Essex Models and Miniatures archive
Category: International

Matchbox, School bus

by Peter
Categories: Bluebird, Buses & Coaches, Diecast models, International, Matchbox
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London may have the iconic red Routemaster buses but you mention school bus in America or almost anywhere else it conjures up an image of the classic yellow bus.

Matchbox first brought out this casting in 1984 and ran until 1994 and numbered MB47, it briefly re-appeared  in 1999 in a pale lemon yellow No MB22 and again in 2000 as MB31 in a cream colour and with the tampo, ‘St. Thomas Elementary School Rocky River Ohio’, it’s last appearance was in 2002 as a police transport bus in red and numbered MB15 and fitted with blacked out windows, the scale is listed as 1:95

I have a few of these and what I thought were the same bus has in fact two differing tampo layouts, the front view below shows these, the red lights are actually under the black printing.

The red can be seen better here at the back where the black don’t quite line up properly

The military version dates from 1985 but I have no definitive data as to what years it was available.


The real buses

The real buses were based on an International harvester S-Series bus chassis with bodywork build by Bluebird, The Blue Bird Corporation, originally known as the Blue Bird Body Company, is an American manufacturer of school and activity buses. Established in 1932, the company has also manufactured transit buses, motorhomes, and specialty vehicles such as mobile libraries and mobile police command centres.

The International S-Series “Schoolmaster” was a Type C (conventional) bus chassis manufactured by International Harvester, which became Navistar during its production run. It was introduced in 1979 as the replacement for the Loadstar bus chassis; it was used for both school bus and commercial bus applications.

From 1986 to 1989 International Harvester became known as Navistar International, In 1989, it was replaced by the International 3800; both chassis were offered that year. The Schoolmaster was the last bus chassis designed by International Harvester.