Vintage Yellowstone tour bus going back to work

1936 White 706 has been restored and will serve guests at new Montana resort hotel

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1936 White bus
Legacy Classic Trucks has restored this 1936 White 706 tour bus that once was part of the Yellowstone National Park fleet | Legacy Classic Trucks photos

When the Montage Hotel opens in 2021 at Big Sky, Montana, guests will be shuttled in historic style in a 1936 White 706 Yellowstone Bus restored by Legacy Classic Trucks.

“Legacy Classic Trucks is committed to finding special pieces of American transportation that are historically significant and giving them new life through world class restorations so that they can be enjoyed today,” Legacy founder Winslow Bent is quoted in the company’s announcement of the truck’s completion and sale.

“Our one-of-a-kind White Model 706 Yellowstone Tour Bus restoration really echoes everything that we search for in a build. The buses were originally crafted by a revolutionary vehicle designer in his day, Count Alexis de Sakhnoffsky. 

“Due to the rare provenance of this being an original design from Count de Sakhnoffsky, Legacy Classic Trucks made this a completely original restoration project with no other modifications. It is one of our finest restorations to date.” 

He added that “the purchase of this iconic vehicle ensures that Legacy’s restored piece of automotive history will continue to create new memories, all while delighting guests near the same national park where it faithfully served passengers for decades.”

“We are looking forward to the opening of Montage Big Sky with our partners at CrossHarbor, and are thrilled to bring an extraordinary experience to guests and residents with the exciting addition of Legacy Classic Trucks’ newly restored Yellowstone Tour Bus,” said Alan Fuerstman, founder, chairman and chief executive of Montage International.

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Located a little more than 50 miles north of West Yellowstone, Montage Big Sky will offer 150 guest rooms and suites and 39 residences. 

“For generations, visitors to Yellowstone National Park were transported through the park’s majestic natural landscape in delightfully streamlined open-air buses produced by the White Company of Cleveland, Ohio,” Legacy said in its news release. “The most-recent generation of these rare storied vehicles is the White 706, delivered in limited quantities to Yellowstone from 1936-1938. 

“Only 98 Yellowstone tour buses were ever designed. Made in America during a bygone era committed to making high-quality transportation that could stand the test of time, the White 706 Yellowstone tour buses were celebrated for their peerless design and dependability.

The company noted that de Sakhnoffsky did automotive designs for Auburn, Cord, Packard, Ford, Willy-Overland, Studebaker, Chrysler, Mack and Tucker during his career. He also designed watches, furniture and marine and aircraft. De Sakhnoffsky was born in Kiev, Ukraine, in 1901 and immigrated first to Paris, and then to Switzerland, and finally to the US after the Russian Revolution.  

The Yellowstone buses were designed for 14 passengers, and featured a canvas canopy-style roof to provide panoramic sightseeing.

The restored bus had been in storage in Montana after its duties at the park.

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“Interestingly,” Legacy reported, “while the tour bus body is made of steel and aluminum construction, the vehicle’s frame is constructed entirely of wood.

“For the restoration, Legacy Classic Trucks incorporated a White 318 16A six-cylinder engine that produces 96 horsepower. Legacy Classic Trucks also fully restored the vehicle’s original non-synchronized transmission, a unique feature of the day that gave rise to the popular moniker of ‘gear jammers’ in reference to driving these buses.” 

Based in Driggs, Idaho, Legacy Classic Trucks specializes in Dodge Power Wagon, Jeep Scrambler and Chevrolet NAPCO restorations as well as doing Diamond T, Mack, Studebaker and Hudson truck restorations for ranch, personal and commercial use.

The company started in 2010 when Bent’s employment evaporated. 

“What am I going to do now?” he asked his wife, Andrea.

Pointing to the Dodge Power Wagon he was restoring, her response was, “You’re already doing it. Just get an ‘Open’ sign.”

He did and a high-end restoration and resto-mod business was born.

For more information, visit the Legacy Classic Trucks and Montage Hotels websites.

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