Company History

Lowell King on horseback

The story of begins on the dusty plains of West Texas.  In 1918, Lowell King had a 1-horsepower "ride".  He's the 2nd kid from the rear...and the wagon in the background was the transportation his family used for travel to town and back.  At 6-years old, Lowell had never seen an airplane or talked on a telephone.

Lowell King

Fifty years later, Lowell's "ride" was different.  It had grown considerably larger and faster.  The Pan-Am jetliner in the background was a Boeing 707 with four Pratt & Whitney JT3-D fan-jet engines producing 18,000 lbs of thrust each. It could move at 600 mph at an altitude of about 30,000 feet and it was about to carry Lowell across the Atlantic on his first visit to Europe. 

He's gone now, but Lowell's 94-year life span was an incredible experience filled with change and advancing technology.  Proudly descended from a long line of blacksmiths and steam tractor operators, he appreciated the sciences and the benefits he gained from their study.

In about 1930, deepening depression and drought conditions encouraged Lowell to leave the family farm.  He moved to Oklahoma City and began installing canvas covers on the roofs of wooden school buses being built at his older brother's small factory (American Body & Trailer Co.).

Shortly thereafter, he began assembling all-steel Wayne school bus bodies for his brother.  The Wayne body "assembly kits" came fom Wayne Works in Richmond, Indiana, and included all the necessary pieces and parts for the production of school bus bodies.

WWII interrupted the production of school buses and American Body & Trailer Co. began producing military equipment.  Just before the end of WWII, military production tapered off....and Lowell opened his own small factory in San Antonio.  At King Body & Equipment Co., he assembled Wayne bus bodies, mounted them on chassis with frames he extended.....and sold them to schools all over South Texas.

In 1953, he obtained the Louisiana distributorship for Wayne bus bodies and moved to Alexandria.  In 1955, he established Southern Bus Sales and took on the Carpenter franchise.  For the next 35-years, he was a distributor for Carpenter Body Works and sold thousands of their school buses throughout his territory.

Lowell's sons grew up in the school bus industry.....servicing and rebuilding buses after school and during the summer months.  They ferried buses all over the US.....even helping with the export of new and used buses to foreign countries as far away as Costa Rica and Panama.

After college, Brian and Gerald King returned to work with their father until he retired.  In 1986, the brothers realized that the school bus industry was about to experience major changes.  For that reason, they decided to reorganize Southern Bus Sales and focus on "parts only".  They converted their service shop into a warehouse and began building what has become a huge computerized database of school bus parts.

Both of the King brothers have extensive mechanical skills and lifetimes of experience in the school bus industry.  They've seen many bus manufacturers come and go while they've continued building a stable and successful family business.  They're dedicated to helping school bus repair professionals quickly obtain the specialized parts they need to keep their fleets running. has deep roots; it's been in the same location since 1955 and expects to continue for as long as our world has school buses.



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Southern Bus Sales, Inc.
P.O. Box 7474
Alexandria, LA 71306
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