A vintage vehicle collector is hoping that his latest purchase will help brighten up Prince Rupert’s streets.
Vintage truck collector Lloyd Ervin is in the process of restoring a rare Chevy Carpenter school bus, a unique, American-made vehicle that is one of the only of its kind in British Columbia. According to its odometer, the bus has driven nearly 800,000 kilometres, most of which would have been transporting students in the American Midwest in the 1950s and 60s.
Ervin, a semi-retired truck driver, is hoping the yellow bus will bring smiles to the faces of Rupertites during festivals like Seafest and the Santa Clause.
“It’s a fun little thing that I hope everyone will get to enjoy,” said Ervin as he unloaded the vehicle to be fitted with custom paint at Jim West Signs.
Ervin said he first saw the vehicle while getting repairs done on his truck in 100 Mile House in the winter of 2015. He saw the truck on the land behind the shop where the repairs were being done.
“I saw some yellow poking up out of the snow and went to take a closer look,” he said. “I wanted to buy it then, but the man refused.”
Despite being rebuffed, Ervin returned nearly two years later to make another offer. This time he was able to purchase the vehicle, and transported it to Kamloops where he gave it to his cousin to get the engine running again.
After another 18 months, numerous repairs and a three-hour wait to get the bus registered in Ervin’s name, the bus was finally ready to be brought to its new home.
The bus is currently receiving lettering from Jim West, who said he was happy to do some old school lettering on an old school vehicle.
“Of course it was built before computers,” he said. “That’s why I’ve got the old brush out and a mahl stick.”