1936 White Model 706 Visits Jay Leno’s Garage

Not all yellow buses are school buses. This white 1936 Model 706 once ferried tourists through Yellowstone National Park, but its most recent stop was at Jay Leno’s garage.

While similar models are still in service (with some modifications) in National Parks, this 16-passenger bus was acquired and restored by Winslow Bent, founder of Legacy Classic Trucks. He had previously come to the garage with a Six-wheeled Dodge Power Wagon.

White was founded in 1858 as a manufacturer of sewing machines, but branched out into steam cars, some of which became the first official cars of the White House. The company has gradually moved away from passenger cars towards larger vehicles, making everything from WWII half-tracks to buses like this one.

Similar to modern commercial trucks, White provided only the cab and chassis, leaving customers to seek a supplier for the body. This bus has a bodywork by Henri Binder, a coachbuilder who also made bodies for luxury cars like Duesenberg and Hispano-Suiza. The distinctive grille and narrow hood were provided by White, however.

Under that hood sits a 318-cubic-inch straight-6 producing what Bent estimates to be 120 hp and 250 lb-ft of torque. That’s not a lot of power for such a big vehicle, but that flathead motor is very quiet, Bent noted. So it won’t scare the wildlife.

The transmission is an unsynchronized 4-speed manual, earning drivers the nickname “Gear Jammers”. The transmission isn’t the only thing to tweak, as the four-wheel drum brakes weren’t designed for emergency stops.

1936 White Model 706 (Image courtesy of Jay Leno’s Garage)

One of 150 purchased by the federal government, this bus has racked up 600,000 miles in tourist transport service on mostly unpaved roads. It is remarkable that there was enough left to restore after this. The body is made of wood, while the other components are a mixture of steel and aluminum subject to corrosion by galvanic reactions.

The streets of Los Angeles may not be as scenic as Yellowstone, but this restored bus still puts on an impressive sight. Find out in the embedded video.

This article was originally published by Driving authorityeditorial partner of ClassicCars.com.

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