Home » This Incredible Coach Bus RV Can Go 2,400 Miles On A Tank And Has A Chopped Up Honda Z600 In Its Belly

This Incredible Coach Bus RV Can Go 2,400 Miles On A Tank And Has A Chopped Up Honda Z600 In Its Belly

Regal Eagle Ts2
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If you’re the kind of person who wants to live out your life on the road, a Class A coach is a great way to do that while bringing the space and amenities of an apartment with you. However, so many of these rigs either cost more than apartment or look like a casino inside. I found a motorhome so cool it might be worth its $205,000 asking price. This 1962 Silver Eagle Model 01 started life as a Trailways coach bus. Now, it’s a motorhome with an incredible solid wood interior, a groovy paint job, and even a tiny garage featuring a 1972 Honda Z600 that’s been cut in half. Let’s take a look.

I’ve often said the motorhomes of today are just a bit too boring. The vast majority of them are lengthy boxes and “styling” consists of some swoopy decals and maybe some cool automotive-style lights. Tiffin goes as far as to recreate the taillights of Dodge products. Still, I feel older coaches have a sort of beauty to them that you don’t really find anymore. Take this Silver Eagle coach. It has corrugated siding, some classy stainless steel trim, some pinstripes, and oh yeah, a mural!

Vidframe Min Top
Vidframe Min Bottom

This is a coach that I could stare at all day. If it weren’t for the asking price, I’d say this should be the Autopian RV. I mean, it’s diesel, used to be a commercial bus, and comes with the weirdest little car!

Eagle Coach

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Facebook Seller

As Phoenix Coach, a successor to Eagle International, writes, in 1954, Greyhound debuted the General Motors PD-4501 Scenicruiser on its line. Back in those days, General Motors produced bus designs that were favored far more than any other. GM’s bus had air-ride, air-conditioning, a monocoque construction, and a design that some would come to call iconic decades later. General Motors was so good at building buses that it led the market, and second place wasn’t even close. As Bus Conversion Magazine writes, by 1956, General Motors controlled 84 percent of the intercity bus market. Flxible was second and it managed a scant 7 percent share.

As the PD-4501 was exclusive to Greyhound, other bus lines wanted their own 40-foot bus. Some operators bought up 35-foot GM PD-4104 buses. Continental Trailways picked up the Flxible VistaLiner, which had a similar layout as the PD-4501, but with a shorter 35-foot length. They also had a rubber spring torsilastic suspension (essentially a torsion bar suspension) as opposed to the air bags of the GM model. Continental Trailways liked the Flxibles and they were more reliable than the GM buses, but the operator wanted an even better bus.

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S L1600 (46)
Greyhound via eBay

Trailways had limited options. GM’s domination meant there weren’t enough scraps for everyone else, leading to the closure of many bus builders. There were bus builders left in America, but Continental Trailways couldn’t strike a deal with any of them, so it set its eyes on Europe.

In 1950 or 1951, Karl Kässbohrer Fahrzeugwerke GmbH in Ulm, Germany, created a novel bus. The S-8 did away with the traditional heavy truck chassis. Instead, Kässbohrer built its bus with a lightweight load-bearing lattice frame with steel panels mounted to it. The result was a rigid body that held itself up. This bus was described as “selbsttragend,” which translates to “self-supporting.” The bus is perhaps better known as the Setra bus.

First Setra
Phoenix Coach

The S-8 was a successful bus, but Kässbohrer was itching to make a larger model. Unfortunately, local demand for buses began to sink. After considering a bus builder in Ireland and then Britain, Trailways found itself in Germany. It wanted to buy Neoplan, but that deal fell through. That’s when Trailways met Kässbohrer, and it was a match made in heaven.

Continental Trailways gave Kässbohrer a wishlist. It wanted a 40-foot bus like the Scenicruiser. Also like the Scenicruiser, Trailways wanted its bus to have a window for the elevated deck. At the same time, Continental Trailways also wanted the rear lounges featured in Flxible VistaLiners and that neat torsilastic suspension, too. Kässbohrer would deliver on those wishes while also providing its input, building the new buses with the same innovative technology developed for the Setra bus.

