Abandoned 1962 Chevrolet C60 Camper Conversion Hides a Rare Surprise Under the Hood

Discovering a derelict classic that still has a numbers-matching V8 under the hood has to be one of the best things about barn-find hunting. It doesn't happen very often, though, because junked vehicles usually get sourced for parts.
1962 Chevrolet C60 camper conversion 6 photos
Photo: Mr. Goodpliers/YouTube
1962 Chevrolet C60 camper conversion1962 Chevrolet C60 camper conversion1962 Chevrolet C60 camper conversion1962 Chevrolet C60 camper conversion1962 Chevrolet C60 camper conversion
So they often end up with an empty engine bay or, if still in relatively good condition, get a swap. But this abandoned school bus proves that you can always find a nice surprise under a rusty hood, even if the vehicle in question has been forgotten for decades.

This bus was born as a 1962 Chevrolet C60, the medium-duty version of the first-generation C/K. And while most school bus conversions were performed by Superior Coach back in the day, this one was made by Ward Body Works, a company from Conway, Arkansas.

And it had a longer life on the road than the usual 1960s school bus. While these types of people haulers were scrapped or left to rot away in junkyards after a few years in service, this one was converted to camper duty.

Retired from the school fleet sometime in the early 1970s, it had its rear section repainted silver and the interior revamped to include all the niceties one needs to live on the road. Yes, it's in pretty bad shape right now, but you can still see the cabinets, fridge, sink, shower, and a couple of bunk beds.

It was far from fancy, but it probably got the job done as a relatively spacious camper. But its traveling days are long gone. Retired for good at least a couple of decades ago, this Chevy bus is not going anywhere anytime soon. It's simply too rusty to be saved, and it's missing a few parts.

But surprisingly enough, it still has an engine under the hood. YouTube's "Mr. Goodpliers" mentions that the V8 has been sold and will be removed soon, but it's still incredible that it's taken so long for someone to buy it. That's because this bus is not fitted with an average C60 engine.

These work trucks were originally available with a 348-cubic-inch (5.7-liter) V8, while the heavy-duty versions came with either 366-cubic-inch (6.0-liter) gasoline V8 or a 478-cubic-inch (7.8-liter) diesel V6. But Chevrolet also offered a 409-cubic-inch (6.7-liter) V8 as a special-order mill for a few years. It's quite rare, and it's exactly what this bus hides under the hood.

Don't get too excited though, this is not the 409 that Chevrolet offered in the Impala SS in the early 1960s. It's more of an industrial engine that has quite a few different parts. As a result, it wouldn't make a good car engine without some mods.

However, some enthusiasts argue that these mills are great for the smaller C10 and C20 pickup trucks of the era. At about 250 horsepower, they would be a cool upgrade too, because the range-topping 327-cubic-inch (5.4-liter) V8 offered in the first-gen C10 tops out at 220 horses.

But regardless of where it will be used, it's a really cool discovery because you rarely find a 409 in a C60 nowadays.

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About the author: Ciprian Florea
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Ask Ciprian about cars and he'll reveal an obsession with classics and an annoyance with modern design cues. Read his articles and you'll understand why his ideal SUV is the 1969 Chevrolet K5 Blazer.
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