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RVing message boards => Bus Conversions, Buses => Topic started by: bingo66 on August 14, 2013, 05:20:10 AM

Title: 1947 Flxible Clipper
Post by: bingo66 on August 14, 2013, 05:20:10 AM
I purchased a 1947 Flxible Clipper RV a few months ago and I'm having it restored at Bob Rowsells shop in El Galan. I'll put some images up on the web and include a link on this thread later. It's going to be a long project but couldn't see such a fine piece of American history go to the junk yard!!
Title: Re: 1947 Flxible Clipper
Post by: vetmom on August 14, 2013, 06:26:01 AM
Wow, how neat is that!  Didn't really know what they were so found some pictures on line but why are they called Flxible?  Looking forward to following the process :)  Good luck!

Cheryl
Title: Re: 1947 Flxible Clipper
Post by: jagnweiner on August 14, 2013, 07:27:11 AM
Here's the answer from the Flxible Owner's website:

"The Flxible company was founded in 1913 when they released their first product: a flexible mount used to attach a side car to a motorcycle. They took the e out of flexible to make the name trademark-able."
Title: Re: 1947 Flxible Clipper
Post by: vetmom on August 14, 2013, 07:31:57 AM
Ahh, now that makes sense, couldn't figure out how they were "flexible" :-[.  Thanks for the clarification.
Title: Re: 1947 Flxible Clipper
Post by: bingo66 on August 14, 2013, 01:11:55 PM
I've put some pictures on the following site. They are a mixture of the Flxible at its original location in 29 Palms, CA, being loaded onto the transporter and pictures from the restoration shop showing the interior, engine and exterior of the bus.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/95137559@N04/

I have more pictures and will post as soon as I can. I'll also do a little write up regarding it's history and how I came to buy it.
Title: Re: 1947 Flxible Clipper
Post by: jagnweiner on August 14, 2013, 01:47:01 PM
Neat!
Title: Re: 1947 Flxible Clipper
Post by: Wi1dBill on August 14, 2013, 02:56:30 PM
Very cool. Now you need to find an late 40's early 50's car to restore and use it as your Toad.
Title: Re: 1947 Flxible Clipper
Post by: bingo66 on August 14, 2013, 03:33:25 PM
I'll do well to finance this project without going bust let alone finding the money for a vintage toad vehicle ;D It would be nice though!!

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.
Title: Re: 1947 Flxible Clipper
Post by: vetmom on August 14, 2013, 03:48:13 PM
Sound like you are well on your way.  I've got to say when you get to the interior I hope you keep the wood ceiling, that looks really nice!
Title: Re: 1947 Flxible Clipper
Post by: bingo66 on August 14, 2013, 05:13:39 PM
Unfortunately the wood ceiling will be going and replaced with a retro, cream leather finish. I've done some 3D models of possible interior layouts. The one I like at the moment  allows for a double bed in the rear and converted dinette and settee in the front to a double bed.

Title: Re: 1947 Flxible Clipper
Post by: 1275gtsport on August 16, 2013, 08:52:42 AM
Looks good. just 2 questions. where is the bathroom? and how long is it? oh and one more question why no build a bit more counter top? you can almost never have too much counter top. I am always amazed when I look at pictures on 40 foot rigs and there is only 9 inches of usable counter space.

Just saying you will have a mostly clean slate to work with and an opportunity to make a truly amazing machine. Of course you will also want to make it what you want. :)

Title: Re: 1947 Flxible Clipper
Post by: bingo66 on August 16, 2013, 01:14:04 PM
It's a really tight squeeze to get everything in!! This Flxible is 33ft long but 5 ft is taken up at the back for luggage space :( See photo.

I've added two shots of the toilet and shower room that are oposite each other. The idea is for the doors to each compartment to open in such a way that they become privacy doors. I know there is little in the way of counter tops but a removable cutting board on top of the sink will add some additional space. We have twin boys so need a second sleeping area other than the main bedroom at the back of the bus. The idea is for the dinette and the settee oposite to come together as an aditional double bed.

Title: Re: 1947 Flxible Clipper
Post by: 1joester2 on August 16, 2013, 02:11:39 PM
I have to agree with vetmom. The wood ceiling trumps the cream leather.


I can't imagine cooking under a leather ceiling...steam and all....



Just my $0.02.
Title: Re: 1947 Flxible Clipper
Post by: canuckrv on August 16, 2013, 02:46:23 PM
Very cool project. My dad probably rode on that bus he was a tour guide for UP for many years right after the war, in fact that is how he met my mother.
Title: Re: 1947 Flxible Clipper
Post by: bingo66 on August 17, 2013, 01:12:35 AM
I have to agree with vetmom. The wood ceiling trumps the cream leather.


I can't imagine cooking under a leather ceiling...steam and all....



Just my $0.02.

