1947 Flxible Clipper RV

Restoration of a classic American icon!

 
 
 
 
 
 
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1947 Flxible Clipper RV

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Posted: 16.08.2013  ·  #1
I'll start a thread here on the restoration of a 1947 Flxible Clipper Bus and update as new information and images come through:

A little history about my Flxible Clipper:

Bought new by the Utah Parks Company (part of the Union Pacific Railroad) in 1947, the Flxible Clipper spent all of its working life taking tourists around the various National Parks. For a commercial bus, it's had a very pampered working life.

Taken out of service in 1965, it was converted to a motorhome and eventually found its way to the previous owners in 1972. Since 1972 it has been in the same family ownership and stored in the 29 Palms region of California. As a result the vehicle has almost no rust but has needed major mechanical work due to the fact that it has not moved for over 25 years!!

I saw a local advert for the bus some months ago and was amazed to see the bus re-advertised some time later without a serious offer being made. I contacted the family and learned that the grandfather who owned the bus had passed away and this was the reason for the sale. The only serious offer they had was from a junk yard who were buying the vehicle for the scrap metal. I didn't want to see that happen so agreed to buy the bus.

Since shipping the bus to the restoration shop, the engine (Detroit Diesel) has been fully rebuilt, new cooling system and radiator, new brakes, re-built clutch and front axle, new King Pins, new fuel lines and re-ferbished fuel tanks, new wheels (old ones were split rims) and new tyres.

Once the bus gets some test miles under it's belt, the interior will be stripped out and a complete new interior fitted. Final stage will be the exterior and I plan on keeping the original paint design.

I've started a flickr account to show some of the photographs and tried to put the images in order. The first images come from the original advert, then an image of the bus being loaded for shipping to the restoration shop and then images from the restoration shop showing some progress.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/9…089781485/


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Re: 1947 Flxible Clipper RV

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Posted: 16.08.2013  ·  #2
Kerry,
What an amazing rv, I can't wait to see it in the flesh. I enquired today about the mysterious ulster clipper amongst my American car club mates but no luck.
As I have said before I am extremely jealous, stunning rv in the making.
Keep us up to date with the restoration
Paul


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Re: 1947 Flxible Clipper RV

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Posted: 16.08.2013  ·  #3
Is the bus still in the US?

This is going to be an epic restoration thread.

(I might as well just delete mine now... ^_^ )

:lol:

Best of luck with it Kerry. Please - please - please try to keep this thread updated as often as you can...!!

I never in my life thought i'd say this, but....

I love your bus mister... :lol: :lol: :lol:


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Posted: 16.08.2013  ·  #4
Quote by Chevy g20

Kerry,
What an amazing rv, I can't wait to see it in the flesh. I enquired today about the mysterious ulster clipper amongst my American car club mates but no luck.
As I have said before I am extremely jealous, stunning rv in the making.
Keep us up to date with the restoration
Paul


It's a shame about the Flxible stuck in a shed in Ulster. Would be a great project and all the expense of shipping it has already been paid for!! After buying my Flxible, someone suggested that the way to find the bus in Ulster would be to contact the heavy haulage contractors capable of moving this size of vehicle (probably 6 phone calls in total). I would love to see someone find this bus and I'm sure with a little more work, someone will.


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Posted: 16.08.2013  ·  #5
Quote by Blag

Is the bus still in the US?

This is going to be an epic restoration thread.

(I might as well just delete mine now... ^_^ )

:lol:

Best of luck with it Kerry. Please - please - please try to keep this thread updated as often as you can...!!

I never in my life thought i'd say this, but....

I love your bus mister... :lol: :lol: :lol:


The Flxible is at a restoration shop in California:

http://www.hb-industries.com/

Not the best website in the world but they do come highly recommended. The owner Bob Rowsell has a beautiful red and white Flxible RV so he knows all about these buses.

