There are plenty of ways to turn unconventional vehicles, even supercars, into off-roaders. However, a school bus usually isn’t one of them. Converting one into a camper or an RV, sure. But into an off-roader or overlander? Well, that’s exactly what the Torsus Praetorian is.
The Torsus Praetorian is a genuine off-road school bus
The Torsus Praetorian bills itself as “the world’s first hardcore, 4WD, off-road bus,” Top Gear reports. And while it’s likely not the first school bus to venture off-pavement, it definitely comes better-equipped for the job than the average one.
Underneath, the Torsus Praetorian is built on a MAN truck’s chassis and powertrain, Hagerty reports. That means a 6.9-liter turbodiesel six-cylinder engine with 290 hp and 848 lb-ft with a 9-speed manual transmission, Autoblog reports. Though, if you don’t want to shift yourself, there’s a 12-speed automatic available, The Drive reports. Its top speed is only 62 mph, but its off-road features are such that it can likely do that speed almost anywhere.
Besides 4WD with a transfer case, the Torsus Praetorian has front and rear locking differentials, a 32° approach angle, and a 26° departure angle. And with its Michelin off-road tires, it has 15.3” of ground clearance, New Atlas reports. The Praetorian can also climb a 65% grade and drive along a 33.5° incline. Plus, it can wade into water more than 35” deep, Automobile reports. And if you want a bit of extra comfort, you can swap out the standard leaf springs for pneumatic suspension.
But the Torsus Praetorian can function as an actual school bus. It can seat 36 people besides the driver, the interior has an easy-clean surface, and there’s even an on-board DVD player. Naturally, there’s also a roof exit. Plus, because it’s about 28.5’ long and over 8’ wide, it has a backup camera to help with parking.
There’s more than one Torsus Praetorian trim
However, the school bus configuration is just one flavor of Torsus Praetorian available. There’s a bare shell trim that has just 3 standard seats but adds additional lights, front and rear bull bars, and a bike rack. But the Czech Republic-based company has even more trims to choose from.
The MP trim adds protective metal window mesh as well as a rear-mounted lift and cargo racks. You can turn the Torsus Praetorian into an ambulance, a ski bus complete with snow chains, or a mobile communications center.
Some of the trims offer on-board sleeping quarters, kitchens, and washrooms as well as extra power sockets. There’s even a Praetorian riot bus with a dozer blade attachment.
How can you get one?
The Torsus Praetorian can be ordered in left- or right-hand-drive configuration. Unfortunately, it doesn’t come cheap. As of this writing, the school bus trim’s pricing hasn’t been announced. But the base version starts at roughly $180,900 before options. And some of the fancier trims cost more than twice that much.
However, Torsus is establishing a US dealer network. And the Praetorian can be serviced anywhere MAN trucks are. Plus, it comes with a 6-year/560,000-mile powertrain warranty and a life-time exterior corrosion warranty.
I’m just glad this school bus wasn’t around during my school snow days.
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