Let's face it: I'm a gearhead. As such, I would be remiss if we had visited Yellowstone (which we did) but did not reflect on the classic White park tour bus used for so many years at the park.
We encountered this example, Number 433, in the parking lot at Yellowstone's Canyon Village, and I couldn't resist getting as close as possible without actually touching it.
Notice that the license plate is riveted to the bracket so as not to tempt any overly zealous souvenir seekers.
The last of Yellowstone's original White touring buses was sold by the park in the 1950's.
More recently Xanterra Parks and Resorts, who now manage the park, has bought back eight of the original coaches and done a superb job of updating and modernizing those by placing the coach bodies on Ford E-450 chassis. In doing so, they did maintain the aggressive stance of the original including the dually rear drive wheels (size 225/70R-19.5).
Check out the multiple doors on the passenger side!
Sorry, but the angle of the sun prohibited me from getting any usable interior shots, but I can assure you they've kept it true to the original design, leather bench seats and all. The double rear doors open to a large cargo hatch for luggage, including security bars!
Today Yellowstone's small fleet of rejuvenated Whites is used for special in-the-park tours, usually lasting 2 hours or less.
The bungee cords along the roof line are holding down a canvas cover that can be folded back for touring with the top open, weather permitting.
Try and convince me this beast doesn't looked chopped! Okay, the chassis is not original, but it's the styling that really counts with me, and Xanterra has gone to extremes to remain true to White's original design.
Yellowstone uses their yellow buses daily, and maintains each coach as a regular fleet vehicle. I'm thrilled to see preservation paired with such a practical application.
Several years ago we donated our 1916 Abbott-Detroit Touring to the Seal Cove Auto Museum near Bar Harbor, Maine, where it's used to give rides to museum visitors. (If you're ever in that part of the world, you must visit the museum - it's in a class by itself.)
Because the styling of the Yellowstone National Park coach is such a timeless work of art, I'll probably never get close to owning one of these White masterpieces.
Or maybe I will...