Tuesday, August 9, 2016
Photos via MAG Auctions.
While a much-hyped and fully restored Futurliner consigned to auction apparently failed to sell over the weekend, another one of the 12 GM Parade of Progress buses recently found a new home after traveling from California all the way to Germany.
Futurliner No. 3, once declared “the most original unrestored Futurliner,” now sports what restorer Dave Kindig called a “painstakingly perfect” restoration, complete with a cutaway Allison J-35 jet engine in its display bay. Nobody seems to know what happened to No. 3 in the years immediately following GM’s decommissioning of the Futurliners, but by the 1980s it ended up in the hands of concept car collector Joe Bortz, and a decade later, it made its way to California-based truck collector Brad Boyajian. Boyajian, who had advertised No. 3 in its unrestored condition for more than $450,000, sold it at auction in 2011 – reportedly for $247,500 – to an unidentified buyer, who then took it to Kindig’s Utah-based shop for a full restoration.
Photos via MAG Auctions.
Kindig’s crew, which tore the 33-foot 12-ton GMC 302-powered Futurliner down to its skeleton, ended up having to replace most of that inner structure and fabricating from scratch some of the impossible-to-find components, including the windshield. Other items, like the 45-pound solid zinc “GM” nose letters, remained in place throughout the years, which saved at least some time and effort. Kindig, who was able to source another cutaway engine to complete No. 3’s display, also managed to find the original unique-to-No.3 wheelcovers, as he noted while on stage with the Futurliner this past weekend.
Consigned to Motorsport Auction Group’s inaugural Hot August Nights auction in Reno this past weekend, the Futurliner attracted bids as high as $2.6 million, but failed to meet its reserve. Negotiations reportedly continued afterward, but MAG spokespeople were unable to be reached following the auction.
Photos courtesy Futurliner.com.
Futurliner No. 9, on the other hand, has not been treated to a restoration in decades. Bob Valdez bought the one-time Makita Tools display van in 1984 and gave it a stars-and-stripes theme as he outfitted it with an Art Deco-style bar. Aside from perhaps No. 10, Valdez’s No. 9 had been one of the most visible Futurliners, thanks in part to the paint scheme and to Valdez’s habit of parking it on city streets in and around his home in Sherman Oaks, California.
But with a recent sale to a collector car dealer in Jena, that may soon change. Michael Gross, CEO of ChromeCars, said that he originally wanted something like a Greyhound bus for his newly opened dealership and collector car display, but came across No. 9, which Valdez had offered for private sale off and on since 2008. “Valdez kept trying to correct the price upwards,” Gross told Der Spiegel. “At some point, though, he understood that the bus would be in good hands with us, so we were able to reach an agreement.” Gross didn’t reveal the purchase price.
Gross doesn’t plan a complete restoration to Parade of Progress livery. Rather, he said he intends to freshen up the interior of No. 9 and keep it in ChromeCars’ private collection.
No. 9 is now the second Futurliner to find a home in Europe. Several years ago, No. 8 sold to Nicklas Jonsson, who has undertaken a complete restoration of the Futurliner.