Spotted: A Confusing Crown

This iconic vintage West Coast school bus is far from home

1w ago

Yesterday, I saw a Crown.

No, not the Toyota Crown. A Crown Coach! In this case, a retired Crown Supercoach school bus. There is a lot to unpack about why this vehicle being where it was is odd, but not the least of which is that Crown sold these buses almost exclusively on the West Coast and mostly in California and I saw this vehicle driving through Midtown Atlanta, Georgia.

In case you are as uneducated about the Crown Coach Corporation as I was, they were an American coach builder who focused on buses. Established in 1904 in Los Angeles, they operated pretty much exclusively on the West Coast until their demise in 1991.

According to the Wikipedia entry, "nearly all Crown school buses were sold in California, Washington State, and Oregon." It's certainly the first Crown Coach I've ever seen, being on the East Coast.

I really can't pinpoint the year. They made lots of small changes over the years but it's very hard to tell from the outside.

One thing that struck me was how fresh the paint looks. Then you notice the body still has dents and imperfections. It's almost like that dent below the driver's window was there when this paint was applied. Very odd that didn't get at least a hammer and some body filler.

It's certainly a striking form that has been made iconic through countless appearances in movies and film. The streamlined swept tail and rounded top and sides give it a unique look compared to the utilitarian cubes of modern school buses. It makes me sad we've moved away from trying to inject style like this into even the most mundane things like this. The body first entered production in 1948 and by its demise in 1991 it definitely was showing its age.

In addition to its geographic location puzzling me, what on earth is it doing here anyways? No rental agency name on it and it doesn't seem to have seats inside, but it's being driven by a bored looking guy in a safety vest through a major city at 6:30 PM. Considering it's highly unlikely this bus was used by a school in Georgia at all, its location in Midtown Atlanta just doesn't make sense.

Is it weird that the back end of this bus is so good looking? Probably. Anyways, I noticed the surprisingly slow but smooth idle of some ancient diesel that really stuck with me. It had a very distinctive engine note.

What do you known about Crown Coaches? These are a very rare sight indeed to see one this far away from the company's old headquarters in LA. I also posted this to Oppo's other home on The Hyphen, where one user has a Crown Firecoach, but that's the only other Crown I know of on the East Coast.

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Comments (21)

  • Oldest known fully restored mobile TV broadcast unit.

    This bus has its original Buick Straight 8.

      10 days ago
    • I've never seen a Flxible anything but neither have I seen a Crown anything. Very cool stuff. Especially with a straight 8, probably turned sideways at the rear.

        10 days ago
    • The engine is inline with the bus. Shift linkage is an ordeal. Bus has help bring the news from Dallas to the world. Was the pool feed for Officer Tibbits funeral , the policeman that Lee Harvey Oswald killed shortly after he killed JFK....

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        9 days ago
  • I would like a rounded end old bus to make into an RV. I have so many pictures in a file in case I ever do it. But I have been leaning towards a surplus LMTV since its like an American Unimog and I could take it anywhere.

      11 days ago
    • Do it!

        10 days ago
    • Might have to sell the Dodge to make that happen. Storage might be expensive too. It's been done though and I'm sure the results are impressive.

        10 days ago