History Bkgd
Phoenix Coach

Continental Trailways acquired an eagle logo trademark when it purchased American Bus Lines in 1953. Continental decided to name its new bus the Golden Eagle and slapped that eagle logo right on it. A prototype was built in 1956 and shipped off to Houston, Texas for testing. Continental liked what they saw and after some changes, greenlit the buses for production.

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Golden Eagle buses were luxurious, featuring a galley, carpeting, pillows, and tables. Silver Eagle buses did away with the lounge, galley, and tables. Unlike the Golden Eagles, they also didn’t have gold siding and went for silver sides. Those Silver Eagle coaches would become the backbone of Continental Trailways.

S L1600 (45)
Continental Trailways via eBay

In 1958, Continental Trailways decided to further its relationship with Kässbohrer, asking for a new front-end design and an American-sourced powertrain. Just a year later, Kässbohrer decided to focus its efforts on Europe, ending its relationship with Continental Trailways by selling all Eagle plans and tooling to Continental Trailways.

The bus line did some more shopping around and in 1960, it landed at La Brugeoise et Nivelles in Belgium, a company known for its railcars. Bus & Car, N.V. was established with a factory in Belgium where Eagle coaches would be built. At first, La Brugeoise built 85 New Silver Eagles that Kässbohrer was supposed to, and then it got to work on the next evolution of the Eagle bus, the Model 01. That brings us to today’s bus.

S L1600 (47)
Continental Trailways via eBay

The Eagle’s Nest

This bus started life as a 1962 Silver Eagle Model 01 before an extensive conversion. American components were shipped to Belgium to be placed in these buses. Thus, these were technically foreign buses sporting Detroit Diesel power and Spicer transmissions. Other American components included brakes from Lockheed, compressors from Carrier, and steering from Ross. In terms of design, the Silver Eagle Model 01 buses looked similar to the New Silver Eagles built by La Brugeoise. These buses measured 40 feet long, 96 inches wide, had manual steering, torsilastic suspension, and power from an 8V-71N engine backed by a four-speed manual transmission.

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Facebook Seller

According to the seller, this Silver Eagle operated in Continental Trailways until its retirement in 1979. A year later, the bus was picked up by private owners. In 1981, those owners took the bus to Northwest Coach Conversions in Oregon to build it into a motorhome. This conversion took 11 years and even included chopping up a Honda Z600 to fit in a bus basement compartment. A site detailing the conversion states that the bus was stripped bare, including the removal of the entire interior, drivetrain, body panels, windows, walls, and floors. Then, the bus was rebuilt from its bare parts to be a motorhome. The result is a coach that doesn’t look like it started life as a commercial bus.

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There’s so much going on here, so I’ll start with the engine compartment. The original Detroit Diesel 8V-71N was tossed out for an 8V92T. The original 8V-71N was a 9.3-liter V8 diesel that, depending on tune, was good for 318 HP and 863 lb-ft of torque. The 8V92T is 12.1-liter V8 diesel with a turbo. The addition of the larger engine is good for 430 HP and 1,186 lb-ft torque.

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Facebook Seller

Sadly, the manual transmission was lost in the conversion. In its place, the bus gets an Allison four-speed automatic. The seller notes the addition of a large hydraulic cooling fan, custom air intakes, and a roof exhaust. There’s also a compression brake to aid with driving the coach down hills. The bus has upgraded air brakes for better stopping power.

While we’re still on the subject of equipment, the bus has a 12 kW Kohler marine generator. This exhaust also exits through the roof. The seller notes that the exhausts were set up this way to direct diesel fumes away from people on the ground. This generator is noted to be able to power the entire coach. It will run everything from the coach’s three air-conditioners, washer, 220V dryer, and heating systems. If it’s electrical, the generator can run it.

