Blue Bird All American

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Blue Bird All American
Blue Bird All American Rear Engine
All American Rear Engine shown
Years of manufacture 1948 to present
Length 24'1" to 40'
Width 96 inches
Power/Fuel Diesel, Compressed Natural Gas,
Battery Electric

The Blue Bird All American is a high floor transit-style, type-D school bus. It is offered with a rear engine or a forward engine placement. The All American has been given various names in Canada over the course of production. These include: All Canadian (until 1988), TC/3000 (until 2007), TX3 (until 2013), and currently TX4.

An activity or commercial version of the All American is available as well. These buses are commonly used in transit or shuttle service. They usually feature larger sliding windows and smooth sides.

Aesthetic and design changes

[1]

First Generation (1948-1956)

  • Early units were built on conventional truck chassis.
  • In 1952, Blue Bird began producing its own custom chassis for the All American.

Second Generation (1957-1989)

Early models until 1989 had rounded vertically mounted, quad headlights and chrome trim along the front.

  • In 1957, Blue Bird redesigned the body. It included flatter sides and a taller roof, the windshield was enlarged (flat glass was replaced by much larger panes of curved glass) and extra glass was added to the entry door.
  • In 1958, quad horizontal headlights were added to the All American.
  • In 1961, a rear-engine chassis became available (a GMC chassis).
  • In 1967, the front roof cap was replaced by a vertical design.
  • In 1968, the horizontally mounted headlights were replaced by vertically stacked units; trim was simplified with less chrome on the front end and a black-painted strip joining the two headlights together.
  • In 1977, higher-back seats and several changes to improve the strength of the body to make the bus safer. The rear roof cap was also changed to match the front cap.

Early models until 1989 had rounded vertically mounted, quad headlights and chrome trim along the front.

  • In 1982, the fixed rear passenger window in the last row of seats was replaced by a drop-sash window.
  • In 1988, the rear-engine chassis switched from GMC to an in-house one. Blue Bird also introduced the TC/2000.

Third Generation (1989-1998)

Forward engine styling introduced in 1989.

The third generation of the All American was introduced in 1989. Outside of the United States, the bus was given the model TC/3000.

Throughout the 1990s, the front of the All American featured rectangular, quad headlights with a small amount of chrome trim. The entrance door was also given large, full length windows. The driver's compartment was completely redesigned with a modern instrument panel. Front-engine models featured a smaller engine housing. To ease maintenance, a number of the front body panels could be removed without the use of tools.

CNG became a fuel option in 1991.

A3 Series (1999-2014)

Rear engine with styling from 1999 to 2008.
Forward engine with styling from 1999 to 2008.

The A3 introduced a larger windshield. Operators could specify a flat, four piece or curved, two piece windshield. A rectangular molding encircles the headlights with the Blue Bird insignia between them.

The driver's area was redesigned. A wraparound console to the right included gear shift, heater/defroster controls, and powered entrance door (now standard) control. Re-positioned, backlit rocker switches to the left offered improved interaction. The driver's instrument panel features back-lit gauges with lighted needles, a standard digital clock, and an LED lighted tell-tale warning message center.[2][3]

The A3 was designed with a drop frame chassis. With the frame rails supporting the drivetrain lowered, a wider range of engine configurations was made available. In addition, the engine compartment intruded less into the driver's area on front-engined buses.[4][5]


D3 Series (2010-2013)

Blue Bird All American Forward Engine.jpg
Blue Bird All American Rear Engine.jpg

The D3 design was introduced at the 2008 National Association of Pupil Transportation trade show in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina and entered regular production for the 2010 model-year. Outside of the United States, this iteration of the All American is known as the TX3.

The D3 featured a more rounded front and rear end with a flatter roofline. It also featured large, round headlights in molded bezels which wrapped around the front corners of the bus. The rear had a smooth, rectilinear shape with windows mounted flush with body.

The driver's area was revised with improved visibility and ergonomics. This includes a revised instrument panel and new pedal placement. The entrance door was made larger to improve access as well as increase visibility. Visibility is also improved by a 33 percent larger windshield. More access panels on the front give easier access for maintenance.[6]

T3 Series (2014-present)

The T3 design was introduced at the 2012 National Association of Pupil Transportation trade show and entered production for the 2014 model-year. Outside of the United States, this iteration of the All American is known as the TX4.

The most notable change is the roof, which is more arched than it was previously and echos the design of Blue Bird's Vision. In addition, the T3 All American has more body parts in common with the Vision, which eases with maintenance. The driver's area was also revised and features improved ergonomics that accommodate more body sizes.

Across their product range, Blue Bird introduced new features in 2014. Blue Bird's "E-Z Windows", manufactured by Lippert Components, make for smoother operation as well as improved resilience. A new air conditioning system supplied by Mobile Climate Control has been integrated into the bulkhead space at the front and the rear to reduce intrusion into the cabin. New luggage compartments come in three sizes and offer better protection for their contents.

On July 11, 2017, Blue Bird unveiled a battery-electric powered variant of the All American chassis at the STN Expo. It uses an electric motor supplied by Efficient Drivetrains, Inc and offers battery capacities of 100 to 0150 kWh with an expected 80 to 100 mile range on a single charge. The bus was completed and put through testing with production of the fully electric All American expected to begin in 2018.[7]

All American Forward Engine

Specifications

All American Rear Engine

Specifications

Demonstrator/engineering units

Fleet number Thumbnail Year VIN Engine Transmission Notes
Sept. 2012 1BABJBPA6DF291035 Cummins ISB6.7 Allison PTS 2500 Series
  • 2013 RE model
  • Altoona test bus from November 14, 2012 to May 13, 2013.
Sept. 2012 1BABJCPH4DF291036 Cummins ISB6.7 Allison PTS 2500 Series
  • 2013 FE model
  • Altoona test bus from December 4, 2012 to April 15, 2013.

Operators

Canada Flag of Canada.png (All Canadian, TC/3000, TX3, TX4)

United Kingdom Flag of the United Kingdom.png

United States Flag of the United States.png

References

  1. Blue Bird All American Wikipedia Article
  2. Blue Bird All American FE brochure. 2001
  3. Blue Bird All American RE brochure. 2001
  4. Blue Bird All American RE page. 1999.
  5. Blue Bird All American FE page. 1999.
  6. InfoBus. Spring 2009. Autobus Girardin.
  7. Blue Bird Introduces All-New Electric School Bus Solutions. 11 July 2017. Press release. Blue Bird.