Small School Bus and Chassis History (2024)

  • Home
  • News
  • Forum
  • Photos
  • Management
  • Safety
  • Maintenance
  • Videos
  • Products
  • Research
  • Magazine

School Bus Fleet Magazine Forums
Home | Profile | Register | Active Topics | Members | Search | FAQ
Small School Bus and Chassis History (2)All Forums
Small School Bus and Chassis History (3)Small School Bus and Chassis History (4)General Interest
Small School Bus and Chassis History (5)Small School Bus and Chassis History (6)Small School Bus and Chassis History (7)Enter Forum: General Interest
Small School Bus and Chassis History (8)Small School Bus and Chassis History (9)Small School Bus and Chassis History (10)Small School Bus and Chassis History (11)Small School Bus and Chassis History
New Topic Reply to Topic
Printer Friendly
Author Topic

vaoverland
Advanced Member
Small School Bus and Chassis History (17)Small School Bus and Chassis History (18)Small School Bus and Chassis History (19)Small School Bus and Chassis History (20)

USA
225 Posts

Small School Bus and Chassis History (21)Posted-09/14/2004: 02:07:31 AM Small School Bus and Chassis History (23) Small School Bus and Chassis History (25)
Here are some Busette Factoids on the pioneer of cutaway school buses:

1. The Wayne Busette was the first major school bus application for the cutaway chassis, now one of the most popular small school bus designs.

2. One of the biggest advantages of Busette to small school bus markets in 1973-74 was the low center of gravity on dual rear wheels, a source of great stability.

3. The low roof of the Busette and the van type automotiove driving features combinbed to amke the Busetter the first yellow school bus type vehicle for many Head Start agencies without school bus experience seeking alternatives to vans and 4 wheel van conversions. driving rand

4. The first experimental Busettes were built on Ford chassis, but Chevrolet-GMC and Dodge were selected for early production beginning in 1974 due to the chassis floor construction which allowed Wayne to add-on with the use of outriggers.

5. The Busette was the basis for Wayne's popular Transette, introduced in 1975, which was essentially a high headroom version for adults. The Transette utilized a fiberglass roof to stay under a 10,000 lb. gvwr. weight limitation of the Chevrolet-GMC chassis, and was not initially offered for school bus markets.

6. Busette was also the basis for a Miller-Meteor Ambulance model in the 1970s' which was assembled in Piqua Ohio using parts and body shells manufactured in Richmond, Indiana.

7. Regular Wayne Busette production on Ford chassis was delayed until 1982 due to the Ford's frame rail design. At that time, Wayne's Ford Busettes were produced at the Canadian (Welles) plant.

8. The last Busettes built were not assembled by Wayne. Rather, Mid-Bus (of Lima, and Bluffton, Ohio) purchased the parts, tooling, and product rights for Busette from Wayne around 1990-91. However, many of the parts were still produced by Wayne for Mid-Bus on presses at the Richmond, Indiana plant.

Edited by - vaoverland on 09/23/2004 09:56:01 AM

Jared
Top Member
Small School Bus and Chassis History (27)Small School Bus and Chassis History (28)Small School Bus and Chassis History (29)Small School Bus and Chassis History (30)Small School Bus and Chassis History (31)

USA
1865 Posts

Small School Bus and Chassis History (32)Posted-09/14/2004: 05:36:26 AM Small School Bus and Chassis History (34)
I noticed on the image gallery in the yahoo wayne pages their is a folder for Chaperone / Chaperone II pics. What was the differences with the Chaperone II ? Also what year were they introduced ?
http://www.flickr.com/photos/jaredg21/sets/
Edited by - Jared on 09/14/2004 07:49:14 AM

vaoverland
Advanced Member
Small School Bus and Chassis History (37)Small School Bus and Chassis History (38)Small School Bus and Chassis History (39)Small School Bus and Chassis History (40)

USA
225 Posts

Small School Bus and Chassis History (41)Posted-09/15/2004: 05:02:26 AM Small School Bus and Chassis History (43) Small School Bus and Chassis History (45)
This is a bit oversimplified, but Wayne's Chaperone was essentially a four row cutaway, introduced around 1983-84 on a Ford E-350 chassis. The Chaperone II was a five row cutaway on the longer wheelbase version of the same chassis. These were possibly 125-27" and 146" wheelbases, rsepectively, I cannot recall exactly.

