Stepping up into a 1954 Scenicruiser brought back memories for Alan Thrasher, recalling driving a version that had been outfitted with bunks and converted to a band bus.
“The very first time I ever shifted gears was in a Scenicruiser. I was 14 years old,” said Thrasher, whose family business — Thrasher Brothers Trailways in Birmingham, Alabama — pioneered the entertainer coach service in 1969.
His early experiences in the driver’s seat of a Scenicruiser fueled his passion for buses.
“We fell in love with the equipment. It was a big boy toy to play with. That’s why we got into the bus business,” Thrasher said.
The Scenicruiser was on display at the Exhibit Hall at the 2021 UMA Motorcoach EXPO, courtesy of the Museum of Bus Transportation/Antique Car Club of America Museum.
Restored to former glory
The vintage bus was the 47th Scenicruiser built by General Motors for Greyhound, according to museum President John Oakman.
Greyhound retired the vehicle in the late ’60s. It was sold to a high school in Ohio, where it was used to cart around the football team for 15 years. The next owner, Florida resident Ash Dovel, spent years restoring it to its former glory.
For him, the bus brought back fond memories of taking a Greyhound from Charleston, West Virginia, to Miami. He restored it to the way it looked when he rode it as a kid by tracking down materials original to the Scenicruiser.
Dovel lent it to The Museum of Bus Transportation, which is located in Hershey, Pennsylvania, and merged with the AACA Museum more than a year ago.
“We will forever have our buses displayed on the (AACA) museum floor, and we also have what is called an annex where we have them displayed. We run behind the scenic tours at certain times of the year,” Oakman said.
The bus, parked on the edge of the Exhibit Hall during EXPO, was a popular attraction.
“The reaction has been, from vendors and operators, just overwhelmingly very happy,” said Oakman, who remembers driving a Scenicruiser for a Young Life youth group when he was in college.
The bus will be on display at the museum’s Spring Fling the weekend of June 5.
“We’re the only one like us in the country,” said Oakman, noting the museum is open daily except Christmas. “We have docents who will take you through each bus.”