Last Updated on February 16, 2023
From protecting the community to running his own private accident reconstruction business, Greg Sullenberger is a man experienced with turning one thing into another. The proud owner of Vector Collision Analysis is also no stranger to online auctions. With companies like Municibid, he proves that anyone with a willingness to learn and persistence can do extraordinary things, like convert vehicles. There was no surprise then, when Greg completed his latest project – where the former police officer turned a bus into a Disney-themed RV.
“After 21 years as a police officer, I retired and started my own business doing accident reconstruction privately.”
Greg used his retirement as an opportunity to experiment with online auctions. He began purchasing items through Municibid, some of which he used for business, others for hobbies.
“I use Municibid regularly to purchase equipment for my business and also other items for personal and or affiliates that I work with.”
Since his first “trial” item, a piano, Greg upped his game each time he entered the auction scene. As he approached six years, naturally he found himself looking at something much bigger, more mobile, and perfect for the whole family.
“One of our most recent items purchased was a Gillig bus. Last year, I had been looking at a school bus that had just ended up on my computer, when my wife walked in. She said, ‘Are you buying a bus?’ and I said, ‘Thinking about it and converting it.’ I thought she would tell me I was crazy. To my surprise, she said, ‘Cool, let me know when another comes up.’”
“We’ve had campers in the past and we had been thinking about the possibility of buying a bus and converting it into a mobile home.” Greg added, “In November of last year, a Gillig city bus came up on Municibid. I mentioned it to my wife and we are now the proud owners of a Gillig city bus!”
Before officially bidding on the bus, he said, “I called a friend in Gettysburg who knew someone who works on vehicles like that, and I offered him $50 to check in on it.”
“I also checked in with the person selling it. Basically it was one of two county buses that had recently been pulled out of service.”
The bus Greg purchased was a 2005 Gillig Phantom High Floor Bus, painted red and black in color on both the exterior and interior. The furnishings in the vehicle were typical for any bus: seats, railings, and there were still some markings leftover from the bus’s previous usage.
His latest buy came right on the heels of an explosion in the RV market. Since February of 2020, prices for the motorhomes have increased (a similar trend has happened with the used car market). People like Greg have clamored to get their own vehicles, resulting in less RVs to go around.
The rise in price for motorhomes is undoubtedly a response to the increased demand for RVs. Now, post-pandemic prices have created a stark contrast between the cost of a new or even used RV, compared to simply buying a bus.
Some brand new motorhomes can be pricey, ranging from $17,000 to $150,000. On the other hand, consumers can save a buck by spending around $10,000 on a bus and converting the vehicle. There is no denying that conversion costs money, but buyers can be as elaborate or economical as they choose. In other words, you can still end up with a highly decorative and convenient motorhome, while keeping the price tag beneath $17,000.
For that reason, converting a vehicle into an RV has proven to be a great way of working around the current shortage.
The idea for Greg’s choice aesthetic came to him on the job. “I was on a break one day and just thinking about it, and realized since the bus was already black and red, a Star Wars theme made sense.”
“So I asked my sons if they would like a Star Wars theme, and they said ‘yes.’ As a 17-year-old bus, it was just something else to give it a new and unique look.”
“In January we began converting it into a RV. We were planning on taking it on a 2000 mile round trip to Disney at the end of March. After many weekends and late night evenings, we finished it. While in the process of working on it, I handed my boys (10 & 12) some paper and said, ‘If you could add some decals and a theme, what would you put on it?’”
One of the best things about converting a bus is your freedom for creativity instead of sticking with the cookie cutter RVs. People who follow this route also get to claim more ownership over a vehicle. Not only did they pay for the ride, but they made the vehicle into their own through design.
“They [my boys] worked for hours on some extremely great ideas for a Disney themed outside. Their ideas, of course, would have cost $1000’s, but we worked on some compromises and came up with some ideas.”
“While working on the inside of the bus, my wife was painting/stenciling the walls for a few trial runs. The boys came to look at what she was working on and said, ‘It was hideous.’ It was probably a little more feminine than what they were thinking. After a few more trials, she came up with an idea to incorporate our theme, yet make it look nice.”
“After many long hours, with help from friends and family, we finished laying the flooring an hour before we had to get on the road for our trip – a few hours late, but we made it!”
What began as a bus with a standard black and red paint job, became an RV designed with Disney’s Star Wars theme. Their new ride was tricked out with images of various characters like Darth Vader and stormtroopers. On the back of the bus in large black and bold letters is the iconic line, “May the force be with you.” Greg and his family kept the previous color layout when they added the newer elements. The sight is enough to make anyone pause and admire, especially Star Wars fans.
“We really like using Municibid. We tell everyone that they should check it out. After seeing our bus, someone contacted my wife and asked where she got it.”
“We recently purchased a piece of equipment for our local little league softball association as well. We use Municibid regularly – easy and so far, everything we have gotten has been just as described.”
Greg’s story is a reminder that you don’t have to be an expert to do your own RV conversion. The former police officer had the help of his family and friends to get the job done. What is essential for RV conversion is a willingness to put in the time and effort. Turning one vehicle into another is a lot of work! Still, the work is well worth the thousands of dollars saved, and converting vehicles allows you to express a bit of creativity too!
Greg Sullenberger hasn’t been the only one finding quality products with Municibid. From landscaping tools to jewelry to buses and vans, come to Municibid to find what you need. Maybe your next big project will be an RV decked out with a standout theme of your own.