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Jared
Top Member

USA
1858 Posts

Posted - 11/06/2001 :  9:10:06 PM  Show Profile  Visit Jared's Homepage  Reply with Quote
I have a question regarding rear engine bus history. I know Crown and Gilligs story etc. But I am wondering about Thomas, Wayne , Blue Bird, Carpenter , etc......did these manufacturers always make RE buses. I have seen 50's and 60s Superior RE;s ,and I have seen 60's Wayne RE's. But for some reason I have never seen a late 70's through 80's Wayne RE and the same goes for WARD. Why would Wayne have not made an RE for 20 years until their demise ( which in 1995 they designed an all new Rear engine bus called the RD-9000,,,that would have been soooo awesome , but Harsco pulled the plug right before it was about to be launched ). Carpenter also,,,I know I have seen some 60's RE's but then after that , I never saw another one until like 1992 or so. Were RE's not favored in the 80's or somethign?

wagonmaster
Top Member

USA
2298 Posts

Posted - 11/07/2001 :  05:47:07 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Hi Jared,
During the growth of the 80's is when the need for the very high capacity buses became apparent. There may have been units designed, but not built or built in very low production due to the lack of need in the earlier days. We had a Bluebird rear engine gas powered unit from the mid- 60's several years ago (pre All American) with an International gas engined chassis. It wasn't easy to drive or work on, and got terrible fuel economy. Those were reasons enough not to operate those buses until they became more refined and user friendly, such as they are today.
Now we HAVE to have the high capacity buses just to get by from day to day due to all the growth!
I think the answer to your question is that the need for thoses buses didn't exist in great numbers until later years. When the need arose nationally, the manufacturers made them available in the configurations you see today.
Joe

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BusCritic
Active Member

USA
47 Posts

Posted - 11/07/2001 :  10:21:49 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Thomas didn't even have a Transit style bus until 1978 when they introduced the Saf-T-Liner, unless they built on an International chassis or something, but I havn't seen any.

Transits started becoming very popular in early 90's when routes were becoming overcrowded and bus drivers were hard to find.

If it's not a Thomas Built Bus, I would rather walk to school.
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s_adams1
Active Member

USA
37 Posts

Posted - 11/07/2001 :  4:32:15 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:

Thomas didn't even have a Transit style bus until 1978 when they introduced the Saf-T-Liner, unless they built on an International chassis or something, but I havn't seen any.

Transits started becoming very popular in early 90's when routes were becoming overcrowded and bus drivers were hard to find.

If it's not a Thomas Built Bus, I would rather walk to school.



Just FYI: The school district that I live in had three 1972 vintage Thomas transits (bus #'s 1-3) that were retired around 1987. So thomas was building transits before 1978. Now I don't know who built the chassises(sp?) for them. They had gas engines and automatic transmissions, they also had air doors. The biggest differance between them and the newer
Saf-T-liners is the front windshield, The font windshield on the these busses was very narrow compared to the newer Saf-T-Liners. also on these busses the roof line is flat (I.E. the roof does not go up or down over the front part of the bus)



Edited by - s_adams1 on 11/08/2001 09:41:18 AM
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Phil4747
Top Member

USA
695 Posts

Posted - 11/08/2001 :  09:20:14 AM  Show Profile  Send Phil4747 an AOL message  Reply with Quote
i saw a thomas mvp-ef (late 80s or early 90s) up in quebec that had an "oshkosh" chassis, and the body was made at the thomas plant in ontario, the one they're closing.

—Phil

"It's the same way some people are obsessed with cars. I'm just weird."
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Jared
Top Member

USA
1858 Posts

Posted - 11/08/2001 :  09:32:09 AM  Show Profile  Visit Jared's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Basically what I am trying to get at here, is why did companies like Wayne and Ward and Carpenter offer Rear Engine buses in the 60's and then they STOPPED offering them for a long period in the 70's and 80's and then they started again in the mid 90's.....I understand why they started again,demand picked up in teh 90;s,,,,,but why did they offer them for a period of time in the 60;s and part of the 70;s and then put them on Haitus for the 80's.???
Here is a picture of a few examples...
http://www.busexplorer.com/SchoolBus/Archives/Wayne/xWayneRE71.html
http://www.busexplorer.com/SchoolBus/Archives/Wayne/xWayneIntlRE71.html
http://www.busexplorer.com/SchoolBus/Archives/AmTran/xWardGMCREOld.html

these are all buses that were available throughout the 60's and into the early 70's.....Why were they discontinued after that,,,only to re-appear in the mid 90;'s ????
Was demand for high capacity RE buses high back then? and then it dropped for the late 70's and 80's ?

