Yes It’s a Bus. But It’s A Big Slice Of American History About To Be Restored
The Glacier National Park Red Bus Fleet, which has been a part of the Montana tourist attraction since 1936, is to be converted to a more environmentally friendly hybrid system to continue to transport visitors around the famous National Park. Glacier was the first National Park to offer motorized tours, beginning in 1914, with the buses are driven by “jammers”, named for the noisy transmissions and gear-jamming sounds produced by the crude gearboxes of the original buses. The Park’s fleet of 33 White Motor Company Model 706s were put into service through 1936 to 1939, and have been regularly updated. The last update was between 1999 and 2002 thanks to a collaboration with Ford, which saw the original bus bodies fitted to E-series Van chassis and propane systems. Since then, each bus has logged between 130,000 and 150,000 miles, averaging 10,000 each year.
Now the buses will be restored and updated by Legacy Classic Trucks during the park’s off-season months, each receiving a new Ford chassis and Ford 6.2-litre V8 plus a pass-through hybrid electrical system to increase fuel economy and lower emissions by up to 25%, with the batteries recharged by regenerative braking during downhill descents. The wheels will be upgraded to 19.5in diameter to replicate the original 1930s units, period-style gauges will be added and the bodies will be repaired and repainted where necessary.
Images courtesy of Legacy Classic Trucks