Blue Bird Micro Bird

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Blue Bird Micro Bird
Manufacturer Blue Bird Body Company (1975-1992)
Blue Bird Corporation (1992-2010)
Micro Bird, Inc. (Blue Bird/Girardin joint venture) (2010-present)
Production 1975–2010 (Blue Bird Micro Bird)
2010-present (Micro Bird by Girardin)
Assembly see listing
Designer Blue Bird
Body and chassis
Class Type A
Body style School bus/MFSAB
Mini bus

Cutaway van

  • single rear wheel
  • dual rear wheel
Platform see listing
Related Blue Bird MB-II/MB-IV
Successor Micro Bird by Girardin

The Blue Bird Micro Bird is a school bus produced in the United States and Canada by Blue Bird Corporation since 1975. It is based on a (cutaway van) chassis, with passenger capacity ranging from 10 to 30 passengers.[1] The Micro Bird was originally designed as a school bus, but it is also sold as a MFSAB (Multi-Function School Activity Buses). MFSABs are alternatives to 15-passenger vans that along with school systems that have come into use by child care centers and other organizations due to changing safety regulations.

Since 2010, the current version of the Micro Bird has been produced in Quebec as part of a joint venture with Blue Bird and Girardin Minibus, called Micro Bird, Inc.

Design History[edit]

1975-1999: First generation[edit]

The Micro Bird was introduced in 1975 as Blue Bird's response to the Wayne Busette, the first Type A school bus from a major manufacturer and the first small school bus to employ a dual rear wheel chassis. Blue Bird followed the Busette's design with the use of a dual rear-wheel chassis; initial production began with Chevrolet and GMC chassis. The Micro Bird differentiated itself from the Busette by the use of a full-size school bus door instead of the van door; not only did this give an advantage in terms of access, but Blue Bird added 2 windows between the entry door and the A-pillar of the van windshield to offer a better view of the loading zone. Although the van chassis restricted the overall body width of the Micro Bird, the body was designed almost identically to the Blue Bird Conventional and the All American.

For many years, the overall design of the Micro Bird was left largely untouched, as it was offered solely on Chevrolet and GMC chassis. The primary markets for the Micro Bird were districts transporting small children or special needs students (the Micro Bird was popular with the "Handy Bus" option, with wheelchair lifts fitted). In the late 1980s, Blue Bird changed the design of the loading-zone window from 2 pieces of glass to a single large piece.

In the mid-1990s, Blue Bird offered what would be the largest Micro Bird. In 1995, a version of the Chevrolet P30 chassis (shared with the larger Type B Mini Bird) was used with Chevrolet Van bodywork. These buses are distinguished by larger wheels, an extended nose with a tilt-forward hood, and they were available in capacities up to 36. The P30-chassis Micro Bird lasted only until 1996, as General Motors replaced its full-size van line that year and the new versions did not have bodywork designed for the P30.

1992–1999: Four Micro Birds[edit]

Blue Bird MB-II by Girardin

In the 1990s, the Micro Bird range would grow from a single bus to as many as four different vehicles. This was primarily the result of a distribution agreement between Blue Bird and a Canadian bus manufacturer. Girardin Minibus is a Quebec-based manufacturer of Type A school buses producing vehicles since 1965. In 1991, Girardin introduced two new product lines, the MB-II and the MB-IV. The MB-IV was a dual rear wheel design similar to the Micro Bird while the MB-II was of a single rear wheel design. The MB-II differed from other single rear wheel designs of the time in that its body was a full cutaway bus body and not a conversion of a van to a bus. At the time, Girardin was little known outside of Canada; in 1992, Blue Bird and Girardin entered into an agreement to market the MB product line in the United States. The MB-II and MB-IV were badged as "Blue Bird MBII/IV by Girardin", allowing Girardin to gain market exposure while Blue Bird gained 2 fresh product lines to sell. Also, for the first time, Blue Bird Type A buses were available with a Ford E-Series chassis alongside the GM chassis.[clarification needed]

2000–2010: Second generation[edit]

Late 2000s Blue Bird Micro Bird on Chevrolet Express 3500 chassis.

After two decades of production nearly unchanged, the 2000s saw a number of changes to the Micro Bird body[clarification needed]. After the Girardin agreement ended, Blue Bird developed its own single rear wheel version of the Micro Bird[when?]. Other changes included a change of the curvature of the roof, allowing for more headroom at the corners; this was a feature adopted from the TC/1000, another bus designed towards special-needs students. A change necessitated by the roof redesign was the change in the front roof cap, changing it from the same design used by every Blue Bird since the mid-1960s to an oval design.

Following its joint venture with Girardin, Blue Bird ended production of the original Micro Bird at the end of the 2010 model year. After 35 years of production, the Micro Bird was the longest-produced Blue Bird after the Conventional/CV200 and the All American. It would also be the final Blue Bird-produced model to have its chassis production outsourced to another manufacturer.

2010-present: Third generation (Micro Bird by Girardin)[edit]

Micro Bird MB-II by Girardin
Micro Bird G5 by Girardin

In October 2009, Girardin Minibus entered into a joint venture with Blue Bird. The partnership, named Micro Bird, Inc., consolidated all Type A school bus production at the Girardin facilities in Drummondville, Quebec, Canada. As part of the agreement, all future Type A school buses were branded Blue Bird Micro Bird by Girardin while Blue Bird itself concentrated on production of full-size Type C and D buses.[2]

Currently, there are two Micro Bird by Girardin models for sale. The Micro Bird G5 is a dual rear-wheel bus that has been in production since 2005 and the single rear-wheel Micro Bird MB-II sold since 1991 (identical to the 1990s Blue Bird by Girardin MB-II). Both versions are sold on Chevrolet/GMC and Ford E-Series chassis. In October 2014, a third model was introduced, the Micro Bird T-Series. While designed with a body similar to the MB-II, the T-Series is the first school bus in North America to make use of the Ford Transit chassis that is replacing the Ford E-Series.[3] Both single and dual-rear wheel models are available.

Chassis Manufacturers[edit]

Micro Bird Chassis Manufacturers
Chassis Production Fuel Type Notes
Ford E-Series 1975-2010 (Micro Bird)

1992-1999 (MB-II/MB-IV)

2010-2014 (MB-II, G5)

Propane (G5)

Propane-powered version of the G5 introduced in 2010
Ford Transit 350/350HD 2015 onward (T-Series)


Launched as the Micro Bird T-Series, this is the first school bus adapted to the North American version of the Ford Transit cutaway cab.
Produced in both single and dual rear wheel models.[4]
Chevrolet Van/GMC Vandura 1975-1996 (Microbird)
1992-1996 (MB-II/IV)


1992-1996 Chevrolet/GMC version of MB-II distinguished by use of stock van entry door
Chevrolet P30 1995-1996 (Micro Bird) Diesel Heavier-duty chassis with Chevrolet cutaway van bodywork; distinguished by extended tilt-forward hood
Chevrolet Express/GMC Savana

1997-2010 (Micro Bird)
1997-1999 (MB-II/MB-IV)
2010–present (MB-II, G5)



The Micro Bird was assembled at the following manufacturing facilities:

See also[edit]


External links[edit]