1939 White Model 706 Yellowstone Bus Find

1939 White Model 706 Yellowstone Bus

This old 16 passenger coach is listed here on Hemmings for $75,000. It was used as a ski bus beginning in 1991. It needs some rust repair, but otherwise appears in pretty good condition. In the early years of the national parks, most visitors saw the parks from wagons and then from tour buses. The White model 307 was designed for touring national parks. In 1935 the National Park Service held a competition in Yosemite among four bus companies. The White with it’s 318 CID flathead six won. They are called jammers because without syncros, even with deft double clutching they make quite a racket jamming it into gear. Drivers were known as “Gear Jammers”. These coaches have a long history in Yellowstone and in Glacier National Park. There were still a few running in Yellowstone when I worked there in the late sixties. Following one up a hill took a little patience, but often you were following a rolling party with the tour guide’s amusing patter and the tourist folks standing up and having a grand old time.

rear copy 2

Although they look mostly original, besides being painted green, this one was converted to a V8 automatic and had various safety updates like the big ugly tail lights and mirrors. One group of coaches was used in Skway, Alaska for tours. Those were brought back to Yellowstone in 1991 after having their bodies mounted on Ford truck chassis.

yellow left front

This is how the coaches appeared in their original form. The canvas top was rolled back on nice days giving the passengers a great view! They carried a good supply of warm blankets in the rear compartment for chilly days. I hope someone finds a fun use for this old coach. It would make a unique limo!

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Comments

  1. Toast54

    Having lived outside (and in) the park for three years,I remember these quite well in the original gawd-awful YP Co yellow. The bottom picture appears a bit more yellow than I recall. I’d get caught behind them traveling the upper and lower loop.

  2. Howard A Member

    Well, 1st of all, nice bus. It would be nice to see some engine and underside shots, as it appears to have very little “White” mechanics left on it. Even the dash looks modern, and that’s ok, but these had such nice original dashboards. Late model steering column ( and presumably box) are welcome additions, for sure.
    To be clear, I don’t think “jammer I” refer’s to gear jammers. A non-syncro trans ( still around today in semi’s) is not that hard to master, and if you clash a gear, I feel, you shouldn’t be in a truck. Years ago, we were called “gear jammers”, but it was more of a figure of speech, and not literally ” jamming it into a gear”. ( which happens to be the kiss of death for a non-synchro transmission)

    • grant

      My dad drove truck for 40 years and said about the same thing. Be safe.

    • geomechs

      Hi Howard. I read an article in Diesel Progress Magazine some years ago detailing the refurbishment of some of those old buses. It was a complete chassis provided by Ford. I believe a 460 (I’ll have to find the article) V8 run on propane. I can understand why they might want to do that, just to make them safer and more reliable. Parts to keep the original chassis/powertrains were getting harder to get, as well as drivers who could actually DRIVE them. It was still a sad note for me because for most of my life, I saw them in Glacier Park, Yellowstone Park, and places in between. I even recall seeing them on the GOING TO THE SUN ROAD (often called Logan Pass), between East and West Glacier. I might add that the drivers back then didn’t have any problems negotiating the roads above those drop-offs with the old flathead six and Crashbox. The roar of those engines and the distinctive whine of the transmissions was as commonplace in those resorts as the buses themselves…

  3. randy

    That’s how I remember the term “gear jammer”, a reference to truck drivers. It could be different for these “want to be” truck drivers on these old things though.

  4. Dale

    These are still used in Glacier Nat’l Park, but the bodies were all remounted on Ford heavy duty van chassis. See http://www.seriouswheels.com/cars/top-1930s-White-Glacier-National-Park-Red-Bus.htm

    Key changes made to the Red Buses include:

    Powertrain/Fuel System – The original carbureted gasoline engine was removed and replaced with a new fuel-injected 5.4L bi-fuel engine, capable of running on either gasoline or LPG (propane). An all-new exhaust system also was provided.
    Chassis – The original chassis was removed and replaced with an E-450 chassis modified to fit the Red Bus body.
    Brakes – The brake system was replaced with a production 4-wheel disc ABS system.
    Windows and Lights – All windows were replaced with safety glass and external lights were replaced or repaired and brought up to current standards.

    • z1rider

      I think what you mean is that Ford built a rolling chassis with the powertrain, brakes and suspension as a complete integrated system. Then they installed the restored bus bodies after they were separated from the original White chassis. The Econoline platform has long been the basis for motorhomes, class C and class A’s. Class C’s are the ones which use the front clip from Econolines, The class A’s come with their own unique front ends, so essentially these are class A’s adapted to accept the White bus body shell’s.

  5. rusty

    wow subscribing to learn more.

  6. MacVaugh

    From my experiences with Glacier’s red buses using the original White mechanicals, there wasn’t much you would want to keep. Poor brakes, little power, unreliable. I have ridden with my kids in the buses after the conversion, and found them to retain the charm with a modicum of safety.

  7. Duane

    I drove these buses in Glacier N.P. In 2001 while the buses were being restored the fleet consisted of white Dodge vans. The end of that season was screwed up by 9-11.
    By the next summer I had developed a diecast scale replica of both the Glacier Red Bus and the Yellowstone bus. We sold 5000 units through gift shops in 2002.
    In around 2004 a land development company was putting together a big deal in Utah and bought a couple of real Yellowstone buses to have refurbished. They commissioned a special production run of our 1:48 replicas with the same livery as the 2 real buses. I still have a few from an overrun.
    They are dead ringers for the bus in the picture except that they have authentic tail lights and mirrors.
    I believe the land development went bust then reorganized.
    Our replicas are authentic down to having a gearshift and pedals. Even the tire treads are replicas of the original tires.
    Now, about the word “Jammer”, currently the word describes either the vehicle or the driver. Its meaning also extends to former drivers. We are among a brotherhood of members of the oldest continually operated driving team in the world.
    The end. Breakfast is getting cold.
    Duane Brassette
    Lake Charles, LA

  8. rusty

    HI Duane

    thanks for that very interesting

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