Have scrapped the leather look following a conversation with the restoration shop!! Too heavy and expensive. Will be going for a veneer so yes the wood effect is staying.
Title: Re: 1947 Flxible Clipper
Post by: bingo66 on August 30, 2013, 07:48:30 AM
It's alive!!!

After 30+ years stood in the California desert, the guys at H-B Industries have done a great job to get the Clipper running and still manage to keep most of the original drive train and engine.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LH3kYLzjlp8

Title: Re: 1947 Flxible Clipper
Post by: therealsimpsons on August 30, 2013, 09:01:02 AM
Awesome! Can't wait to see the progress and the finished product.
Title: Re: 1947 Flxible Clipper
Post by: bingo66 on September 15, 2013, 10:11:23 AM
All mechanical work has now been completed. Bus bodywork is being sandblasted and primed, ready for paint. :)
Title: Re: 1947 Flxible Clipper
Post by: Conquest aka Robert on September 15, 2013, 11:44:59 AM
 :D ;D ;) :) 8) What more can I say Awesome RV looking forward to updates. :)
Title: Re: 1947 Flxible Clipper
Post by: vetmom on September 15, 2013, 12:01:26 PM
It's pretty exciting, really looking forward to pictures ;D!
Title: Re: 1947 Flxible Clipper
Post by: bingo66 on September 18, 2013, 01:06:04 PM
The Flxible has now been sandblasted and stripped. Even the guys who stripped the bus couldn't believe what great shape the bodywork was in. I think it's down to 7 layers of lead based paint and 40+ years in the California desert :)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xtS0-NwWwS4&feature

Title: Re: 1947 Flxible Clipper
Post by: driftless shifter on September 18, 2013, 04:35:08 PM
What direction you goin' with the paint? Vintage livery scheme would be cool. Might even make a movie star out of her! Nice supplemental income to boot.

Bill
Title: Re: 1947 Flxible Clipper
Post by: bingo66 on September 18, 2013, 05:50:40 PM
Hi Bill,

Same paint job as before (blue and white) but I'm having the fenders, wiper arms, side mirrors and Flxible sign on the front chromed.
Title: Re: 1947 Flxible Clipper
Post by: Ernie Ekberg on October 09, 2013, 04:56:39 PM
You are to be commended for your labor of love- BRAVO!
Title: Re: 1947 Flxible Clipper
Post by: Kim (skyking4ar2) Bertram on October 09, 2013, 05:05:20 PM
Jay Leno's shop foreman was featured on Xtreme RV's recently with his Flxible as he restored it for the Flxible Rally in Ohio. I have never seen so many in a parade!

He used pressed tin sheets like in the old buildings for his ceilings. You might be able to You Tube or something and find that segment.

If I had the time, I would chase one down in a heartbeat - they are just an All American looking rig, not unlike vintage Airstreams. I look forward to your progress.
Title: Re: 1947 Flxible Clipper
Post by: SuperMike on October 10, 2013, 02:06:10 PM
Just as a matter of interest and I hope Bingo does not mind, but he has been running a similar thread on the RVOC forum, where we are both members, here in the UK. Personally I think most of us on the RVOC thought, at the beginning that he was barking mad, but now are just a teen tiny bit jealous. Perhaps we will have a rally when the Flxible reaches these shores to welcome it to it's new home. ;D

http://www.rvoc.co.uk/forum/rv-general-chat/12469-1947-flxible-clipper-motor-home.html
Title: Re: 1947 Flxible Clipper
Post by: bingo66 on October 21, 2013, 07:14:35 AM
Just as a matter of interest and I hope Bingo does not mind, but he has been running a similar thread on the RVOC forum, where we are both members, here in the UK. Personally I think most of us on the RVOC thought, at the beginning that he was barking mad, but now are just a teen tiny bit jealous. Perhaps we will have a rally when the Flxible reaches these shores to welcome it to it's new home. ;D

http://www.rvoc.co.uk/forum/rv-general-chat/12469-1947-flxible-clipper-motor-home.html

Thanks SuperMike, much appreciated!!!
Title: Re: 1947 Flxible Clipper
Post by: bingo66 on November 13, 2013, 09:27:41 AM
The bus restoration is coming along at a pace :)

Some images of the bus getting its first coat of primer. Lots of bodywork still to complete and all of the interior to sort out but there has been a lot of progress made!!
Title: Re: 1947 Flxible Clipper
Post by: vetmom on November 13, 2013, 09:49:55 AM
Pretty exciting!  Great to see it coming along so well.  Thanks for the update.

