Dave Immel’s website
282 E. Wolf Run, Mukwonago WI 53149
History of the School Bus
The wheels on the bus go round
This 1927 Blue Bird is the oldest surviving school
bus in America. Albert Luce, Sr., a Georgia Ford
Dealer, built his first bus in 1925 by mounting a
purchased wooden body to a Ford truck frame.
However, the wooden body could not withstand
the rough Georgia roads. Luce was convinced
he could make a better bus and applied a steel
framework under the wood body.
During the ‘Great Depression’ auto sales
slumped at Luce’s dealerships, however demand
for his school buses remained steady. This
success led him to sell his Ford dealerships in
1927 and make school buses full time. He
founded the Blue Bird bus company, originally
known as the Blue Bird Body Company. The
Blue Bird name originated from the reception he
received when showing a blue and yellow
demonstrator bus to a group of school children.
With school coming to a close for another year
and our kids taking the final ride home on the bus
for the summer, I thought we could take a look
back at the vehicle we have entrusted with our
children’s safe transport for the past 90 plus
Ford Motor Company's Model TT truck chassis -
made from 1917 until 1927 - could be mounted
with a multitude of body styles. An unknown
maker built a passenger school bus body for this
1924 TT. Other Ford trucks carried ice or coal,
delivered everything from flowers to furniture, and
even fought fires.
This photo is dated September 15, 1925 and
shows the bus transporting 25 mostly smiling
students and their driver. Credit photos in this
article to The Henry Ford Collection.
Ford Motor Company expanded its commercial
lines to combat sagging Depression-era sales as
well, offering an array of body types for its truck
chassis -- from police patrols and ambulances to
garbage trucks and school buses.
Here, students of the Fordson School District - in
what is now Dearborn, Michigan - board a 1932
Ford school bus.
Of course today’s school buses are much safer
and more comfortable than those of the past, but
not quite as nice as the modern day coach