Brigitte is our new COW. She’s a 2002 Prevost Liberty Elegant Lady with only 70,000 miles. We bought her on December 22 from Olympia Luxury Coaches in Nashville, TN.
We’re still moving in and getting settled. The holidays slowed things down a bit but I’ll share the move in future posts.
Until then, I wanted to introduce Brigitte (pronounced BrEEh-zheet) to you; she is a French Canadian lady from Quebec. I’m going to use the pictures from Olympia since we didn’t take many photos over the three days we looked at coaches in Nashville.
We drove to Olympia because they had a 2001 Prevost Marathon that was within our price range and had almost everything we’ve been searching for. We toured it (and a couple others) and fell in love with the Marathon priced at $215k.
And then Austin (seriously! that’s his name!), our Olympia guide and the General Manager, told us we needed to see the Prevost converter that “tops” Marathon: Liberty.
Olympia had two Liberty Coaches for sale between $279k-$289k: a classic lady and an elegant lady. We toured both and were blown away by the quality. We thought Marathon couldn’t be beat… but Liberty is definitely The Best. Their hand craftsmanship, attention to detail and use of quality materials are unmatched. They spend double the man-hours of the nearest competitor (not sure if that’s Marathon?) to build a bus and it shows.
Liberty is one of the few Prevost converters, along with Marathon, that weathered the 2008 recession. The company, based in Chicago, is family-owned and stands by their products, a fact that ensures Liberty Coaches hold their value. Liberty holds proprietary rights to most of their work, which means if we have an issue with one of those systems, we will have to find a shop that has knowledge of or the right to work on that system. This could be a challenge, but we are willing to take a chance. Most of the systems are not proprietary and it is relatively easy to find a shop that works on Prevosts compared to finding a shop that knows about Country Coaches (our old bus).
Finally, my dad has an appreciation for high quality, luxury items. Once he toured the Elegant Lady, his mind was set. She was far more substantial than the other coaches we looked at. Any bus we toured after this one would pale in comparison. If we didn’t buy Brigitte, we weren’t buying a bus.
Sealed The Deal
Olympia then made us a surprise offer on our Country Coach. Before driving to Nashville, we had called Austin and asked him for a trade-in number on our RV. The number he gave was quite a bit lower than what we expected. When we arrived at Olympia, we had determined we would consign if we found the Coach of Our Dreams.
While we were touring the Elegant Lady, Austin and his team toured Kyoshi (our name for our Country Coach… the name means “master teacher”). After seeing what an unusual hot-rod she is (600hp engine for a 40-foot coach; Brigitte and her brethren are 45 feet and have 500hp) plus the fact that she is in excellent condition (exterior and interior), Olympia offered us a very fair trade-in deal, much higher than what we expected.
The deal was done.
Brigitte was bought new in 2002 for more than $1M by the owner of Ozark Trucking Company. He sponsored NASCAR drivers and would have the bus driven to NASCAR races where he and his friends would watch the races from the rooftop deck on top of Brigitte.
Other than that, he barely used the bus. It stayed in a heated and cooled garage and was pampered by professional mechanics.
In 2016, the bus was bought by a Missouri couple who only drove it 4K miles until health issues persuaded them to sell it.
Time For A Tour!
Now I’m going to share with you pictures from Olympia of Brigitte with all of her interior lights on… which means, she looks a little more “glitzy” than she normally does (we don’t keep all the lights on… especially the little accent lights). In fact, she looks like Vegas Baby! But take it from me, that is just when the cameras are rolling. In person, she feels like a warm, rich, traditional home. The earth tones, acacia wood floors, and hand-carved wood accents and moulding make our new home feel like… well, like a home.
The two-toned seats and rich leather dash give you an immediate sense of timeless quality when you enter the bus. Top that off with new acacia wood flooring and you immediately know you’ve entered a high-quality coach.
The driver’s seat and control panel made my dad feel right at home. He was comfortable and had instant access to all the monitors and controls he had been accustomed to in our Country Coach.
From the front seats looking down the salon, the kitchen and into the hall, it is quite an impression.
We purposefully chose to narrow our choices to non-slide coaches because we really liked the open feeling as you’re driving (and the lack of maintenance on slides). With slides, the driver is closed off from anyone in the back. Slides are a must-have if you are staying in one place for several weeks or months at a time but since we are usually on the go, and rarely stay in one place more than a couple of weeks, we decided no slides was the way to go for now in our lives.
The large, panoramic-feeling windows in a Prevost help make the no-slide choice easy. This coach feels more open than our Country Coach (which had four slides but very few – and mostly small – windows).
The flooring is beautiful: acacia wood and travertine tile. No carpet, which is good when you have two pets.
My mom is happy – she has a desk and a comfortable chair.
The couch is fabric and is comfortable; it folds out into a bed.
We all appreciate the warm, earthy tones.
The kitchen has a “J-booth” which is bigger than a regular dinette booth. The table slides out (electronically) to give more space when you’re seated.
Across from the booth is the kitchen sink and cabinets. This is the view from the kitchen to the front of the bus.
The sink is quite large and deep.
There is no dishwasher but there is a sub-zero fridge (it is huge!) and two-drawer freezer. Across from the refrigerator and behind the J-booth is the Gaggenau electric cooktop.
The etching on the glass separating the cooktop from the dinette is of two lovebirds. How sweet is that?!
Across from the cooktop is the control panel. This is where my parents monitor all of Brigitte’s operations – from tanks to inverters to circuit breakers.
Moving from the kitchen, you enter a hallway. Most of the doors are air-operated: you push a button and air pressure forces the door to open or close. It reminds my parents of Star Trek ;)!
Behind the hall closet doors is a staked washer and dryer. My mom is so happy!
There are multiple (five) closets. It turns out this coach has more storage room than our four-slide bus. What a great surprise!
As you go down the hallway, you come to a bathroom on your left…
And a vanity with sink on your right.
The sink and fixtures throughout are an aged copper/bronze.
This is a view from the vanity/bath to the front of the bus.
I forgot to show you the shower, which is across from the washer/dryer.
It’s fully tiled. My dad loves it!
Finally, the bedroom…
We have a oversized, temperpedic, queen bed which lifts up (again, with an air-pressurized button) to provide a ton of storage!
What Really Sold Us
There are four things that really sold us on this coach (aside from the beauty):
- Over-the-road-air. This is a high-quality climate-control system very unique to find in motorcoach conversions. Most motorcoaches use cruise air or roof air to heat or cool the entire bus while going down the road. This coach uses the engine vice the generator and does a much better – and efficient – job of controlling the inside temperature of a 45-foot bus.
- Engine retarder. This is an engine control system that allows you to use your engine for breaking instead of using your brakes, which can overheat and stop your brakes from working (not good!).
- Quality of workmanship. From the quality construction of the interior to the heftiness and sturdiness of the bus, to the size of the pumps, to the weight of the vehicle… all of these things make the bus feel like a home instead of an RV.
- State of the bus. Knowing the bus was owned by a trucking executive with a full garage and professional mechanics and drivers, means the bus is highly likely to be in great shape for the long run.
There is also a ton of storage under the bus, as well as port- and starboard-side 50-amp hookups, a mini-fridge, a television and a grill… what more could we ask for?
And now you’ve met Brigitte! It took us a few days to move from one bus to another. I’ll cover that in the next post.
I hope you enjoyed the tour! Please leave me a comment and let me know what you think of Brigitte!