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Aiding the generator and Detroit Diesel in cold weather starting is a diesel Webasto water boiler. This boiler not only keeps that equipment warm, but it also heats the coach’s walls, floors, and luggage compartments. Cozy! That’s a lot of diesel gear, and the bus feeds all of it with a large 300-gallon fuel tank. For comparison, the first Silver Eagle Model 01 buses had just 130 gallons for fuel.

It must be shocking to fill up on fuel. On my trip to Florida last month, most diesel stations along my route were charging around $4.30 a gallon for diesel. At that cost, this bus sucks $1,290 out of your account for a tank of fuel. If you’re lucky, you might see 8 mpg, which still translates to an incredible 2,400 miles of range. Put another way, I could drive this bus from Detroit to Los Angeles nonstop and still have fuel to spare. Cannonballers, is it time for a bus run?

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Closing those rear engine bay doors, let’s take a look at the body. The build site says every body panel was removed and stripped of all evidence of the bus’ past life as a Trailways unit. Damage was repaired and then the panels were painted in an ultra-shiny black paint. A car artist from California was then brought in to do the pinstripes by hand while an artist from Oregon was put to work creating multiple murals. The murals took five months and after all of the $100,000 paintwork was complete, it was sealed under five layers of clear coat. It should also be noted that when the bus was in pieces, the roof was raised by 10 inches, which is why it no longer looks like a highway coach.

Other exterior work includes a lot of custom metalwork. Those lightning bolts are stainless steel and don’t bother trying to identify the bus by its bumpers, because those are custom, too. These bumpers are made out of chrome-plated steel and feature updated lighting. The headlights are said to come from some General Motors car of the early 1990s or so, but I can’t put my finger on which one. Other outside goodies include ditch lights, spotlights, and power mirrors with heat. Finally, the exterior is capped off with custom fenders and Alcoa aluminum wheels wrapped with Toyo tires.

The Eaglet

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Facebook Seller

Before we go inside, I have to talk about the motorhome’s garage. Once you park the Eagle’s Nest somewhere, you may want to leave your campsite. Most people just tow a car behind their motorhome. Some of the more outrageous motorhomes out there have a garage for something like a Mini or a Smart. The builders of this motorhome had to work with the baggage compartments of this bus, which are smaller than most production cars.

To get around this issue, the builders bought a 1972 Honda Z600, removed its roof, and then hacked the center of the car down until it fit in the baggage compartment. Remember, the bus is 96 inches wide. That means you’re looking at a car shorter than 8 feet in length and a couple of feet tall. More height is added by the removable windshield, which needs to be detached for the car to fit in the luggage compartment. The seller says the car is still road-legal and it has been used in parades. The car gets in and out of the bus using a winch.

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Power comes from a 598cc twin making 36 HP. That must feel like a rocket in its current state!

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Inside

The greatness of the Eagle’s Nest continues with the interior. The seller states the entire interior is covered in solid walnut wood. Starting with the driver compartment, the steering wheel comes from a Western Star truck and offers tilt and telescoping adjustment. The dashboard continues the walnut theme, and features include adjustable seating, a Pioneer sound system, heat and air-conditioning, an electric entry door, a backup camera, and controls for the powered leveling system.

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Facebook Seller

Moving back and into the kitchen, there is more walnut to be found in the walls and the cabinetry. The seller also says you get a vintage mirror plus touches including Corian counter surfaces, etched tiles, and brass fixtures. Kitchen appliances include a cooktop, microwave, refrigerator, ice maker, instant hot water heater, garbage disposal, trash compactor, and water filters. There’s also a washer and dryer for your clothes.

Continuing in the interior, the seller says the floors are of the hardwood variety, there’s deep plush carpeting, and there’s a cabinet for knick-knacks that you want to display. The living room is said to have skylights and a separate Bose sound system. So, your driver has their tunes while you have yours.

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Facebook Seller
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Facebook Seller

The bathroom continues more of the same with a Corian sink plus brass fixtures. This bathroom seems spacious enough and the seller says there are 24K gold inlay tiles to look at in there, too.

