Futurliner for sale on eBay

The words “cool” and “bus” rarely belong in the same sentence, but in the case of the General Motors Futurliners it just fits.  Now a rare opportunity to pick up one of the coolest buses around is happening this summer.

The ex-Peter Pan Futurliner is up for sale on eBay.  This one gets its name from once being owned by the bus service company, and for a brief part of its history was painted in Peter Pan livery.

Futurliners were part of GM’s Parade of Progress, an educational caravan that went across the country in the 1940s and 50s.  These buses would ride through town like the circus gathering attention, and then the massive 16×5’ cargo doors on both sides would open to reveal technology of the future (like microwave ovens.)

This Futurliner is number seven of the twelve total built (nine are known to still exist.)  This bus and many of its siblings exist only because car collector Joe Bortz intervened when he saw five of these buses together on one lot.  That owner had plans to cut the buses in half to create a restaurant, but Bortz bought them all so that they would be sold or given away to those who would preserve the legacy.

Bortz donated Futurliner #10 to the National Automotive and Truck Museum.  Today it is considered to be the most accurate restored example, and here it is in action:

The eBay ad for #7 does do some disclosure on the vehicle, but those who are interested in purchasing will likely discover much more.  For example the engine is listed as a Detroit Diesel 4-71 turbo motor.  This is a replacement for the original 5.0-liter six-cylinder gasoline engine.

Also running a Futurliner is not as easy as laying down a few dollars and driving away.  The front hubs must be well maintained because each side has dual front wheels.  This means that during a turn, the two paired wheels have a different turning ratios, and the hubs allow for correction.

Still, it doesn’t seem like they are trying to pass a lemon off as a peach in this sale.  The auction company has already pointed out some problems with the vehicle, and they don’t seem to be trying to sell this as an all-original Futurliner (the National Automotive and Truck Museum knows how tough it is to make one of those.)  Instead, this is a decent example of a well-maintained nearly one-of-a-kind vehicle that has made some sacrifices over the years to keep it on the road.

How much is Futurliner #7 really worth? Although you can count the number of the known buses left on two hands, the condition seems to really dictate what collectors are willing to pay.  A decent example of one sold for $4 million at a Barrett-Jackson auction in 2006, but last May an unrestored example failed to get any bids above $340,000.

Futurliner #7’s condition falls in between these two examples, and it is reflected in the current bid price of over $500k.  It is hard to know how much the owner wants for the bus, but it is likely quite a bit more — the reserve is not yet met and there are still three months to go in the online auction.

12 thoughts on “Futurliner for sale on eBay

  1. this is a cool bus even though I’m only 12 almost 13. I’m thinking about what my first car is if it will be a classic or a new car. This is a bus i want for when i get my license.


    • Ron, maybe you could give us a clue as to its location then? That is the three missing buses. One was totaled in the parade, the Oral Roberts bus is thought to maybe be somewhere in Central or South America, and I’m not sure about the other. If you could tell us what happened to it, that would be a big piece of automotive history that could be found or maybe accounted for.

  3. A month or so back i saw one of these buses being hauled on RT.80 in illinois, it was unrestored and I cant find any pictures that resemble the thing. Wonder if this is one of the missing few?

  4. I personally saw 5 days ago pictures of one here in Salt Lake City, Utah that were just taken of it as to show its finish as to now being restored. The gentleman that took the pics will not say where in salt lake it is because he said everyone is sworn to its whereabouts to But the gent be kept a secret He claims that several wealthy business men here bought it to restore and that what ever its cost money was no problem. Its been 3 years in hiding being restored from the ground up and now just completed. Don’t know why the secrecy.I do know the gentleman that has the photos and he is straight up. He has been a auto buff in the classics and racing world for over51 years. Wish I could see it before it disappears or something.

    • Well as you probably well know it was restored by Ken-Dig It Customs there were 12 of these mammoth miracles on wheels. But as we do to everything
      here in the United States we destroy or past always, like we’re some dirty little secret? When I was 11 years old we were honored to be chosen to get to ride in one The Futurliner was a wonder bus on wheels and this was back in 1960’s when we rode in it at Nicky Chevrolet on Irving Park Rd. in Chicago, IL. It was as if I won the lottery! Anyway if you ever get a chance to walk inside one or even see it, don’t turn down the opportunity you’ll never forgive yourself!

  5. When I was 17 years old in 1971 I lived in the small town of Verona Wisc., just west of Madison. There was a farm on the south side of highway 151 and in the barnyard sat 2 (two) Futureliners. They appeared to be fairly complete. I didn’t know what they were at that time but now I do. As I recall both disappeared near the end of the summer of ’71.

  6. I am the man who was personally in charge of and rebuilt the Futurliner in Kindig-its shop here in Salt Lake City Utah. It is #3, Power For The Air Age. And it now is the most accurate restoration of a Futurliner.

  7. Watching Barret-Jackson auction on the Velocity TV channel a few days ago, I saw Ron Pratte’s Futurliner go for $4million for charity. The commentators were talking about how few of them there are and only 3 or 4 had actually been fully restored and so on. I thought this odd, because I’ve just recently discovered a show, also on Velocity featuring a builder named Dave Kindig in Salt Lake City called “Bitchin’ Rides” and during a re-run episode I saw, they had completely restored a Futurliner for a client and it looked perfect. This is odd because the commentators covering the B/J auction show didn’t seem to know about it and yet I spotted Dave Kindig and his shop foreman in the background of a camera pan right there at the auction. Somebody didn’t do their research I guess.

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