Paul Jones has been involved with Hot Rods since the 70's, having built a number of cool rides. This semi-retired Marine Fitter & Turner is a resident of Russell Island, in Brisbane's idyllic Moreton Bay, where he and wife Moya tool around in a Falcon EFI six powered '34 extra-cab pickup. Moya takes the red pickup to the mainland 3 or 4 times a week, and it is always immaculate, so don't get the idea that it is an island style paddock basher.

The Cheetahs Street Rod Club (Paul has been a member for more than 30 years) have been around a lot longer than most, and their social events are always a great time, plus they've been known to have a cold drink or two on a hot day. The 8 seater bus idea came to Paul after another of the Cheetahs SRC bus trips to the Stanthorpe vineyards, and the irrepressible Paul had the makings in production in short order.

The chassis is a long wheel base '32 commercial unit; parts of the cowl came from Rod Hadfield's Castlemaine based stash, as well as parts left over from Paul's red '34. Bits of the cab were being used as a urinal at Pat Laub's place, but cleaned up fairly well. Paul hand formed the bonnet sides, joining '32 and '34 parts, and custom formed the one piece 32 style bonnet top and internal latch mechanism.

The front fenders are 'glass '32 passenger style, and Paul adapted a repro dropped headlamp cross bar by inserting a custom inner section that he rolled, TIG welded and polished.

Paul programmes the destination board to announce the buses main intent, while Scrivo plays bus driver.

250 cubes may not sound a great deal, but when the motor is a EFI quad cam all alloy V8, it is more than adequate.

The engine will be detailed between now and completion, hopefully around Xmas '06.

The back has also been hand formed - that door bottom was folded from 3 pieces, and the oval rear window was hammer formed by Paul, over a timber former.

The interior will have all modern conveniences, including electric windows - masses of them!

The coachwork has been hand made by Paul and his helpers, including the massively strong fibreglass roof.

When you live on an island you have to do most of the work yourself, as opposed to being able to pop into the nearest automotive parts store.

The programmable electronic destination board can also convey messages to people nearby - in this case the renowned "Cheetahs farewell".

A Commodore radiator was inverted and Paul made custom top and bottom tanks, all to keep the 4 litre Lexus quad cam all alloy V8 cool. Not that these things aren't already cool, what with their multiple roller cams, 6 bolt mains and high flowing electronically fuel injected heads, and massive over-engineering throughout. Paul adapted a Ford C4 auto to the Lexus V8, then made his own extractors, before having the extractors HPC coated.

The front end is a reliable HT unit, while the steering is a narrowed Commodore rack & pinion unit, with a Commodore column. The interior will use Transport Seating Technology leather covered, reclining, swivelling coach seats, each with arm rests. These tourists will travel in style.

The rear suspension is a Ford 9" riding on air bags, and controlled by a triangulated four bar system. The air bags are necessary for getting the ground hugging bus on and off the inter-island ferry - the back of the bus will need to come up a ways to clear the deck.

Those round Pontiac tail lamps were used -  a pair of reds for brakes, and a pair of amber for indicators; at least that was the plan. Paul changed the lenses to amber for the indicators, but the LED's were red, so he had to get whole new LED bases cast, in amber, to get everything to work.

Accreditation: The Editor
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