Among the larger body manufacturers, the Busette initially had the school bus cutaway market to itself from 1974 to around 1979-80. A lot of folks felt that a body similar to conventional (ie Lifeguard) on a cutaway chassis would be quite popular, but I believe that Wayne engineering felt that weight would make that concept unworkable on a the heaviest cutaway chassis certified for school bus available, which was on Ford at that time.

With the Busette holding a unique and profitable place in the markets, and the Busette sharing parts with the very profitrable adult version, the Transette, you can see why Wayne wasn't particularily anxious to develop a product like the Chaperone, nor see the competition do so.

When Thomas came out with the Minotour, it was initially thought that surely it must be overweight. Wayne obtained one through 3rd parties, and did some testing, as they really weren't sure it could be done. Upon close examination, I believe they realized that, despite similar appearances, quite a bit of weight had been removed from a comparable conventional body (ie the floor, where early Minotours had a buckling problem near the rear axle).

However, customers embraced the concept of a small school bus body which looked like a conventional on a cutaway chassis, and many found it vastly preferable to the step van (P) chassis.

Bluebird, Carpenter, and Ward also each had a similar product before Wayne was able to scramble and introduced the Chaperone. The Chaperone II came along about a year later, and was not certified for school bus use if I recall correctly, and also was very tight on weight limitations when equipped with maximum seating. However, the Chaperone II was ideal however, for wheelchair applications, where space is more of a concern than seated passenger weights.

All of this needs to be taken in the context that custaway chassis did not get much development attention from Ford and Chevrolet-GMC for school bus applications until well into the mid-1980s and later, and the body companies had to work with what was available to them.

Wayne's engineering staff was very cautious especially on weight certification issues, and they worked hard to keep the dealers out of trouble as well.

Wayne's Lifeguard in 1973 was a safety design and building concept ahead of its time and regulation. I am proud to have helped bring over 2,000 of them into Virginia during my career. I know they saved some lives.
http://finance.groups.yahoo.com/group/WayneBusEnthusiasts/

Mark Fisher, semi-retired school bus driver, pupil transportation supervisor, contractor, and school bus body dealer, Williamsburg, VA

Edited by - vaoverland on 10/15/2006 08:10:23 AM

Mitchell
Top Member
Small School Bus and Chassis History (48)Small School Bus and Chassis History (49)Small School Bus and Chassis History (50)Small School Bus and Chassis History (51)Small School Bus and Chassis History (52)

Canada
741 Posts

Small School Bus and Chassis History (53)Posted-09/15/2004: 1:16:53 PM Small School Bus and Chassis History (55)
Whoa!! I had never heard of a chaperone II until now. Does anybody have a photo of one of them?

Jared
Top Member
Small School Bus and Chassis History (58)Small School Bus and Chassis History (59)Small School Bus and Chassis History (60)Small School Bus and Chassis History (61)Small School Bus and Chassis History (62)

USA
1865 Posts

Small School Bus and Chassis History (63)Posted-09/16/2004: 10:11:33 AM Small School Bus and Chassis History (65)
Small School Bus and Chassis History (67)
Small School Bus and Chassis History (68)
http://www.flickr.com/photos/jaredg21/sets/
Edited by - Jared on 09/16/2004 10:17:22 AM

SuperiorGMC1963
Top Member
Small School Bus and Chassis History (70)Small School Bus and Chassis History (71)Small School Bus and Chassis History (72)Small School Bus and Chassis History (73)Small School Bus and Chassis History (74)

USA
1079 Posts

Small School Bus and Chassis History (75)Posted-09/16/2004: 7:54:16 PM
And here is another pic of a Wayne Chaperone II. This is from a piece of literature dated 1985. Also, note those rare square window outward opening doors that we have discussed elsewhere in the forums. This is the oldest Wayne that I have seen these doors.

