1970 Sultana sweeps MOBT awards at Spring Fling

The Parra family’s 1970 Sultana swept the awards at the Spring Fling, the Museum of Bus Transportation’s annual event held June 4-5 in Hershey, Pennsylvania.

The 1970 Mexican bus won three of the event’s 10 awards: farthest traveled, best traveled and best story. 

The Parra family’s 1970 Sultana swept the awards at the Spring Fling, the Museum of Bus Transportation’s annual event held June 4-5, 2022. (Dave Millhouser)

“Every bus is special and has stories, but perhaps this year’s best was the 11 members of the Parra family from Chihuahua, Mexico, who made the eight-day, 4,400-mile round trip journey to the Spring Fling in their spectacular 1970 four-axle Sultana coach,” said Dave Millhouser, an industry veteran, former Bus & Motorcoach News columnist and longtime volunteer with the Museum of Bus Transportation.

A family enterprise

Cesar Parra has been in the business for 30 years running two companies. The 1970 Sultana is still occasionally used for the company’s charter business. 

Parra’s son, Isaac, now runs the business. He has 11 uncles, and every one of them is a bus driver. 

The Parra Family drove from Mexico to bring their classic bus to Spring Fling. (Dave Millhouser)

The Mexican-made Sultana has four axles to handle the heavy load and rough roads in Mexico. 

“They were magnificent buses,” Millhouser said. “We used to see them in Brownsville all the time, as they come in from the interior of Mexico and turn around at the Brownsville bus station. But this family was just absolutely wonderful. They were a lot of fun to be around.” 

Awards were also presented to the following categories:

  • Oldest Bus: “Friends of The New Jersey Transportation Heritage Center” 1957 GM PD4104Best Transit Bus Alexandria Transit Company (DASH)’s 2007 Orion V
  • Best Modern Bus: Transbridge Lines Prevost H3-45
  • Best Conversion/Motorhome: Dan Hunt’s 1989 Model 15 Eagle

Thanking the museum’s  ‘gang’

This year’s Spring Fling theme was “Family Reunion — The Gang’s All Here,” emphasizing the hard work of its volunteers, the generosity of its vendors, and the commitment of its guests. Their combined efforts have provided substantial support for the museum. The post-pandemic event was well-attended.

The museum has been around for about 25 years and recently merged with the AACA Museum in Hershey, where the MOBT had been renting space.

Aerial shot of the Museum of Bus Transportation’s Spring Fling on June 4-5, 2022 (Stefan Aleo)

“This puts us on real solid ground financially finally,” Millhouser said at a United Motorcoach Association Town Hall in a June 9 presentation about the museum and the Spring Fling.

The museum owns 53 antique buses, but can only display fewer than 10 at a time. Most are stored at an annex about two miles from the museum. 

“What makes us unique is that we are open virtually every day of the year through the AACA Museum,” Millhouser said. “Most of the other places, you have to go to an event. We’re very grateful for that, and we’re very grateful for all the help that (UMA has) given us over the years.”  

Nationwide attraction

The Spring Fling draws attendees from across North America to see the museum’s entire collection. Many bring their own antique buses or motorhomes made from buses. There is also a flea market where people can buy and sell bus memorabilia. 

Attendance usually is around 500 but was smaller this year. Millhouser attributes the lower turnout to higher fuel prices, which made it more expensive for people on the West Coast to attend. 

In 2023, the Pennsylvania Bus Association is going to come to the Spring Fling as part of its 100th-anniversary celebration.

“They had been a very, very strong supporter of the museum for decades,” Millhouser said. “They are having their 100th anniversary, and the whole Spring Fling next year will be built around their contributions and their members’ and association’s contributions to the industry,” Millhouser said. 


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