Randy Roeber found the old 1938 Dodge bus in West Bend, Iowa, in a farmer's wooded, overgrown grove amid hundreds of other broken-down automobiles that had been put out to pasture.
"It had been a school bus until 1951," Roeber said. Then it sat forgotten in that grove for 60 years. Trees had grown up around it and through its windows. Roeber had to saw down the trees to get it out. One tree had wrapped around the old bus so tightly, "I had to carve it away from the bumper," Roeber recalled.
Roeber pulled the bus out of the grove in 2011. It took him and his wife, Vicky, their family and friends more than two years before it was ready to show off.
The bus was so rusted he had to come up with new sides made of wood, as well as a new hood. He bought a Dodge truck chassis to put under this bus, and added seats and other interior items from Winnebago.
In the end, he converted a 1938 West Bend Consolidated school district Dodge Superior school bus into an RV. Roeber and his wife drive it around 7,000 miles a year.
With an appearance at the Kansas City car show on the Hot Wheels tour across America in search of a custom car to be the model for a die-cast Hot Wheels toy car, Randy's bus was chosen to compete against 14 other custom cars from across the country.
The Hot Wheels Legends Tour launched from Hot Wheels Headquarters in Los Angeles, and will be making stops at fourteen Walmart stores across the U.S.—including New York, Washington D.C., Kansas City, Nashville, Chicago, Seattle, and Phoenix.
At each event, judges—consisting of members of the Hot Wheels design team, automotive influencers, and Walmart Store Managers—will vote for the car that will be crowned part of the new “Sweet 16”, and the winners from each stop will win an all-expenses-paid trip to the finals at the 2018 SEMA auto show.
The Hot Wheels people aren't just looking for the prettiest cars as they travel across the country, said Tyler Charest, a Hot Wheels die-cast designer. "We are also looking for great Hot Wheels stories."
Hot Wheels continues to value impeccable standards of design and performance—and is searching for vehicles that reflect the passion for ingenuity and creativity.
The next Hot Wheels Legends Tour stop will be in New York/New Jersey on May 19, 2018, at the Walmart Supercenter in Teterboro.