[urlhttp://www.msnusers.com/SuperiorGMC1963/shoebox.msnw?action=ShowPhoto&PhotoID=130][/url]

Ted

Small School Bus and Chassis History (78)

Jared
Top Member
Small School Bus and Chassis History (80)Small School Bus and Chassis History (81)Small School Bus and Chassis History (82)Small School Bus and Chassis History (83)Small School Bus and Chassis History (84)

USA
1865 Posts

Small School Bus and Chassis History (85)Posted-09/17/2004: 04:35:44 AM Small School Bus and Chassis History (87)
wow, nice literature. I have never seen doors like that, even the ones highlighted in the 1990 Lifeguard brochure are different slightly. I wonder why wayne kept designing new doors never to implement them?
http://www.flickr.com/photos/jaredg21/sets/

Mitchell
Top Member
Small School Bus and Chassis History (90)Small School Bus and Chassis History (91)Small School Bus and Chassis History (92)Small School Bus and Chassis History (93)Small School Bus and Chassis History (94)

Canada
741 Posts

Small School Bus and Chassis History (95)Posted-09/18/2004: 12:47:05 PM Small School Bus and Chassis History (97)
Was the Wane ChaperoneII ever made into a school bus model? Also does anybody have any photos of the Wayne Transette or Transette XL?

vaoverland
Advanced Member
Small School Bus and Chassis History (100)Small School Bus and Chassis History (101)Small School Bus and Chassis History (102)Small School Bus and Chassis History (103)

USA
225 Posts

Small School Bus and Chassis History (104)Posted-09/19/2004: 2:22:41 PM Small School Bus and Chassis History (106) Small School Bus and Chassis History (108)
Regarding larger sized product versions for Wayne's Transette and Chaperone minibuses. It is important to keep timing in mind when considering these products and their development. basically, think last half of 1970's for Transette, and early mid 80's for Chaperone.

Transette was a higher headroom versions of Busette, but was not intended for school bus use. I doubt it or the longer version would have met the April 1, 1977 federal standards due to fiberglass roof construction. The larger Transette was called XT. It was based upon a GMC P chassis which was modified by the Winnebago folks, and was never sold as a school bus to the best of my knowledge. The similarity to the Transette was limited to the body, as the Transette and most Busettes were built on a standard G chassis (cutaway van) by Chevrolet and GMC. The Transette XT was the right size for may applications, but was otherwise a problem product due to the complicated chassis arrangement.

The Chaperone II was built on a longer wheelbase version of the same E-350 Ford cutaway chassis used for the Chaperone. I am not sure about a school bus application, but I believe that would have been a problem as Ford did not certify the longer wheelbase chassis for school bus use at that time.

One must keep in mind that school bus certification of a chassis was an expensive process, and an investment not warranted by a big company like Ford for a comparatively small single body builder like Wayne was. Again, timing is important to understanding, as cutaways emerged as a major market after this period, with strong entries later by Ford, GM, and even Navistar (with the 3400).

Wayne's Lifeguard in 1973 was a safety design and building concept ahead of its time and regulation. I am proud to have helped bring over 2,000 of them into Virginia during my career. I know they saved some lives.
http://finance.groups.yahoo.com/group/WayneBusEnthusiasts/

Mark Fisher, semi-retired school bus driver, pupil transportation supervisor, contractor, and school bus body dealer, Williamsburg, VA

Edited by - vaoverland on 10/15/2006 08:03:04 AM

Jared
Top Member
Small School Bus and Chassis History (111)Small School Bus and Chassis History (112)Small School Bus and Chassis History (113)Small School Bus and Chassis History (114)Small School Bus and Chassis History (115)

USA
1865 Posts

Small School Bus and Chassis History (116)Posted-09/19/2004: 6:53:32 PM Small School Bus and Chassis History (118)
quote:Originally posted by vaoverland

It was based upon a GMC P chassis which was modified by the Winnebago folks, and was never sold as a school bus to the best of my knowledge.

