-82361-143138804251_thumb.jpg

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well, bikrbil.

this looks like quite a project. My previous was sent before I saw youe most recent post. With the two carbs, the engine has to be from at least a 1941, when Buick first used two carbs or what they called Compound Carburation.. Also 1941 was the only year engines were Dabte Red, until other reds in 1966 on V8 engines.

One thing sems certain, this bus ran from 1930 until into the war, wherever it ran. I see in thye first photos it seems to have some Arizona red dust underneath.

John

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It would not be uncommon for a bus company to upgrade the engine. And, the progressive carbs would make it attractive by running economically under lighter loads or slower speeds like a bus would around town.

The cool thing is that it is still all Buick. I agree with previous posts that this would be great to have at BCA national meets. I wouldn't mind taking a Buick bus to see local attractions during a meet, but modern bus rides just don't appeal to me.

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And 3 on the tree so the motor upgrade has included the 41 gearbox.

So who can tell us if its a 248 or 320. Looking at the space it takes up in the engine bay there is no change from the old Master six so my money is with it being a 320.

Gets more and more interesting - love thise wicker chairs!!!

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It certainly does. It was probably easier to put in the instruments for the '41 than try to hook up a nwere engine to the old instruments. I am far from expert, but the steering wheel itself looks older than '41.

It would be nice to see some close-up photos of the wheels, and chassis components to see what their origin was. I am speculating that this was probably redone during WW II and run for somre time, somewhere, probably into the late 1940s, when newer busses, etc. were being built. It is interesting that the wicker held up.

John

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I did find the engine number today,it is 4232801 and I found out some more history. It was owened by the Red Ball Bus company and it primary route was between Phoenix, Globe, through Salt River Canyon which was one of the most dangerous roads in Az to Show Low and back. We are still going back and forth on the value of it. The drive train is in good shape and there is no rust.

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Dad was the general manager for Corn Belt Motors a Buick dealership in Bloomington, IL., and in the 40's, and a fellow in town offered workers rides from Bloomington to the Caterpillar plant in Peoria, and I remember Dad talking about servicing his Buick bus/limo. I saw it a few times in the mid 40's, and recall it looked like this one.

One door so passengers didn't step out into the traffic?

Interesting find, lots of work, but, HEY, it would be fun, FUN IS GOOD.

I hope you decide to purchase it.

Dale in Indy

Edited by smithbrother (see edit history)
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Good luck with the discussions on the price. It would seems quite difficult to determine value because it is so unique, but at the same time, it is something that needs a lot of work just because of its size. Just hauling it from place to place requires a special trailer and truck, assuming you would want to move it. Maybe some resort in Arizona woukld want to use it from time to time, if you had a commercial plate. I can see it being used around the auction venues now going on.

Good Luck with the discussions.

John

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bikrbil,

I am a bit of a history buff, so I did some checking. But I did not find anything on Red Ball Bus Lines. I would suggest you try the Globe, AZ Historical Society, as there must be something there. Just knowing where it operrated, you know that this bus would have quite some stories to tell, if it could speak. good luck with both the possible purchase and finding the history.

John

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Bill,

Engine S/N 4232801 is a 1941 Buick engine per the BCA judging manual. The S/N range for 1941 is 4074859 to 4457940. It is Buick's practice to stamp the series number (that the engine is installed in) in front of the engine number:

4 = Special (248 cubic inch engine)

5 = Super (248 cubic inch engine)

6 = Century (320 cubic inch engine)

7 = Roadmaster (320 cubic inch engine)

9 = Limited (320 cubic inch engine)

You may want to check to see if there is one of the above numbers stamped in front of the engine S/N.

BCA Judging Manual:

http://www.buickclub.org/BCA%20JUDGING%20MANUAL/BCAjudgingrev2.pdf

Grandpa

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Thanks guys for all the great information. I am fortunate enough to have room to work on it and a way to transport it. I never have enough time but I do have a great support crew (wife and Kids) Saturday I make the decision on if I want to tackle it or not and If we can agree on the price. I will let you all know how it washes out.

Thanks again,

Bill

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I did a bit of Red Ball Bus Lines and found it was started in 1919 by a Henry English in Hopkins County, Texas. He sold the business in 1929 and then founded Red Ball Motor Freight. I founf this on oldtimetrucks.com. It operated in Texas and Oklohoma and a newspaper, I think 1929 showed a schedule out of San Antonio. How it got to Arizona, it is not clesar.

I checked a few more sites but found little. Apparently, Mr. English sold the bus line in 1929.

Again, good luck with the transaction.

John

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You can also tell whether it's a large or small series 1941 straight-8 by the location of the serial number pad on the engine block. If it's under the distributor in the middle of the block, it's a small series. If it's farther back by the starter, it's a large series. As Grandpa says, you can also look for the series number stamped ahead of the serial number, but sometimes they were stamped at a different time/location. For example, the leading '6' on my Century's number pad is about 1/2-inch lower than the rest of the numbers and you wouldn't see it unless you knew you were looking for it. When I first got the car, I was terrified that I had purchased a Special dressed in Century badging by mistake! Now I know better, but that was a bad moment.

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Well it was an interesting day, the number stamped in front of the engine serial number is a 9 so it looks like it is the bigger engine. I gave my best offer today and he is going to let me know by Monday. It is 24' long and mechanically soud

It is a flxible and the title says Buick and the model isTourmobile. I will let you guys know the out come in a few days.

Bill

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I hope the current owner understands that it will take a special person with the right interest to tackle this restoration and he has such a person in you, and he does not try to get you to increase your offer. We all have seen many "sellers" decide to hold a car until it gets worse and worse. I hope things work out and we are all wainting to know.

John

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