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I'm looking to identify locales where Dodge school buses were used i n fleets in the 1960s and '70s (and therefore may still be around in back yards, farmer's fields, etc., and potentially for sale). I noticed a couple in the Wichita, Ks., Craigslist within a few weeks of one another. Perhaps that's a "hot spot." Unlucky me, I didn't get to ride a bus with the Pentastar on the front fender. :cry:

If nothing else, you can use this topic as an excuse to reminisce about a time when life seemed simpler. :rolleyes:
 

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I remember buses from 1958,with 318 cu in v8's
 

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School buses? I walked 1.5 miles to a one room school in Waukesha Wisconsin for two semesters. No, not uphill both ways, but not fun in winter! (CA 1944) . One teacher, eight grades, outhouse and a cold water sink. I'd do it again just to be back in the best times of America!.
 

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My little brothers school had a 2000 something dodge van done up as a school bus.
 

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Never rode in a Dodge commercial chassis as a school bus, but we had an old heavy-duty Dodge tow truck to bring disabled buses back to the fleet yard for repair...

They had it until about five years ago. Got to the point they couldn't easily find tie rod ends and other necessary parts.
 

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I never saw Dodge buses around my area. I do remember riding in a REO, and several Macks. The district used a mid 50's Willys pickup for plowing and to pull the buses out of ditches in the winter. That Willys rode like it had no springs. I can remember an early 60's suburban conversion too. The seats were arranged lengthwise against the sides.
 

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I remember a 'shorty' Dodge school bus in our school district the late-60's, possibly on a D-350 or more, chassis. I don't know if it was the driver, but that was the quickest bus in the fleet with strong acceleration. I was a V8, 5-speed. It was probably about 5 tons lighter that the regular full-size busses as well.
Most of the fleet were old GMC or the newer International Loadstars. All gasoline. Most 5-speed. The GMC's had an old semi-automatic where the driver had to shift once after underway (2 ranges?).

http://www.allpar.com/fleets/buses.html
 

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Discussion Starter #8
TWX said:
Never rode in a Dodge commercial chassis as a school bus, but we had an old heavy-duty Dodge tow truck to bring disabled buses back to the fleet yard for repair...

They had it until about five years ago. Got to the point they couldn't easily find tie rod ends and other necessary parts.
Interesting they had to count on the old Dodge when the non-Mopars broke down! :1st:
 

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The schools in Baldwin City, KS had a '52 Dodge with a large flat-head six that was used on shorter routes into the '60s. It had a distinctive sound --- the maintenance guys had put a glass pack muffler on it by 1956 or 1957 and on quiet mornings people could hear it begin its route for at least the first mile. The raspberry sound peaked at about 25 mph in 3rd gear and 35-40 in fourth gear. They had a lot of Chevrolets, some Fords, and maybe an IH in those years. They only bought one or two at a time and took bids. They generally traded in the old ones if any dealer would bid that way.
 

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I rode Dodge school busses, full length, at Chippewa Hills Schools in the 80's. They were mid to late 70's models. There were three in the fleet of 16. All were big blocks. According to Mr. Wiable the driver.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
PCRMike said:
I rode Dodge school busses, full length, at Chippewa Hills Schools in the 80's. They were mid to late 70's models. There were three in the fleet of 16. All were big blocks. According to Mr. Wiable the driver.
Awesome to see! Do you mean CHippewa Falls, Wisconsin?

TWX said:
Never rode in a Dodge commercial chassis as a school bus, but we had an old heavy-duty Dodge tow truck to bring disabled buses back to the fleet yard for repair...

They had it until about five years ago. Got to the point they couldn't easily find tie rod ends and other necessary parts.
What they needed was a Cuban immigrant. Not an ethnic joke. This is the truth: when Fidel took over Cuba, the natives didn't like the Iron-Curtain rides, and of course the U.S. embargoed exports (Sorry folks, no Chargers or Challengers or EEKs). From my understanding you can still find American cars from the 1950s and earlier with expertly hand-machined replacement parts. Any of those mechanics and machinists making it to the United States could have some job security fashioning parts for rigs. Of course it might have been cheaper to replace the old Dodge with an inferior product with cheaper replacement parts.
 

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No Dodges anywhere around us in MA, or other places in New England that I know of. Predominantly, they were GMC chassis built up by Thomas. Most were rear-engine, 71-seat buses with gasoline engines. Some had 5-speed manuals, others had 6-speed automatic overdrives (Allison HT-70). Interesting transmissions, they had gear ranges of: 1-2, 3-4, 3-5, 3-6, N, R. Most drivers started out in 3-5 range, and shifted to 3-6 at about 40 mph. This transmission had a lockup torque converter (in 1973!) which disengaged and engaged for each shift. They had air brakes, and the parking brake was a large red toggle lever mounted on a cube-shaped box to the right of the accelerator pedal. So the driver had to lean over to set it and release it.

Today, the buses are front-engine, nosed, diesel engines with automatics - mostly 4-speed.
 

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Ours were all Internationals except for a couple Fords. I don't recall seeing any Dodge busses as a kid even in other school districts.
 

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No school bus but we had a Dodge aircraft de-icer when I was stationed in Germany. It was a big-block, we think it was a 413 but not sure. Didn't have a Chrysler automatic, something different. We didn't do a lot of investigating back then.
 

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We had Dodge short buses, in SoCal and Central CA, I saw a short bus Dodge in Bend, OR, last summer (retired from service) and a few in WA state, as well.
They are out there.
 

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Dr. Dan's Caravan said:
What they needed was a Cuban immigrant. Not an ethnic joke. This is the truth: when Fidel took over Cuba, the natives didn't like the Iron-Curtain rides, and of course the U.S. embargoed exports (Sorry folks, no Chargers or Challengers or EEKs). From my understanding you can still find American cars from the 1950s and earlier with expertly hand-machined replacement parts. Any of those mechanics and machinists making it to the United States could have some job security fashioning parts for rigs. Of course it might have been cheaper to replace the old Dodge with an inferior product with cheaper replacement parts.
Unfortunately the truck had already had its engine replaced with a Cat 3508, and even still it wasn't the easiest thing to drive, I remember watching the guy struggle with it.

They also can't afford to have problems with the tow trucks. They must work when they need them. So, I can understand replacing it with something newer and more reliable, plus the new one can wheel-lift a full-length bus instead of having to bumper-lift or frame-lift, so it's faster and probably a little safer for the operator's perspective.
 

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In grade school I rode in an rickety old Ford school bus that was so untrustworthy we always hoped it would break down mornings so as we would miss school. Most of the breakdowns were on the way home unfortunately...
The wife of the school janitor drove it, Mrs. Grimes, she sure could shift gears...
 

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I remember in high school I rode a Dodge 72 passenger bus on the lunch time run. I know it was a 6 and a 4sp (I suppose). I cannot decide if I remember it being a Wayne or Thomas built unit. I always remember it would lurch a couple time each time he shifted into second.
 

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I remember old Dodge school busses in Southern NJ (Cherry Hill) when the normal school bus was in for service. This would be late 60's early 70's.
 
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