Before we could begin what is to go down in DQ lore as the craziest extravaganza yet, we had to get our newly aquired, but very old, 1966 Bristol Lodekka double decker bus from Miami to New York. This required some expertise. And the internet advised that there was someone who knew these idiosyncratic things well…and may also even be mad enough to take up the challenge. Our hunch proved to be right, and Peter “Pilot” was signed on as our official mechanic.
Words by: DUNCAN QUINN
After much disassembling, greasing, lubricating, refitting, wiring and other good stuff she was ready to leave Miami and head north for the 1200 mile trip to NYC. We knew she wasn’t fast, but really had no idea how fast (or slow) she was until we got her going. Even new these things only did between 35mph and 45mph so we were in more danger of getting a ticket for being too slow than too fast. Well, they do say there is a first time for everything. And apparently this was it.
She made it around 300 miles before the cavalry had to be called in (me). I arrived to find Peter in Melbourne, FL, repairing the radiator and water pump. Some of the bolts had given up the ghost and let go, propelling the pump through the radiator. Never one to be dissuaded, we managed to round up some local troops and get her back going again by around 1am. We then chugged happily along together…heading steadily north.
After a particularly speedy leg the next day averaging 42mph we blew a fuel line…and then the injector pump gave up. It really was time to call the cavalry. Or Santa Claus. Santa turned up in the form of “Buck” who specializes in towing these things. Its a little difficult to get your head around the font of an 18 wheel rig turning a double decker into its trailer, but Buck proved that this can be done. And that when it has been done a bus that has a maximum speed of 45mph suddenly finds it can do 70mph+.
We set out around 2am for New York on Sunday night. And after 54 hours or so of serious Country & Western arrived in Bushwick, Brooklyn, New York so we could set about turning her into the belle du jour.
Melbourne, FL: * Not my vacation spot of choice
Buck’s Tows: ***** Santa Claus with a rig
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