Thomas Built Buses

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Thomas Built Buses is a manufacturer of buses, mainly school buses, although in the past they have produced transit buses and bodies for buses used for transit. The company is based in High Point, North Carolina.

In 1999 Thomas and Dennis form Thomas Dennis, a joint venture to market the SLF series of buses.


In 1916 after World War I, Southern Car Works, a major streetcar manufacturer, closed down due to the economy at the time. As a result, Canadian-born Perley A. Thomas, a chief engineer at Southern Car Works, lost his job. Shortly after he was asked by Southern Public Utilities Company to consider refurbishing several Southern Car Works streetcars. With several ex-coworkers, he opened the Perley A. Thomas Car Works. By the late 1930s, with the streetcar market shrinking, Perley A. Thomas Car Works ceased production of streetcars in 1936. The company found a new market in manufacturing school buses.[1]

Perley Thomas continued to designing vehicles though began handing operation operation of the company to his children. In 1958, Perley Thomas died at the age of 84. His children and grandchildren continued to successfully run the company which became known as Thomas Built Buses in 1972. In 1978 the company introduced its first bus chassis and the Saf-T-Liner® transit-style school bus. In the 1980s, Thomas began producing a Type-A school bus called the Minotour, and also began producing commercial buses.[1]

Freightliner acquired Thomas Built Buses in 1998. Thomas became a wholly owned subsidiary of Freightliner which was a division of DaimlerChrysler (now Daimler). This saw the introduction of the FS-65 model which was a Thomas conventional body on the FS-65 chassis. Working close with Freightliner, this product was close to being a fully integrated school bus. Thomas's next product, the C2, would be a revolutionary integrated school bus which used many new features such as multiplex wiring.[1]

Current products

School Bus

Commercial Bus

Past products

School Bus


See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Company History,, retrieved on 2009-08-09

External links

Transit Buses
Types Articulated Bus · Bus Rapid Transit · Double Decker Bus · Low Floor Bus · Highway Coach · Shuttle Bus · Trolley Bus
Fuel Compressed Natural Gas · Diesel · Diesel-Electric Hybrid · Gasoline · Hydrogen Fuel Cell · Liquified Natural Gas
Manufacturers Alexander Dennis · Blue Bird · BYD Auto · Commercial Truck Equipment Co. · ElDorado National · Environmental Performance Vehicles · Ford · Gillig · IC Bus · Motor Coach Industries · New Flyer Industries · North American Bus Industries · Nova Bus · Optima Bus · Orion International · Prevost Car · Proterra · Scania · Setra · Stewart & Stevenson · Thomas Built Buses · Van Hool · Volvo Buses
VIN Pages Alexander Dennis · American Ikarus · AM General · APS Systems · Blue Bird · BYD Auto · Champion · Crown Coach Corporation · Crown Ikarus · Designline · Eagle · Ebus · ElDorado National · Environmental Performance Vehicles · Flxible · Flyer Industries · Ford · General Motors · Gillig · Graf & Stift · Greenpower Motor Company · IC Bus · Ikarus USA · Maschinenfabrik Augsburg-Nürnberg · Millennium Transit Services · Motor Coach Industries · National Coach Corporation · Neoplan USA · New Flyer Industries · North American Bus Industries · Nova Bus · Optima Bus · Orion Bus Industries · Prevost Car · Proterra · Saab-Scania · Setra · Stewart & Stevenson · TEMSA · Thomas Built Buses · Transportation Manufacturing Corporation · TransBus International · Van Hool · Volvo Buses · Western Flyer Coach