Ward brand operated by successor AmTran from 1980-1992.
Number of locations
(Conway, Arkansas and Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania)
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. 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.