I am officially a bus owner!
I wasn’t really planning to purchase my bus until after I got my HR licence, but when this one turned up on Gumtree, I knew I had to at least look at it! An Isuzu LT111p with rear-mount 6BD1-Turbo engine. 6 speed manual. 11m long. Plenty of lockable storage bins on both sides. It not only ticked most of the boxes in terms of the sort of bus I was looking for, but the fact that it was already registered in Queensland (my home state) AND already certified as a motorhome was a huge drawcard for me.
The bus had passed a COI (certificate of inspection for heavy vehicles) only 2 weeks ago, so I knew it was roadworthy, but since I have zero mechanical knowledge, and can’t yet drive a bus myself, I needed a support crew! My folks came along to inspect the bus with me for moral support, and our super-awesome trucker-neighbour also agreed to look it over. It was so great having him there to explain things and test-drive the bus with me.
It seemed to be a pretty decent little bus – just big enough for my needs, and mechanically sound. My biggest concern was rust, as most buses of this age (and certainly ones for sale in my budget) have at least some. And some have LOTS. And indeed, this one did have a fair bit of rust underneath most of the window seals and in a few patches elsewhere on the body, but the chassis underneath looked pretty clean. In the end, I decided that I would take a chance on the rust and hope that it would be mostly surface rust and relatively easy to clean up and repair. The fact that it was already registered as a motorhome meant I wouldn’t have to worry so much about getting all the engineering compliance approvals (which costs money of course) and it also already had a towbar fitted, so I was saving about $1500 there as well. And it seemed to be mechanically fine. So I figured I had a little extra to spend on rust repairs if required.
None of us really expected to be bringing a bus home that day, but my neighbour very kindly agreed to drive the bus home for me. It was an almost 3 hour drive back home, but the bus ran great and JUST managed to fit through our front gate and up the driveway. I have no idea how I will manage to reverse it out again, but I am in no hurry to move it just yet!
So finally, after years of dreaming and planning and saving, I actually have a bus!