Boston

The perfect tour car

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Posted (edited)

I'd like to start a tour guide business in the national parks and use antique tour cars for the nostalgic feel of the whole thing. So what I'm looking for is advice on vehicles that can be or preferably already are bastardized with more modern drive trains that might be more reliable. 

The basic chevy 350 + tranny added. Better brakes, things like that 

For instance this thing with a more modern drive train 
 

 

69862385-770-0@2X.jpg

Edited by Boston
the photo (see edit history)
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Benefits of AACA Membership.

Have you contacted the National Park Service about your idea? What you will probably need for insurance might make it cost prohibited.

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Posted (edited)

Agree. Insurance is the 1st question to look into.

Gets complicated quick. My mother used to teach ballroom dance through a county community ed. program. Students asked if she’d give more convenient lessons out of her house. Since my parents own a sizable construction co. they thought to ask the company attny. Their home is actually covered through their business insurance pkg. When he looked into it, they could only cover dance lessons out of the house if they complied with certain regulations: first of which was a handicap ramp + access — which at a cost of 15K sunk the idea immediately.

That was 10+ yrs ago.

Check the insurance requirements 1st.

Good luck.

Edited by Ben P.
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I have the application right here in front of me, and an entire team of lawyers, accountants hoteliers, guides presently running their own shows in the national parks and assistants I can work with. Insurance is the least of my concerns. What I need is reliable rides to pull it off. A tow out of any national park starts at about $600 for the hook up and runs $2~5 a mile thereafter. 

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If anyone would butcher that car should be hung.

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Good.

I just googled a MI company that used to offer rides/tours in 1930’s-40’s trucks that were converted to open buses for ideas.

https://macwoodsdunerides.com/

This used to be extremely common and popular, and I always assumed the ‘vintage’ aspect was their main draw. I see now they’ve converted to modern rigs — don’t know what changed. Maybe a company like that would be good to ask questions of?

Interesting idea - would definitely attract my business. Good Luck.

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With the car above, you can only take 3-4 paying customers.

Is that enough to be profitable ?

Seems like you need an old RR station type bus.

Saw a '28 Dodge 12 passenger "livery wagon" at a car show once, and that should fill the bill.

 

Mike in Colorado

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34 minutes ago, Boston said:

I have the application right here in front of me, and an entire team of lawyers, accountants hoteliers, guides presently running their own shows in the national parks and assistants I can work with. Insurance is the least of my concerns. What I need is reliable rides to pull it off. A tow out of any national park starts at about $600 for the hook up and runs $2~5 a mile thereafter. 

I think what you have is the genesis for an idea.  Any car can or could be modified the way that you are speaking of.  The but is... to do it safely for paying passengers and reliably for business purposes.  Google imagines of street rods and you will get all kinds of ideas but none of them will have the sound and feel of an antique car.  Your cost to do it well, for what you are describing would be 100k a vehicle or more and then you'd have to get the insurance company and National Parks to agree to it.  Take a look at the recent news involving the Diesel Bros and vehicle emissions.  A call to a custom car builder might be a good starting point and they can tell you what's realistic and real world pricing.  You are going to be paying by the hour for the build.  I wish you luck but if you honestly started today I would say that you'd be doing extremely well to have the first vehicle built and everything in place 2 years from now.  Just my 2 cents

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Posted (edited)

I hate to say this because on a basic level this is a good idea and I love people taking the initiative in regards to business. However, once you have added a modern drive train

you may have gained in reliability and maintenance cost but lost in nostalgia, the sensory experience, and authenticity.

All I can think of is those wacky buses dolled up to look like trolley cars - and you have messed-up a good antique car

and reduced its value and collector appeal to zilch.

 

Now, imagine charging a premium to cruise passengers around the loop road of Acadia in a restored, well maintained Pierce or Cadillac or other

large fine automobile. No 350 Chevy drive train is ever going to approach that experience, The sound, the feel.

Its akin to the Mt. Washington Cog Railway. I am willing to pay top dollar to be pushed to the top by one of their steam

locomotives but their diesels? Nope! It not that special.

 

 

Edited by Terry Harper (see edit history)

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Posted (edited)

Yeah I already own one of those Matt. White Motor Company, 1 of the only 14 produced, the tour cars are a dime a dozen LOL, the restorations on the ones in the park were done by ford and not very well. Very much bastardized those poor things. The one I have would Never work as mines a bit bigger. The deal with those is they're too big. You can't park them very easily, at best you can do a slow drive by. What I want is two passengers in the back of an antique convertible tour car. Tours for two. Something we can pull over conveniently and go see the sights when people want too. 

What I'd want is either something old that was ridiculously reliable or something bastardized to be ridiculously reliable. 

The Packard 8s might work but still if it died parts would be a pain in the butt. 

Edited by Boston (see edit history)

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Who's got an old tour car minus a good engine ? that might be the place to start. 

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So we have someone on  here wanting to screw up  a car.where are the moderators,kick one guy off for the same.are we picking the victims..the other fellow saved a car the best he could.this guys going to ruin it.

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You should contact Bob Sullivan in Olympia, Washington he has a Yellow Coach double decker bus with a diesel engine added. Was originally a New York site seeing bus.

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Jak it's too big. I already own an antique bus and there's no way it will work for what I want to do. 

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Sounds like it would have to be one expensive ride for the passengers for you to make any money in the venture.  To build a reliable car with a hint of old fashioned fun seems like you would need at least a mid 1930s car.  A woody wagon might be a place to start to get nostalgia and room for people.

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Posted (edited)

There is a company in England that makes vintage style buses and trucks on a new truck chassis. They look like about a 1927 model. It would be far better to build a vintage style body on a new bus or truck chassis, than to try to use a 50 year old, or more, vehicle even with late model engine.

If it were up to me I would be thinking of building a new body on a late model light truck chassis or importing one of these.

 

A woodie wagon style might be the easiest to build. https://www.oldwoodies.com/resource-woodies-pros.htm

 

Asquith vehicles https://www.asquithmotors.com/

Edited by Rusty_OToole (see edit history)

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How about a fleet of replicas like those "Glassic" phaetons? Dreadful, but reasonably reliable and passable enough as old cars for the general public. And far cheaper than building something from scratch.

 

8514702-1973-glassic-roadster-1931-model-a-ford-replica-std.jpg

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This would be a good car if your budget would allow.  Nostalgic and V8, brakes could be upgraded.


 

3AC618BD-724B-4C49-94B7-30FA984D8B97.jpeg

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13 minutes ago, Boston said:

Where did you find that thing Matt ? 
That's a solid option 

 

Google "Glassic Model A" (Glassic with a G) and you should find a bunch in various states and price ranges. Looks like $20,000 is the ceiling but others are considerably cheaper.

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24 minutes ago, Matt Harwood said:

How about a fleet of replicas like those "Glassic" phaetons? Dreadful, but reasonably reliable and passable enough as old cars for the general public. And far cheaper than building something from scratch.

 

8514702-1973-glassic-roadster-1931-model-a-ford-replica-std.jpg

 

Matt is the 'hero" of the day.

So I wonder when there will be a Glassic class at Pebble, or Amelia ?

 

Mike in Colorado

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