In May 1996, Freightliner introduced their new type-C school bus chassis, known as the FS-65. Freightliner had worked with Thomas Built Buses to develop a chassis/body combination that boasted a larger windshield, a raised driver's platform, and a sloping hood, all leading to better visibility. Production was expected to begin in mid-1996. The first bus was completed and delivered to John T. Cyr & Sons in January 1997.
|Thomas Built Buses FS-65|
|Years of manufacture||1997 to 2006|
When launched, the FS-65 chassis was also available to other body manufacturers, including Blue Bird, Capenter, and Corbeil. By the end of 2002, Blue Bird had designed their own type-C chassis, Carpenter had ceased operation, and Corbeil focused solely on producing type-A buses. At this time, Thomas, which had become a subsidiary of Freightliner in 1998, produced their type-C buses exclusively on the FS-65 chassis.
On December 13, 2006, Thomas delivered their last FS-65 school bus. The FS-65 was succeeded by the Saf-T-Liner C2, which was launched two years earlier. A total of 62,764 Freightliner FS-65 chassis were produced, and nearly a quarter of a million FS-65 conventional bodies were produced.
|Wheelbase: 150" to 276"|
|GVWR: 18,000 to 35,000 lbs|
|Caterpillar C7 7.2 litre||EPA 2004 & 2007||2004-2006|
|Cummins ISB 5.9 litre, 185-250 hp|
|Mercedes-Benz MBE904 4.3 litre, 170-190 hp|
|Mercedes-Benz MBE906 6.4 litre, 185-250 hp|
|Allison 2000 Series|
|Fuller 5 speed manual|
|FC-941 8000 lb.|
|FF-961 12,000 lb.|
|RS-13-140 13,000 lb.|
|RS-23-160 23,000 lb.|
|6,000 or 12,000 taperleaf|
|12,000 taperleaf and 23,000 lb. Airliner|
|Bosch hydraulic disc brakes 16-1/2" x 5" front and 16-1/2" x 7" rear air brakes|
- Canadian Armed Forces
- Cardinal Coach Lines (FirstGroup plc) - Calgary, AB
- Elk Island Schools - Sherwood Park, Fort Saskatchewan, Vegreville, Counties of Strathcona, Lamont, and Minburn, AB
- Farr's Coach Lines - Dunnville, ON
- Golden Arrow School Buses - Edmonton, AB
- Red Arrow Student Transportation Services (now Southland Transportation) - Edmonton, AB
- Southland Transportation - Calgary, AB
- Wills Bus Lines - Binbrook, ON
- Freightliner enters school bus market. 15 May 1996. Press release. Freightliner Corporation.
- First Freightliner school bus completed and delivered to largest contractor in Maine. 09 January 1997. Press release. Freightliner Corporation.
- Press release. 06 October 1998.
- Thomas retires the FS-65, thomasbus.com, retrieved 09-06-30