Finally, we arrive in the bedroom, which features more of the walnut we’ve seen before. There’s a dressing area in here plus another skylight and yet another radio. It isn’t just the radios that come in threes. The bus was built to have three heating and cooling zones, each with an air-conditioner and thermostat. So, someone like me can have the bedroom icy while Sheryl has the living room blazing hot. In terms of holding tanks, there’s no word on black or grey storage, but the fresh tank is 200 gallons. So, you could camp off-grid for as long as those huge tanks hold out.

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When you aren’t running the generators, house power is provided by eight 6-volt AGM batteries and two 2500-watt inverters. The seller also states that the bus got an entirely new electrical system during the conversion

Expensive, But A Beauty

This bus has been for sale off and on throughout the years. The seller says it has won awards and been featured in magazines. I haven’t found any evidence of this, so those awards and magazines probably predate the rise of the Internet. Considering the incredible attention to detail here, I believe that people went crazy for this thing in 1992.

We’re now 31 years past the conversion so some of the equipment in there looks dated. I mean, that backup camera is very old-school. Still, this is a well-executed conversion that’s so pleasing to the eye and was seemingly overbuilt enough that you could comfortably use it today. Will I ever need to go from Detroit to Los Angeles in one shot? No, but I do like how long legs were baked into the build.

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Facebook Seller

Something that’s also interesting to note is the fact that the bus has driven just 35,000 miles since its conversion into a motorhome. The seller says the coach was stored indoors and was used so rarely that the plastic protecting the carpet was never taken off. It’s essentially a brand new old camper based on an even older bus.

I love it and would buy it tomorrow if I had the dough. The coach is located in Tucson, Arizona, which would even make for a good shakedown run. However, I don’t have $205,000. Believe it or not, that’s a discount from what an owner wanted in 2016, which was $300,000. Is this 1962 Silver Eagle Model 01 worth $205,000? I’m not sure, but it looks so much cooler than what you can buy today.

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Liamlunchtray1
Liamlunchtray1
4 months ago

This thing is worth $65k all day long. Its going to remain unsold until the owner dies and it will then be sold for pennies or left in a field. There’s no happy ending to this.

Miles Long
Miles Long
4 months ago

Woof! This nightmare coach is as tacky as that strip club on the bad side of town.

Space
Space
4 months ago

The money spent on this will get you a better quality long term product than a new Class A that will leak in 2 years.

Last edited 4 months ago by Space
Fruit Snack
Fruit Snack
4 months ago

A lot of money and not much taste.

Slow Joe Crow
Slow Joe Crow
4 months ago

It’s a lot of money but it looks far better built and far more durable than a new $250,000 Class A. Also a modern Prevost conversion is probably close toa million so it’s a relative bargain in some ways.
FWIW if power steering hadn’t been installed with new engine you can probably get a powered Ross steering box and work out a pump setup

Ben
Ben
4 months ago

I’m suddenly curious if diesel is more stable for storage than gas. I bet there are years where this didn’t even use a full tank and you ended up with some pretty old diesel sitting around in it.

Slow Joe Crow
Slow Joe Crow
4 months ago
Reply to  Ben

Properly treated diesel stores better than gasoline. It won’t turn into varnish but sometimes grows algae.

Speedway Sammy
Speedway Sammy
4 months ago
Reply to  Slow Joe Crow

And there’s biocide additives for diesel fuel to inhibit algae. Look for something that meets MIL-S-53021

Slow Joe Crow
Slow Joe Crow
4 months ago
Reply to  Speedway Sammy

This is doubly important for biodiesel. There was a famous incident in the UK where an institution tried to up its green cred by using biodiesel in backup generators, which failed expensively when tested after the untreated biodiesel went bad.

BOSdriver
BOSdriver
4 months ago

I am guessing that the owner will not throw in a free tank of fuel upon purchase.

Owen Horst
Owen Horst
4 months ago

Wow, what a beautiful bus! I was never able to appreciate these behemoths until I spent some time barreling down the road in a converted Prevost!

