If you’re planning a trip down to the Whiskey River, it seems you could have your very own chance to take one of Willie Nelson’s former tour buses on the road again.
One of the former coaches of Willie Nelson and his Family Band is up for auction online. The bus in question, known as the “Me & Paul” bus – named after Nelson’s longtime drummer Paul English – was built in 1983 and served as the coach for its namesake and the Red Headed Stranger.
The bus was purchased by a group of 12 Austinites in 2014. They found an ad on Craigslist from a buyer in White House, Texas and ended up renting out the bus for weddings, parties and events over the past couple of years through a company called Vintage Innovations.
"They’d already used it a lot and felt like it needed to get on the road again and let some more people enjoy it, so they decided to sell it,” said Michael “Stix” Tashnick, who represents the current sellers.
The bus is up for auction on eBay, Craigslist and a website made specifically for the auction, with bids of just over $75,000 on both the site and on eBay. But, Tashnick says, the investors expect to net around $200,000 on the sale – they paid around $100,000 for the bus and put $75,000 into it, he estimates. The auction runs until Nov. 7.
Still, Tashnick says, because of the bus’ history – and the fact that most bands don’t frequently build custom their own buses for tours these days – it’s hard to establish a baseline price for the bus.
As for the other three buses in the fleet, Tashnick says one is owned by Nelson’s son Lukas, one was destroyed and another one was sold to a buyer in Washington and completely overhauled in the early ‘90s. He estimates there are about a dozen buses from the same era as this one out there.
“It’s hard to do [comparisons] on it, because it’s so unique,” he said. “The other buses that even compare to this bus are Johnny Cash’s bus at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Dolly Parton’s never going to sell hers –she’s still using hers. Neil Young’s got one that’s pretty neat, but he’s still touring and he’s never going to sell it.”
As for Nelson's current ride, Tashnick reckons it costs around $3 million all told, so, he says, a buyer would be getting a deal for the '83 model. As for potential buyers, he says he expects an alcohol company or somebody famous with a lot of money to throw around.
His first suggestion to come to mind? Matthew McConaughey.