Cheryl
Title: Re: 1947 Flxible Clipper
Post by: canuckrv on November 13, 2013, 02:44:50 PM
I love this project. Are you going to keep the Ketchum sign in the destination window? My dad was a tour guide for the Union Pacific and we lived in the Challenger inn in Sun Valley until they built a house in Ketchum. He most likely road on that bus.
Title: Re: 1947 Flxible Clipper
Post by: bingo66 on November 13, 2013, 04:15:06 PM
Yes, keeping the Ketchum sign!!

We've also now decided on the design of the soft furnishings. It keeps the retro look we are after and matches the exterior colour scheme which will be Corvette Nassau blue and white.
Title: Re: 1947 Flxible Clipper
Post by: vetmom on November 13, 2013, 04:36:02 PM
Very sharp, love it.  That's going to look really nice.
Title: Re: 1947 Flxible Clipper
Post by: canuckrv on November 14, 2013, 06:00:59 AM
Yes, keeping the Ketchum sign!!

We've also now decided on the design of the soft furnishings. It keeps the retro look we are after and matches the exterior colour scheme which will be Corvette Nassau blue and white.

Glad you are keeping that sign, are there any other towns on it?
The interior will look great!
Title: Re: 1947 Flxible Clipper
Post by: bingo66 on November 14, 2013, 06:57:58 AM
Not sure if there are other names on the scroll. I haven't actually seen the bus in the flesh yet :)
Title: Re: 1947 Flxible Clipper
Post by: bingo66 on December 06, 2013, 09:12:35 AM
The interior is fully stripped and the metal work has been refurbished and well treated with plenty of primer.
Title: Re: 1947 Flxible Clipper
Post by: bingo66 on January 15, 2014, 11:26:33 AM
Insulation now fixed into place and the internal walls are going up :)
Title: Re: 1947 Flxible Clipper
Post by: jagnweiner on January 15, 2014, 01:29:57 PM
Looking great!  Steel framing studs are a wonderful thing.  What will they be using to make the actual wall surface?  I assume drywall (plasterboard) wouldn't work well in an RV environment.
Title: Re: 1947 Flxible Clipper
Post by: Kim (skyking4ar2) Bertram on January 15, 2014, 03:33:06 PM
What is the source of that insulation? What is its normal purpose outside of RV's?

Curious  8)
Title: Re: 1947 Flxible Clipper
Post by: moosebear on January 23, 2014, 06:03:27 PM
My father also owned a 1947 Flxible that was converted. It had a 401 CID V6 that came out of a dump truck. It was originally a greyhound bus that ran around Abilene, Fort Leavenworth and Junction City,Kansas. What a blast that was riding in that bullet. He sold it in Colorado in the 90's.
Title: Re: 1947 Flxible Clipper
Post by: bingo66 on January 25, 2014, 03:56:31 PM
The materials being used are commercial building products. The Flxible has now had the ceiling panels installed and they look pretty good. Again, high grade building products have been used (GRP, with an embossed wipe clean surface). The walls will be a lightweight, engineered panel.
Title: Re: 1947 Flxible Clipper
Post by: Kim (skyking4ar2) Bertram on January 28, 2014, 09:20:05 AM
I was not familiar with glass reinforced panels (GRP) at all. Is that a special joint trim? metal or plastic? I really like the look.
Title: Re: 1947 Flxible Clipper
Post by: bingo66 on February 01, 2014, 11:21:23 AM
I was not familiar with glass reinforced panels (GRP) at all. Is that a special joint trim? metal or plastic? I really like the look.

The joint trim is metal and can be purchased with the panels (they manufacture metal and plastic trim). I think these panels are classed as FRP (Fibreglass Reinforced Panels) in the USA. They are made by a company called Sika and the panels are called Kemlite.
Title: Re: 1947 Flxible Clipper
Post by: bingo66 on February 22, 2014, 09:18:12 AM
Internal carcase is going in. The rear bed is also in place. I'll chose the veneer and cabinet colour and finsh next week. The electrics and services are also in place.

Title: Re: 1947 Flxible Clipper
Post by: bingo66 on February 22, 2014, 10:26:48 AM
Also, I have now started a blog to chart the progress of the restoration.

