Ward Body Works
Former type Family-owned
Fate Chapter 11 Bankruptcy
Re-organized as American Transportation Corporation
Successor American Transportation Corporation (AmTran)
Founded 1933
Founder(s) D.H. Ward
Defunct 1980
Ward brand operated by successor AmTran from 1980-1992.
Headquarters Conway, Arkansas, United States
Number of locations 2
(Conway, Arkansas and Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania)
Area served North America
Industry Transportation
Products School Buses
Commercial Buses

Ward Body Works (also known as Ward Industries and Ward School Bus Manufacturing, Inc.) was a manufacturer specializing in school buses based in Conway, Arkansas. Ward filed for bankruptcy in 1980, and its successor, AmTran continued the use of the Ward brand on its school buses until 1992.


D. H. "Dave" Ward founded Ward Body Works in Conway, Arkansas in 1933 when he "lowered the roof of a wooden bus for Mr. Carl Brady of the Southside Schools". Southside Schools were located about 15 miles north of Conway.[1]. Later in the 1930s, the company produced its first all-metal body bus as steel replaced wood as the predominant body material in the industry. In the 1960s, Ward School Bus Manufacturing, Inc. was responsible for many notable innovations including use of computers in manufacturing (using IBM 360s), safety advances, and manufacturing process improvements. In the 1970s, Ward opened an assembly facility in Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania, but this plant was closed in 1975. In 1976, Ward built a prototype Type D transit school and commercial bus on an International Harvester chassis with front-wheel drive and tandem rear tag axles; it did not enter production.


GMC B-series school bus

GMC B-series school bus on a Ward Volunteer body

Ward President green

Ward President body on International Harvester 1853FC chassis

Type A

Vanguard dual rear-wheel cutaway van

  • Ford E-Series chassis
  • Chevrolet Van/GMC Vandura chassis
Type B

Coachette on General Motors P30 chassis

Type C

Patriot semi-forward contral conventional

  • General Motors chassis

Volunteer conventional on various chassis

  • Dodge D-300
  • Chevrolet/GMC B-Series
  • Ford B-Series
  • International Harvester Loadstar/S-Series "Schoolmaster"
  • Navistar International 3700/3800
Type D

President front-engine on various chassis

  • International Harvester 1853FC
  • General Motors S-7
  • Asia-Smith Motors forward-control chassis

Senator front-engine on Navistar International 3900 chassis

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