[14] The product launch marked the first completely new school bus chassis since 1980, with Freightliner becoming the first new cowled-chassis manufacturer since the 1977 withdrawal of Dodge. Additional information is available in this. At the end of the 1990s, several changes made to the Thomas product line were related to its purchase by Freightliner. [2][4], In 1962, Thomas Car Works officially expanded its production beyond High Point as Thomas Built Buses of Canada, Ltd. was established in Woodstock, Ontario. [2] While Perley Thomas streetcars had adopted steel construction in 1918, school bus design had slowly evolved from farm wagons, with wooden body construction continuing into the 1930s. Reviews (336) 889-4871 Website. [17], In 2002, John W. Thomas III retired, becoming the final family member to manage the firm; serving as president since 1992, Thomas remained with the company as a consultant. Following the closure of streetcar manufacturer Southern Car Company, Perley A. Thomas (trained as a woodworker and engineer) founded a company specializing in fireplace mantles and home furnishings. In the late 1980s, the Saf-T-Liner product line (with the exception of the WestCoastER) adopted the MVP suffix, standing for Maneuverability, Visibility, and Protection. To aid forward visibility, the Vista mounted the driver's seat alongside the engine rather than behind it, similar to a Type D bus. To optimize forward sightlines for drivers, the layout of the driver's compartment and forward chassis were redesigned. In 1930, Thomas Car Works was reincorporated as a stock company, with Perley Thomas making his family stockholders in Perley A. Thomas Car Works, Inc.[2] For the last time, the company received an order for streetcars, producing 4 for Mobile, Alabama. In contrast to the Saf-T-Liner Conventional, the C2 is designed with a larger, sloped windshield, larger windows and exits, and different body construction. [2] The same year, the Thomas family sold a majority stake of the company to the Berkshire Partners equity firm.[12]. [2] In various forms, blind-spot mirrors are currently required on all school buses in North America. A third generation of the Thomas family assumed control of the company leadership, with John Thomas, Jr. (President) and Perley Thomas II (VP, international operations). In another innovation, Thomas introduced an outward-opening entry door, designed to aid egress in emergency evacuation situations. In 1992, the fourth generation of the Thomas family took over daily operations of the company (becoming the first family-owned school bus company to do so). [2], Into the late 1990s, Thomas Built Buses remained a family-owned company, controlled by the fourth generation of the Thomas family and the Odyssey Group. For the 1997 model year, Freightliner introduced the Freightliner FS-65 school bus chassis. All FS-65 chassis wore Thomas bodies after 2001. Distinguished by large front mirror units, which mount the side-view, wide-angle, and cross-view mirrors into a single unit. [2], 1918 marked several milestones for the company, as Thomas Car Works began production of brand-new streetcars; 25 were produced. In New Orleans, NOPSI (New Orleans Public Service, Inc.) decided to standardize their streetcar fleet upon 150 Thomas-designed streetcars, delivered from 1921 to 1924. Thomas Built by Ohio Cat is committed to the safety and well-being of everyone – our employees, our customers, the communities we serve, the children that ride your buses, and our nation.

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