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thomasvista2012
Top Member

USA
747 Posts

Posted - 11/08/2001 :  12:25:20 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
International sent me some school bus posters....one of the posters I got was an ad for their entire school bus line, circa 1960.

They had two transit type buses, but oddly, they only referred to their front engine chassis as a "transit". Their rear engine chassis was simply called a "pusher". The example of the front engine bus had some really strange entry doors, what looked to be like 4 doors that folded over, similar to a Flxible chassis.

Also......International used to offer school buses on what looked like to be a sedan-delivery chassis. The bus looks like a long car, just painted yellow. I have a photo if anyone would like to see it.

"Gotta love those buses!"
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BusDiva
Top Member

USA
609 Posts

Posted - 11/08/2001 :  2:50:06 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Hey everyone
I have been very busy lately and not had much time to check out the forum.
However, heres my nickles worth, he he he.

In the eighties, early nineties and prior, rear engine buses were always referred to as PUSHERS. Forward control transits were simply called TRANSITS. Never, was a pusher referred to as a transit. This of course, from Michigan. Many dealers still refuse to call a rear engine bus anmything but a pusher and will never call it a transit.

Now, why did Ward, Carpenter not produce rear engine models? I would think that their concentration was primarily on the conventional model chasis. Anyone could spec out a Bluebird All American for the best in front engine transits and if you wanted a rear engine, Thomas, Crown and Gillig ruled the market. ward, Carpenter, Wayne offered select few models in the front engine style but didn't aim their market for transits. They knew they could gain sales if they focussed on the conventional market from districts that liked their product- don't ask me why but their was a trend.

As time grew, Carpenter realize din the 90's they had to compete with the transit line because many districts realized the transits saved money are were longer lasting products. They enetered the market, a little to late, didn't make that great of a product and folded- with the help of their non driver ergonomical conventioanal market. However, Carpenter had a great Forward control transit in the early 80's.

WARD- Oh my, I better not comment on anythign they did in the 80's. Just kidding, I don't think they felt they could run the market so they concentrated on the conventioanl market. They had the control of companies like Mayflower, Laidlaw and Vancom for most of their conventionals which was a nice bulk of their sales.

Anyone remember the days Laidlaw used to buy strictly Bluebirds and Waynes??? Those were the good old days!!

It's the little things that count
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B. Busguy33
Top Member

USA
3444 Posts

Posted - 11/08/2001 :  6:22:13 PM  Show Profile  Visit B. Busguy33's Homepage  Send B. Busguy33 an AOL message  Send B. Busguy33 a Yahoo! Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Anyone remember the days Laidlaw used to buy strictly Bluebirds and Waynes??? Those were the good old days!!




They also bought a lot of Thomas buses (International/Thomas conventionals). I remember seeing a lot of these buses too. There were very few Wards back in the '80's if I remember correctly.

Then the '90's came. They stuck with primarily those 3 manufacturers and then added Ward/AmTran to the line-up. Around '93, they went with mostly AmTran. '93-'95 is when they bought a lot of International/AmTran conventionals and Genesis FE's. From '96 on they were predominiately International/AmTran RE's.

However, the Laidlaw district near me has a nice variety of everything. Their complete fleet isn't made up of only AmTran products.

Bob
(B. Busguy33)

"Blue Bird: Always flyin' high above the rest...
Blue Bird: One of America's Best!!! "
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John Farr
Top Member

USA
642 Posts

Posted - 11/09/2001 :  11:33:16 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
SBF should do some solid research on the history of transit-style school buses for those bus buffs and historians out there. "Transit" buses (FC & RE) have been around for a long time and I would not be surprised if all major body mfgrs tried to build one at some time in their history - just to prove that they could.

I, too, remember the Superior transit which was not built in Lima OH, but in a separate plant somewhere in the South. The problem back then was engine technology - you had a choice of a huge gasoline engine which gave 2-3 mph downhill, or the GMC Diesel Toroflow, a 6 cylinder engineering error (GMC changed to Detriot Diesel after that and improved their product line considerably). Wayne had at least one transit - Asia Smith, but I am pretty certain they built their own. When they were taken over the second time I saw a very innovative transit chassis where Spartan designed the aisle so it graduated upwards toward the rear of the bus to accomodate the higher profile engine area. Looked like a good idea to me. I believe Oswego built a transit, also.

