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1963 General Motors Coach GM PD-4106 Bus - RV Conversion

October 4, 1997

The following photo(s) are © copyrighted by Pat and Lorraine Ryan of Williston, Vermont (USA) and are shown here with his kind permission.

This is a picture of my 1963 General Motors Coach PD 4106. All 4106s start out created equally. It's what happens after the "bus nut" starts converting them that makes them unique.

1963 General Motors Coach GM PD-4106 Bus - RV Conversion


The 06 has an 8V71 Detroit Engine, 4-speed manual Spicer transmission. Non-syncro, gear grinding, double clutching, clutch chattering fun that forces one to often ask the question, "What the hell is wrong with me!"

Seems like no matter how professional you think you're getting at driving them there comes the time when your timing is off a little and you're back to square one, making a fool of yourself. This usually happens as you pull away from a busy bus rally where all your friends are watching you leave. To make things even a little more interesting my coach is manual steering as well. I really, really love driving this thing! My wife Lorraine likes to tell me that it takes a real man to drive that coach. Of coarse, this is her excuse for never having to drive.

About 5 years ago I was ready to get into the RV thing and looked at the usual plastic RV's and even had a deposit on a used one that I thought was great. Keep in mind that we never had an RV before this time. I called a friend and asked him what he thought of that unit. I didn't buy it but turned my attention to the world of buses. After realizing that I didn't have the skills to do a first class conversion I decided to buy one ready to go. I bought as many bus magazines and did my research as to bus types and models. Cost was a significant factor in my case so this narrowed the field quite a bit. I decided I wanted a GM. The 4104 was a mid 1950s to early 1960s bus and could be bought, on average, for about $25,000(US) at the time. Trouble was most of the conversions tended to be on the older side, though there were some great ones for more money to be had if you looked hard enough. There are still some of the nicest 4104 conversions you could ask for on the road today. I moved up to the next vintage in my search, the 4106.

Pat and Lorraine Ryan in front of their 4106 Bus RV Conversion


I think by the end of 1964 GM had pretty much finished making the '06. My search took me to a gentleman named Amber Dawson of Wisconsin who had just finished having his new coach an MCI 9 converted. We made a deal over the phone, subject to inspection, for the grand price of $45,000. I flew off to pick up the coach with a knowledgeable friend. To my amazement I was happy to pay the full price. Lorraine had not seen the bus, only a picture. She had entrusted me with the decision. The interior is done in a wood tone formica that easily passes for wood unless a closer inspection is made. It's very well done and I liked the idea that it would wear well.

We have driven from Vermont to California in our coach. We have a lot at an RV resort on Hilton Head that we like to use for the winter headquarters. We travel to Florida for a month or two in the dead of the winter. In the summer we belong to several chapters of the FMCA and attend about two rallies a month on average. The old 4106 has served us well. I've made some improvements and always keep the maintenance up to date. I expect many more years of service from our home on wheels so I guess I'd have to say that our bus life has been all we had hoped it would be.

Happy Busing,
- Pat & Lorraine Ryan

 

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Your Comments

Mashooq Hussain | Jun 20, 2006 | 2:11 pm

I need pictures of Fiat n3 and Fiat e1 models of 1965,i hope u will arrenge for pictures of those buses, and i c-dodge of 1972 model.

Peter Mercado | Dec 03, 2008 | 1:08 pm

HI, I just rebuildin my GMC pd 4106, and I trying to find the back lights, actally the shell named "cats eye #92r"
Do you have any idea where can I founded?
thank you and you have such a beatutyful bus..

Peter Mercado | Jun 24, 2010 | 5:22 pm

HI, I just rebuildin my GMC pd 4106, and I trying to find the back lights, actally the shell named "cats eye #92r"
Do you have any idea where can I founded?
thank you and you have such a beatutyful bus.

Originally submitted Dec 3, 2008

Jerry Oakley | Sep 26, 2010 | 6:22 pm

There is a place in Williams that has all kinds of parts it is called Coach Maintance the guy there is named Ted and he knows hbis busses inside and out so check him out on the web and then you can call him there is a number there also

Rick McLain | Oct 11, 2010 | 4:27 am

Ted has those lights, I took a set off one of his 4106's two years ago removing an original equipment-appearing fiberglass rear cap. We are missionaries in Brazil and one furlough flew our plane to the states and used it on furlough for over a year, but I noticed that for every family using their plane like a station wagon there were hundreds using motor homes.

We bought a 1961 4106 from Western Baptist College in Salem OR for $2500, although they had spent a lot of money on it a driver had also been involved in an accident and messed up the right side. Bought it in 1989 and repaired and converted it in 1991. Was a Trailways then Evergreen.

We've been coast to coast but mainly west coast, CA and MT. It has permanent Montana plates.

I like the manual transmission and will not change it, nor add power steering, addition of a jake brake was worth it. Next furlough in 2012 I plan to paint it, it's still in primer. I keep buying 20 inch bias ply tires because for our purposes radials are not worth it.

The only major breakdown I had was north of Seattle when the clutch broke and stuck in the "in gear" position, I was able to make it up the offramp off the I-5 and get it into the church yard before shutting it down, took us a week to fix it. We were towing our 51 merc coupe behind us.

Busses are not for everyone. But then neither is flying little airplanes over the Amazon.

kevin mahal | Jan 02, 2011 | 9:49 pm

dear Ryan's,
iam converting a 4106 bus now and would appreciate any detailed pictures you may have showing all any details of your beautiful copper bus. it nice to hear peoples stories about their rigs.
thanks
kevin
myhardhat@gamail.com

jerry | Jul 21, 2011 | 3:49 am

restoring and converting 63 pd4106

looking for parts if anyone can assist


many thanks

Galen Gilchrist | Jun 05, 2012 | 2:19 pm

I always thought that bus was beautiful. The copper color shining as it was going down the road. One morning on my way to work I saw it parked at Hidden Acres. I was so tempted to come knock on your door to see if you wanted a cup of coffee, but I figured you were probably sleeping. I have not seen a bus as handsome as that one since and I still take a second look when I see a renovated bus.

John Nau | Mar 24, 2013 | 8:46 pm

i have a 64 4106 i bought in yuma az and drove her home to fbks ak in 4 1/2 days, ran strong all the way. ive been going through her getting it mechanically straight, next winter will be the interior remodel, i would like to find some front directional light lenses or some new conversion type.

 

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