Ironton tour bus sold on eBay

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 29, 2005

When standing, very quietly, in its unique split-level cab, you can almost hear them: three decades of Ironton High School students who've found safe transport inside their beloved bus.

The bus is making its final trip as a Tiger as it now heads towards Daytona Beach, Fla., to return to a life it once knew.

Between 1954 and 1956 Greyhound manufactured 1,001 of the Scenicruisers, easily identifiable by their double-decker design.

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The Ironton bus (or as it's officially named, PD4501-074) is relatively early in the series at number 74.

For years, the bus ran the Greyhound Southwest line, before it was purchased in 1975 for the Fighting Tigers by then Ironton City Schools Transportation Director William Lawless. It cost a hefty sum even then.

"It took every nickel I had," Lawless said. "But it was worth it. The athletic department has saved a lot of money over the years not having to charter buses, and the prestige, all the schools would look at it and say 'Hey, look what they've got.'"

It was given a splash of orange and black, and proudly carried the Fighting Tigers to and from sporting events for 30 years. Sadly, even the best things must come to an end.

The Fighting Tigers have a new ride now, and though many expressed interest in the Scenicruiser, Dave Lawless (son of William and current ICS Transportation Director) wanted to make sure it ended up in the right hands.

"A lot of people wanted to cut it up and make a camper out of it," the younger Lawless said. "We knew that they wouldn't take care of it, because it does take time and knowledge to keep it going. People's eyes light up when they see it, but there's more to it than meets the eye."

Lawless figured the best way to find a suitable buyer was to open it up to the whole country by utilizing online auction site eBay.

It was on the auction site that Ash Dovel of Daytona Beach, first saw the bus. The automobile hobbyist couldn't believe his eyes.

"They're really hard to find," Dovel said. "Most of them have been butchered up and made into motor homes. Most that I've found have just been sitting around and rusting away. You don't find many like this that have been maintained as a bus."

Dovel wasn't exactly sure what it was that drew him to the Scenicruiser, though he had fond memories of riding in the buses to Florida when he was a young man.

After 15 bids, it was Dovel who came out on top, spending $12,200 to get the Scenicruiser for himself.

The Florida resident plans to repaint the bus to its original color scheme, stripping away the orange and black and returning it to how it may have once looked zooming through the Southwest.

Though it may no longer belong to Ironton, at least the Scenicruiser's proud 50-year history will continue, not as a camper, but as the imposing double-decker bus that was once the envy of every high school in Ohio.