The Yellowstone tour bus has an impressive 600,000 miles on the clock, has undergone extensive restoration, and is a surprisingly smooth ride.
Jay Leno’s Garage YouTube channel brings us something very different, this week, to the good ol’ classic cars. Jay Leno is showcasing a Yellowstone tour bus which dates its production back to 1936. The White Model 706 is a restoration job done by Jay’s good friend Winslow Bent, who is the founder of Legacy Classic Trucks.
The History Of The Classic Yellow Bus
The two men trade formalities and jump right into the history, where Jay tells us that White was originally a sewing machine manufacturer that quickly switched to steam-powered cars in the early 1900s. A mere decade later they switched again to gasoline-power versions of their cars and then exclusively to trucks and buses by the late 1920s. In fact, they later became known as Freightliner and later Volvo, but the roots of these trucks remains the example of the bus in the discussion today.
Building The Coaches Of The Era
In 1936, Winslow explains that the chassis, powertrain, and front cab production were all done in-house at the White factory. Once complete, it was then sent out to one of the many coach builders in the United States. They would then add the body of whatever the customer wanted, in this case, a big Yellowstone Tour Bus.
The coach builder of choice for this bus was Bender, who actually built coaches for other companies like Duesenberg. Winslow does point out that one of the most striking features of the bus is the whole front clip, which resembles a V-shaped hood with protruding fender arches. This gorgeous design comes to us from a Hungarian Count, who thought it added a very elegant look to the vehicle. We can’t argue with that.
Driving The Old Classic Bus
Driving the bus, one may assume that it is an unforgiving, louder-than-life, Goliath on the road. Surprisingly, Jay cannot say enough good things about the drive. Although the camera does pick up the burbles of the engine, it is incredibly smooth. “Almost as quiet as a sewing machine,” jokes Jay.
Winslow does remind us that it is a tour bus and being able to enjoy the scenery while traveling was its only major function. He also tells us that this truck has over 600,000 miles on the odometer. A true pioneer, and a reminder that things aren’t built like they used to be.