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Jared
Top Member

USA
1858 Posts

Posted - 11/09/2001 :  1:30:48 PM  Show Profile  Visit Jared's Homepage  Reply with Quote
I have a video what Wayne Harsco sent me on the 1996 RD-9000, a completly redesigned Wayne Rear engine bus. This was of course months before they went belly up. But the bus would have kicked ass in this industry...

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cowlitzcoach
Advanced Member

USA
325 Posts

Posted - 11/09/2001 :  1:42:48 PM  Show Profile  Visit cowlitzcoach's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Crown, Gillig, and Kenworth Pacific made their own chassis under their type 'D' buses. All of the other manufacturers used vendor supplied chassis.

Oshkosh, National, IHC, and GM made the chassis for Carpenter, Wayne, Ward, Blue Bird, Thomas, and Superior. The more common variety around here was the GM chassis with the gas 401 V-6, either in the front or the rear.

The major factor behind the lack of type 'D' buses in the 80's has been discussed previously.

A contributing factor was the gas crisis. It made the 1-4 MPG type 'D' not very desirable.

Another factor was the marriage between the chassis and body was never very sweet. Pulling into a GMC truck dealer with a rear engine Carpenter was never fun.

From a driver's standpoint, some of the vendor chassis buses were no fun to drive. Some of the Oshkosh and National chassis buses needed 40 acres to get around a corner.

The components in the vendor chassis were similar to the components in conventionals. In conventionals they were okay. In the larger size type 'D' buses the components were subject to early failure. I have seen the front bearing pushed completely out of the case of a New Process transmission that was in a rear engine GM chassis bus. There was absolutely no comparison between the vendor chassis supplied type 'D' bus and the Crown or Gillig.

Once the major manufacturers figured out a way to build a type 'D' that would go the distance for an affordable price the type 'D' really came into its own.

Even still, the type 'D' still only makes up only about 25% of all bus sales.

Mark O.

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SBLegacy
Senior Member

50 Posts

Posted - 11/09/2001 :  2:33:27 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
The size of the market for large capacity buses was the main reason you did not see large numbers of Type D's from all manufacturers. One issue that hampered the development was a steady supply of chassis. International, GMC, Oshkosh, and Madsin (out of NY) all built rear engine chassis but you never knew from year to year if they were going to offer the chassis. Consequently, the manufacturers began to develop their own chassis to deal with this. Crown and Gillig developed their own chassis early because the west coast market demanded a transit bus. Superior built its own transit chassis in the 30's, 40's, and 50's. It had the engineering expertise and was large enough to do so at that time. They used Ford flathead 6-cylinder engines on some in the 40's. Others above have hit most of the major points as well.


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RD9000
Senior Member

72 Posts

Posted - 08/20/2012 :  10:03:51 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
SBCLegacy is on the right track. International, GM, and Asia-Smith were some of the few manufacturers that offered pusher style chassis during the 50's-60's. Demand for this style of chassis declined as companies such as Blue Bird and Thomas began building their own chassis. As a result, the manufacturers began reducing and eventually ceasing production of a pusher style chassis. Several sources note the reduction in chassis supply being the reason for the decline in class D offerings.
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RD9000
Senior Member

72 Posts

Posted - 08/20/2012 :  10:06:38 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
You are correct. During the 50's, 60's, and 70's, the major manufacturers of the pusher style chassis were International and GM. There were some smaller manufacturers such as Asia-Smith. Demand for a pusher style chassis declined as companies such as Blue Bird and Thomas began making their own chassis. As a result, the major manufacturers declined and some ceased production of a pusher style chassis.
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Jake
Top Member

USA
3516 Posts

Posted - 09/27/2012 :  1:45:32 PM  Show Profile  Visit Jake's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Asia Smith actually didn't produce a rear end chassis for school buses in the US. The only Asia Smith chassis that I know of being used for school bus application are for Wayne Lifestar FE's and some Ward FE's.
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Tatum
Top Member

United States
604 Posts

Posted - 09/27/2012 :  9:47:11 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by RD9000

You are correct. During the 50's, 60's, and 70's, the major manufacturers of the pusher style chassis were International and GM.



You left out National. National is now what we call Freightliner.

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