If anyone hasn't seen the film "RV" with Robin Williams then watch it as the film is actually OK but most importantly, one of the RV's in the film is a 1947 Flxible Clipper :up:

The plan is to get the Flxible restored and then take the family on a road trip in the bus from California to the East Coast of the USA where it will be shipped to the UK (that's the dream anyway :D )


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Re: 1947 Flxible Clipper RV

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Posted: 16.08.2013  ·  #6
I know a few of the hauliers. How long ago was it shipped.
I saw a lovely bus in dublin last year which could have been a restored Flxible but at the time I didn't know what I was looking for. I didn't take pictures but might know someone who has.
Just contacted him. Not a Flxible


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Posted: 17.08.2013  ·  #7
Quote by Chevy g20

I know a few of the hauliers. How long ago was it shipped.
I saw a lovely bus in dublin last year which could have been a restored Flxible but at the time I didn't know what I was looking for. I didn't take pictures but might know someone who has.
Just contacted him. Not a Flxible


OK Paul, this is a brief account of what I know regarding the Flxible Visicoach in Ulster - It is on a farm and stored in an open front shed that has a roof shape with sloping sides then the middle third is rounded (Imagine a floppy hat cut though the middle and that profile is the shape). This is important as there are very few of these types of barn in Ulster. - The Flxible was first shipped into Felixstowe port, probably about 2001/2. - The Flxible is probably on a farm that has public access (I only say this because I put an advert on Gumtree Belfast site for information and was contacted by someone who had other photo's of the Flxible from different angles to the ones I had already). This would suggest that the farm has access such as a farm shop, petting zoo etc. The guy who contacted me said the Flxible was around the Belfast area but wouldn't say exactly where - I think he was trying to throw me off so would suggest it's further out than that.

I've contacted all of the classic vehicle clubs and the Ulster Farmers Union as well as an advert on Gumtree. I've also written to farms with farm shops around Belfast but have not come close to finding the bus. If I hadn't bought the one in California, my next step was going to be the haulage companies and other farm shops and petting zoo's. I was also going to try farm building construction companies!

The bus is out there and needs to be restored but it needs someone else to take up the search!! :D

This is the page I read that started my obsession with this vintage bus make. Before reading it, I didn't even know what a Flxible bus was (thought it was one of those buses with the flexible middle section :-) ).


http://community.fmca.com/topi…motorhome/

HAPPY HUNTING!! whoever wants to try and find it :up:


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Re: 1947 Flxible Clipper RV

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Posted: 17.08.2013  ·  #8
Quote by bing66
HAPPY HUNTING!! whoever wants to try and find it :up:


That'd be something.... What a find that'd be....


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Posted: 17.08.2013  ·  #9
Loading Google Earth.................. I may be sometime :D


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Posted: 17.08.2013  ·  #10
Quote by Ally

Loading Google Earth.................. I may be sometime :D


Don't forget the detail on the barn if you do - rectangular skylights in the right hand part of the roof!!


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Posted: 21.08.2013  ·  #11
swmbo was at Streamvale Open farm on Monday and I had her running around noisying in every nook and cranny looking for a bus :lol: :lol: :lol: but needless to say it wasnt there (strike that location off the list)


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Posted: 21.08.2013  ·  #12
Quote by the fat controller

swmbo was at Streamvale Open farm on Monday and I had her running around noisying in every nook and cranny looking for a bus :lol: :lol: :lol: but needless to say it wasnt there (strike that location off the list)


Just another 347 to go :D :D

Would love to see that bus rescued. Less than 100 of those Visicoach models left in the world!!


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Posted: 28.08.2013  ·  #13
Just got a bill from the restoration shop in California for the ongong work to the Flxible. With the original purchace price of $4,000 and shipping from the desert to the restoration shop $1,200, the total cost so far is just over $20,000. :'(


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Posted: 28.08.2013  ·  #14
:o


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Posted: 28.08.2013  ·  #15
Yikes...


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Posted: 28.08.2013  ·  #16
When our restoration project kicked off last year, I started an excel spread sheet. Any time I bought something for the camper, it was added to the spread sheet. I haven't had the balls to do a "€ sum total" on the list yet, but I will once we get near to completion on the project...