Bram Oude Elberink
Bram Oude Elberink
4 months ago

It must be shocking to fill up on fuel.”

It would even be much worse here in Europe. Here in the Netherlands we pay around $7 dollars a gallon (converted from €/l to $/gallon) for diesel, which is actually already a lot better than half a year ago (~$8,6).

Robot Turds
Robot Turds
4 months ago

That thing looks like a redneck fever dream. No thanks.

MikeInTheWoods
MikeInTheWoods
4 months ago

Sealed beam rectangle headlights? Easy bust to maintain! Imagine the depreciation here, they spent ELEVEN years building this thing, paid $100k in murals and paintwork, then drove it 35k miles. I’d say it’s wasteful, but up in Maine David Geffin (yes the record label owner) stopped by this summer with his yacht. It took over a half dozen 12,000 gallon tanker trucks to fill it up with diesel. So he could have bought 3 of these with his diesel bill.

David Escargot
David Escargot
4 months ago

It may not have even have had diesel put it in 15 times…. now that’s wild

Vee
Vee
4 months ago

The pain of seeing a Z600 in such a state… My heart can’t take it.

Also to people saying the interior needs an update… Why are you like this? If you want something with new styling, go buy something with new styling or buy a blank slate you can apply styling to. Let the old things stay as they were when they were made.

Black Peter
Black Peter
4 months ago
Reply to  Vee

But unwanted complaining earns you internet points!

Last edited 4 months ago by Black Peter
Vee
Vee
4 months ago
Reply to  Black Peter

I’m just a bit salty after the HGTV “mixup and modernize” and “upcycling” movements of the past decade where people have ruined antique furniture by spraypainting it and have destroyed mid-century modern architecture in homes in favour of expensive to heat and echo prone “open plan” boxes painted as white as a decontamination chamber.

R53forfun
R53forfun
4 months ago

With manual steering, manoeuvering this thing (landing this eagle?) must be hard work!

Phantom Pedal Syndrome
Phantom Pedal Syndrome
4 months ago

It appears that man in the Panama hat is seated in the Eaglet. Which makes me wonder, what’s the point of attaching the windshield? To keep your knees dry if it rains?

Last edited 4 months ago by Phantom Pedal Syndrome
R53forfun
R53forfun
4 months ago

Yeah, and it’s raked so much too. And the whole eaglet is road legal? Holy chest trauma, Batman.

Cal67
Cal67
4 months ago

Keeps your knees dry and washes your face all in one shot.

Jim Zavist
Jim Zavist
4 months ago

Interesting coach, but many nicer private RV parks now have age limits (usually less than 10 years old) on their RVs, so finding places to park this beast, while traveling, may prove to be “problematic”.

Vee
Vee
4 months ago
Reply to  Jim Zavist

Wait what? What’s the point of that other than to be elitist and classist? Not everyone has $350,000 to spend on a brand new Class A RV.
“Oh what a beautiful and wonderfully preserved 1965 Cortez. Sadly it’s beyond our cutoff age so you’ll have to find somewhere else. Wal-Mart has a parking lot you could stay in.”
“But that Fleetwood is leaking grey water all over–”
“Too old. Can’t let you in.”

Arrest-me Red
Arrest-me Red
4 months ago
Reply to  Vee

It is more of the condition thing. Unmaintained fall apart. Most would see the pictures and not have a problem

Mantis Toboggan, MD
Mantis Toboggan, MD
4 months ago
Reply to  Arrest-me Red

Yeah I would imagine at an RV park you’d have people waiting to ask you about it as you pulled in, including the operators of the park. It’s clearly not going to be leaving oil stains and broken parts everywhere.

Dead Elvis, Inc.
Dead Elvis, Inc.
4 months ago
Reply to  Jim Zavist

A few years back, I drove a late ’80s Class C across the country from Boston to Seattle. It was a pretty high-mileage rig (and it showed); while everything worked, it didn’t exactly look like a million bucks. We weren’t spending more than 2 nights at any stop, but at “fancier” RV campgrounds, we got plenty of stink eye from retired types who appeared to spend a significant amount of time simply cleaning & polishing their RVs.