http://47clipper.blogspot.co.uk/

Title: Re: 1947 Flxible Clipper
Post by: mypursuit on February 22, 2014, 07:01:55 PM
Dr. Friedman on the TV show Mash said, "Sometimes you've just got to drop your pants and slide on the ice." 
You have a goal and are pursuing it not without sacrifice.  Good luck on your adventure.
Title: Re: 1947 Flxible Clipper
Post by: bingo66 on March 31, 2014, 07:42:53 AM
Seating has just arrived from the upholsterer and placed into the bus to see how it fits. I'm glad I asked for the Flxible logo to be stitched into the seat backs as I think it looks quite good. The overhead carcases are in place as well and the outside of the Clipper is now being done.
Title: Re: 1947 Flxible Clipper
Post by: therealsimpsons on March 31, 2014, 01:16:44 PM
Awesome!
Title: Re: 1947 Flxible Clipper
Post by: canuckrv on March 31, 2014, 03:18:20 PM
Its Looking GREAT love the seats
Title: Re: 1947 Flxible Clipper
Post by: bingo66 on March 31, 2014, 05:31:00 PM
Thanks for the comments, much appreciated
Title: Re: 1947 Flxible Clipper
Post by: bingo66 on April 11, 2014, 04:39:35 PM
Outside now coming along nicely. Still some paint detailing to go on and all the freshly chromed metal to apply.
Title: Re: 1947 Flxible Clipper
Post by: jagnweiner on April 12, 2014, 06:17:16 AM
Wow!  That's going to be beautiful.
Title: Re: 1947 Flxible Clipper
Post by: canuckrv on April 13, 2014, 05:49:41 AM
Love this project
Thanks for sharing your beautiful work.
Title: Re: 1947 Flxible Clipper
Post by: cineburger on June 26, 2014, 10:25:54 AM
I too have a 1947 Flx Clipper and am searching for information on current front wheel bearing seals; the Timken bearing numbers: 539,444,532-A and 432 are all good current numbers, but apparently 2 different front axles were used on this model in 1947--(actually 3 numbers but the last 2 used the same seals) 35141-PX-7 and 35141-WX-10 & WX-17. The original seal number A1205-B-600 has an interchange according to Baker Bearings in Portland, OR but no one has yet come up with an interchange for A1205-L-194 (the seal assembly for the last 2 axle #'s). Anybody have any good info on this??? How bout dimensions?? Thanks. david  (cineburger@gmail.com; 410-320-6561)
Title: Re: 1947 Flxible Clipper
Post by: BigLarry on June 26, 2014, 05:56:10 PM
What a wonderful project!  Thanks for sharing!
Title: Re: 1947 Flxible Clipper
Post by: bingo66 on December 09, 2014, 10:40:08 AM
I too have a 1947 Flx Clipper and am searching for information on current front wheel bearing seals; the Timken bearing numbers: 539,444,532-A and 432 are all good current numbers, but apparently 2 different front axles were used on this model in 1947--(actually 3 numbers but the last 2 used the same seals) 35141-PX-7 and 35141-WX-10 & WX-17. The original seal number A1205-B-600 has an interchange according to Baker Bearings in Portland, OR but no one has yet come up with an interchange for A1205-L-194 (the seal assembly for the last 2 axle #'s). Anybody have any good info on this??? How bout dimensions?? Thanks. david  (cineburger@gmail.com; 410-320-6561)

Hi David, not been around for some time or wanted to have anything to do with my Flxible restoration as things haven't gone well lately with the build. Haven't had an update from the restoration shop for quite some time but I'll continue to push them for answers.

I have a facebook page where I'm trying to bring like minded people together in order to share information on the Flxible vehicles - flxible owners club eurpoe - If you are on facebook then please join the group, there are a lot of experienced people on that group now and I'm sure someone can help.
Title: Re: 1947 Flxible Clipper
Post by: driftless shifter on December 09, 2014, 01:04:03 PM
Sometimes axles are made by an outside vendor, and used in other applications. That may be an avenue for further research. The Dana 80, in my not near as old P30, happens to have Frieghtliner application axle shafts.

Bill
Title: Re: 1947 Flxible Clipper
Post by: 56safari on December 12, 2014, 12:38:16 PM
Too cool!  Love the old stuff.  Your to be congratulated for saving a piece of history.
Title: Re: 1947 Flxible Clipper
Post by: Jaaybird on February 24, 2015, 06:39:26 PM
what a wonderful piece of history

jb
Title: Re: 1947 Flxible Clipper
Post by: Brass Rat on May 06, 2015, 06:51:28 PM
I think I have managed to read everything about this project up to early February, then no info available since.  I'm concerned that the bus restoration shop has folded leaving the bus owner high and dry. Possibly the bus owner needs some local assistance to go look at the bus.  Any suggestions?
Title: Re: 1947 Flxible Clipper
Post by: SuperMike on July 04, 2015, 12:58:39 PM
Your right, they did, but fortunately the owner now has the situation under control after a lot of work. Recovering something in the USA, that is legally in a hole, whilst living in the UK, must have brought him mega heartache. Here, at RVOC.co.uk, we continue to support Bingo and carry on waiting for when this beautiful piece of history arrives here.
Title: Re: 1947 Flxible Clipper
Post by: bingo66 on May 17, 2016, 02:50:20 PM
Thanks for all the messages of support, very much appreciated. There is so much to tell so I think the best thing to do is put a link to the blog so you guys can read at your leisure. Short reply as SuperMike has said is the restoration is now back on track after coming extremely close to losing everything: http://47clipper.blogspot.co.uk/2014/02/28th-march-2013.html