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Old 02-01-2023, 07:21 PM   #1
Join Date: May 2017
Posts: 39
Carpenter buses are a childhood memory

Special School District of St. Louis County bought many fleets of Carpenter buses. My first bus I rode was a Carpenter Vistaramic school bus and it sat on a Ford B600 chassis. It had a 6 cylinder engine with a 3-speed automatic transmission attached to it. The motor was pretty quiet as long as it had an automatic transmission attached to it. All you heard was just a whirring sound coming from the motor. One thing that separated the Vistaramic from any other bus on the road was the way the upper portion of the front door leaf was cut. It had more of an "S" turn. Back then, I called the weather stripping "ribbons" because when the bus was built, the machine would cut the weather stripping into a ribbon shape. The year of that bus was a 1963 build. They had older models in a 24-passenger build and those I think came in 1962. Then in 1964, the first Ford Carpenter Vistaramics with the 4-speed compound transmission came onto the property in 1964. And about that same time, then the Ultramics came onto the scene. The 1950s era Carpenter Ultaramic came with a door where the front leaf looked almost a little Wardish. But I think that 50's style of the Ultramic door was discontinued I think aboiut 1959 or 1960.

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Old 02-01-2023, 09:33 PM   #2
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Join Date: May 2009
Location: Columbus Ohio
Posts: 17,680
Year: 1991
Coachwork: Carpenter
Chassis: International 3800
Engine: DTA360 / MT643
Rated Cap: 7 Row Handicap
being in ohio.. it was pretty ,uch all wayne superior carpenter.. i never even saw a bluebird till a family friend got a job selling them in around 80 or 81..

everything I remember or rode was past the vistaramic days... mid 70s carpenter was the first one i remember.. and I remember it well as a little kid and a brand new bus.. with the cool light momitor above the driver's head.. I had never seen such a thing before on a bus... that was a field trip bus.. we never rode that any other time.

the next carpenters I remmeber were ther fords.. the only fords the schools ever bought.. they bought some superiors and some carpenters in 1980 ..frist year of the square-hood B-series.. those also had the light monitors...

the next carpenters were in 1985.. and featured the gray rims on the black hub;s (all our busses were dayton spoke).. and the first diesels that district ever bought... S-series busses with presumably 6.9;s as they werent throaty enough to be DT's.. although they couldve been 9 liter.. hard to tell.. the sound of the T444E rings as a familiar rhythm to those old carpenters.. i can only believe they were V8's .. they also had the newer carpenter interior and the tall windows..

carpenters were part of a few 'firsts' throiugh my childhood.. and in my adult life.. the first bus to get me back into the spirit of busses that I had always loved (after a bad experience with a person related to a bus i had prior..i had sworn off busses forever)...

the 91 carpenter mobile office i have now named "DEV RANDOM" is a bus I enjoy driving.. ironically it does not have the light monitor i always remember prior carpenters for..
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Old 02-01-2023, 09:46 PM   #3
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Join Date: Jan 2019
Location: Philadelphia
Posts: 6,783
Year: 2003
Coachwork: International
Chassis: CE 300
Engine: DT466e
Rated Cap: 65C-43A
You might enjoy this writeup I found a while ago about Carpenter buses. Some interesting articles there about other buses, too.
Rusty 87 build thread
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Old 02-02-2023, 05:20 AM   #4
Bus Geek
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Columbus Ohio
Posts: 17,680
Year: 1991
Coachwork: Carpenter
Chassis: International 3800
Engine: DTA360 / MT643
Rated Cap: 7 Row Handicap
Richmond came about after Wayne went bust. Carpenter bought the Wayne plant and all of its tooling. Circa mid 90s

Those busses later got named crown by carpenter..

They are interesting units as the dashboard pieces, doors and driver window all look distinctly like Wayne .. even the door heater.. Wayne door heater vents closely matched the Wayne lifeguard Indian head logo.. carpenter used that same venting .. instead of the Wayne green or brown, all these dash pieces were black on the carpenter..
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