Freelivin1327
Freelivin1327
4 months ago

Wow, interesting bus conversion and history behind it…if that little car is road legal, how the hell are Kei cars not legal everywhere?!

Speedway Sammy
Speedway Sammy
4 months ago
Reply to  Freelivin1327

Not sure what the license/registration laws are in Wash State. And perhaps it’s titled based on a deceased Honda of US legality….just guessing?

Dead Elvis, Inc.
Dead Elvis, Inc.
4 months ago
Reply to  Speedway Sammy

So far, Washington State seems not to have a problem with kei cars or other vehicles not intended for the US market, as long as they meet the 25 year rule. There are more than a few that I’ve seen regularly for years in the Seattle suburbs; some are clearly being dailied.

edit: to be clear, I’ve never seen a Honda Beat on the roads around here, but other kei cars, Paos, Jimnys, etc.

Last edited 4 months ago by Dead Elvis, Inc.
Goblin
Goblin
4 months ago

I think the z600 alone is worth the price asked…

Nic Periton
Nic Periton
4 months ago

It is a bit American.

StillNotATony
StillNotATony
4 months ago

It took ELEVEN YEARS to do the initial conversion?!? I’m sure the work was high quality, but ELEVEN YEARS?!?

Andreas8088
Andreas8088
4 months ago
Reply to  StillNotATony

Yeah, I latched onto that as well. I *have* to think it must’ve been started, then abandoned for many years, and then started again.

Goblin
Goblin
4 months ago
Reply to  StillNotATony

Project Binky is going close to that and is nowhere near finished yet…

Torque
Torque
4 months ago
Reply to  Goblin

Project Binky has been going on for I think about 7-8 years now and it appears to be finished enough they have taken it driving at events.
I think it has ended up way nicer than I think they originally intended so long much so I don’t think it will actually be used for rally races, hence why they bought, race prepped and took tacing the Renault? In between working on Binky

Goblin
Goblin
4 months ago
Reply to  Torque

Date stamp on the first Binky video (Aug 17, 2013) begs to differ:

https://youtu.be/7hCPODjJO7s

Also, I don’t think they ever planned on racing it. They’ve been discussing keeping all the creature comforts from the Celica (AC and power windows included) from day one.

It has turned out decent (the wheels are ugly though), but it’s not finished. The project is ongoing.

Torque
Torque
4 months ago
Reply to  Goblin

You got me I didn’t check the date of their 1st video.
Who actually owns it? Nik or Richard or if it is owned as a company car / product of bad obsession motorsports?

As far as it not being done, you’re probably right, then again for people that personally build cars to this extent I don’t know if they themselves ever consider their projects as finished.

Goblin
Goblin
4 months ago
Reply to  Torque

The Celica was Nik’s, the Mini was either Richard’s, either they got it for the project.
I still can’t to this day fathom why anyone would kill a working Celica awd Trubo for any project, given that it’s a cult car on its own, but who knows, maybe the shell will reappear in their next project, due in 2050.

HOT_HATCH
HOT_HATCH
4 months ago

I guess the real question is what can you buy that was made this decade for half a million dollars? Because that’s what it’s gonna cost to pull this beauty out of the 90s.

Last edited 4 months ago by HOT_HATCH
Dave
Dave
4 months ago

The woodwork is beautiful, but that interior definitely needs an update. And so, probably, do lots of the systems. Thirty years of ageing will have taken a toll. The refurb bill will likely make the purchase price just a starting point. But it is a beautiful piece of work.

Ranwhenparked
Ranwhenparked
4 months ago

That gloss walnut is beautiful, I want my house paneled like that

Scoutdude
Scoutdude
4 months ago

Many years ago, when the Honda 600 was still relatively new I saw a little article in Popular Science or Mechanics where someone had put a Honda 600 sized garage in the back of their motorhome. It was not cut down though.

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