One of the strangest, most interesting auction stories of this month has to be this 1963 Gillig Model 590 that’s been converted into an enclosed hauler, an obvious tribute to Porsche’s famous race car transporter “Buster.”
So it’s a Porsche, but not a Porsche, and also a replica. Yet with about 9 days to go before the Bring A Trailer auction ends, bidding is already up to $291,000. So it’s safe to say $300k will easily be exceeded.
And that’s because this isn’t a copycat. It’s a classy, unique, and impeccably executed build from a renowned enthusiast. Jerry Peters is a hardcore Porsche fan, having owned over 40 of them. Once you’ve got enough 911s and vintage spyder models, you begin craving a custom carrier to arrive at shows in style.
That’s why in 2016, Peters bought a neglected 1963 Gillig Model 590H. He says it started life as a hauler for the presidential limo with the Secret Service but couldn’t find documentation to back this up. In any case, the bus was completely stripped and refurbished.
A new skin was given to the vehicle, smooth and streamlined. Then came a red and silver paint job that mirrors Buster the Porsche car carrier. There’s a video of it at the bottom of the story if you want to check it out. By the way, that’s supposed to be based on a Mercedes.
The interior of the car carrier is also refurbished with added insulation, air conditioning and walnut floors. So what’s under the hood?
Gillig Brothers are around even today and began life in 1890 as a carriage and wagon shop in California. After going into coach cars, the company entered the bus market in 1932.
The Transit Coach was the first school bus produced with a mid-engine layout and would be among the first to use a diesel-fueled engine. A common school bus model as well, the 590 name refers to the displacement of the 9.7-liter Hall-Scott inline-six gasoline engine powering the bus.
However, in this application, it’s been swapped to a 7.0-liter Detroit Diesel 6-71T. Located in the middle of the vehicle, this two-stroke diesel engine is both supercharged and turbocharged, making about 280 horsepower on a good day. Good thing its cargo is going to be lightweight sports cars.