The Area 51 Bullet Bus

The clock in the dash works!

Bullet Bus

Left for dead in the Nevada desert, awfully close to the infamous Area 51, stripped, riddled and ridiculed, we somehow chanced upon the forlorn carcass of this 1966 21-window walk-through bus while seeking a suitable overnight camping spot. By suitable, I mean away from the road, private, relatively flat and level, and somewhat legal. Had I not turned up my nose at a spot that almost would have fit the bill, we took our quite well and alive 1966 walk-through Westy over one more rise on that lonely BLM track, and pulled into the perfect camping spot. I noticed a shape and a non-desert-looking flash of color as I pulled in, and after stopping and listening to the keening of the night wind .through the overhead vent, I went down to make sure we weren't busting in on someone-else's party.

Bullet Bus

We weren't. The party had long since come and gone, and I was awed beyond belief at what I found. Spooked as all hell, too, as I beheld this silent grotesque hulk. As I tried to get the propane lantern to light, I was fearful of the death-smell I perceived, and after finally getting it alight despite the wind, I realized that my terror was due to the misinterpretation of the smell of the unburnt propane! Still, the feeling of unease lingered...

I looked it over as best I could in the night, and took some photos after dinner. By that time, the thing had grabbed me, and I was already torn up inside from the knowledge that I had to leave it behind me in the morning.

Bullet Bus

Upon daybreak, I inspected the wreckage further, determining that there was nothing of value there except for the wreckage itself. The engine was present, sitting in the dirt, but all broken and full of holes. There was no tranny, linkage, front end, steering box or wheel. No glass was to be found, except that which was lying in tiny bits on the ground. Most every little bit of wiring, from switches to bulbs and relays was gone. Nothing much left of this poor bus, except a lot of rust and a lot of holes: a true derelict. Apparently, however, the brake master cylinder was there, and it still worked, but I get ahead of myself.

Sadly, I left it behind as I knew I must. We were on the last day of our two-week exploration of the southwestern United States, and it was time to be home. Once there, I sent photos of the bus to several friends, and one of them, an experienced and gung-ho bus rescuer by the name of Brian Piercy, called me up and informed me that he would be showing up at my place soon with his trailer, and we would go get that bus!

Bullet Bus

And so we did. A banzai all-night driving and bus rescue mission in Brian's battered Toyota truck, pulling a small independently-wheeled trailer. The mission was totally successful, and hugely amazing in scope. We got back to my place, and then Brian took the bus elsewhere, and finally, somewhere else, having been evicted from the first place due to the eyesore nature of the project. At the second place, the property of a VW master named Christopher Moore in Willits, CA, Brian did an amazing amount of work in a month-and-a-half, while Christopher "donated" running gear, suspension, transmission, wiring, etc., and other people were donating glass and other parts. A well-known professional installed the wiring, and my Brian supplied the engine, a 1600cc "Soren" motor.

It took less than two months, but the Area 51 Bulletbus lives! For a time, it was under the ownership of three: Myself, as the finder, Brian Piercy who rescued it and did the vast majority of the work on it, and Christopher Moore who supplied the parts that make it roll and steer owns the final third. However, with this update, Dr. Tharan Mansell, aka "Uncle Spanky" has now successfully negotiated with Brian Piercy and myself for our respective thirds, and as a result owns most of the bus. This gives the bus a better chance of continuing its story without as much risk of neglect due to confusion or other abuses, as Tharan is quite enamored of the thing, and has a great respect for its history. Apparently, where he has it situated, it can be appreciated by passers-by and never a day goes by without a little pat on the nose. Carefully, of course, if one values one's fingers!

Added changes cover a beyond Trip-lock crown, a new armlet with able centermost links and Easylink extension, blooming 24-hour hand, and a new movement, the replica watches calibre 3186. The new 3186 movement has no new functions over the beforehand calibre 3185, but it is able with replica watches’s new Parachrom hairspring and the operation of the jumping hour duke is now smoother and added precise.A year afterwards the uk replica watches GMT-Master II Ref. 116718LN, Rolex appear the half-gold, or two-tone, adaptation accepted as the Ref. 116713LN; and in 2007, assuredly appear the all-steel Ref.

This bus has won several awards at shows, and due to an unfair advantage in looks, garners a huge amount of attention wherever it goes. It is a riot to drive. Yes, literally! Gaping holes in the skin, not to mention the countless bullet holes, and the lack of a sunroof mechanism and fabric make for a windy ride, and the roar of the engine and clanking and rattling as ancient hunks of metal flap violently make for the worst kind of din...

Bullet Bus

Another brave and intrepid friend brought this pitiable wreck of a machine on the 2008 Shasta Snow Trip, accompanied by some hapless souls from Ireland who were seeking adventure. Well, they got it! Record snowfalls lead to one thing after another, and the bus never made it to Mt. Shasta, and almost didn't survive, having been overturned! Luckily, a slew of helpful willow trees kept the bus from plummeting into the creek below the embankment, but I really feel for the Irish lass who got a first-class view of the rapids below as she looked DOWN through the side window! Perhaps in 2011, if all works out, I will be taking the Bullet Bus on another attempt at conquering the renowned Shasta Trip. I'll have to work hard to top the achievements of its first run, which also included towing another bus up and over a steep and challenging road of mud, ice and snow after the other bus was disabled due to a broken axle!

My one remaining question: How did we happen to find it? It still feels like the odds were somewhat similar to those in the big lotteries. Had not we lost the clutch in our other bus back in Utah, we would never have been in the spot we were in at that time, and of the myriad dirt tracks stretching off into nowhere, how did we choose this particular one? Hell, we even drove past it, and then back to it after looking at several others, and they all pretty much look the same!

My dreams of driving the Bullet Bus had come true: The loneliness and sorrow of a bus left for dead in the vastness of the Nevada desert is over, and this bus will always be loved and taken care of. Woe to he who attempts to "restore" it however!

You just haven't lived until you've camped in the Bullet Bus, and woken to the morning sun streaming in through a thousand and one bullet holes!

- Gene Cornelius