After seeing Kerry's invoice above, I'm glad that I'm providing the labour on our project for "free"... :ninja:


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Re: 1947 Flxible Clipper RV

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Posted: 28.08.2013  ·  #17
Hi Kevin
I bet you're paying a lot more tax then he did on the parts 🇧🇭


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Posted: 29.08.2013  ·  #18
Quote by taylor

Hi Kevin
I bet you're paying a lot more tax then he did on the parts 🇧🇭


Yeah, I spotted that too. Don't get me started about tax... :'(

BTW - Curiosity got the better of me this morning so I tidied up my spread sheet and did my sums... Not too bad so far. :-)


Back on topic - I'm sure Kerry's bus will be a thing of beauty when the restoration is complete and it'll be worth every penny he's spent on it!! 8-)


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Posted: 30.08.2013  ·  #19
It's alive!!!!

After 30+ years stood in the California desert and ready to be broken up for scrap, it now has new life in it and will hopefully last a great many years to come!!!



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Posted: 30.08.2013  ·  #20
:D :up: :D :up: :D :up:
Brilliant!


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Posted: 30.08.2013  ·  #21
That looks and sounds great Kerry!

Congrats!


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Posted: 30.08.2013  ·  #22
Loving it


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Posted: 30.08.2013  ·  #23
Do you need to re-paint it? For fear of sounding like one of those Fast & loud crowd, I like the "patina" of the original paint.

It gives it a LOT of character......


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Posted: 30.08.2013  ·  #24
I agree Kevin. Loving the patina


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Posted: 30.08.2013  ·  #25
It reminds me of this,

I have always been a massive Buddy Holly fan and this is the bus he toured in,





I think this is the last bus he was ever in,



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Posted: 14.09.2013  ·  #26
An update on the 1947 Flxible bus project:

All mechanical work is now complete. The latest work has involved alignment of the front end and stripping the bodywork back to bare metal and priming ready for paint. The invoice below is a running total from the start of the project.

With the cost of buying the bus and having it transported to the restorers shop in California, the total so far is:

Purchase price - $4,000

Transport cost - $1,200

TOTAL SO FAR - $24,411 - About £16,500 :'(


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Posted: 14.09.2013  ·  #27
Any photos of the latest progress Kerry?


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Posted: 14.09.2013  ·  #28
Quote by Blag

Any photos of the latest progress Kerry?


I've asked and as soon as I get them, I'll post on here :up:


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Posted: 18.09.2013  ·  #29
The Flxible has now been stripped (sand blasted). There was a fear that it would need extensive bodywork done when the paint was removed but there is hardly any rust at all :up:



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Posted: 18.09.2013  ·  #30
Looks great Kerry.


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Posted: 18.09.2013  ·  #31
Looking forward to seeing it with a coat of paint!!


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Posted: 18.09.2013  ·  #32
Quote by Blag

Looking forward to seeing it with a coat of paint!!


A clearcoat would look great either.


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Posted: 18.09.2013  ·  #33
Love it - I want one :)


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Posted: 22.09.2013  ·  #34
I've been contacted by a guy in the USA who has seen the latest video of our Flxible. He's very kindly pointed out that the Flxible name plate on the front of out bus is extremely rare :up:

Only a handful of buses were fitted with a name plate that didn't have "Loudonville Ohio, USA" under the word "Flxible" on the name plate and ours appears to be one of them :D

Never noticed myself but it's a nice thing to know.

................................................


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Posted: 22.09.2013  ·  #35
It's always nice to hear some encouraging news.


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Posted: 22.09.2013  ·  #36
What finish are you planning to apply to that name plate Kerry? Chrome, polish or paint?


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Posted: 22.09.2013  ·  #37
Quote by Blag

Looking forward to seeing it with a coat of paint!!


The same as the picture below in chrome only I'm having the area around the name "Flxible" and the veins running away from the centre painted in blue instead of cream.


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Posted: 22.09.2013  ·  #38
Also, I think I'm going to have the metal band around the headlights chromed as well. It's a nice feature on this Flxible Landcruiser:


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Posted: 22.09.2013  ·  #39
Quote by bing66

Also, I think I'm going to have the metal band around the headlights chromed as well. It's a nice feature on this Flxible Landcruiser:


That would look good. :up:


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Posted: 22.09.2013  ·  #40
What a beautiful piece of kit. Nothing on today's market like that. There's no doubt that will turn heads.


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