“Red Jammers” – The vintage buses of Glacier National Park

Restored by Ford Motor Company, Glacier National Park's 1930s era buses continue to tour visitors in grace and style

Restored by Ford Motor Company, Glacier National Park’s 1930s era buses continue to tour visitors in grace and style

Long and stylish, the "Jammers" the canvas roof rolls back  giving riders the ultimate sky view of the Rockies

Long and stylish, the “Red Jammers” sport a canvas roof that spans the length of the vehicle and rolls back giving riders the ultimate view of the Rockies

You see them, trundling elegantly along Going-to-the-Sun Road in Glacier National Park, Montana.

The fleet of 33 red buses, originally built by the White Company in the 1930s, continue to perform loyal duty shuttling wide-eyed tourists between Glacier National Park (Montana) in the United States and the adjacent Waterton Lakes National Park (Alberta) on the Canadian side.

The buses hold seventeen passengers and have a canvas roof the spans the length of vehicle, and on sunny days, it can be rolled back giving passengers a spectacular view.

While the buses have undeniable 1930s style, the ‘guts’ of these old beauties have been upgraded to modern specifications.

Between 1999 and 2002, Ford Motor Co. spearheaded a ground-up restoration for Glacier National Park’s fleet of vintage buses at a reported cost of $6.5 million USD.

The original power trains were replaced with Ford 5.4-litre fuel-injected V8s that can run on gasoline or LPG (propane), and fitted with new automatic transmissions.  (It’s reported the new engines reduced emissions by 93-percent and qualify the buses as Ultra Low Emissions Vehicles – ULEVs.)

The original chassis were replaced with E-450 commercial truck chassis, brakes were upgraded to 4-wheel discs with ABS, windows were replaced with modern safety glass, and all external lights were upgraded to modern standards.

The bodies of the red buses were removed and repaired with metal or fibreglass where needed, and the original plywood floor replaced with composite aluminum sheeting.  All seats were refurbished using fire retardant materials, the running boards were replaced and original ornamentation was refurbished or replaced.  Ford added new public address systems and the original numbering system used to identify each vehicle was retained.

As part of its support for the infrastructure of the United States’ Alternative Fuel Vehicles initiative, Ford assisted in the funding of two LPG (liquefied petroleum gas) fueling stations, one in West Glacier, one in East Glacier.

1 Comment

  1. JOHN KUSIAK says:

    DON’t miss this; should be on everyones bucket list.

Leave a Comment