Andrew Turnbull presents

The History of School Transportation in Mercer County, WV

Technical Information: Deciphering VINs

AmTran and IC

school bus

Body numbers

The predecessor of AmTran and IC was the Ward Body Works, founded in Arkansas in 1933. For many years, Ward buses featured a four- or five-digit body number on a metal plate fastened to the door. The numbering reset at 1 or 1001 when Ward's assets were restructured as American Transportation (AmTran) in 1980, and by 1992 these numbers had reached the 50000 series.

Until the 1990s, all Ward and AmTran buses were "second-stage" vehicles built on the chassis of an outside supplier. In 1990, Navistar International purchased a stake in the company. The two companies started collaborating almost immediately, and in 1992 the Genesis Type D became the first bus fully "manufactured" by AmTran and carrying an AmTran VIN.

The AmTran name began to be deemphasized in favour of "International" or "IC" branding by 2000, and in 2003 the division was formally renamed "IC Bus."


As might be expected from a company affiliated with International, AmTran's VINs closely followed International's format:


Positions 1-3 and 11: Manufacturer and assembly plant

After International increased its stake in AmTran in 1995, their products started bearing International's manufacturer prefix. The combined company then waffled back and forth, eventually reverting to AmTran's prefix by 2002:

1HV-A International, Conway, Arkansas (US)
1HV-B International, Tulsa, Oklahoma (US)
4DR-A AmTran, Conway, Arkansas (US)
4DR-B AmTran, Tulsa, Oklahoma (US)

Positions 4-5: Model

AM CE (2010-)
AP BE (2006-15?)
BG Genesis (1996-99), FE (1999-2004)
BJ RE (1996-2004)
BR CE (2001-04)
BU CE (2005-)
BV FE (2005-10)
BW RE (2005-21)
BY 3300 chassis-cowl (2005-07)
GS Genesis (1992-96)
RS RE (1996)

Positions 6-7: Engine

Some engines were denoted by multiple code designations, likely owing to minor year-to-year or model-to-model specification differences. (Of course, there are also a few mysteries...)

AA 7.6L I6 Diesel (DT466)
AB 7.3L V8 Diesel (T444E)
AC 6.7L I6 Diesel (DT408)
AD 8.7L I6 Diesel (DT530)
AF 6.0L V8 Diesel (VT365)
C8 5.9L I6 Diesel (Cummins)
CL 7.6L I6 Diesel?
CN 7.6L I6 Diesel?
DB 7.6L I6 Diesel (DT466)
DD 7.6L I6 Diesel?
DG 7.6L I6 Diesel?
P1 8.8L V8 LPG
PW 8.8L V8 Gasoline
SK 6.4L V8 Diesel (Maxxforce 7)
TA 8.8L I6 Diesel (Cummins)

Position 8: Gross vehicle weight rating and brake system

H 16000 lb 7300 kg Hydraulic
K 19500 lb 8900 kg Hydraulic
L 26000 lb 11800 kg Air
M Hydraulic
N 33000 lb 15000 kg Air
P Hydraulic
R 55000 lb 25000 kg Air

Position 9: Checksum

0-9 or X, calculated from the other digits.

Position 10: Model year

AmTran's model year schedule jibed with International's until 2000, when the IC CE entered production as an early 2001 model. At that point, the cat was out of the bag: Model year "inflation" took hold, with 2002 production starting in June 2001, 2004 production starting in March 2003, 2006 production starting in December 2004, and 2008 production starting in September 2006(!). And that's where things have stood ever since, with buses jumping the gun on their implied years by up to sixteen months.

N 19922022
P 1993
R 1994
S 1995
T 1996
V 1997
W 1998
X 1999
Y 2000
1 2001
2 2002
3 2003
4 2004
5 2005
6 2006
7 2007
8 2008
9 2009
A 2010
B 2011
C 2012
D 2013
E 2014
F 2015
G 2016
H 2017
J 2018
K 2019
L 2020
M 2021

Positions 12-17: Production sequence

When AmTran began production of the Genesis in 1992, the company's pre-existing body number system was used as the basis for the numeric serial on each vehicle. At the time, these numbers were in the 050000 series. Numbers inched upwards until MY1999, when they backtracked from approximately 089999 to 021000. The sequencing then took several more twists and turns in the years that followed:

Because of discrepancies between planned and actual production order, there is always a slight amount of numeric overlap from one model year to the next.

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