Blue Bird Vision
[[File:Propane powered blue bird vision|frameless|upright=1.25|alt=]]
Manufacturer Blue Bird Corporation
Assembly Fort Valley, Georgia (Blue Bird Body Company)
LaFayette, Georgia (Blue Bird North Georgia)
Predecessor Blue Bird Conventional
Blue Bird/GM CV200
Blue Bird/Navistar SBCV (2004-2006)
Class Type C
Body style(s) School Bus
Layout conventional 4x2
Platform Blue Bird
Engine(s) Diesel
Designer Blue Bird

The Blue Bird Vision, first introduced in 2003, is a Type C "conventional" school bus manufactured by Blue Bird Corporation. It is built on a chassis designed and supplied in-house by Blue Bird. The Vision is available in various seating configurations between 36 and 77 passengers.

Design HistoryEdit

In 2002, Blue Bird was undergoing development of several prototypes of a conventional-body school bus on a Ford medium-duty chassis. The new-generation medium-duty Fords had yet to find a body supplier. Blue Bird's 10-year agreement with General Motors to become the standard supplier for the Blue Bird Conventional expired in 2003, which left the company anxious to find a Navistar chassis alternative (Freightliner, the parent company of competitor Thomas Built Buses, pulled its chassis supply). A prototype on an F-650 chassis was developed with new features unseen on conventional school buses.

The Blue Bird/Ford prototype was most notable for the introduction of a wide-angle Fresnel lens to improve driver sightlines in the loading/unloading zone around the entry door. However, the Blue Bird/Ford prototypes would not end in an a supply agreement with Ford.

Although the Blue Bird/Ford never reached production, the body design of the Vision would carry over several features from the prototype. It features a patented "Safety View Vision Panel." This small window, utilizing a wide-angle Fresnel lens, allows the bus driver to see the critical loading/unloading zone.

First generation (2003-2007)Edit

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First generation Blue Bird Vision (2003-2007)

The first-generation Vision was introduced in 2003 as the replacement for the Blue Bird Conventional/CV200 school bus, which utilized third-party chassis from Freightliner, General Motors, and Navistar International. The Vision was (and is) still unique among school bus manufacturers for using a proprietary chassis for a Type C (conventional) school bus; in the past, in-house chassis have only been manufactured for transit style school buses. As such, the Vision features a sharply angled hood for better forward visibility; no outside firms had any influence in its design.

The Vision featured a 50° wheel cut, for improved maneuverability over previous Type C buses. The instrument panel featured large back-lit gauges and switches. The Blue Bird "Handy Bus" option package specified wheelchair lifts and flat-floor interiors. The Vision was also available in standard or high headroom.

From 2003 to 2005, the Vision came with the Caterpillar C7 engine as standard equipment, and in 2006, the Cummins ISB became an option.

Second generation (2008-present)Edit

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2008-present Blue Bird Vision

Arlington school bus

2011 Vision, 36-passenger.

Carver bus 122 01

Rear three-quarter view of a typical second generation Vision.

Carver bus 122 02

Rear view of a typical second generation Vision.

For the 2008 model year, Blue Bird updated the exterior body design of the Vision. The sharply angled hood was replaced with a rounded design that offered a larger grille. The halogen headlights were replaced with a composite design. Inside, the driver's compartment was redesigned with a new steering column, instrument panel, and control panels. Along with the traditional manual and air-powered service doors, an electric-powered service door became an option.

In 2009, the Vision became the first school bus (from the factory) to be equipped with a propane-fueled powertrain. Propane-powered Visions are powered by the General Motors 8.1L Vortec V8. Previously, school buses fueled by propane were aftermarket conversions (typically of the Chevrolet/GMC B-Series bus chassis).

Vision Specifications
Seating Capacity 36-77
Overall Length (inches) 289–471 inches (7.3–12.0 m)
Body Width (exterior) 96 inches (2.4 m)
Body Height 124–127 inches (3.1–3.2 m)
Wheelbase 189–273 inches (4.8–6.9 m)
Interior Headroom 74–77 inches (1.9–2.0 m)

GVWR Up to 31,000 pounds (14,000 kg)
Fuel Type(s)
  • Diesel
  • Propane
  • Cummins ISB-10 (200-260 hp)
  • General Motors 8.1L Vortec V8
  • Allison PTS 2500 (standard)
  • Allison PTS 3000 (optional)
  • Hydraulic (standard)
  • Air (optional)
  • 4-wheel Anti-lock (standard)


  • Caterpillar C7 (discontinued in 2009)
  • Cummins ISB-07 (6.7L)
  • GM 8.1L Vortec V8
    • The Vision's propane option is currently the only original-equipment propane-powered full-size school bus in the industry. In the past, propane-fueled school buses were second-party conversions of gasoline engines.

Comparable products Edit

References Edit

External linksEdit

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