ahhh!! that answers a question I have had for a long time now. I have seen many of these 70s chevy cutaway motorhomes with a heavier duty front end. The grill kinda resembled the c-series chevy medium duty's of the time. I knew I had never seen one with any body besides an RV so I never understood the vehicles history. So if Winnabego was the one who modified these rigs, how did Wayne get the rights to use it, and did any other body companies get to?

http://www.flickr.com/photos/jaredg21/sets/

vaoverland
Advanced Member
Small School Bus and Chassis History (121)Small School Bus and Chassis History (122)Small School Bus and Chassis History (123)Small School Bus and Chassis History (124)

USA
225 Posts

Small School Bus and Chassis History (125)Posted-09/21/2004: 10:10:25 AM Small School Bus and Chassis History (127) Small School Bus and Chassis History (129)
My understanding at that time was that Wayne had made a deal directly with Winnebago around the time that RV sales plummeted with the second gas crisis (circa 1979). Ward did something similar on larger scale with the Patriot, inasmuch as they took a standard B-7 GMC chassis, and had it converted somewhat outside of the body plant (ie relocated steering column, etc.) to be something more like a very large P chassis which could accommodate a mostly conventional school bus chassis. While that product development around 1980 or so met only limited success, it was apparently ahead of its time. The Thomas Vista did much better years later with the same concept, and after experimenting with GM chassis, was apparently able to get Navistar to build a private label product for them, paving the way for Bluebird to do the same with GM.

We were told in the 1970s that the big chassis manufacturers were fearful of antitrust litigation if they developed and built products intended for only 1 or 2 body companies. Things changed during the Reagan Administration years and with the growing emergence of a global economy.

Of course, all of this was after Navistar began investing in Amtran(Ward) in late 1990, a far bigger anti-trust gamble than the other arrangements I have mentioned, one which ultimately spelled doom for both Wayne and Carpenter body companies.

Wayne's Lifeguard in 1973 was a safety design and building concept ahead of its time and regulation. I am proud to have helped bring over 2,000 of them into Virginia during my career. I know they saved some lives.
http://finance.groups.yahoo.com/group/WayneBusEnthusiasts/

Mark Fisher, semi-retired school bus driver, pupil transportation supervisor, contractor, and school bus body dealer, Williamsburg, VA

Edited by - vaoverland on 10/15/2006 08:07:24 AM

Mitchell
Top Member
Small School Bus and Chassis History (132)Small School Bus and Chassis History (133)Small School Bus and Chassis History (134)Small School Bus and Chassis History (135)Small School Bus and Chassis History (136)

Canada
741 Posts

Small School Bus and Chassis History (137)Posted-09/22/2004: 1:03:56 PM Small School Bus and Chassis History (139)
When was the first REAL cutaway made my midbus? Was it the busette?

vaoverland
Advanced Member
Small School Bus and Chassis History (142)Small School Bus and Chassis History (143)Small School Bus and Chassis History (144)Small School Bus and Chassis History (145)

USA
225 Posts

Small School Bus and Chassis History (146)Posted-09/23/2004: 09:45:57 AM Small School Bus and Chassis History (148) Small School Bus and Chassis History (150)
The first cutaway developed by Mid-Bus was the Guide. Mid Bus purchased the rights to Ward's 4 wheel van conversion (Minuteman), which I realize was not a cutaway, and then used the same strategy for Busette after Wayne moved all assembly of it to Canada, and basically, couldn't offer and market it it in enough volume to be profitable. For Busette, it is my understanding that Mid Bus only did this for the volume of body parts already manufactured. The Mid Bus Busettes my dealership handled had the much nicer Mid Bus interiors and body wiring and switch panels, etc.,than the ones Wayne made. I would consider the Guide to be the first Mid Bus cutaway. The small team of mostly former Superior employees in Lima learned from their big plant experience. Mid Bus should be recognized in school bus history as a small bus success story rising from the ashes of Superior with common sense good quality small school bus engineering and workmanship, something the much bigger plants didn't do as well. I will never forget my first visit to Mid Bus around 1982, when every soul there was working on buses (even the clerical!). What a refreshing change from the bigger plants, where entire buses got lost at times.
Wayne's Lifeguard in 1973 was a safety design and building concept ahead of its time and regulation. I am proud to have helped bring over 2,000 of them into Virginia during my career. I know they saved some lives.
http://finance.groups.yahoo.com/group/WayneBusEnthusiasts/

