1925 White Yellowstone Tour Bus Is Our Bring a Trailer Pick of the Day
This 1925 White Model 15-45 served as a tour bus in Yellowstone National Park, and needs to be hand-cranked to start.
A 50-horsepower inline-four resides under the hood, and the bus can hold up to 11 passengers.
There are six days before the Bring a Trailer auction ends, with bidding currently at $7500.
The vivid Kodachrome colors of the Grand Prismatic Spring. The tower of spray erupting from the Old Faithful Geyser. Herds of shaggy bison moseying across lush fields of green. Yellowstone National Park—comprising land in Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho—features some of America's most stunning natural scenes. These days you can tour the park from the climate-controlled comfort of your car, but in the early 20th century, visitors were shepherded around the park in busses like the one you see here. This 1925 White Model 15-45 is one of 214 11-passenger buses used by the Yellowstone Park Transportation Company, and it is now up for auction on Bring a Trailer—which, like Car and Driver, is part of Hearst Autos.
The Yellowstone Park Transportation Company (YPTCo) was created in 1898, 26 years after President Ulysses S. Grant signed the congressional act protecting the land. The company initially used horse-drawn stagecoaches, but after securing the exclusive rights to transportation at the park in 1916, the YPTCo commissioned a fleet of sightseeing vehicles from the Cleveland, Ohio-based White Motor Company. (White's early vehicles used steam power and two sitting presidents, Theodore Roosevelt and William Howard Taft, were owners.) The Model 15-45 joined the fleet in 1920, and White would go on to build busses for several national parks—including Yosemite and Grand Canyon—through the late 1930s, with Glacier still offering tours in its vintage people carriers.
This 1925 White 11-passenger bus is motivated by an inline-four that was rated at 50-horsepower back in the day—however many ponies are left are sent to the rear wheels through a four-speed manual transmission. The 15-45 requires the use of a hand crank to start, and rides on a front beam axle and a live rear axle with leaf springs. The driving controls appear similar to that of the Ford Model T, with three pedals, a floor-mounted shift lever, and stalks controlling the throttle and spark timing on the steering wheel.
The 11-passenger body, from an Ohio-based coachbuilder called the Bender Body Company, features four doors on the right side and fake doors on the left side, designed to stop passengers from disembarking into the middle of the road. A spare tire sits next to the driver's seat and a body-colored trunk is strapped onto the rear of the bus.
After its tour of duty in Yellowstone, this bus spent its years in Arizona and Montana, with the engine reportedly rebuilt in 2009 just before the seller purchased the vehicle. The White Model 15-45 also received a repaint in the original YPTCo livery, a replacement canvas top, and a re-trim of the black vinyl seating under the current owner. The gigantic Goodyear tires are showing signs of dry-rot and there are other signs of corrosion, but this amazing piece of history is in solid shape for a nearly 100-year-old vehicle. If you want to experience the great outdoors in style, there are six days left on the auction, with bidding currently at $7500. Just remember that there are no windows, so don't get too close to the bison or bears.
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