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Simple Short Bus Conversion With Lots Of DIY Inspiration

We have featured several short bus conversions, in more or less polished condition. It’s important for would be RVers to remember that the amount of polish you put into your design is up to you. A functional RV can be built with very little transformation of the original vehicle, like in this example.

The owner built and drove this bus conversion cross country and is ready to settle down again – and that means selling the bus. It would make a good, rough and ready camper for someone who is just itching to go, or a good spring board for a complete conversion into something chic!

The base is a 1999 GMC short school bus.

1999 GMC
Craigslist

From the back, looking forward, with the kitchen on the right.

back to front
Craigslist

The bus is a 1999 GMC with only 168k on the diesel V8, so it should have plenty of road miles left on it. The engine is a 6.5 liter turbo and is listed in excellent condition. The asking price is fair, but not incredible for this type and age of bus, but $12,000.00 for a self contained camper that is ready to hit the road right away is not bad. One thing to look for in these types of ads is the OBO, or best offer. This shows you the seller knows they are pushing the price and willing to negotiate! Who knows, you might get the deal of lifetime.

Front to back, along both sides, note the vessel sink in the bottom picture.

front to back couch side
Craigslist
front to back kitchen side
Craigslist

Most of the bus has been left intact, the interior is primarily gutted and refitted. The exterior has a coat of khaki paint over the school bus yellow, except for the rear “School bus” panel that has been edited to read “XCXOOLBUS” which seems to exemplify the independent spirit of this bus’s builder.

The kitchen cabinets featuring doors and open storage.

vintage style sink base
Craigslist
open kitchen storage
Craigslist

The basic interior furnishing structure is a 2×4 frame, with plywood panels in a U shape, surrounding the rear of the bus. At the rear door, the bed is positioned across the bus, with a roomy storage rack build above.

The exit has been left functional, which is a good idea to maintain safety and to be able to access space under the bed easily.

One bus seat left for extra seating makes for a nice touch.

small bus seat
Craigslist

The construction is simple, but rugged and could easily be dressed out with some trim and accessories. The kitchen is a vintage styled cabinet, coupled with plywood storage cubicles and a rough plywood countertop.

Simplicity is the key to these couches, with large body pillows serving as a movable backrest and simple fabric skirting along the front edge. The open frame underneath leaves plenty of room for large storage. This space could be finished out with doors, drawers or left open.

Top view of vessel sink and plywood lumber counter top.

vessel sink
Craigslist

Rear view of the “COOL” bus with exposed storage under bed

Bus rear door
Craigslist

One nice finished touch throughout the van is the rough-hewn, wide plank wood flooring that gives the bus a homey feel. While no amenities, such as toilet and sink are visible, they could be easily added within the existing structure, or campers can choose parks with services to make the most of the RV as it is.

If you are looking for inspiration for a simple, doable DIY design, you need look no further than this nice little bus.


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2 thoughts on “Simple Short Bus Conversion With Lots Of DIY Inspiration”

  1. OOPS, PUSHED THE WRONG BUTTON ON MY LAP TOP BEFORE I WAS FINISHED….. AT ONE TIME, I TOO WAS FIRED UP ABOUT RE-DOING A SCHOOL BUS…HOWEVER, IF YOU DO THE MATH, IT IS HARD TO JUSTIFY THE EXPENSE AND TIME INVESTMENT FOR THE END RESULT; IE, IT IS STILL A SCHOOL BUS WHEN YOU FINISH.

    DOLLARS & CENTS WISE, IT MAKES MORE SENSE TO BUY AN OLDER motor home; CLASS A OR C. THEN INVEST YOUR TIME AND MONEY INTO RE-DOING THAT…. THEY RIDE BETTER, ALL OF THE WIRING, PLUMBING, WINDOWS, ETC. ARE IN PLACE BFORE YOU START. AND WHEN YOU FINISH, IT IS A MOTORHOME-NOT SCHOOL BUS. MANY WILL AGRUE THAT POINT, BUT TRY DOING THE MATH FOR YOURSELVES.

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