So we kept one of the bus seats in order to use it as the front passenger’s seat, however the seat previously had a base that ran level with the floor on runner track. We decided where we wanted to the passenger seat to go and realised that it was half on the cab step, and half off it. This meant that we had to build a strong steel frame to attach it to the top of the step, the side of the step and the base floor of the bus. It was really key to get as many anchor points as possible for the seat, so that it was as strong as possible.
For the frame we decided to buy a 2m section of box steel from a local steel fabrications and then cut down some of the steel sheet and tube that we had salvaged in the original strip down process. In total the steel cost us about £3. We borrowed our friend’s welding gear and then my mum gave us a crash course in welding. Nervous about it being safe enough in the crash we let her do most of it as strong joints were obviously very important.
We angle-grinded the sections we need, cleaned all the paint and burred edges of with the polishing attachment on the grinder, and then welded everything together. A few coats of black hammerite metal paint and it was good to go.
With the bus sitting so close to the ground, and needing to bolt through the cab step (which housed the fuel tank) there was no way though for me to drill and get access to where I needed to, in order to secure the bolts. The seat was always going to be one of the last things we wanted to install anyway, as it would just get in the way of building the kitchen. So it just sat there ready to go for weeks and weeks, constantly playing on my mind as to how it would get installed.. the remedy came in the form of me foolishly drilling through the fuel tank by accident! Haha.
For some bizarre reason when the bus had been converted into a disabled bus, the fuel tank had been chopped down, to accommodate the cab steb and the low floor. The company that converted it had cut away about two thirds of the of the tank, leave about two feet of tank that ran under the main floor at a thinkness of about an inch. This meant that although this probably added about an extra five litres of fuel or so, that there was a large part of the fuel tank, hidden under the floor, in a space that couldn’t logically be used for a fuel tank. Sooo…. One day the original ply floorboards started moving away from the aluminium tray base, so I popped a few screws through.. right into the petrol tank! So off to the garage it went to be removed, pressure washed and welded up. However, whilst the tank is out – perfect opportunity to get the seat drilled and bolted in.
When it came to the covers we decided to use some waterproof outdoor furniture fabric called Sunbrella from the US that we had lying around. It matched the beach hut colour theme in the bus and would stop the seats from looking like retro bus seats.
We used large tracing paper to trace the sections of material on each seat and then cut out the templates. We then cut the material to match the templates and sewed together inside out. Well when I say we, I mean my mum! Some holes were added at the top for the headrest, elastic around the base of the sea to pull them in nice and tight, seat belt clips and arm rests were removed with Allen keys, and the covers fitted.