We’ve been following our friends at the YouTube channel This Old Truck, and even though they’re relatively new to the space, we’re big fans of their content. This week, they showcase a true throwback. In fact it’s quite remarkable as this 1936 White Model 706 tour bus continues to run and be functional after nearly 90 years.
Famous for transporting thousands of outdoor enthusiasts and travelers around U.S. national parks, the bright yellow 1936 White Model 706 tour bus is one of only 500 ever made in the United States.
Based in Cleveland, Ohio, the White Motor Company was an American automobile manufacturer responsible for producing trucks, tractors and other agricultural equipment from 1900 – 1980. At the turn of 20th century, White Motor Company created a special tour bus design for the U.S. National Parks. The goal was to create a versatile, comfortable, reliable transport vehicle that could carry several passengers through any of the seven major national parks in the western U.S.
At the time, several prominent manufacturers were considered for the tour bus project, including Ford Motor Co., REO and General Motors, but White Motor Company’s striking tour bus design prevailed. As a result it became one of the most recognized pieces of transportation in the United States over its decades of service, safely transporting guests through some of the world’s most beautiful and rugged scenery outdoors since the mid-1930s.
For generations, visitors to Yellowstone National Park were transported through the park’s majestic landscape in open-air buses. The most recent generation of these rare, celebrated vehicles is the White 706, which were delivered in limited quantities to Yellowstone National Park from 1936 – 1938.
Only 98 Yellowstone specific tour buses were ever manufactured. Made in America during a bygone era committed to making high-quality transportation that could truly stand the test of time, the White 706 Yellowstone tour buses were celebrated for peerless design and dependability.
Winslow Bent is the founder of Legacy Classic Trucks and got to drive the Yellowstone tour bus for this week’s video. This bus was known by another nickname – gear jammer. It was called this because of the crunching sound the transmission made when operating improperly or shifting on steep roads. The unsynchronized gears were loud. Although the bus is impressively quiet when smoothly shifted the double clutch design takes a bit of getting used to before one can enjoy the sound of serenity.
“There are so many special things to explore about these classic streamlined tour buses, but what sticks out to me is how this White Model 706 has been in continual service since 1936. Think about that. For more than 80 years, this Yellowstone bus has been helping people explore the beauty of the great American West,” Bent said. “The best trucks work hard to help people enrich their lives. For eight decades, this tour bus has brought joy and wonder to travelers showing them the best in nature.”
I love nostalgia like this. Vehicle technology has advanced in many ways, but it hasn’t advanced as far as you’d think. After nearly 90 years, this 1936 White Model 706 tour bus can still go. Sure the gears may grind, and I’m sure it’s not overly comfortable, but how cool would it be to stroll through Yellowstone in this bus?
Speaking of Yellowstone, be sure to check out the story I wrote about the possibility of a Ram Yellowstone special edition, based off the popular TV show.
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