R163 School master


IHC in the early to mid-fifties.

Yard Art
Yard Art

Posts: 58

Joined: Sun Apr 10, 2016 9:34 am

Post Tue Jun 04, 2019 9:52 pm

R163 School master

I found a R 163 school bus in a friend's farm out in the country north of Edmonton. I'm super excited to go check it out this weekend. I'll be getting pictures and the vin number. Does anyone have any information on the these things? I would like to try to find out how many of these were made etc. I have an almost restored original 54 r 110 so this is going to be a nice addition to the family. I'm unsure of year at the moment but it is forsure an r series on a 160 chassis. I have all the specs about the actual bus. Comes in at 16000 lbs for anyone interested. Like I said just curious if anyone has an idea how to trace the history of this. Google barely even has pictures of these buses
Thanks for any info on this!

Golden Jubilee
Golden Jubilee

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Joined: Thu Dec 27, 2012 12:45 pm

Location: Canada's left Coast

Post Wed Jun 05, 2019 8:25 am

Re: R163 School master

IHC supplied the chassis to many coach builders. Did IHC build busses? That is something I would not be able to say. Your Google search may be as good as it gets for IHC built school busses. You may have to look for other coach builders like BLUEBIRD.
School busses of that vintage were often geared for 40 miles per hour top speed for safety. The fuel tanks were often small and limited to enough fuel for 100 miles. Theft of fuel was a problem back then as it is in 2019.
You should expect terrible fuel economy. Count on one liter for every 1.5 to 2 kilometres.
Old IHC parts are difficult if not impossible to find. Bus body parts should be even more scarce.
There was a short time member on this forum about 10 years ago. He bought an old IHC school bus near Edmonton. After a few days of owning the bus his dream turned to a nightmare. He blamed everyone but himself for the situation he put himself in.
Make sure you get a Alberta registration certificate for the bus or you will never be able to register and drive it. Check out the cost of insurance. If you can buy insurance, it may be expensive. Many insurance companies will require an insection before issuing coverage.
I would rather have tools I do not need than to need tools I do not have

Yard Art
Yard Art

Posts: 58

Joined: Sun Apr 10, 2016 9:34 am

Post Wed Jun 05, 2019 10:11 am

Re: R163 School master

Thanks nikkibutshop. I am experienced with the scarcity of parts for ih. Like I said I am mostly redone a 54 r110. Kept her mostly original.
My plan on this bus is to do a frame swap. Keep it cheap (cheaper anyways) I'm not sure with what yet
But I was thinking either another bus or a flat deck diesel or something.
Did international actually make the bus or was it a 3rd party? The spec sheet said it was on a r160. The picture just shows it as a cab on a frame. So I figure it's a 2nd/3rd party however you want to call it. My overall plan is to make this into a motorhome eventually. First step is to find transport for the big girl.

Yard Art
Yard Art

Posts: 93

Joined: Sun Dec 16, 2012 9:12 pm

Location: Western North Carolina

Post Wed Jun 05, 2019 10:21 am

Re: R163 School master

IH supplied either a Chassis or a "Cowl Back" to various body builders.
The bus body was built by a bus body builder.

Superior - Wayne - Bluebird - or whomever.
There were several of them in Indiana at the time. Not far from Fort Wayne, IN and Springfield, OH.
They used to triple stack them and drive them from the plant to the body builder.
Saw them on I-70 in Ohio all the time in the 60's and 70's.

IH/Navistar now makes the complete bus at the Tulsa, OK plant, which started out as an aircraft factory in the 1940's.
My Junk --> 1975 IH Model 200HD, 1 ton 4x4 truck, 392, 4 speed, etc.
My cave location --> Western North Carolina

Yard Art
Yard Art

Posts: 58

Joined: Sun Apr 10, 2016 9:34 am

Post Thu Jun 06, 2019 7:38 pm

Re: R163 School master

I went to check her out today. I couldn't let her be crushed for 500$. The patina is pretty cool.
I found the name plate and was wondering if someone could help me determine the year.

Chassis # 667C
Engine SD 240 # 2918C
Model R-163

Freshly Restored
Freshly Restored

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Joined: Fri Dec 14, 2012 10:49 pm

Location: Eastern Kentucky

Post Thu Jun 06, 2019 8:02 pm

Re: R163 School master

Looks like it's 1953 built in maybe January or February 1953. The serial no. list started at 501 for 1/1/53 so yours was the 166th R-160 series to come off the line out of 19,460 for the year.
Last edited by Dan Cornett on Thu Jun 06, 2019 8:07 pm, edited 2 times in total.

Golden Jubilee
Golden Jubilee

Posts: 7538

Joined: Thu Dec 27, 2012 12:45 pm

Location: Canada's left Coast

Post Thu Jun 06, 2019 8:05 pm

Re: R163 School master

I hope you find the WOW factor in that old bus. I cannot get there. Good luck to you.
I like other old $hit that you may not care for.
AS close to a bus as I will likely ever get is the IHC in the attached pictures.


Here ois a good site for lots of IHC information: http://content.wisconsinhistory.org/cdm ... c/id/36853
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I would rather have tools I do not need than to need tools I do not have
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Golden Jubilee
Golden Jubilee

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Location: New Salisbury, IN USA

Post Fri Jun 07, 2019 5:56 am

Re: R163 School master

The Wisconsin archives don't break the R-163's out separately from the other R-160's. The RC-160's are, and so are the RM-160's [I wasn't previously aware they made an R-160 Metro].

Between Jan 1 1953 and Jan 1 1955 there were 32,654 [33,154 minus 500, since IH started with serial number 501] R-160's built. I don't see figures for '55-'56 serial numbers.

http://content.wisconsinhistory.org/cdm/compoundobject/collection/ihc/id/5529/rec/2
My posts contain my own opinions...your mileage may vary, void where prohibited, objects in the mirror may be closer than they appear, and alcohol may intensify any side effects.

Yard Art
Yard Art

Posts: 58

Joined: Sun Apr 10, 2016 9:34 am

Post Sat Jun 08, 2019 10:37 am

Re: R163 School master

Thanks for the help im an idiot. i thought the chassis number was a code and not just literally what rolled out the door (-501)
What dont you like about the shorty busses nikki? I think this thing is gonna make an awesome rat rod motorhome. Granted you dont have to like it, its my project after all! haha
Its the same year as my r110 which i kept original other than the rear axle and disc brakes up
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Golden Jubilee
Golden Jubilee

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Location: Lyman, IA

Post Sat Jun 08, 2019 11:08 am

Re: R163 School master

Be Aware that you will not find bent glass windshields easily. They can't be cut and must be mfg that way. Your best bet will be remaking the front with a flat glass windshield, which will make a big blind spot at the corners.
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