Another sweet school bus conversion — Ira Woodward’s 1954 Crown Coach


IraWoodwardOutsider54CrownSchoolBus_JulianneGCraneThere is a soft spot in my heart for bus conversions. Maybe it’s the nostalgia for the retro look.  Whatever, every time I see one I smile.

Recently I was talking with a friend from Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, and Ira Woodward and his vintage bus conversion came up.

We first came across Ira back in March 2011 when we were sitting on the ‘back porch’ of our truck camper at a rest stop in Eastern Washington, and Ira came drifting down the approach road in his 1954 Crown School Bus conversion.

As we continued watching and chewing our chicken sandwiches, Ira carefully checked something under his bus and then began moseying over our way.

“Nice rig,” said Jimmy.

IraWoodwardLivingRoom54CrownSchoolBus_JulianneGCraneIra, breaking into a big smile, replied, “Yeah, and it’s old too. Just like me.”

It turns out that Ira purchased the ’54 Crown in 1995 for $2,438. (“The $38 was for the title,” said the Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, resident.)

When Ira took ownership, the inside of the bus was completely gutted, except for the driver’s seat.

The life-long tradesman and carpenter began transforming his bus.  He designed the interior so that he “could walk from one end to the other without tripping over something and killing myself.”

Ira also added solar panels and led lighting “though pricey well worth it,” said Ira. He finished the outside with red Krylon spray paint.

IraWoodwardKitchenArea54CrownSchoolBus_JulianneGCraneIra has lived full-time in his classic coach and frequently spends winters in the southwest, traveling the more than 3,000-mile journey, averaging 4-6 mpg.

On his trips he frequently stays overnight on the perimeter of various casinos. “I’ll stay in any parking lot that doesn’t throw me out,” he grinned.


– As for where to find out more about Crown school bus conversions … click on Crown Coach Junkies – yahoo group. According to it’s Group Description:

“Crown Coach Junkies is a group who worship the greatness that is the Crown bus; Built like a tank with art deco styling, reliable with heavy duty engines and a freaking blast to drive. There is no bus as cool and as good looking as the Crown.

IraWoodwardStorage_JulianneGCraneThis is the place to learn more, see more, and make friends who share the interest.”
Crowns Rule!

– To read more about bus conversions in general … click on Bus Conversion Magazine.  Since 1993, BCM has been “the go-to resource for RV bus conversion enthusiasts (a.k.a. bus nuts). Each monthly issue contains detailed ‘how-to’ articles on a wide range of busing conversions …”

– For a post on “Pavement Camping” at casinos, click here.
-Also check out: “Casino Camping: Guide to RV-Friendly Casinos” ($15.95)
– For other RV Wheel Life posts on “bus conversions” click here.

Click on photos to enlarge (From top): Ira Woodward of Coeur d’Alene, Id., stands outside his 1954 Crown Coach. Interior: living space; kitchen area; and custom-made desk/storage drawer. (Julianne G. Crane)

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  • so hey you old fart-had looked for you in nov when i was in Spokane-am over at cliff and odetts-too hot to play outside so am playing on my lap top–nice loooking bus! and not so bad yourself- -miss your face- dee if you still do praying (of any kind) keep me in your heart- i just found out i am doing battle w/ the “Big C”-i am 69 and we all have to go sometime but i was not planing this as an exit plan-if you got a minute find jude. just tell her ya love her-kids say hi that’s it for now -love/stuff jude’

  • For a moment there your post got my mind wandering to where I was a passenger in the ’54 Crown with Ira cruising along on his southwest trip listening to Neil Young and the Allman Brothers. Life was good.

    Thanks for sharing this story.

    Allan McDonald @

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