Mark Fisher, semi-retired school bus driver, pupil transportation supervisor, contractor, and school bus body dealer, Williamsburg, VA

Edited by - vaoverland on 10/15/2006 08:01:24 AM

Jared
Top Member
Small School Bus and Chassis History (153)Small School Bus and Chassis History (154)Small School Bus and Chassis History (155)Small School Bus and Chassis History (156)Small School Bus and Chassis History (157)

USA
1865 Posts

Small School Bus and Chassis History (158)Posted-05/25/2006: 6:40:00 PM Small School Bus and Chassis History (160)
quote:Originally posted by truck451

When did Wayne discontinue the Transette XT?
Did they offer the Transette XT with the diesel on the P-chassis?
Did the Transette XT look similar to the Mini Bird, Cadet, and the Mighty Mite?
What Class C motorhome are you talking about with the chassis and cab having the heavier dutier front end?
They currently make a motorhome provision of the same Chevrolet Kodiak chassis that was posted recently about Corbeil making a "pseudo" type C.

That heavier chassis cab was a Chevrolet VERY much similar to the 1992-1996 P-Cutaway chassis we are all familiar with. However, this was designed by Winnebago so that they could build a slightly weightier Class C motorhome. They apparently did some dealings with Wayne that never went through.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/jaredg21/sets/

IC RE 1629
Top Member
Small School Bus and Chassis History (163)Small School Bus and Chassis History (164)Small School Bus and Chassis History (165)Small School Bus and Chassis History (166)Small School Bus and Chassis History (167)

United States
5097 Posts

Small School Bus and Chassis History (168)Posted-05/26/2006: 02:09:28 AM
That's some interesting information. That tells me a little about two Wany Busette's that I photographed a few years ago. I'll post the pics on my Webshots page when I do my next update.

vaoverland
Advanced Member
Small School Bus and Chassis History (172)Small School Bus and Chassis History (173)Small School Bus and Chassis History (174)Small School Bus and Chassis History (175)

USA
225 Posts

Small School Bus and Chassis History (176)Posted-10/15/2006: 08:14:02 AM Small School Bus and Chassis History (178) Small School Bus and Chassis History (180)
Anyone who may be interested in the history of Wayne, including all of the Wayne products mentioned in this thread, should consider reading the extensive and thoroughly researched Wikipedia article on Wayne Corporation. It can be found at this link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wayne_Corporation
Wayne's Lifeguard in 1973 was a safety design and building concept ahead of its time and regulation. I am proud to have helped bring over 2,000 of them into Virginia during my career. I know they saved some lives.
http://finance.groups.yahoo.com/group/WayneBusEnthusiasts/

Mark Fisher, semi-retired school bus driver, pupil transportation supervisor, contractor, and school bus body dealer, Williamsburg, VA

poor_driver
Senior Member
Small School Bus and Chassis History (183)Small School Bus and Chassis History (184)Small School Bus and Chassis History (185)

162 Posts

Small School Bus and Chassis History (186)Posted-10/19/2006: 3:06:33 PM
va overland

Is your company still in business off midlothian turnpike or somewhere in the area?

Topic
New Topic Reply to Topic
Printer Friendly
School Bus Fleet Magazine Forums © 2022 School Bus Fleet Magazine
This page was generated in 0.17 seconds. Snitz Forums 2000

Small School Bus and Chassis History (2024)
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Van Hayes

Last Updated:

Views: 5237

Rating: 4.6 / 5 (46 voted)

Reviews: 85% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Van Hayes

Birthday: 1994-06-07

Address: 2004 Kling Rapid, New Destiny, MT 64658-2367

Phone: +512425013758

Job: National Farming Director

Hobby: Reading, Polo, Genealogy, amateur radio, Scouting, Stand-up comedy, Cryptography

Introduction: My name is Van Hayes, I am a thankful, friendly, smiling, calm, powerful, fine, enthusiastic person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.