German band 'swings' through Tri-Cities region to restore old bu - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

German band 'swings' through Tri-Cities region to restore old bus

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courtesy: CreateandTravel.com courtesy: CreateandTravel.com

BENTON CITY, WA - A group of people from Germany traveled halfway around the globe all for an old bus. A 1952 GMC school bus, to be exact. The group runs GI Jive, a 1940's and 50's swing and jive music company, as a hobby.

 "It kind of reminds me of the show Fast and Loud or others where they bring in these vehicles and they're on a time table. They have to have them done on a certain day and that's kind of what we have here," said John Engelke who is helping them along.

Six people, seven days for the screws, and 4,000 kilometers to Texas, or roughly 2,500 miles. That's how the group is describing their journey.

"Everybody that loves the 40s and 50s. We are doing this for us, it's our dream... It's for all of us and it's an adventure," said GI Jive spokesperson Alexandra Chan.

The lively group searched for at least a year for the perfect band bus. They found a 1952 GMC school bus at Dan's Garage in Kennewick. The owner has been running the auto wrecking business since the early 80's. In that time, he has seen a lot of old vehicles come and go.

"This is the most adventurous, most interesting one. Most of the other vehicles get loaded on a transport truck and away they go. Sometimes I stay in touch with these people, they send me pictures of the project as it comes together. This is different. This is a first," said Dan's Garage owner, Dan Stafford.

Even better, the group's lofty goal of finding, restoring and driving their band bus in a week also required a space to work in and special equipment. They found that just a half hour away from where they bought the bus, at John Engelke's house in Benton City. Engelke is a GMC enthusiast, himself, but is better known for his collection of restored military vehicles.

"Without John's garage here, It doesn't work, it just doesn't work," said Bela G. Tabbert, another GI Jive spokesperson.

The group did a fair amount of pre-planning. Three pallets of parts were shipped and waiting for them in Benton City. 

"Everybody wants to help us. Everywhere we go the people asking us, and that's cool," said Chan.

The group plans to leave for Texas on Friday. They're scheduled to have the bus shipped in container back to Germany by April 14th. You can follow along with a blog one of the band members runs

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