The White company was active from 1900 until 1980,
when they finally declared bankruptcy. In the beginning, they
utilized steam power exclusively and manufactured both commercial
vehicles and passenger cars. From 1910 to 1911, they transitioned to
gasoline, and by 1918, they had left the car business altogether to
concentrate on commercial vehicles. They enjoyed moderate success
in the passenger car field, with a total of 9122 steam and 8927 gasoline
cars produced in those 18 years, but their prices were rather high, and
perhaps poorly suited for an increasingly competitive market. In
1918, prices ranged from $5000 for a 7 passenger Touring to $6400 for a
White was for many years
a well-known and successful manufacturer of commercial vehicles, and in
the post-war period they absorbed other firms such as Reo, Autocar,
Diamond T, and Sterling. After they went out of business in 1980,
much of their assets were purchased by Volvo, which made use of the
White name for over a decade until that too ceased. Volvo is now
part of the Ford Motor Company group, hence it is a natural for Ford to
take a special interest in these famous open-top buses from Glacier
National Park. - Serious Wheels
(from Ford Press Release)
Ford Motor Company’s leadership in alternative fuel vehicles is being
put to use to restore one of the oldest traditions in America’s National
Parks. After 18 months of renovation, Ford will deliver Glacier National
Park's famous fleet of Red Buses back to the park in Montana on June 8.
The fleet of 33 Red Buses now runs on clean-burning LPG (propane) and is
93 percent cleaner than the original buses that were introduced in the
park back in the 1930s.
Over time, the buses became part of the fabric of Glacier’s lore. The
canvas-topped 17-passenger buses carried sightseers back and forth
across the Continental Divide for over six decades. Then, in 1999,
concerns about vehicle fatigue forced the Red Buses into retirement.
As part of its commitment as a Proud Partner of America’s National
Parks, Ford undertook the task of refurbishing the buses back in 2000.
TDM of Livonia, Mich., was contracted to work with Ford engineers and
perform the restoration.
“Restoring the Red Buses has been a bigger challenge than any of us
imagined, but it has also been a labor of love to those involved,” said
Bruce Gordon, director of Ford’s Alternative Fuel Vehicles. “We worked
diligently to maintain the historic integrity of the buses and applied
Ford’s and TDM's expertise in alternative fuel vehicles and safety.”
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
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
Along with the new technology, extreme
care was taken to maintain the charm and historic integrity of the
buses. Technology and safety were key, but comfort also was important.
Body – The original body of the
Red Bus was carefully removed from the chassis. Damaged areas were
repaired, cleaned and repainted in the original color scheme. New
sheet metal or fiberglass components were blended into the vehicle
where needed, such as the fender wells and the rear door. In addition,
all the door latches were replaced and the plywood floors were
replaced with composite aluminum sheeting.
Seating – All passenger and driver seats were refurbished with
new comfortable fire-retardant material. New padding was added to the
handrails on the seat backs.
Running Boards – Running boards were replaced, but remain
consistent with the original design.
Ornamentation – When possible, original ornamentation was
refurbished. When replacement was needed, it was done with component
designs consistent with the original.
In addition, Ford added new public
address systems to all the buses, and retained the original vehicle
Ford also is committed to supporting infrastructure for Alternative Fuel
Vehicles. As part of the Red Bus project, Ford helped fund two LPG
fueling stations at the park. One is located at West Glacier and will be
used primarily to fuel the Red Bus, while the second is located in East
Glacier. Both stations will be available for use by other propane
vehicles as well.
“The Red Bus project is Ford's premiere project as a Proud Partner of
America's National Parks,” said Gordon. “We want to provide innovative
transportation and environmental solutions that enable visitors to enjoy
National Parks, as well as preserve their beauty.”
As part of its partnership, Ford also is providing a fleet of 500 TH!NK
neighbor low speed electric vehicles to National Parks throughout the
State of California. The TH!NK neighbors are zero-emissions vehicles
that have quiet engines. This combination of benefits will help to
reduce air and noise pollution emissions in Parks throughout the state.