1913 Ford Model T School Bus


One of the finest school buses in North America was designed and built in 1913 for $700.00. It was constructed under the supervision of Frank A. Patchett, the local Ford Motor agent in Newman California at the request of a Newman Elementary School Board trustee, Mr. WW. Giddings. The bus provided safe transportation of students to and from the town school at a cost of 12.5 cents per student per day.

The bus was built on a Model T Truck chassis. The frame was extended and a chain and sprocket drive added. A wooden passenger compartment with benches was mounted on the truck frame. Inflatable tires were placed in front with solid rubber tires on the rear. As the district's enrollment grew, Patchett responded by adding a trailer which carried the boys while the girls remained in the bus. The chain and sprocket drive enabled the 20 B.H.P. engine to move the bus and trailer with ease.

The Patchett Bus and Transportation Company was sold to the ARA Transportation Group which is now owned by Laidlaw Education Services.


Reconstruction of the old school bus was undertaken by Barney Rademacher and David Coehlo, employees of the Patchett Company, in 1963 for the 75th Jubilee of the City of Newman California. The cost of this work was $4,500.00.

Today, First Student, Inc. the premier school bus contractor in North America, with over 40,000 units, provides safe, comfortable, convenient transportation for more than 2.3 million school children every day.


The Ford Model T has an extensive history in the automotive market lasting for nearly 20 years. It is often called the Tin Lizzie and the Flivver and is credited with putting America on wheels. During the early 1900s, the automobile was very new and the market place was adjusting to having these horseless carriages carry its passengers rather than bicycles or horses. Steam, electricity,....
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Performance and Specification Comparison

Model Year Production

1918Ford (435,898)Buick (126,222)Willys Knight (88,753)435,898
1917Ford (622,351)Willys Knight (130,988)Buick (115,267)622,351
1916Ford (734,811)Willys Knight (140,111)Buick (124,834)734,811
1915Ford (501,492)Willys Knight (91,904)Dodge (45,000)501,492
1914Ford (308,162)Overland (48,461)Studebaker (35,374)308,162
1913Ford (168,220)Overland (37,422)Studebaker (31,994)168,220
1912Ford (78,440)Overland (28,572)Buick (19,812)78,440
1911Ford (69,762)Overland (18,745)Maxwell (16,000)69,762
1910Ford (32,053)Buick (30,525)Overland (15,598)32,053
1909Ford (17,771)Buick (14,606)Maxwell (9,460)17,771
1908Ford (10,202)Buick (8,820)Studebaker (8,132)10,202

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