This 4WD School Bus Conversion Means Snow Days Are Canceled
Oh, you're going to school today...
Snow day lovers beware: The Champlain Valley School District in Vermont just took delivery of a shiny new 2021 International IC school bus that's been converted to four-wheel drive. Children looking forward to the first school cancellation of the year, you have our condolences.
News of the unstoppable bus was shared on Facebook by Vermont's Clark's Truck Center, a major vendor for commercial vehicles in the Green Mountain state. The base IC model will be recognizable to anyone who's driven past a public school in the last decade, except this one is quite obviously lifted. Less obvious is the new differential poking out of the front axle, indicating that this bus is now a go-anywhere 4WD fun-killer. And they're selling a second one, too.
It’s not often you see traditional school buses with four-wheel drive, even in states like Vermont where it snow is a constant in the winter. A two-wheel-drive bus on chains and proper tires is enough for a moderately snowy road, though the liability factor when you've got fifty kids on board means most school districts try to avoid sending out buses in any kind of inclement weather. This bus carries a different message: You're getting to school, come hell or high water. Whether or not its drivetrain makes it any safer is a different question.
The Drive reached out to Clark's Truck Center, where an employee told us the rig was upfitted by Tulsa Truck Manufacturing in Oklahoma, a shop that specializes in heavy-duty 4WD conversions for things like utility trucks. It's not cheap—the base 2WD International school bus costs around $85,000, and the 4WD upfit runs another $30,000. "These are the first four-wheel drive buses that we’ve sold in many many years. In fact, I don’t even remember the last time we sold one," he said. "It was well before my time here. They’re not very common."
We also reached out to Tulsa Truck Manufacturing to find out more about the process and how many school buses it converts each year, but we've yet to receive a response. Everyone who grew up in a place where it snows remembers the feeling of waking up one winter's morning, opening the curtains, and seeing a fresh blanket of the white stuff snuff out your responsibilities for the day. Long live the snow day—except in the Champlain Valley.
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