My first school bus was a 1974 International 65 passenger Blue Bird provided by the track.  I raced it for all it and it's 4 speed tranny could handle.  The bus served me for 2 races, until I finished it off in my first ever school bus demolition derby.  I raced and wrecked a few more track busses, and eventually bought my own bus.  Being a big Earnhardt fan, I had to paint it a Black #3.  This is where I really started learning about racing, modifications, and building high horsepower motors.  My first built up bus had a 327 Chevrolet small block, were I installed a 4 barrel intake and carburetor to boost it up.  It worked great till I blew up the motor (first race).  I guess the bigger carburetor was too much for the motor.

Enter... The Big Block

In true racer fashion, I used the motif that, "bigger is better".  I found the biggest motor I could find to replace my ailing 327 small block, I found a Cadillac 500 cubic inch big block.  Not a high horsepower motor, but a huge torque monster, this would serve me well for pushing this huge bus around a race track.  The setup worked great with me leading in it's first race, until I T-boned someone in the middle of the "X" and tearing up the front end into the motor.  Well... why not build it like a tank?  The motor was unharmed, and could easily be made to race again, but why endanger it in the front of the bus.  With a 14 inch gasoline powered chop saw I found myself slicing into the rear floorboard of the bus 3 feet behind my seat.  Crafting motor mounts out of surplus channel steel, I now had the frame work for a super racing bus.  I had not only the "Worlds First" Cadillac powered school bus, but the "Worlds First" mid-engine school bus.  I had removed all the windows and inner roof panels for weight, and lowered the suspension on the frame 4 inches for a lower center of gravity.  The black #3 was now ready for racing history.  The theory, engineering, and principles were perfect.  For the first race, I found my self untouchable as the added weight on the rear tires kept me from sliding up the track, and I was able to maneuver anywhere on the track.  The problem that arose after 8 laps was an overheating problem.  Even though I was running the full size Cadillac radiator, and a fan and shroud, it was still not getting enough air for a motor running wide open.  The motor seized up and spun the main bearings.  I was able to repair it, but then lost the transmission so I eventually abandoned the project.  I still have hopes on building another mid-engine racing bus, but with an Allison automatic transmission.  I have since then gone back to racing a well used track bus.  Gone are the days of radical cutting edge paint jobs, big block motors, and having the "super bus".



More to be updated later.

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